13th Jan 2012 9:15am-5:00pm

Grand Parade

The Arab Spring: Symposium to mark the 1st Anniversary of the Tunisian Revolution

In this symposium taking place on the eve of the first anniversary of the Tunisian Revolution, we will reflect on the specific case of Tunisia and also on other features that seem to characterise the Arab Spring. The Arab Revolution erupted first in Tunisia, a small country that has been represented in the West as a peaceful tourist paradise. The self-immolation of young street-vendor Mohamed Bouazizi provided the spark for a revolutionary movement still spreading throughout the Arab world and brought to light the anger, frustrations and hopes of the young, the poor and the dispossessed.

The Tunisian Revolution has been called the Jasmine Revolution and also the Revolution for Dignity. What we are witnessing in the Arab world today is a democratisation process along with a quest for identity/ies and geo-political positioning. In Tunisia identity issues that had been shaped and controlled during the Ben Ali and Bourguiba era are emerging in a post-modern context with tensions arising between modernists and Islamists, with worries, shared with Egypt, Syria and other countries of an Arab Winter. These issues are also at play in the whole Arab world and are to be framed within the specificities of each Arab state. Iraqi author and journalist Haifa Zangana will analyse the under-reported events taking place in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square as a new form of resistance to al-Maliki’s regime and to US Occupation. Professor Nejet Mchala will focus on Tunisia and will address the postmodern “orientalist” affects of veils and beards in the staging of Islamic identities in post-revolutionary Tunisia where Ennahdha, the Islamist party, absent from the Arab Spring revolution, won about 40 per cent of the votes. This issue of identity will also be addressed by Professor Foued Laroussi and Dr Dora Carpenter-Latiri, who will question the claim for Arabic to remain the only official language in Tunisia whilst French is broadly used and the Tunisian vernacular is not acknowledged. Photographer Emir Ben Ayed will illustrate and reflect on the different stages of the Tunisian Revolution with photographs taken throughout the whole year. Mahmoud Ali Hamad will compare and contrast the Syrian and Tunisian experiences of revolution and reflect on the possibilities for a Tunisian scenario in Syria. Dr Jim Livesey will analyse the key features of the French Revolution as a historical model and highlight the specifics of the Arab Revolution paradigm.



Haifa Zangana, Author and journalist:

“Arab Spring in Baghdad: prospects and challenges.”


Professor Nejet Mchala, University of Carthage-Tunis:

“Dis-oriented Post Revolution Tunisia: globalised beards and veils.”


Dr Jim Livesey, University of Sussex:

“Revolution(s): Arab revolutions and the French Revolution paradigm.”


Mahmoud Ali Hamad, Researcher and journalist

“Will peaceful demonstrations alone topple Assad? Syria and the hope for a Tunisian scenario.”

Julia Winckler & Karin Jaschke, Photographer & Architectural Historian, University of Brighton:

“Photographs of Tunisia during the Ben Ali era”


Emir Ben Ayed, Photographer, University of Tunis:

“The Tunisian revolution and beyond: photographic representations of the revolution.”


Dr Dora Carpenter-Latiri, University of Brighton:

“Rewriting the Tunisian Constitution, debates on linguistic identity and room for change.”


Registration and delegate rates

This event is open to all but delegates must register in advance. The registration fee is £50 (waged), with concessions for retired/unemployed/unaffiliated delegates (£25) and students (£15). The registration fee includes tea/coffee and lunch.