Thu 1 October 2015 | WHAT's NEW?! | Street Scenes: The Politics of Revolutionary Video in Egypt | Mark Westmoreland
On Thursday 1 October, Mark Westmoreland delivered a lecture on the politics of revolutionary video in Egypt in the lecture series "WHAT's NEW?! Current Research on Islam and the Middle East."
This lecture brought a critical eye to the scenes of street politics that circulated during the uprisings in Egypt. Given the return of authoritarian rule, there is an urgent need to assess the images that both enraptured global audiences and propelled Egyptians toward revolt in order to understand the significance of these images for future political imaginaries. Despite the apparent transparency of their meaning and widespread celebration of the popular protests indexed therein, these universalizing images belie the contestations over their significance on multiple registers. Accordingly, Westmoreland explored the “street” as a concept in Egyptian activist videos, which provided a very different kind of revolutionary iconography than those more sanitized global images of protest movements, and thus offered a radical reassessment of the kind of politics enacted on the ground.
Mark R. Westmoreland recently joined Leiden University as an Associate Professor in Visual Anthropology after holding posts at Stockholm University and the American University in Cairo. He is also the co-editor of the scholarly journal Visual Anthropology Review. He is currently completing a book project entitled, Catastrophic Images, which shows how experimental documentary practices play a crucial role in addressing recurrent political violence in Lebanon. As a co-recipient of a 3-year grant from the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences, his current project focuses on the generative possibilities of video activism and the cultivation of new political subjectivities through emergent forms of radical aesthetics in the Middle East.
WHAT's NEW?! is a lecture series organised by LUCIS and the department of Middle Eastern Studies. The lecture series focuses on current research on Islam and the Middle East.