Date of Submission
Open Access Senior Thesis
Best Senior Thesis in History
Bachelor of Arts
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.
Baranko, Erin, "Visualizing Participatory Politics: The Communal Power of Street Art in Revolutionary Egypt, Warring Syria, and Divided Lebanon" (2020). CMC Senior Theses. 2492.