This study highlights the connections between power, cultural products, resistance, and the artistic strategies through which that resistance is voiced in the Middle East. Exploring cultural displays of dissent in the form of literary works, films, and music, the collection uses the concept of 'cultural resistance' to describe the way culture and cultural creations are used to resist or even change the dominant political, social, economic, and cultural discourses and structures either consciously or unconsciously. The contributors do not claim that these cultural products constitute organized resistance movements, but rather that they reflect instances of defiance that stem from their peculiar contexts. If culture can be used to consolidate and perpetuate power relations in societies, it can also be used as the site of resistance to oppression in its various forms: gender, class, ethnicity, and sexuality, subverting existing dominant social and political hegemonies in the Middle East.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Literature and the Seeds of Dissent 1. Alaa Al-Aswany and the Desire for Revolution Ziad Elmarsafy 2. Saudi Women Novelists and the Quest for Freedom: The Case of Raja Alem’s The Doves’ Necklace Karima Laachir 3. Yaşar Kemal’s Island of Resistance Sibel Irzik 4. Four Narrations and an ‘Imagined Community’ Hashem Ahmadzadeh 5. Articulations of Resistance in Modern Persian Literature Nasrin Rahimieh and Sharareh Frouzesh 6. Iranian Drama and the Aesthetics of Gender Relations and Religiosity: Mohammad Rahmanian’s Ashaqeh Saeed Talajooy Part 2: Cinema between Creativity and Censorship 7. Resisting Pleasure? Political Opposition and the Body in Arab Cinema Viola Shafik 8. Reviving the Palestine Narrative on Film: Negotiating the Future through the Past and Present in Route 181 Haim Breshteeth 9. Azza El-Hassan and Impossible Filmmaking in Israel/ Palestine Nadia Yaqub 10. Gender, Family and Home(land) in Contemporary Turkish Cinema: A Comparative Analysis of Films by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Reha Erdem & Ümit Ünal Ozlem Guclu and Cüneyt Çakirlar 11. Madness, Resistance and Iranian Cinema Saeed Zeydabadi-Nejad Part 3: Musical Interventions 12: Rapping and Remapping the Tunisian Revolution Nouri Gana 13: Singing the Unspeakable, Resisting Power: Nazan Öncel, Popular Music and Women’s Rights in Modern Turkey Donat Bayer Berköz 14. "An Eastern Child of a Western Invasion": Questions of Identity, Socio-Political Commentaries and Innovation in Tehran’s Unofficial Rock Music Scene Bronwen Robertson 15. Carving a Space for Female Solo Singing in Post-Revolution Iran Parmis Mozafari
Karima Laachir is Lecturer in literary and cultural studies in the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.Saeed Talajooy is Lector in Persian language and culture at the University of Cambridge.