Social media played a crucial role in the instigation and orchestration of the wave of political change that has been sweeping the Arab world since 2011. In this presentation, Dr. Sahar Khamis focuses on a particular type of social media, namely political blogs, which played a valuable role in paving the road for socio-political transformation in the Arab world, through providing important venues for the exchange of ideas and the formulation of collective public opinion, as well as the documentation of significant events. Thus, encouraging civic engagement and public participation, on one hand, while providing platforms for citizen journalism, on the other hand. Focusing on the case of Egypt, in particular, Dr. Khamis presents the findings of a textual analysis of the dominant discourses in five of the most popular Egyptian political blogs, and how they paved the way for the eruption of the 2011 revolution by widely sharing an anti-governmental discourse which exposed corruption and violations of human rights, on the political front, while tackling taboo issues, such as sexual harassment, on the social front. In doing so, she sheds light on why and how the role of cyberactivists, in general, and political bloggers, in particular, has been changing and how this is related to the ongoing political developments in Egypt.
About the speaker:
Dr. Sahar Khamis is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is an expert on Arab and Muslim media, and the former Head of the Mass Communication and Information Science Department in Qatar University. Dr. Khamis holds a Ph.D. in Mass Media and Cultural Studies from the University of Manchester in England. She is a former Mellon Islamic Studies Initiative Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago. She is the co-author of the books: Islam Dot Com: Contemporary Islamic Discourses in Cyberspace (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and Egyptian Revolution 2.0: Political Blogging, Civic Engagement and Citizen Journalism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). Additionally, she authored and co-authored numerous book chapters, journal articles and conference papers, regionally and internationally, in both English and Arabic. She is the recipient of a number of prestigious academic and professional awards, as well as a member of the editorial boards of several journals in the field of communication, in general, and the field of Arab and Muslim media, in particular. Dr. Khamis is a media commentator and analyst, a public speaker, a human rights commissioner in the Human Rights Commission in Montgomery County, Maryland, and a radio host, who presents a monthly radio show on “U.S. Arab Radio” (the first Arab-American radio station broadcasting in the U.S. and Canada). She is currently a PARGC Visiting Scholar.
Co-sponsored by the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
Lunch and colloquium begin at noon. Space is limited, please RSVP to email@example.com.