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Extended Deadline -- Call for Papers for a Special Issue of the Arab Studies Journal on "Cultures of Resistance: The Case of Palestine and Beyond"

[Arab Studies Journal cover type-set. Image from] [Arab Studies Journal cover type-set. Image from]


Call for Papers for a Special Issue of the Arab Studies Journal on

"Cultures of Resistance: The Case of Palestine and Beyond"

Arab Studies Journal invites submissions analyzing contemporary and historical forms of popular cultural resistance on the topic of “Cultures of Resistance: The Case of Palestine and Beyond.” Papers should be between 6,500 and 10,000 words, double-spaced, including endnotes.

Mainstream literature on the Arab world has largely focused on formal politics and classic notions of civil society (such as high-level diplomacy, political parties, electoral systems, voting patterns, trade unions, and NGOs.). Scant attention has been devoted to the ways in which cultural production can function as crucial site of political expression, as well as for (re-)thinking identity formations, nationalisms, forms of power, and resistance. The central role that street art, music, forms of dressing and sartorial practices, religious and secular rituals, and popular songs have played in forging new political subjectivities and new political cultures during the recent uprisings in the Middle East indicates the extent to which such research into cultural forms of "doing politics" is timely and needed.

The case of Palestine takes center stage as a paradigm of contemporary forms of settler colonialism, and, historically, as a lively laboratory for different and changing cultures of resistance. Here at stake is the relation between resistance and cultural production in a context of ongoing occupation and simultaneously, of normalization. Resistance, as expressed in cultural production, has historically centered predominantly against Israeli occupation, but more recently it also increasingly targets different internal actors who are seen to be complicit in normalizing the occupation, such as the Palestinian Authority and other political elites. By looking at the “aesthetics” of politics, power and resistance, we would like to investigate whether and how cultural productions can spur the emergence of new political subjects and projects that can function as counter-publics, alternative and/or in opposition to hegemonic discourses, and what kinds of gender and generational shifts are under way in these processes. We also welcome analyses of other contexts within the Middle East and comparative studies elsewhere that are similarly characterized by occupation, conflict, resistance, revolutions, and uprisings.

Particular questions that this special issue will address include:

  • Are contemporary forms of art, cinema, literature, music, humor, or other forms of cultural production contributing to the emergence of new political projects, subjectivities, and expressions in Palestine and beyond? How do they compare to past forms of cultural resistance? Which lines do they continue, with which do they break?
  • How does the Palestinian case compare to cultures of resistance in other contexts? For example, what new insights can the study of cultural productions provide on the political dynamics of the recent uprisings in the Arab world?
  • How do notions of resistance, dissent, and solidarity circulate locally, regionally, and globally? Who are the agents (artists, producers, audiences, etc.) of cultures of resistance, and within which structures do they operate? More specifically, how, why, and by whom can political messages of dissent and resistance become appropriated, co-opted, and commodified?

Articles should be submitted to by 30 April 2013. Please follow the journal’s submission guidelines. If you would like to discuss your article before submission, please contact the special issue editors, Ruba Salih, and Sophie Richter-Devroe,

If you prefer, email your comments to




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