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Personal profile

Research interests

Zeina Maasri works in cultural studies, critical history and politics with special interests in Middle East Studies and in global art and design history.

Zeina’s research investigates the intersections of visual culture, design and political conflict, 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 joined the University of Brighton as a lecturer in Critical History and Politics in 2018. As a cultural historian whose emphasis is on global and postcolonial perspectives on visual culture and politics in the Middle East, her appointment strengthens transdisciplinary research; diversifies teaching provision in the School of Humanities; and fosters cross-disciplinary 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 aesthetic 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. 

She is currently finishing a new book that examines transnational circuits of visuality in the Arab ‘long’ 1960s, entitled ‘Cosmopolitan Promises: Visual Culture and Politics in 1960s Beirut’ (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press).

Among other publications, Zeina is co-editor with Karl Bassil, Akram Zaatari and Walid Raad of Mapping Sitting: On Portraiture and Photography (Beirut: Arab Image Foundation and Mind the Gap, 2002; 2005) and with Anja Lutz of Greetings From Beirut (Berlin: 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 been 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 post-graduate and doctoral study in any of her above-mentioned and related areas of research.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Brighton

External positions

Associate Professor, American University of Beirut


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Research Output 2002 2020

Cosmopolitan Promises: Visual Culture and Politics in 1960s Beirut

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

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authoredResearchpeer-review

Visual Culture

Hala Auji. Printing Arab Modernity: Book Culture and The American Press in Nineteenth-Century Beirut, Brill, 2016

Maasri, Z., 29 Jan 2018, 31, 1, p. 112–113

Research output: Contribution to journalBook ReviewResearchpeer-review

Double Trouble: Decentering the West, Dislocating the Nation

Maasri, Z., 2016, Making Trans/national Contemporary Design History: Proceedings of the ICDHS 2016. Wong, W., Kikuchi, Y. & Tingyi, L. (eds.). São Paulo, p. 138–143

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNResearchpeer-review

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, p. 125–140 (Making sense of history).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterResearchpeer-review

Open Access

The Print Culture of Film

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

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

Activities 2019 2019

Radical Sixties: Aesthetics, Politics and Histories of Solidarity

Zeina Maasri (Organiser)
27 Jun 201929 Jun 2019

Activity: EventsConference