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From the self-immolation of a young Tunisian fruit seller to the overthrow of long-standing regimes across the Arab Middle East, the events of the so-called “Arab Spring” have brought renewed attention to the struggle for human dignity in this region. As events have developed since December 2010 the world has witnessed diverse forms of popular uprising that have forced scholars to question many paradigms about the political, cultural, economic and religious structures across the Middle East. From Libya to Yemen, from Egypt to Bahrain new voices have emerged to overcome the fear of repression that has often stifled dissent and the ability to examine issues of democracy, self-determination, human rights, social reform, political and religious authority and many other concerns. While scholars and others will debate the causes that led to these large-scale movements and speculate about their eventual outcomes, the events themselves have generated new modes of social interaction that have changed the processes through which people communicate and act in the public sphere and have fundamentally transformed the record of those activities. This site is an attempt to capture something of those processes through an engaged and even activist form of event-based librarianship.
As diplomats, politicians, activists, scholars and ordinary citizens debate what these changes will bring and whether they will truly transform the policies and conditions that affect the lives of people both within and outside of the region, it is important record and collect the ways in which these events have captured our attention. The goal for this guide is to provide students, researchers and others, both at Brown and elsewhere, with resources that allow access to the primary and secondary sources that allow for careful analysis and understanding of these events. While no such site can serve as a complete repository, the aim is for these pages is to offer something of a representative sample of the diversity of materials available through the library and elsewhere, whether as printed matter, digital-born media, material and visual culture and other forms of expression.
The links below are some of the most comprehensive and continuously updated sites providing a breadth of coverage on the ongoing events in the Middle East. These are good starting points for gaining a background in the issues and debates.