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  • Author: Ladan Boroumand
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: The Islamic Republic of Iran is confronted with an unprecedented legitimacy crisis. This article, highlighting the heterodox character of Iran’s theocratic ideology, stresses the tectonic social and cultural changes that have resulted in society’s estrangement from the state over the past forty years in a reaction against this ideology. The nature and depth of these social and cultural changes point to a historic process that is taking Iran toward becoming the first Muslim-majority society to weave into its spiritual, social, and intellectual fabric the principled separation of religion and the state characteristic of the liberal-democratic worldview.
  • Topic: Religion, Culture, Democracy, Protests
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Eray Alim
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Turkish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
  • Institution: Turkish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
  • Abstract: This manuscript aims to assess Palestinian street art’s effectiveness as a resistance tool and political instrument in the struggle waged against Israel. It concludes by employing Bourdieu’s concept of symbolic power that Palestinian street art is an effective instrument on account of its ability to instill in Palestinian collective consciousness as a sense of resistance. By utilizing Mouffe’s definition of politics as being a constant struggle between hegemonic and counter hegemonic forces, this work also holds that street art serves Palestinians as a means to reaffirm their political existence and develop an alternative political imagination against the Israeli-imposed reality. This manuscript also broaches the oft-discussed issue of visual diversity in Palestinian street art scene and concludes that eclectic content may serve as a contributive force, if the counter hegemonic character of Palestinian street art is adhered to.
  • Topic: Arts, Culture, Hegemony, Resistance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Asma Elgamal
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Described as one of the “greatest fusers of politics and art,” Sultan Sooud al-Qassemi has spent much of his life studying – and talking about – Arab art. Between founding the Barjeel Art Foundation, an Emirati-based initiative that collects and preserves Arab art, to live-tweeting the events of the Arab-spring to millions of Twitter users, al-Qassemi has a reputation for breaking silence on topics most members of an Arab royal family would be reluctant to touch. On February 7th, at an event hosted by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Security, al-Qassemi gave a talk entitled “Politics of Modern Middle Eastern Art” in which he explored the greatest hits of modern political Arab art.
  • Topic: Politics, History, Arts, Culture
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Salman al-Dosari, Aziza al-Manea, 'Adel Khamis al-Zahrani, Hind al-Mutairi, Abdulrahman al-Rashed
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: The General Entertainment Authority was created last year as part of Saudi Arabia’s “Vision 2030” plan. The primary goal of Vision 2030 is to diversify Saudi Arabia’s oil-dependent economy, but it also aims to foster a “vibrant society” with “meaningful entertainment for citizens.” Public cinemas are banned in the kingdom, and some Saudis seek diversion abroad, often in nearby Bahrain and Dubai. So far, the General Entertainment Authority has provoked a mixed reaction: some have lauded its work to bring more cultural events to Saudi Arabia, while others accuse it of moving too quickly, and not offering enough options to less wealthy Saudis. Here are excerpts of what five Saudi pundits had to say about the issue.
  • Topic: Culture, Reform, Media, News Analysis, Leisure
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Angle Smith
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: As Acting Public Affairs Officer in Erbil in 2016, I had the privilege of working with the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage (IICAH), the only pan-Iraqi organization located in the Iraqi Kurdistan region. IICAH was originally established with U.S. Department of State funding, and it has since become a regional leader for training cultural heritage specialists. Also with State Department funding, the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Delaware work to train Iraqis in the skills needed to preserve, protect and recover cultural heritage in Iraq, namely “the stabilization, rescue and recovery” of Iraq’s cultural legacy. This mission takes on an even greater importance in times of crisis, when cultural heritage is under threat of annihilation, and IICAH’s role has never been more significant than now, as those it has trained are well placed to preserve and restore sites and artifacts damaged or de­stroyed by ISIS. What is cultural heritage really? There are generally considered to be two categories—tangible and intangible. Tangible heritage includes things such as structures, ruins, handicrafts and landscapes. Intangible heritage includes nonmaterial things such as arts that are communicated through oral traditions. In The Past Is a Foreign Country, David Lowenthal writes that preserved objects also validate memories. While digital acquisition techniques can provide precise visual models of an object’s shape and appearance, it is the actuality of the object, as opposed to a reproduction, that draws people in and gives them a literal way of touching the past.
  • Topic: United Nations, Culture, Heritage, UNESCO
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Roy Jreijiry
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternative Politics
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: Many studies have shown that popular music is a dynamic medium in the construction of personal and social identities. This study analyses the image of women in ten Lebanese songs produced between 2010 and 2014; each song ranked as big hits. Typical of contemporary popular songs, these songs do not accord to the woman the value of an equal partner of the man. While rarely mentioning the ideas of sharing, exchanging, or reciprocity, they circulate many stereotypes such as the threatened/beaten woman, the housewife won through presents and flattery, the woman under the care of a man, and the woman as an owned and sexual object.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Culture, Women, Feminism, Music
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Beirut
  • Author: Hussain hajj
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternative Politics
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: This article aims to present some notes and findings about the fieldwork that I conducted in Istanbul with Syrian musicians in 2015. The main questions of the research were the identity of the Syrian musicians and the status of Syrian music and musicians in Istanbul. In this article I will first present some details about the musical institutions in Syria and the problems related to “being a musician” and studying music in the era of Al-Baath party ruling. I will add some notes about the Kurdish musicians in Syria. The second section is about Syrian musicians in Istanbul. I will discuss how far they can communicate among each other and with musicians from Turkey, and what are the messages that they try to spread through their music. For this aim, I analyze some musical activities that took place in Istanbul, such as the concerts of the Syrian community, as well as the relationship with the Turkish music of the Syrian alternative media in Turkey. Then, I discuss whether Turkey is seen as a temporary or permanent station by Syrian musicians. Lastly, I will analyze two musical activities and their repertoire that took place in two different stages to show the diversity of Syrian community in Istanbul. Keywords: Syrian refugees, ethnomusicology, musicians, cultural diversit
  • Topic: Diaspora, Culture, Refugees, Music
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Istanbul