Prof. Laila Shereen Sakr [vjumamel.com]
Contact | email: lailashereensakr AT ucsb.edu | twitter:  @vj_um_amel
Office hours | Wed, 12-1pm, or by appt. 2020 SSMS
Location/time | MW 1:00-2:20 in SSMS 2013

SYLLABUS

This course surveys emerging media-making and digital advocacy practices through a case study on the digital campaigns for human rights and social justice issues in the Middle East. The course reviews these relationships through the lens of social movement theory. Seminar participants will work together to explore frameworks, methods, and tools for understanding networked social movements in the digital advocacy ecology framed from the Middle East. Students will study the role of interventions, social media, and tactical tools to support civic agency and participatory action, as well as transform, disrupt or subvert changing urban, political, and social conditions in various local contexts throughout the region. Students are expected to work in teams to research, conceptualize, and design novel civic media and tactical interventions that critically examine the socio-cultural and institutional settings that they seek to engage.

We will focus on these digital campaigns:

We are all Khaled Said (police brutality, torture)
No to Military Trials for Civilians (securitized state, due process)
Free Bassel Safadi, Free Alaa (imprisoned activists)
BlackLivesMatter (racial justice)
Harassmap (sexual harassment)
Kafa, Jinsayati, Nasawiya (personal sovereignty)

GRADING

The following grading rubric will guide the evaluation of student work for the course:

  • Blog posts (20%): Students will write one 500-800 word blog post based on the readings for each week . Except for Week 1, the blogs are due by 12 midnight the night before class. Blog posts for Monday’s readings are due Sunday night, and blog posts for Wednesday are due Tuesday night.
  • Class discussion, attendance, and punctuality (20%)
  • Midterm (20%): Research question(s), outline, annotated bibliography, and schedule meeting with professor.
  • Final 5-7 page research paper (20%): Explain the research questions with which you began and the research you discovered along the path. What new knowledge has your research taught you?
  • Group tactical media project (20%): Students will engage critically and collaboratively (in small teams) to research, conceptualize and produce a compelling community media or creative intervention in the form of an audiovisual work, apps, or other digital media that tackle a specific set of contested issues. By the end of the quarter, students must submit a pitch a tactical media project to the class in 5-minute presentations for peer-critique. See instructions.

This course is meant to be a collaborative learning and participatory environment. The weekly class sessions will often begin with a critical discussion of assigned readings, while the other sessions may include a guest lecture or presentations of relevant case studies.


WEEK 1 – STUDYING THE MODERN MIDDLE EAST

Mon, Jan 07 – Introductions, Class overview
Wed, Jan 09 – From 1972 to 2016
  • In August of 2016, the New York Times Magazine broke its own mold to publish a “long-read” as an entire issue. “Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart” by Scott Anderson, with photography by Paolo Pellegrin, is a lengthy, complex interweaving of five stories to bring context, diversity and humanity back to the debates about the Middle East. This piece is a long and compelling read structured along five historical junctures: Part 1 “Origins;” Part 2 “The Iraq War;” Part 3 “Arab Spring;” Part 4 “ISIS Rising;” and Part 5 “Exodus.”
  • Gelvin, James.  2011. The Modern Middle East: A History. 3rd Edition. Oxford UP.  (Ch. 9)

*First blog post due on today’s readings.


WEEK 2 – TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY REVOLUTION

Mon, Jan 14 – From Orientalism to Social Movement Theory
Wed, Jan 16 – Media and the Egyptian Revolution of 2011

*Groups assigned for tactical media projects


WEEK 3 – SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVISM

Mon, Jan 21 No Class – Martin Luther King Holiday
Wed, Jan 23 We Are All Khaled Said And Maspero

WEEK 4 – GLOBAL MEDIA ACTIVISM

Mon, Jan 28 – Emergence of Black Lives Matter
Wed, Jan 30 – The Arab Blogosphere

WEEK 5 – ENVIRONMENTAL MEDIA ACTIVISM

Mon, Feb 04 – Library Day
Guest Lecture | Heather Hughes, Middle East Studies Librarian, UCSB.
Meet in Main Library, room 1312.

Documenting the now: https://www.docnow.io/.

Article “Preservation acts”: https://harpers.org/archive/2018/12/preservation-acts-archiving-twitter-social-media-movements/.

Wed, Feb 06 – You Stink Garbage Crisis

WEEK 6 – FREE AND OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE MOVEMENT

Mon, Feb 11 – From Gaza to Ferguson
Guest Lecture | Professor Sherene Seikaly, History UCSB

http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/sherene-seikaly/

Wed, Feb 13 – Free Bassel Safadi, Free Alaa

WEEK  7 – MIDTERM

Mon, Feb 18 – No Class 
Wed, Feb 20
Meet Professor by appointment: sign up here. Come to appointment prepared with your Midterm: research questions, annotated bibliography, and outline.

WEEK 8 – ARAB FEMINIST TECHNOLOGY

Mon, Feb 25
Meet Professor by appointment: sign up here. Come to appointment prepared with your Midterm: research questions, annotated bibliography, and outline.
Wed, Feb 27 – HarrassMap

WEEK 9 – GENDER AND THE UPRISINGS

Mon, Mar 04 – The Role of Gender
Wed, Mar 06 – Kafa, Jinsaya, Nasawiya

WEEK 10 – TACTICAL MEDIA PRESENTATIONS

Mon, Mar 11 – Group presentations
Wed, Mar 13 – Group presentations

FINAL PAPER DUE FRIDAY, MARCH 15, NO LATER THAN 5:00PM VIA EMAIL.