CFP: International Journal of Islamic Architecture (IJIA) Streets of Protest: The Politics of Public Space Deadline: 15.03.12

From: Aysenur Ipek Türeli

_International Journal of Islamic Architecture (IJIA)_

Thematic volume planned for January 2013
Streets of Protest: The Politics of Public Space
Deadline for submissions: 15 March 2012,id=204/

The diverse ways individuals and groups contest and remake public space is
of interest to the field of architecture, especially at this moment of
economic recession. From “guerrilla,” “tactical,” to “DIY” urbanisms, all
celebrate the agency of the individual or small groups to make modest
changes by claiming public spaces without the need for extensive
investments or infrastructure. Such calls are conveniently in line with the
emphasis on the neo-liberal subject’s individual agency and capability.
What happens when ordinary people demand not so modest but copious and
radical changes?

From Cairo to New York City, political protests through the past year have
provided inspiring images of revolutionaries who have come together
voluntarily and demanded change from their governments. Dismayed by
top-down governance structures, auto-censorship of mass media, and at times
the inefficiency of representational politics, ordinary people have claimed
their rights as citizens. They have activated the streets and squares
turning them into political “spaces of public appearance.” But the uneven
geopolitics of privilege have inevitably shaped the perception and
portrayal of political protest events in different regional, religious and
cultural contexts. For instance, police and municipal authorities have
evicted Occupy movements from the squares of various US cities alluding to
hygiene and safety. In contrast, political protests in non-Western
countries are portrayed as synonymous with the emergence of more democratic
societies. Celebrating Western media and technology, most Western leaders
and analysts have treated the movements and protests in the Middle East as
a novelty playing down earlier histories of popular protest. Such
celebration of democracy parallels warnings of the lurking Islamist threat
in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

These recent events have much potential to contribute to our understanding
of the relationship between the politics, poetics, and spaces of the
streets, particularly in the context of the Islamic world. Practical
occupation appropriates public space temporally and transforms its image,
and hence use, permanently. So far, commentaries and research on the topic
have predominantly emphasized the use of social media while the question of
how public space provides opportunities for participation and appropriation
has been understudied. The use of public spaces goes hand in hand with the
varied uses of media. Technology acts not only as “extensions of man” but
also of public space; at the same time, it generates new forms of
repression that reshapes the use of public spaces.

This special issue invites papers that draw upon contemporary and
historical examples to critically analyze the spatiality of political
protests with reference to the Islamic world: How do protests challenge and
transform the publicness of urban spaces? How do urban streets and squares
allow, encourage, enable, or limit and hinder individuals to transform into
insurgent collectivities? What are the embodied sensorial experiences that
move individuals to take part in protests? Also welcome are papers that
discuss the role that design and design professionals have taken on to
support and sustain or prevent collective action. Papers that employ a
range of methodologies and approaches from various disciplinary and
interdisciplinary positions are encouraged.

Essays that focus on historical and theoretical analysis should be a
minimum of 5,000 words but no more than 8,000 words; and essays on design
can range from 2,000 to 3,000 words.

Please send a 400-word abstract with title to the guest editor, Dr. Ipek
Tureli (, by 15 March
2012. Those whose proposals are accepted will be requested to submit full
papers to the journal via its online system by 25 May 2012. All papers will
undergo full peer review.

For author instructions, please consult:

Ipek Türeli
Assistant Professor
School of Architecture
McGill University