Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis


Best Senior Thesis in History

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Heather Ferguson


This thesis examines the role of street art in the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa in 2011 in order to investigate the extent to which the political struggle was also a visual struggle. Through analysis of murals and graffiti, it seeks to address how revolutionary politics are created, consumed, and witnessed in images. In Egypt, protesters created street art that coopted public space in order to circumvent the state’s authority and subvert the state’s legitimacy. Due to its accessible nature, street art also democratized the protest process, facilitating a truly popular revolutionary movement. In Syria, citizens used satire to confront the state’s brutality and challenge the unequal power dynamics between the regime and the people. In Lebanon, artists created work that transcended sectarian, national, and regional borders in an effort to cultivate reconciliation, community responsibility, and global solidarity. This thesis argues that the creation, alteration, and dissemination of images gave voice to citizen collectivities in their struggle against the state. It argues that art is a meaningful form of participatory politics and community engagement.