Call For Papers: International Journal of Islamic Architecture
*Special issue: Thematic volume planned for January 2013 Streets of Protest: The Politics of Public Space

Proposal Submission deadline: 15 March 2012

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:

Posted by James Campbell at 11:55 (0) comments
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