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Personal profile

Research interests

Zeina Maasri works across the fields of Middle Eastern Studies, visual and cultural studies and global design history.

Zeina’s research investigates the intersections of visual culture, design and politics, with a particular attention on Lebanon and the Arab world. Her work is historically focused on post-1945 struggles for decolonization, transnational anti-imperialist solidarities and violent conflicts, as complicated by a 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.


Scholarly biography

Zeina Maasri is Senior Lecturer in the School of Humanities, teaching on the postgraduate degree in History of Design and Material Culture and on the undergraduate interdisciplinary degrees in Globalisation: History, Politics, Culture and in War and Conflict.

As a cultural historian whose emphasis is on global and postcolonial perspectives on visual culture and politics in the Middle East, her appointment strengthens interdisciplinary teaching and  research in the School of Humanities and fosters 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 has long focused on the political and critical dimensions of art and design 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. 

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. 

Her forthcoming book examines transnational circuits of modernism in the Arab ‘long’ 1960s, entitled ‘Cosmopolitan Radicalism: The Visual Politics of Beirut's Global Sixties’ (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press 2020).

Among other publications, Zeina is co-editor with Karl Bassil, Akram Zaatari and Walid Raad of Mapping Sitting: On Portraiture and Photography (Arab Image Foundation and Mind the Gap, 2002) and with Anja Lutz of Greetings From Beirut (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 worked in publication design and engaged in activist mapping projects. 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). 

Supervisory Interests

Zeina is interested in supervising research projects in the following areas and their intersections: Middle East studies; visual politics and cultural studies; global modernism in art and design history; art and design activism; cultural histories of war and political conflict; anticolonial and anti-imperialist cultures of resistance and solidarity; the Global Sixties.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Brighton

External positions

Associate Professor, American University of Beirut



  • D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
  • Middle East
  • global south
  • N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
  • Visual Culture
  • NE Print media
  • NC Drawing Design Illustration
  • graphic design

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Research Output 2002 2020

Cosmopolitan Radicalism: The Visual Politics of Beirut's Global Sixties

Maasri, Z., 2020, (Accepted/In press) Cambridge University Press. (The Global Middle East)

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authored

Visual Culture
Aesthetic Dimension

Troubled Geography: Imagining Lebanon in 1960s Tourist Promotion

Maasri, Z., 2016, Designing Worlds : National Design Histories in the Age of Globalization. Fallan, K. & Lees-Maffei, G. (eds.). Oxford: Berghahn Books, p. 125–140 (Making sense of history).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter

Open Access

The Print Culture of Film

Maasri, Z., 2015, Tonight: Cinema in Lebanon 1929–1979. Abou Jaoude, A. (ed.). Beirut: al-Furat, p. 527–531

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter

Open Access

Off The Wall: Political Posters of the Lebanese Civil War

Maasri, Z., 2009, London: I.B.Tauris.

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authored

Activities 2019 2019

Radical Sixties: Aesthetics, Politics and Histories of Solidarity

Zeina El Maasri (Organiser), Francesca Burke (Member of programme committee), Megha Rajguru (Member of programme committee), Catherine Bergin (Member of programme committee)
27 Jun 201929 Jun 2019

Activity: EventsConference

Radical Sixties: Aesthetics, Politics and Histories of Solidarity

Zeina Maasri (Organiser)
27 Jun 201929 Jun 2019

Activity: EventsConference