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The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies presents
Arab Spring Youth and the Struggle for
Political and Cultural Legitimation
in Tunisia and Morocco
Featuring Safoi Babana-Hampton
Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies
Michigan State University
A major inspiration to many young Tunisian bloggers associated with the origin of the Arab Spring, French resistance hero and human rights activist Stephane Hessel invites young generations, in his 2010 popular pamphlet Indignez-vous! (Time for Outrage), to lead the charge of bringing back to life the legacy of French Resistance movements in the locally and globally troubled context of the third millennium. To him, pondering the meaning of the act of resistance involves understanding it as being essentially nurtured by a feeling of personal outrage toward social and political phenomena that are inimical to peace, justice and freedom. Crucial to Hessel’s definition of outrage is the recognition that the resistance it calls for is not a violent but rather a highly creative act: “Créer, c’est resister. Résister, c’est créer”. Inspired by the results of Dr. Babana-Hampton's interaction and connection with young Arab Spring activists from Morocco and Tunisia through social media, this talk critically examines their commitment to devise creative forms of resistance in order to voice their outrage toward institutional injustice and socially and culturally sanctioned alienation and violence.
Safoi Babana-Hampton is Associate Professor of French and Director of Graduate Studies in the department of Romance and Classical Studies at Michigan State University. Her primary areas of teaching and research are 20th and 21st century French and Francophone literatures and film. Her book Réflexions littéraires sur l’espace public marocain dans l’oeuvre d’Abdellatif Laâbi (Summa Publications, 2008) critically examines of the role of culture in the construction of civic consciousness and the formation of a modern public space in Morocco. She is a core faculty member of Global Studies, Muslim Studies, African Studies and an affiliate faculty of Jewish Studies at Michigan State U.
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