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George Legrady (Media Arts and Technology)
Constance Penley (Film and Media Studies)
Sherene Seikaly (History)


The concept of Arabic Glitch challenges the once dominant narratives about the relationship between technology and political agency that center Silicon Valley, as well as the study of digital art (specifically glitch art), the study of online social movements, and area studies of the Arabic-speaking Middle East and North Africa. It instigates interventions by demonstrating that twenty-first century resistance movements are grounded in the 2011 Arab uprisings; showing how social media stage confrontations between state and resistors; introducing the valuable concept of data bodies, which keep the body and analog experience in digital knowledge production, and promoting software literacy. While “glitch” in popular parlance is typically understood as an unwelcome error, an Arabic glitch functions as both a visual artifact and conceptual “tear” in technologies and institutions–a tear that creates an opening for social change. The argument interweaves ideas from artistic practice with discussions of historical and social movements while considering technoculture in the Arab world through the framework of “glitch.”

Taking from the virtual and bringing back into the material, Laila Shereen Sakr will discuss her new book with three scholars across Film and Media Studies, Digital Arts, and Middle East Studies. The discussants will interrogate the concept of “Arabic glitch” as a framework in their fields of research and practice. A reception will follow with beats by DJ Davey along with an exhibit of the augmented reality (AR) data visualization of the January 6th Insurrection discussed in Arabic Glitch: Technoculture, Data Bodies, and Archives.

This event is open to the public. Refreshments will be available, and UCSB Bookstore will be present at the event with copies of the book for sale.

Center for Middle East Studies Spotlight Series
Department of Film and Media Studies Colloquium
Co-sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center (IHC)


January 31
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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HSSB 6020
Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, UCSB
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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