Books and essays that address visual culture, design, media and politics in the modern and contemporary Arab world.

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Off The Wall: Political Posters Of The Lebanese Civil War
By Zeina Maasri
Published by I.B.Tauris, London 2009.

Foreword by Fawwaz Traboulsi

204 pages (including 64 colored)

ISBN: 978 1 84511 951 5
In this lavishly illustrated work, Zeina Maasri tells the tumultuous story of the struggle for Lebanon through the poster wars which raged on its streets. From 1975 to 1990, different factions in Lebanon's civil conflict flooded the streets with posters to mobilize their constituencies, undermine their enemies, and create public sympathy for their cause. Showcased here for the first time, the posters display a dramatic clash of cultures, ideologies and meanings. Maasri shows how the iconography of the posters changed over time, and links this to changing political identities and communities as the war progressed. She looks at the aesthetic influences of different groups, from modern Arab visual culture to as far afield as Latin America and revolutionary Iran. She urges a radical rethink of the idea and function of political posters in civil war contexts, too often dismissed as mere 'propaganda', arguing instead that they should be seen as sites of symbolic struggle, every bit as fiercely contested as the streets they adorn. Combining in-depth knowledge of the local context with fascinating insights into the semiotics of visual media, Off the Wall is a highly original contribution to our understanding of visual culture, civil conflict, and the politics of the Middle East.

This book is in conjunction with the author's ongoing poster archive project and exhibition titled Signs of Conflict.

Zeina Maasri's book is a key intervention in studies of visual culture and mass media in the Middle East.

read review
Sune Haugbolle, Arab Studies Journal; Vol. XVIII No. 1, Spring 2010; pp. 334-43.
Maasri argues that civil wars challenge the ways we conventionally think about graphic propaganda.
read review
David Crowly, Eye, The International Review of Graphic Design, no.72, Summer 2009, pp.91-92.
Off the Wall is important for design historians because it is one of the very few texts to discuss design in the modern Middle and Near East.
read review
Victor Margolin, Journal of Design History; (2009) 22 (4); pp. 426-428.
Off The Wall Arabic edition
Zeina Maasri

Translated by Imad Chiha

Revised by Pierre Abi Saab

Visual Culture in the Modern Middle East
By Christiane Gruber and Sune Haugbolle (editors)
376 pages, 22 color illus., 79 b&w illus.
Image Politics in the Middle East
By Lina Khatib

288 pages

Arabic Graffiti
By Pascal Zoghbi and Stone aka Don Karl (eds.)
200 full color pages
Ambiguities of Domination
By Lisa Wedeen

251 pages | 9 halftones, 19 line drawings