Carnet de recherche: Rand El Zein

March 15, 2021: I gave a presentation on “Egyptian Women Bloggers and Questions of Citizenship”, within the framework of HISDEMAB, the collaborative research project of the Leibniz-Association on the Historicity of Democracy in the Arab and Muslim World, in Berlin (Leibniz-ZMO), Germany. During the presentation, I showed how the three different Egyptian women bloggers, Aliaa Al Mahdy, Asmaa Mahfouz, and Sarrah Abdelrahman, became significant interlocutors in an online public sphere during the Egyptian revolution in 2011. I explained how the three bloggers constructed new social dynamics within their blog space, and at the same time, reproduced older forms present throughout history in other media. I argued that their different blogging styles – which include images of nudity that scorned Islam, religious sensibility to call for political action, and other forms of political satire that taunted the Mubarak regime – reveal broader political discourses about gender and citizenship in Egypt, and reflect upon the divided relationships between opposition groups during the 2011 revolutionary mobilizations.

This presentation was based on my Master’s degree project. In this research, I explored how Egyptian women bloggers have engaged in public issues and become significant interlocutors in an online public sphere in Egypt during and after the January 25th revolution. Throughout the writing process of this project, I visited the archives at the Nami Jafet Memorial Library, located in the American University of Beirut Campus, Lebanon.

The project also aimed to answer the following research questions: What have Egyptian women blogged about in terms of harassment, religion, and personal life? Did their content orientation vary after the outbreak of the Egyptian revolution of 25 Jan. 2011?

Within the framework of this research project, I visited Egypt for a few days, and explored urban spaces in down town Cairo (وسط البلد). I discovered street art and graffiti that were created during the revolution period.

I also explored other spaces in which Egyptian women were openly speaking about sexual harassment on the streets of Cairo. For example, I visited a local restaurant named فسحة سمية that is owned and run by an Egyptian woman named Somaya. At the entrance door, there was a poster in yellow and black that said:

هذا المكان لا يقبل التحرش – مكان آمن

In this video, Somaya explains how she loves to cook on every occasion, especially during the revolution. She worked at a publishing house before she opened her tiny restaurant. She describes the restaurant as more than just a place to eat. She explains that it is more of a space where online activists gathered to eat and share more than just food, but political ideas and other conversations as well.

March 10, 2021: I gave a lecture based on my PhD Study: “Between Violence, Vulnerability, Resilience and Resistance: Arab Television News on the Experiences of Syrian Women during the Syrian Conflict”, within the framework of the ÖH Ringvorlesung at Universität Salzburg.

February 19, 2021: I gave a speech on “Climate Change in Lebanon and Challenges to Participate in the Climate Movement”, within the framework of the workshop “Transnational Youth Climate Participation and Mobilisation: Why are young people’s voices important in the climate movement?” hostedby the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.

January 21, 2021: I gave a lecture on “Vertriebene syrische Frauen im arabischen Fernsehen”, hosted by Global Space and the Afro-Asiatisches Institut in Salzburg, Austria.

July 11, 2019: I gave a presentation on “The Relationship between Child Marriage and Failed Infrastructure During the Syrian Conflict”, in the framework of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) in Madrid, Spain.

April 13, 2019: I gave a presentation on the topic “Violence and Exile: Arab Satellite Television News on Syrian Women during the Syrian Conflict”, within the framework of the Female Agency and Subjectivity in Film and Television Conference at the Istanbul Bilgi University, in Turkey.

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