Professor Marwan M. Kraidy
Professor Marwan M. Kraidy

This lecture identifies two modes of activism in times of revolution. The first, Burning Man, is biopolitical, and includes self-immolation and hunger strikes. The second, Laughing Cow, is transgressive, and includes political humor. I will argue that the human body‹as icon, metaphor and tool‹is central to understanding both kinds of activism and their entanglement with one another. Drawing on theories of revolution, the body, transgression, humor and digital culture, and grounding these theories in concrete examples from the Arab uprisings, this lecture proposes a fundamental theory of revolutionary activism with the transformation of the body at its center.

Marwan M. Kraidy writes, speaks and teaches about the intersection of media, politics and culture, with a special emphasis on the Middle East in comparative perspective. He is the Anthony Shadid Chair in Global Media, Politics and Culture, and Director of the Project for Advanced Research in Global Communication (PARGC) at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, USA. Currently, he is also is Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies (New York) and at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, Wassenaar, Netherlands. His latest book, Reality Television and Arab Politics (Cambridge, 2010) won three major prizes. Kraidy has been a Guggenheim Fellow, the Edward Said Chair of American Studies at the American University of Beirut and Visiting Chaire Dupront Professor at the Sorbonne in Paris. He is currently completing Burning Man and Laughing Cow, a book on the human body as a locus of power and resistance in revolutionary times, for Harvard University Press, in addition to other projects. He tweets at @MKraidy.