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Artists and the Arab Uprisings

Artists and the Arab Uprisings

Lowell H. Schwartz
Dalia Dassa Kaye
Jeffrey Martini
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 100
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  • Book Info
    Artists and the Arab Uprisings
    Book Description:

    Regional artists can play a positive role in shaping public debate and supporting democratic transition in the Middle East. This report explores the challenges artists have faced since the Arab uprisings, U.S. government programs to support arts in the region, and the wide array of nongovernmental activities to engage Arab artists, offering recommendations to improve support for these artists.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8042-4
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology, Performing Arts, Art & Art History, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Summary
    (pp. vii-xvi)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-xx)
  7. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    After decades of authoritarianism, a wave of political change and unrest began to sweep across the Middle East and Africa in early 2011. These dramatic revolts across the Arab region magnified the shortcomings in Arab governance that regional analysts had identified for some time.¹ The protests, or what many now refer to as the “Arab uprisings” stemmed from a variety of factors, including the suppression of political opposition, systemic human rights violations, government corruption, the concentration of wealth and power among those associated with autocratic rulers, high unemployment, poverty, and, finally, the refusal of Arab youth to accept the status...

  8. CHAPTER TWO Impact of the Arab Uprisings on Artistic Freedom: Egypt as a Case Study
    (pp. 15-32)

    While the Arab uprisings have lifted some prior restrictions in the cultural sphere, they have also introduced a new set of challenges. Post-Mubarak Egypt is an important case study for examining these dynamics, given the country’s historic influence in media and the arts. Egypt’s influence is derived from the fact that it is the most populous state in the region—comprising roughly one-quarter of the Arab world’s total population—and it inevitably shapes cultural trends by dint of its demographic weight. A review of the new environment in Egypt after the January 25 revolution illustrates the countervailing dynamics that have...

  9. CHAPTER THREE U.S. Government Efforts to Support Artists in the Arab World
    (pp. 33-44)

    Both the Bush and Obama administrations have recognized the importance of enhancing the outreach and impact of Arab voices advocating for tolerance and nonviolence in the Middle East. In multiple policy documents, they have noted the role that cultural outreach can play in achieving the long-term U.S. goals of combating extremism and promoting democracy and reform in the region.¹ Despite such official statements, U.S. support for artists in the Middle East remains relatively limited and haphazard. While multiple U.S. government departments and agencies are engaged in programs that promote cultural and artistic freedom, there is a lack of strategic guidance...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Nongovernmental Efforts to Engage and Support Artists in the Arab World
    (pp. 45-62)

    As artistic talent and production have spread across the Middle East, a wide array of nongovernmental activities and programs to engage and support Arab artists has emerged. Whether initiated by the private sector, individual artists and entrepreneurs, universities, think tanks, or other nonprofit organizations, nongovernmental efforts play a critical role in identifying and supporting Arab artists. Indeed, such efforts are essential to leverage when considering new public-private partnership models to foster the arts, particularly given regional sensitivities to direct U.S. government support.

    While this report cannot identify every effort under way, we have outlined a number of general categories that...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Conclusion: New Strategies for Supporting Regional Artists
    (pp. 63-72)

    The cultural sphere remains a contested arena in the Middle East even after the onset of the Arab uprisings. In some ways, the ousting of authoritarian governments has led to new possibilities for artistic freedom and unprecedented critiques of corruption and government abuse. Artistic production across the region is flourishing, with creative works that address sensitive societal issues increasing in ways that are attracting international recognition. Arab films, in particular, are gaining global prominence and winning prestigious awards at international film festivals. New film festivals and even film schools have emerged in the region over the past decade, improving the...

  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 73-80)