Tag Archives: AMSSH

Project Update

Well, I changed my theme and fixed my site. I had downloaded an adapted version of the Emiglio theme from UWM Libraries Special Collections. I liked that it kept the cleanness of Emiglio, but used the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here project colors. I downloaded the files from Github and uploaded them into my Reclaim Hosting site. However, the variations in coding caused the public links to my exhibit pages to break. I could see them in the dashboard on the admin side and when I clicked from here to the exhibit pages. However, none of these pages were viewable through the public links. I switched my theme to the Emiglio theme downloaded directly from the Omeka site instead which fixed the problem. I may play around with the coding at some point, but for right now I’m just enjoying that my links work!


Project Proposal / Task 13

In March 5th 2007, a car bomb exploded on Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad. The ongoing project Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here commemorates the 2007 terrorist bombing of Baghdad’s historic bookselling street and cultural center and celebrates the free exchange of ideas and knowledge through the visual arts and the written word.

Al-Mutanabbi Street, named in honor of the 10th-century classical Iraqi poet Al-Mutanabbi, is in a mixed Shia-Sunni area. More than 30 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded. Al-Mutanabbi Street, the historic center of Baghdad bookselling, holds bookstores and outdoor bookstalls, cafes, and stationery shops, as well as tea and tobacco shops. It has been the heart and soul of the Baghdad literary and intellectual community. Its history dates back to the scribes of Abbasid in Baghdad (762-1258CE).

Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here provides an artistic response to this violence through the creation of artists’ books, broadsides, prints, and now photographs. Many of these works incorporate the written word with poetry. The digital project will highlight images of the works as well as writings, information about events, relevant readings lists (scholarly and vetted popular sources), and discussions about current scholarship in relevant fields (e.g. art, creative writing, history, political science, and Middle Eastern studies). Highlights are listed below:

  • Multiple high-resolution images of artists’ books and broadsides created for Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here
  • List of events marking the 10th anniversary of the bombing to avoid individual silos reporting the information
  • Videos of artists, writers, and researchers presenting at events and discussing work related to the project as well as terrorism and Iraq
  • Images and videos of exhibits
  • Subject disciplines include but are not limited to the following: visual arts, creating writing, political science, cultural studies, Middle Eastern studies, political sociology, conflict resolution, and history
  • Lists of relevant titles (books and articles)
    • Variety of topics
      • History of Iraq and Baghdad
      • History and current state of terrorism
      • Visual arts primarily focused on artists’ books
      • Creative writing primarily focused on poetry
    • Multiple reading levels
      • Primary level
      • Secondary level
      • Higher education and above

The project will benefit under-served communities. For example, Arabs have often been portrayed negatively with stereotypes depicting intolerance, hatred and violence following the attacks of September 11, 2001. This project highlights the beauty of the Arabic language through poetry and the written word. It will also bring to the forefront the need for the free exchange of ideas and freedom of expression for those whose freedom has been denied.

Beneficiaries will include a range of audiences: students, faculty and staff at the university level, middle school level, and high school level; Middle Eastern organizations, Muslim student populations, Muslim, Islamic, Arabic audiences, libraries and cultural institutions, artists, teachers, writers, researchers, and faith-based organizations.

The project will provide significant educational benefits to these groups. Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here has established educational outreach activities such as making bookmarks. This digital project will provide details about this outreach effort and similar efforts that can be implemented in a variety of settings, including the classroom setting. Lessons from the project can be integrated into the curriculum at both elementary and secondary levels. More complex projects can be incorporated into the college and university level curriculum and programming.