|Date:||Tuesday, 25 May 2021|
Berlin-based artist collective and Delfina residents Fehras Publishing Practices together with and Zeina Maasri, senior lecturer in the School of Humanities at the University of Brighton, present their respective projects on Arabic publishing during the Cold War.
Zeina Maasri‘s research focuses on Beirut’s development from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s as a nexus of transnational Arab artistic encounter, intellectual debate and political contestation, marked by anticolonial struggle and complicated by a cold war order. Central to this nodal configuration was the city’s infrastructure of printing, Arabic publishing and distribution that sparked creative collaborations between various Arab artists, intellectuals and militants who crossed paths in Beirut. These transnational circuits have materialised in some of the pioneering modernist Arabic cultural periodicals of the period, as well as in politically radical publishing projects that summoned revolutionary change and solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle.
Fehras Publishing Practices will share their project Borrowed Faces, which focuses on the Cold War era as one of the most fertile and critical periods in the history of Arab culture and publishing due to the entanglement between politics and culture. Their ongoing project researches cultural policies, and intellectual hegemony pursued by the bipolar power, the United States and the Soviet Union, and their establishment of institutions to fund international networks, conferences and projects. It observes the transformation of culture and publishing in the region from within, where new literary styles and ideas started to emerge. At the core of these movements were publishers, writers, poets, and translators, some of whom established collectives and seminars or who launched initiatives, publications, and publishing houses.
This event forms part of Delfina Foundation’s season Collecting as Practice and is organised in partnership with the British Library, Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge, and the Middle East History Group, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, as part of their series Histories and Archives of Arabic Publishing.