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Beirut Conference: Rethinking Media Through the Middle East

Organized by the Media Studies Program at the American University of Beirut in collaboration with the Arab Council for the Social Sciences and AUB’s Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies--American University of Beirut on 12-13 January 2017.

Within the field of media studies, Middle Eastern media is often treated as a domain of interest only to area specialists. If knowledge about Middle Eastern media usually serves only to supplement dominant frameworks and paradigms, we are interested in thinking about the ways it can instead extend, qualify, or even explode them.

"Rethinking Media Through the Middle East" aims to create an interdisciplinary conversation to challenge this deficit. Taking a broad view of the Middle East that incorporates the Arabic-speaking world, Turkey, Iran, and various ethnic minority groups, this conference asks how the Middle East might serve to disrupt, interrupt, subvery, challenge, or transform our understanding of what media are and do. It will explore the study of media as an independent field, but one that interconnects, influences, and is influenced by other intellectual formations and traditions. 

Conference Program

Thursday, January 12, 2017

8.30–9.00:       Registration and Coffee

                       Room: West Hall, Bathish Auditorium

9.00–9.30:       Opening Remarks:    

                       Room: West Hall, Bathish Auditorium

                                                Nadia El Cheikh

                                                Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

                                                Seteney Shami

                                                Director, Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS)

                                                Kaoukab Chebaro

                                                Associate Librarian for Archives and Special Collections

                                                Nabil Dajani

                                                Professor, Media Studies Program

9.30–12.00:     Panel 1 - Producing Media

                        Room: West Hall, Bathish Auditorium               

                        Chair: Michael Curtin

Kay Dickinson - “Theorizing the Logistics of Media Production"

Sarah El-Richani -“Comparing Media Systems in the Arab World: Salient Factors and Necessary Considerations"

Dale Hudson - “Small Nations, Big Budgets: UAE Narrative Feature Filmmaking"

Ali Sonay -“Contemporary Media and the Politics of Liberalization: The Moroccan Radio Sector"

13.00–15.00: Panel 2 - Industries and Histories

                      Room: West Hall, Auditorium A 

                      Chair: Oliver Boyd-Barrett

Blake Atwood - “Underground: A History of Home Video in Iran (1982-1993)"

Chihab El Khachab -“The Perennial 'Crisis' of the Egyptian Film Industry"​

Hicham Tohme -“Escaping the Liberal Paradigm in Media Theory: Bourdieu's Theory of Fields and                                                    the Development of a Journalistic Field in Beirut"         

13.00–15.00: Panel 3 - Mediated Counter-Narratives

                      Room: West Hall, Bathish Auditorium              

                      Chair: Helga Tawil-Souri

Jeffrey John Barnes -“Art or Media? Cartoons and the Resistance Aesthetic in Palestine"

Isaac S. Blacksin - “To Cover the Other: Rethinking the 'Foreign' in Foreign Correspondence"

Kareem Estefan -“Opacity, Fabulation, and Other Visual Rights: Post-Documentary Images from Palestine"

Joscelyn Jurich -“Abounaddara and the Global Visual Politics of the 'Right to the Image'"

16.00–17.30: Panel 4 - Film Feminisms

                      Room: West Hall, Auditorium A                        

                      Chair: Greg Burris

Heather Jendoubi - “Gender and Media in Post-Revolutionary Tunisia"

Viviane Saglier -“Palestine's Human Rights Film Festivals: Between Aid Economy and History of Resistance"

Stefanie Van de Peer -“The Aesthetics of Sympathy in Early Arab Women's Documentaries"

16.00–17.30: Panel 5 - Digital Spheres

                      Room: West Hall, Auditorium B                        

                      Chair: Tarik Sabry

Fabiola Hanna -“How Lebanon's Contested Histories Can Inform Software Studies"

Jennifer Nish - “Precarious Rhetorics: Humans of New York's Projects of 'Humanizing' Refugees for a Western                               Public"

Olga Solombrino - “'Permission to Narrate' and Archive Fever: Memories, Belongings, and  Poetics                                                        of Diasporic Palestinianness in the Digital S​phere"

Habib Battah - "Structures of Change in Post-war Lebanon: Amplified Activism, Digital Documentation and Post-                            Sectarian Narratives"

DAY 2:       Friday, January 13, 2017

9.30–11.00:  Panel 6 - Social Media and Public Culture

                     Room: West Hall, Auditorium B                         

                     Chair: Marwan Kraidy

Elisabetta Costa - “Rethinking Social Media through the Middle-East"

Yasmeen Mekawy - Social Media, Emotional Habitus, & Event-Making: The Case of Khaled Said."

Chris Nickell - “Music, Imagination, and Social Media in the Alternative Music of Beirut"

9.30–11.00:  Panel 7 - South-South Circulations

                     Room: West Hall, Auditorium A                    

                     Chair: Negar Mottahedeh

Kaveh Askari - “Informal Circulation and Dubbing Technology in Midcentury Iran"

Ada Petiwala - “Bollywood, India, and the Egyptian Imaginary: (Mis)interpretations in Ghaeem Fel Hend (2016)"

Samhita Sunya - “From Nightclubs to Concert Halls: Ibrahim Özgür and 20th-Century Geographies of Music and                                 Modernity"

11.30–13.30:   Panel 8 - Arab Modernities

                       Room: West Hall, Auditorium A                       

                       Chair: Kirsten Scheid

Terri Ginsberg -“Teaching Egypt Cinematically: Pedagogical Aesthetics in Two Contemporary Egyptian  Films"

Omar Al-Ghazzi “Communicating History: An Arab Studies Approach to Collective Memory?"

Betty S. Anderson - “21st-Century Jordanian Identities: At the Intersection of Media and Neoliberal Investment"

Adam John Waterman - “Demonizing Islam: The Exorcist and the Trials of Arab Modernity"

11.30–13.30:   Panel 9 - Religion and the state       

                        Room: West Hall, Bathish Auditorium             

                        Chair: Sari Hanafi          

Ozan Aşık -“The Role of Islamic and Secular Ideologies in the Representation of Kurds and Arabs in the                                    Production of Television News in Turkey"

Sophie Chamas -“Transcending Sectarianism: Counter-Media in Post-War Lebanon"

Yasmin Moll - “Islamic Media: A History of a Concept"

Britta Ohm -“From State Critics to State Makers: Televised Islam under AKP-Governance in Turkey"

15.00–17.00:   Closing Roundtable: Rethinking Media through the Middle East

                        Room: West Hall, Bathish Auditorium             

                        Chair: May Farah

                                               Oliver Boyd-Barrett                 Negar Mottahedeh

                                               Michael Curtin                         Tarik Sabry

                                               Marwan Kraidy                        Helga Tawil-Souri

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