Kraidy to Visit Stockholm University’s Department of Media Studies as Bonnier Guest Professor

Marwan M. Kraidy, Ph.D., Director of the Project for Advanced Research in Global Communication and The Anthony Shadid Chair in Global Media, Politics & Culture will serve as a Bonnier Guest Professor at Stockholm University’s Department of Media Studies from May 11th – 15th. “The Bonnier guest professors give lectures for journalists, media researchers and other relevant groups, lead research oriented seminars and are an active part of the graduate- and research seminars at the department.”

As a Bonnier Guest Professor, Kraidy will present a university-wide seminar on May 12th, titled “Virginity, Virulence, Vigilance: Unbounded Bodies of the Arab Uprisings,” and a public lecture, “Burning Man and Laughing Cow: Two Modes of Revolutionary Activism,” on May 13th. While at Stockholm University he will also give several lectures at the Department of Asian, Middle Eastern, and Turkish Studies, including a public lecture on May 7th titled “Puppets and Masters: Art, Activism, and the Body in the Arab Uprisings.”

Bonnier Seminar Abstract:
This seminar talk explores unique cases of mediated activism that blur the boundaries between biopolitical (Burning Man) and transgressive (Laughing Cow) modes of revolutionary action. Women and their bodies are lightning rods at a time of revolution, and their public nakedness set the public sphere ablaze. The coincidence of revolution with forces of globalization and ensuing anxieties for cultural authenticity and political sovereignty, creates a perfect storm where cultural, political, biological and cybernetic metaphors converge in women¹s bodies. This seminar enacts a comparative analysis of nudity in the French Revolution and the Arab uprisings, drawing on theories of art, revolution, and citizenship, to argue for a renewed understanding of embodiment at the nexus of materiality and digital culture.

Bonnier Lecture Abstract:
This lecture identifies two modes of activism in times of revolution. The first, Burning Man, is biopolitical, and includes self-immolation and hunger strikes. The second, Laughing Cow, is transgressive, and includes political humor. I will argue that the human body - as icon, metaphor and tool - is central to understanding both kinds of activism and their entanglement with one another. Drawing on theories of revolution, the body, transgression, humor and digital culture, and grounding these theories in concrete examples from the Arab uprisings, this lecture proposes a fundamental theory of revolutionary activism with the transformation of the body at its center.