Jadaliyya is proud to announce the launch of a new page, Vox Populi [صوت الشعب/Sawt al-Sha‘b or Voice of the People]. Featuring popular artistic and aesthetic expressions that emanate from the Middle East, Vox Populi seeks to highlight silenced and/or underrepresented cultural forms and conduits while challenging official and mainstream cultural production and narratives about the region. In addition to showcasing the independent work of ordinary citizens and groups—which includes street art, graffiti, popular non-commercial songs, hip hop, DIY YouTube series, etc.—the page aims to capture new and changing forms, spaces, and avenues of political socialization and mobilization.
Simultaneously, Vox Populi will provide a platform for the critique of mass culture and consumerist trends. The latter dominate network television and other mainstream media, which largely neglect cultural expressions “on the street.” Further, those few who do cover such topics and phenomena tend to do so in Arabic, posing a linguistic obstacle for non-Arabic speakers. Vox Populi will thus attempt to bridge the disconnect between existing and new conversations and popular expressions in the region and conversations about the region. Through interviews, analysis, individual and institutional profiles, video snippets, films, music videos, and visual and street art, Vox Populi will communicate and showcase important trends about/from the region that are often left out in what is otherwise serious analytical treatments.
What People Say, Create, Circulate
While cultural expressions have clearly predated the uprisings, there has been a deluge of creative production since the uprisings, marked by the proliferation of smaller and independent productions, exhibitions, expressions, acts, and performances. Regardless of what the political outcomes of the uprisings are at any given point, one of their cultural outcomes has been an explosion and dissipation of popular cultural production. In order to challenge the powers that be and circumvent their monopoly over avenues of cultural production, many participants in the uprisings have resorted to social media to deliver their message, artistic or otherwise. Recognizing this critical fracture and opening, Vox Populi is an effort to document, analyze, and archive a representative sample of these memorable images and soundbites as they unfold. The focus will be placed disproportionately on new forms of popular expressions that challenge the status quo of cultural production in the region, whether explicitly or implicitly.
Featured material does not necessarily constitute an endorsement by Jadaliyya. Rather, it represents one version of the popular trends, patterns, and emergent spaces for alternative forms of expression.
To submit your own material to Vox Populi, send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions are welcome in Arabic, English, French, Turkish, and Persian.
We inaugurate this page with the following posts:
- New Texts Out Now: Eliane Raheb, Sleepless Nights
- Yaser El Manawhly - The Monetary Fund
- Mediums of Outrage: Curzio’s Political Cartoons on Morocco
- Step by Step (Khutwa, Khutwa)
- On Nostalgia and Material Culture in the Hijaz: An Interview with Sarah Al Abdali
- Aesthetic Explorations of the Mundane: An Interview with Salwa Aleryani
- Laughing Through the Tears: Satirical Theatre From the Peninsula