Narrating the Arab Spring

Spring 2016 Course:
CLSC 3888
W 2:00 – 4:45PM
In English
Professor: Amara Lakhous
Click here for the flyer.

The Arab Spring was a political, social, and cultural earthquake. In a short period of time, four dictators were forced out of office: in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. While each case must be studied separately, the very fact of their overthrow is proof that the Arab world is not homogeneous. In Tunisia and Egypt, the uprisings were successful because certain elements of modernity, including a strong civil society, existed. Tunisia, for example, promulgated its first constitution in 1861; Egypt formed its first parliament in 1866, just five years after the unification of Italy. The situation differed in Yemen, Libya and Syria, societies based on tribes and clans, without the necessary elements of the modern state. Our study will encompass and confront these realities.

Our attempt to understand the Arab Spring will be based on the narratives of writers, filmmakers,artists, photographers, cartoonists, musicians, etc. We shall attempt to analyze the Arab Spring within its three essential time frames: before, during, and, especially, the aftermath. We shall examine causes and effects: What role did corruption play in the advent of the Arab Spring? Why was non-violence understood as essential to its success? Why did the violence of the military and the fundamentalists result in the failure of these revolutions? Why did certain Arab countries “miss” their Arab Spring?