CfP | CASAW Workshop “Narrating the Arab Spring”, Cairo, Feb 2012


Call for papers

Narrating the Arab Spring: new questions, new modes of resistance and activism, new politics.

Cairo 18th-20th February 2012

The Arab Spring continues to inspire and energize movements and peoples both inside and outside the region, despite the many setbacks, the challenges, and the loud trumpets of the prophets of doom and gloom. The success of the Tunisian people in forcing Ben Ali to flee the country in January 2011 sent powerful tremors of hope and empowerment to millions of Arabs. The rapid success of unarmed, peaceful Egyptian protesters in ousting a formidable dictator, Mubarak, in 18 days created an unprecedented sense of euphoria in the region and beyond. Uprisings erupted across the region, sending strong messages to old authoritarian rulers. The specificities of each country have chartered different trajectories and consequences for protesters and the regimes in power: what is shared is the regained belief in power of the Arab people, in the agency of Arabs and their ability to forge their futures.

Narratives of the Arab Spring are not uniform: they range from idealistic celebration to dark pessimism. This is understandable considering the vastness and magnitude of the events, the dominant paradigms that have traditionally been used to understand and predict events in the Arab world, as well as the mounting pressures and difficulties that continue to arise. Notwithstanding, the Arab Spring has also resulted in raising new questions and elaborating new narratives about the power and authority of modern states, initiating novel forms of resistance and new modes of activism; in connecting with global movements; in raising issues of gender and citizenship; in promoting the culture of revolutions; and in asserting people’s power.

The aim of this international conference is to consider and shed light on the new narratives emerging from and about the Arab Spring. It will bring together participants from the Arab world, the UK, and beyond to reflect on the momentous events of 2011 and exchange views and experiences. The conference is organized by The Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World (CASAW) in the University of Manchester in cooperation with The Department of English at Cairo University and The Women and Memory Forum.

It will be held in Cairo in February 18th -20th 2012, marking the first anniversary of the ousting of Mubarak on the 11th of February 2011. It will run for three days, and will consist of panels, round table discussions, as well as invited testimonials by activists and artists.

We invite papers from different disciplines to address issues related to the following themes:


•    The Arab Spring as global inspiration.

•    Decentralizing Tahrir: Narratives of Egyptian “squares”.

•    Forms of resistance and modes of activism.

•    Cultures of revolution.

•    Arab revolutions: diverse narratives and contexts.

•    Challenges and prospects for state and society relations.

•    Discovering the power of the people.

•    Reclaiming public space.

•    Gender and citizenship in the aftermath of revolutions.

•    Visual and material representations of empowerment

•    Technologies of revolutions.

•    The role of media in social protests.


Please send an abstract (250 words) no later than 15 December 2011.

Organizing Committee:

Sahar Abdel Hakim, Omaima Abou Bakr, Marilyn Booth, Hoda Elsadda, Mostafa

Kamel El-Sayed, Michelle Obeid, and Loubna Youssef


For enquiries, contact:

Hoda Elsadda:

Michelle Obeid:


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