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

Zeina Maasri

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authoredpeer-review


This book examines the intersections of visual culture, design and politics in the global sixties. It demonstrates how fluid, yet politically articulated, transnational circuits of modernism converged and contended with one another in the context of Beirut, from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s. Caught between two violent moments in Lebanon’s history, Beirut’s long 1960s was also marked by processes of decolonization and complicated by a Cold War order. Against any celebratory reminiscence of the “golden years”, this book conceives of Beirut’s long 1960s as a liminal juncture, an anxious time and space when the city held out promises at once politically radical and radically cosmopolitan.
Drawing on uncharted archives of everyday printed matter, Cosmopolitan Radicalism expands the scope of historical analysis of the post-independence Arab East. It sheds light on hitherto understudied graphic design practices and modes of translocal visuality attached to print technologies. Maasri critically engages this material against the grain of nationally circumscribed frameworks of analysis to examine instead the transnational circuits that animated Arab modernist pursuits. She situates these mobile cultural forms, discourses and practises within the disjunctive flows of Beirut’s global sixties, shedding light on key cultural transformations that saw the city develop as a Mediterranean site of tourism and leisure, a nexus between modern art and pan-Arab publishing and, through the rise of the Palestinian Resistance, a node in revolutionary anti-imperialism.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Print)9781108487719
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameThe Global Middle East


  • Middle Eastern Studies
  • global history
  • Modernism
  • Design History
  • postcolonial studies
  • Art History
  • Transcultural theory
  • decolonization
  • Arab Left
  • global 1960s


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