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Iraq & Syria: Arts and Revolutions – Fall 2017

Course number: AMES 222S

Course attributes: CCI, ALP, CZ

Course description:

The course introduces the political and cultural background of the conflict and uprising in Iraq and Syria. Focusing on culture, arts, and literature especially after the Arab Spring 2011 this course uses movies, books, and guest speakers to broaden the understanding of the current war against terrorism and dictatorships.

Professor biography:

Abdul Sattar Jawad (known also as ‘Al-Mamouri’) is an Iraqi-born Professor of Comparative Literature and Middle Eastern Studies at Duke University. He received a Ph.D in English Literature and Journalism, London’s City University (UK). He has been a Barksdale Fellow at the University of Mississippi Honors College; a Visiting Professor at the Department of English and American Language and Literature, Harvard University; and a scholar at the John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies at Duke University. Before coming to Duke, he was Dean of College of Arts Mustansiriya University in Baghdad and edited the Baghdad Mirror. Apart from teaching Arabic and English Literature, he is an expert on the works of T. S. Eliot and those of William Shakespeare. He has translated Eliot’s “Waste Land” into Arabic. He is also an expert on Iraqi media and academia. Jawad has written 14 books on literature and media, and has edited several literary magazines and newspapers in English and Arabic.

 

 

Events

Creative Memory

The Creative Memory of the Syrian Revolution

An exhibition curated by Sana Yazigi, creativememory.org

 

by Sana Yazigi, October 2016

In July 2015, two pieces of graffiti appeared on a wall in the besieged district of Al-Waer, in the city of Homs: “One day, we’ll be what we want to be. The journey hasn’t begun and the road is not finished” and “I’m here, this is my trace, a moon will emerge from the darkness.”

With these words of hope from the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwich, Syrian men and women are resisting suffering and death, as they aspire to a better future.

The Syrians have become invisible, hidden by the media, who only talk about the fight against radical Islamists, but never about the democratic motivations of the people.

It is as if in Syria there were only Bashar Asad and Daesh, as if individual Syrians did not exist, as if they were not resisting, not loving and not demanding their right

Creative Memory follows the tracks and traces that Syrian artist-activists have left: graffiti, drawings, poetry, photographs, sculptures, paintings, caricatures… Today the site features over 24,000 items in three languages and 22 categories classified according to the date and place of creation and the names of their authors.

The website brings together works from the Syrian revolution and provides information about each one. We look at how people have given expression to their political, economic and social demands. We study their creations in order to preserve the memory of Syrian creative expression from the beginning of the Revolution in 2011 until today.

With simple but meaningful words and images, Syrians have cried out, but their demands have been forgotten and their causes abandoned. This is why we created this site. To resist amnesia. To support the Syrian cause. To pay homage to all those who have embodied, in their actions, a historic change.

We present these works to those who know all about the situation in Syria but also to those who know nothing. We go out of our way to give Syrians pride of place and to highlight the subjectivity of individuals. They must be made visible, so that the whole world should recognise them, so that their cause shouldn’t die. And this faith is the foundation of hope.

This exhibition was commissioned by Festival International des Arts de Bordeaux Métropole (FAB). Produced by the FAB (Bordeaux, France), supported by Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez (Bordeaux, France), coproduced by Scène Nationale Tandem (Arras-Douai, France). First presented in October 2016 during the FAB.