2020/ 2021

Omar Al-Ghazzi

EUME-CNMS Fellow of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation

Histories of the Future in the Post-2011 Arab World

Previous Fellowships: 2019/ 2020, 2018/ 2019

is Assistant Professor in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Al-Ghazzi’s research expertise is in conflict reporting and representation, with a focus on digital media and collective memory in the Middle East and North Africa. His research has appeared in top academic journals in the field of media and communications. Before joining LSE, he was a lecturer (Assistant Professor) at the Department of Journalism of the University of Sheffield. Al-Ghazzi completed his PhD at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. He holds MAs in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania and American University  and a BA in Communication Arts from the Lebanese American University. A former Fulbright scholar, Al-Ghazzi comes from a professional journalistic background. He has previously worked as a reporter for Al-Hayat Arabic daily and as a media analyst at BBC Monitoring. From June to August 2019, from September to December 2020 and from April to August 2021, he is a EUME-CNMS Fellow of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation.

Histories of the Future in the Post-2011 Arab World

This project explores the politics of mediated collective memory in the contemporary Arab world. It addresses the questions of how communicative practices during the 2011 Arab uprisings and their aftermath reflected and shaped understandings of history, and how these practices enabled revolutionary, but also reactionary, violent and divisive politics. Al-Ghazzi’s project links collective memory studies to the study of political contention and struggle in the Arab world. He selects episodes of contestation about history and explores the political symbols and tropes that generated intense debates. He examines what these symbols are alleged to represent and what originary times in history they claim to continue. His approach does not confine its analysis to one national context or one medium or technology. Rather, it notes and theorizes a way of thinking about mediated histories and futures that permeates countries, political groupings, and media outlets. By focusing on mediations of history, the project explores the deep tensions between Arab nation-states as political spaces, the region’s transnational media system, and temporal narratives of belonging.