Saad Zaghloul statue and bridge, Cairo, January 2011 (Reuters).

This four-day research collaboration workshop will be held at UC Santa Barbara on the five-year anniversary of the Tahrir Square uprising in 2011 that toppled Egypt’s long-term dictator Hosni Mubarak. These uprisings in Egypt accelerated waves of anti-crony-capitalist demonstrations, worker organizing, youth revolts, media insurgencies, and police brutality protests that overthrew governments, mobilized populations throughout the Middle East, and inspired the world from Wisconsin, to Mexico, to Baltimore. The Tahrir uprisings are called the January 25 Revolution in Egypt and the Arab world; it was on that day that millions of protesters first descended upon downtown Cairo with the aim of reclaiming history and power for the people.

The Egyptian uprising was one global turning point in the history of repression. Immediately following the January 25 Revolution in Egypt, at least fifty-eight countries around the world passed draconian laws to restrict or fundamentally cripple the right to protest and occupy civic space. Government in ostensibly “democratic” regions of North America, the European Union, and Latin America ratified repressive dictates. They also developed and deployed new apparatuses of surveillance and criminalization against those using the internet as one site of many for civic opposition. In the past five years after Tahrir, many of those who comprised this electrifying “2011 Generation” of human rights defenders and youth civic leaders have been fined, beaten by police, and arrested. In this challenging and historic context, in late January 2016, a uniquely talented group of human rights defenders, scholars, and activists will converge at UC Santa Barbara to reimagine the shifting fabric of neoliberalism, the imperatives of popular sovereignty, the challenges of gender/sexuality/race justice in the context of repression, and the cultures of authoritarianism that are shaping our times, globally.

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Involvement of undergraduate and/or graduate students:

In addition to learning from the panels on Monday 25 January and the film festival on Sunday 24 January, undergraduates in classes taught by the organizers and those in large intro courses in Global Studies, History, Film, Sociology and other departments will engage materials, writings and short videos to raise consciousness about the event.  Undergraduates will be able to volunteer to help (set-up, note taking, tech and logistics) during the closed workshops on 22-23 January, as well as during the panel.  Graduate students will also enjoy integration of relevant materials into their courses, and will be invited to participate in a dedicated graduate student workshop on Tuesday 27 January from 9-12, as facilitators of dialogue between participants, during which they can introduce and integrate questions from their own theses and research.

UCSB Related Courses:

FAMST 165DA: Digital Activism and New Media in the Middle East
HIST 146: History of the Modern Middle East