Zeina Maasri lectures in cultural studies, critical history and politics with research specialisms in Middle East Studies and in global art and design history.Her work is concerned with the intersections of visuality, culture and political conflict in global and postcolonial historical contexts.
Zeina Maasri lectures in cultural studies, critical history and politics with research specialisms in Middle East Studies and in global art and design history. Her work is concerned with the intersections of visuality, culture and political conflict in global and postcolonial historical contexts.
Zeina’s interdisciplinary research and teaching engage the political and global dimensions of cultural history, critical theory and aesthetic practice. She is primarily interested in the intersections of political, visual and cultural fields in the modern everyday, deploying transcultural and postcolonial frameworks to explore their specificities in the context of the Middle East, Lebanon and the Arab world in particular. Her work is historically focused on post-1945 struggles for decolonization, transnational anti-imperialist solidarities and violent conflicts, as complicated by shifting imperial powers in an emerging global Cold War order. She approaches the Middle East less as a discrete area study but rather as a political geography interconnected with global conditions of modernity, (post)coloniality, war and conflict.
Zeina Maasri joined the University of Brighton as a lecturer in Critical History and Politics in 2018. As a cultural historian whose emphasis is on global and postcolonial perspectives on visual culture and politics in the Middle East, her appointment strengthens transdisciplinary research; diversifies teaching provision in the School of Humanities; and fosters cross-disciplinary co-operation across three research centers in the Humanities (CMNH, CAPPE, CDH).
Before taking up her post at Brighton, Zeina was both a successful graphic designer and an academic at the American University of Beirut (1999–2016) in Lebanon. Both her teaching and research have long focused on the political and critical dimensions of aesthetic practices; visual activism and critical mapping; art/design history and theory; and cultural studies. She recently opted to consolidate her scholarly pursuit; hence her relocation to undertake a fully-funded PhD degree in the UK which she successfully completed in 2017.
Zeina’s research expands the scope of historical analysis of the modern Middle East by excavating hitherto uncharted archives of visual culture. In doing so, it fills gaps in both Middle East Studies and global Art and Design Histories and thus sets the grounds for new avenues of research in these areas.
She is the author of Off the Wall: Political Posters of the Lebanese Civil War (IB Tauris 2009), now in its third reprint, and curator of related travelling exhibitions and an online archival resource (www.signsofconflict.org). The project has won six funding awards; and the book has been widely recognized by peers as a pioneering study. She is currently working on a new book that examines transnational circuits of visuality in the Arab ‘long’ 1960s, tentatively entitled ‘Cosmopolitan Promises: Visual Culture and Politics in 1960s Beirut’.
Among other publications, Zeina is co-editor with Karl Bassil, Akram Zaatari and Walid Raad of Mapping Sitting: On Portraiture and Photography (Beirut: Arab Image Foundation and Mind the Gap, 2002; 2005) and with Anja Lutz of Greetings From Beirut (Berlin: Shift! 2003). She was art director and member of the editorial board of Zawaya, a periodical on emerging cultural production in the Arab World (Beirut 2001–2007). As a graphic designer, Zeina has been engaged in activist mapping projects. See The Mapping Group website. (https://themappinggroup.wordpress.com).
Her creative practice has been widely recognized, published and exhibited in different international venues: for example, she was awarded “Un des plus beaux Livres Suisses 2005” for the design of Territoire Méditerranée, with Mathieu Christe (Geneva 2004).
Zeina is interested in supervising doctoral study in any of her above-mentioned and related areas of research.
Zeina Maasri (2010) Malameh al-niza’: al-mulsaq al-siyasi fi al-harb al-ahliya al-lubaniya (Revised Arabic edition of Off the Wall); Beirut: al-Furat publishing.
Zeina Maasri (2009) Off the Wall: Political Posters of the Lebanese Civil War; London: I.B. Tauris.
Journal Articles and Book Contributions
Zeina Maasri (2016) “Double Trouble: Decentering the West, Dislocating the Nation”, in Making Trans/national Contemporary Design History [Proceedings of the ICDHS 2016 - 10th Conference of the International Committee for Design History & Design Studies.
Zeina Maasri (2016) “Troubled Geography: Imagining Lebanon in 1960s Tourist Promotion”, in Fallan K. and Lees Maffei G. (eds.) Designing Worlds: National Design Histories in the Age of Globalization, Oxford: Berghan Books.
Zeina Maasri (2015) “The Print Culture of Film”, in Bou Jaoudeh A. (ed.) Tonight: Cinema in Lebanon 1929–1979, Beirut: al-Furat Publishing.
Zeina Maasri, “Still Here: Some Thoughts on Design Education and the ‘Real World’”; in Musfy L. (ed.) Revolution/Evolution: Two Decades and Four Hundred Designers Later, Beirut: AUB Press, 2013.
Zeina Maasri (2013) Contribution to H. Kaygan and G. Julier (eds.) “Global Design Activism Survey”, in Design and Culture, special issue on Design Activism guest edited by G. Julier, (5) 2, pp. 242-45.
Zeina Maasri (2012) “The Aesthetics of Belonging: Transformations in Hizbullah’s Political Posters (1985–2006)”; in Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, (5) 2, pp. 149-189.
Zeina Maasri (2010) “In Praise of the Word: Political Graphics in and through the ‘Arab Street’ of the ’60s and ’70s”; in Typographic Matchmaking in the City, Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFares (ed.); pp. 30–43 Amsterdam: Khatt Books, 2010.
Zeina Maasri (2010) “Les politiques de la mémoire et de l’identité dans les affiches de la guerre civile au Liban”, in Mémoires de guerres au Liban (1975-1990). Franck Mermier et Christophe Varin (eds.); France: Actes Sud/Sindbad, IFPO pp. 522–555.
Zeina Maasri (2009) “Mohammad Moussalli: The king of Portraits” in Bidoun: Arts and Culture from the Middle East, no.18.
Zeina Maasri (2008) “Violence remembered/forgotten: Lebanon 13 April 1975”, article (in German) in the proceedings of the thematic symposium “Re-Education: You too can be like us”; (Berlin: Hebel Am Ufer).
Edited Art Books
Anja Lutz and Zeina Maasri eds.(2003) Greetings From Beirut; Berlin: Shift!.
Karl Bassil, Zeina Maasri and Akram Zaatari, in collaboration with Walid Raad, eds. (2002) Mapping Sitting: On Portraiture and Photography; (Beirut: Mind the gap and the Arab Image Foundation, 2002 and 2005).