Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Symposium – Afterlives of Witnessing: Moving Images from the Levant and the Political Imagination

Saturday, November 4, 2017

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Joukowsky Forum

Registration is required and will open closer to the event date.

+ Google Calendar11/04/2017 09:0011/04/2017 17:00America/New_YorkSymposium – Afterlives of Witnessing: Moving Images from the Levant and the Political ImaginationOrganized by Hanan Toukan, Adrienne Minassian Visiting Assistant Professor in the History of Art and Architecture and Middle East Studies, and Kareem Estefan, PhD student in Modern Culture and Media. The act of bearing witness, associated with the visual documentation of state violence and cultural practices of “speaking truth to power,” is central to international human rights discourse after World War II. But it has come under increasing scrutiny from artists,...Joukowsky ForumMM/DD/YYYY
+ iCal/Outlook11/04/2017 09:0011/04/2017 17:00America/New_YorkSymposium – Afterlives of Witnessing: Moving Images from the Levant and the Political ImaginationOrganized by Hanan Toukan, Adrienne Minassian Visiting Assistant Professor in the History of Art and Architecture and Middle East Studies, and Kareem Estefan, PhD student in Modern Culture and Media. The act of bearing witness, associated with the visual documentation of state violence and cultural practices of “speaking truth to power,” is central to international human rights discourse after World War II. But it has come under increasing scrutiny from artists,...Joukowsky ForumMM/DD/YYYY

Watch webcast

Organized by Hanan Toukan, Adrienne Minassian Visiting Assistant Professor in the History of Art and Architecture and Middle East Studies, and Kareem Estefan, PhD student in Modern Culture and Media.

The act of bearing witness, associated with the visual documentation of state violence and cultural practices of “speaking truth to power,” is central to international human rights discourse after World War II. But it has come under increasing scrutiny from artists, writers, and scholars working on and amid the political conflicts of the Levant region, who have questioned the impact that images of suffering have on global publics and critiqued the exceptionalization of the figure of the "witness" as a neutral, truth-telling individual. This symposium will examine the uneven, retrospective, and intergenerational temporalities of witnessing, the archival constructions and mediations involved in representing what are often traumatic moments of violence and rupture, and the ways in which artists filter these personal and collective histories through processes of fabulation and speculation. It does so in the context of urgent political events in Syria, Palestine-Israel, and the broader region, which demand witnesses, but perhaps even more so, new methods of representation, mediation, distribution, and translation that can extend and deepen the meaning and impact of bearing witness. This symposium will consist of three panels, each featuring four speakers giving 20-minute presentations, preceded by a program of contemporary film/video works from the Levant to be screened the evening before the main event.

More Information

Middle East Studies

Conference Schedule:

Friday, November 3, 2017:

5:00 p.m. – Film/video program

Saturday, November 4, 2017:

9:00 a.m. – Registration, welcome, and introduction 
9:30 a.m. – Panel 1: Archival Afterlives 
11:15 p.m. – Coffee break 
11:30 p.m. – Panel 2: Speculative Images, Potential Histories 
1:15 p.m. – Lunch 
2:30 p.m. – Panel 3: Traveling Images 
4:15 p.m. – Concluding Remarks

Visiting Speakers:

Mohammad Ali Atassi 
Kay Dickinson 
Chad Elias 
Gil Hochberg 
Lamia Joreige 
Laura U. Marks 
Nat Muller 
Kamran Rastegar 
Ghalya Saadawi 
Stephen Sheehi 
Helga Tawil-Souri 
Nadia Yaqub

Speakers from Brown University:

Ariella Azoulay 
Beshara Doumani 
Kareem Estefan 
Catherine Lutz 
Hanan Toukan