Middle East Studies

Arab Comics: 90 Years of Popular Visual Culture

Thursday, February 26, 2015

12:00pm – 6:00pm

Arab Comics: 90 Years of Popular Visual Culture

Exhibition | February 1 – March 30

In collaboration with

Art at Watson
*Free and Open to the Public

Symposium | February 26, 2015

Access a recording of the symposium here.

Please note that a simulcast will be available in the South Common Room at the Watson Institute.

Comics have been a complex and subversive form of creative expression for Arab artists, illustrators, and writers since the 1920s. Until today, the visual archive of Arab comics has been absent from mainstream cultural representations of the Middle East. Arab Comics: 90 Years of Popular Visual Culture, a public exhibition hosted by Middle East Studies, will present a close-up engagement with popular comics that have captured young imaginations from North Africa to the Arabian Gulf.

The Arab Comics exhibition will feature the emergent visual culture of pan-Arabism developed in original Arabic children’s comics during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s; the “Arabization” of Mickey, Tintin and Superman comics for Arab youth during the 1950s, and 1960s; and contemporary comics showcased by the Beirut-based comics collective Samandal.

On February 26th, Middle East Studies will host a half-day symposium on Arab Comics that brings together comics scholars and artists from the United States and Lebanon to discuss the histories of representation and practices of comics illustration in the region. Participants will include the FDZ, Fouad Mezher, Lina Ghaibeh, Michael Allan, and Nadim Damluji.

An interview with Mona Damluji, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in visual culture at Wheaton College and curator of “Arab Comics: 90 Years of Popular Visual Culture”, is available on the website of the Watson Institute.

The Art at Watson exhibition and the symposium are co-sponsored by the Cogut Center for the Humanities and the Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, and the Mu’taz and Rada Sawwaf Arabic Comics Initiative and Libraries at the American University of Beirut. The exhibition and symposium are co-curated and co-organized by Mona Damluji and Nadim Damluji.

Find out more about the presenters and invite friends on the event’s official Facebook page!
To learn more information about Arab Comics, please visit: http://www.al-fanarmedia.org/2014/11/arab-comics-fit-academic-exploration/

Comic Art Symposium Program

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute

12:00 p.m. Participants Lunch with Middle East Studies concentrators  

1:30 p.m.Welcome and Introductory Remarks

Beshara Doumani, Director of Middle East Studies and Joukowsky Family Distinguished Professor of Modern Middle East History, Brown University

Mona Damluji, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Visual Culture, Wheaton College

2:00 p.m. Comics Histories

Michael Allan, Assistant Professor in Comparative Literature, University  of Oregon

“Drawing Lines in the Sand: Comics and  Caricature Beyond East/West”

Nadim Damluji, Independent Scholar,   “The Violence of Localizing Western Comics for Arab Children”

Lina Ghaibeh, Animation Artist and Associate Professor of Animation, American University of Beirut,  “Propaganda in Comics in the Arab World: From Nationalism To Religious Radicalism”

Discussant: Elias Muhanna, Manning Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Digital Islamic Humanities Project, Brown University

3:40 p.m. Coffee Service

4:00 p.m.  Comics Practices

Fouad Mezher, Comics Artist and Writer,“Educated Between Panels,”

Fadi Baki, Comics Writer and Editor, co-founder of Samandal,“Violence as Language: the inarticulate medium of comics”

Discussant: Anna Mudd, Comics Artist, Harvard University

6:00 p.m. End of Program

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