Arts and Literature | Wilson Center

Arts and Literature

Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World

Robin Wright, acclaimed author and USIP-Wilson Center Distinguished Scholar, discussed the rebellions taking place across the Islamic world—a trend she calls a “counter-jihad” that rejects both autocrats and extremists.

On July 13, the Middle East Program of the Woodrow Wilson Center hosted a book launch and discussion with Wright about her newly released book Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World. Haleh Esfandiari, Director of the Middle East Program at the Wilson Center, moderated the event.

Words, Not Swords: Iranian Women Writers and the Freedom of Movement

Farzaneh Milani, Professor of Persian Literature and Women's Studies and Chair of the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Virginia, discussed the connections between gender, space, and physical mobility against the backdrop of the Arab Spring and demonstrations in Iran.

On June 1, the Middle East Program hosted a book talk, Words, Not Swords: Iranian Women Writers and the Freedom of Movement, with Milani. Haleh Esfandiari, Director of the Middle East Program at the Wilson Center, moderated the event.

Celebrating Nunavut: Inuit Art From the Canadian Arctic

The Canada Institute's first art exhibit showcases Inuit culture through 25 selected works, including stonecut, stencil, and lithograph prints, as well as textile embroidered wall-hangings. Eighteen Inuit artists are represented in the exhibit from the leading art-producing communities of Qamanittuaq (Baker Lake), Kinngait (Cape Dorset), and Pangnirtung in Nunavut.

Human Rights and the Arts in Iran Today

In a conference addressing the role of human rights and the arts in Iran, speakers from the arts and literary community discussed how different forms of expression bring varying human rights issues to the fore in Iran. While politics, economics, and nuclear capabilities tend to dominate contemporary discussions about Iran and preclude mention of the multi-faceted art scene that has emerged since the Islamic Revolution, participants addressed this artistic flourishing and its implications for human rights in Iran.

You Are the Media: How Iranians "Democratized" the Media

As Iranian bloggers have increased their presence on the Internet and activists have harnessed the power of new social media, they have effectively "democratized" the media in Iran, according to journalist Iran Davar Ardalan. She indicated that this transformation is evident in the responses to Iran's disputed 2009 election, which demonstrated the role of the new media in Iran and the rise of citizen journalism.

Book Talk: <i>Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis, 1956-1978</i>

In a discussion of his newly released memoir, Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis, 1956-1978, Kai Bird detailed stories of his experiences growing up in the Middle East and provided historical analysis of events in the region, most notably the Arab-Israeli conflict. Bird noted that a main intention in writing this memoir was to blend his personal accounts with "some serious history" of the Middle East in the time he grew up there.

Reality Television and Arab Politics: Contention in Public Life

Reality television in the Arab world has become a platform for rival political points of view, according to Marwan Kraidy, a scholar of global communication and expert on Arab media and politics. In the context of his recently released book, Reality Television and Arab Politics: Contention in Public Life, Kraidy discussed how entertainment television becomes politicized and transforms public discourse.

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