The afikra Podcast

LAILA SHEREEN SAKR | Digital Activism in the Arab World | Conversations

Episode Notes

What impact did the 2011 Arab Uprisings have on our use of technology? How should we approach, regulate and manage technologies as they emerge? And is it really possible to make political predictions by analysing tweets? 

We talk about cross-cultural communication, her book ‘Arabic Glitch: Techno Culture, Data Bodies and Archives’ and using machine learning to predict the fall of Qaddafi. She explains what sentiment analysis actually means and how she grapples with existential anxiety. We also discuss why she sees the Arab World as the nexus of the technology era and not Silicon Valley. 

Laila Shereen Sakr, better known to some as VJ Um Amel, is an Egyptian-American digital media theorist and artist. She is the founder of the digital lab, R-Shief, which is “one of the largest repositories of Arabic-language tweets”. Laila is also an assistant professor of Film and Media Studies, as well as a Faculty Affiliate in the Feminist Studies Department at the University of California.

Created & hosted by Mikey Muhanna, afikra 

Edited by: Ramzi Ramman

Theme music by: Tarek Yamani

About Outline:

Outline is a process-focused conversation that looks at guests’ individual projects rather than their full bodies of work. The conversation sketches the journey of the project; the spark of curiosity that led to the project, the process of implementing the idea, the struggles that emerged throughout the implementation, and the aftermath of the project that includes new questions and new ideas. The name “Outline” stems from the idea of creating a retroactive project outline which is part of a broader emphasis on the process of curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking from a nuts and bolts perspective. Outline is not discipline-specific; the series will be held with artists, academics, writers, filmmakers, among others. Join the live audience:   


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About afikra:‎

afikra is a movement to convert passive interest in the Arab world to active intellectual curiosity. We aim to collectively reframe the dominant narrative of the region by exploring the histories and cultures of the region- past, present, and future - through conversations driven by curiosity. 
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