Loubna H. Skalli, PhD

University of California Washington Center, Washington
Gendered Memories of The Arab Uprisings: Using Social Media to (Re-)Create History, Memory and Memorialization
How do we record, remember and memorialize women’s political action in the digital age? Whose voices, narratives and perspectives enter historical records? How do social media facilitate as well as complicate the gendering of collective memory and the writing of history?

In this presentation, I examine the complex intersections between gender, memory, memorialization and the writing of history in the digital age. I focus on ways women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) use digital technologies and social media to contribute to the visual collective memory of women’s political struggles and the production of historical knowledge. Drawing on recent work in critical memory studies and feminist media, I discuss how and why activists in MENA utilize digital tools to document, record and narrate the historical events they both participated in and/or witnessed. I discuss a selection of individual and collective projects that emerged since the Arab uprisings and argue that these are deliberate efforts to challenge hegemonic accounts of history by giving greater visibility to “subjugated knowledges” and memories. The examples of the web-series, microblogs, and collective online platforms I discuss in this presentation demonstrate the new possibilities digital technologies allow for engendering collective memory and memorializing women’s struggles for citizenship and recognition.
Dr. Loubna H. Skalli is currently teaching at the University of California Washington Center, Washington D.C. Dr. Skalli is an international scholar and practitioner with over 25 years of subject area expertise in gender, women’s movements, youth, communication, and the politics of development in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). She was a professor at the School of International Service at The American University in Washington (2003-2015) D.C. She also taught at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, and Ibn Tofail University in Morocco. She is the author of Through a Local Prism: Gender, Globalization and Identity in Moroccan Women’s Magazines (Roman and Littlefield, 2006 –reprinted 2008), co-author of Vulture Culture: The Politics and Pedagogy of Talk shows (Peter Lang, 2005), guest editor of a special issue on “Youth, Media and the Politics of Change in North Africa” (2013 Journal of Middle East Culture and Media). In addition to several book chapters, her recent articles appeared in Gender and Society, Middle East Journal, International Feminist Journal of Politics, Middle East Journal of Women’s Studies, Feminist Review, Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, Journal of North African Studies and the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women. An active member of international organizations, she served on the Scientific Committee of the UNESCO Chair “Women and their Rights” (Morocco) and the Board of Directors of the DC-based Maghreb Center. She consulted with USAID, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. Department of State, and the National Institutes of Health. 

Dr. Skalli is twice recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship, in addition to other awards and fellowships. She received her M.A. in Cultural Anthropology/Gender from Essex University, U.K., and her Ph.D. in International Communication from The Pennsylvania State University.