In-Person Lecture: Arab Women’s Revolutionary Art Beyond the so-called “Arab Spring”

November 30, 2022 from 12-1 pm
Ingraham Hall, Room 206

Speaker: Professor Nevine El Nossery

If the Arab uprisings did not bring about substantive socio-political change, they nevertheless created an environment that is increasingly favorable to women’s participation in collective action and the public sphere. This presentation illustrates the ways in which women in the contemporary Middle East and North Africa have re-imagined revolutionary discourses through art, defying illegitimate power and extending the horizon of emancipatory politics. By re-visiting a past Utopia, I show how women’s post-revolutionary artistic production encompasses a stunning array of forms and genres, such as graffiti, street performance, photography, phototexts, novels, and comics, covering different revolutionary periods and spaces between 2011 and 2022 (Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria). Ultimately, I demonstrate how art can preserve the revolutionary soul that was sparked in 2011 by documenting what happened and what stories would be told. Arab women’s artistic revolution, therefore, continues.

Nevine El Nossery is Associate Professor in the Department of French and Italian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her expertise extends to Francophone and postcolonial studies, women’s writing, art and politics. She is the author of Egypt in Focus: Creativity in Adversarial Contexts (Journal of the African Literature Association, co-edited issue, 2021); The Unspeakable: Representations of Trauma in Francophone Literature and Art (co-edited in 2013); and Témoignages fictionnels au féminin. Une réécriture des blancs de la guerre civile algérienne (2012). Nevine El Nossery has a forthcoming book titled Women, Art, and Revolutions. From the Singularities to the Multitudes of the Arab Spring (2022).