The Niagara Foundation, a Chicago-based NGO dedicated to promoting global fellowship by encouraging interfaith and intercultural dialogue, is hosting two interesting events this January. One is about international themes, so we are highlighting it here. If you’re interested in learning more about the Niagara Foundation, we encourage you to visit their website!
Identity and Activism in the Arab Spring and Beyond
Speaker: Dr. David Faris— Director of International Studies at Roosevelt University
Date: January 23, 2013
Time: 11:30a.m to 1:30p.m (Includes a light lunch)
Location: Niagara Foundation | Suite 2540 | 205 N. Michigan Ave | Chicago, IL
The Arab Spring has raised important questions about the effects of digital media technologies on political and social systems in the Middle East. Digital media technologies played a significant role in the Egyptian uprising, which was planned and successfully publicized online by veteran digital activists who had spent years challenging state power together through the Internet. This is not to say that they were solely responsible for the events in Egypt, but digital media technologies played catalytic or amplifying roles in uprisings from Bahrain to Syria and Tunisia. There now exists a well-established and burgeoning literature about the effects of social media technologies on collective action, and while there are dissenters it is almost certainly true that digital media have aided opposition movements in authoritarian countries to lesser or greater extents depending on a host of institutional variables that differ from setting to setting. Challenging state power in the streets is one thing but might digital media have the capability to alter long-run self-perceptions of identity as well? Identity and Activism in the Arab Spring and Beyond will explain not only how digital media helped catalyze the uprisings of the Arab Spring, but also explore the threats they pose to authoritarian regimes and the bounded model of Westphalian sovereignty that is the basis of the contemporary global system.
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