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Wessels, Josepha, Associate ProfessorORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0003-2682-035X
Alternative names
Publications (10 of 31) Show all publications
Wessels, J. (2023). Subversive documentary cinema and people in concert prior to the Syrian Revolution.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Subversive documentary cinema and people in concert prior to the Syrian Revolution
2023 (English)Other (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

My talk focused on the development of subversive documentary cinema in Syria since the early 1970s which is part of the multidimensional foundations for the popular uprisings and artistic protests that emerged in the streets of Syria in 2011. I read from my book "Documenting Syria", published in 2019. I argue that the subversiveness of Syrian documentary cinema is directly linked to the emergence of critical exchanges between Syrian and Palestinian filmmakers who collaborated artistically and experimentally on cinema and political dialogues in Damascus (Damascus Cinema Club) and Amman (Palestinian Film Unit). This nexus continued to influence a younger generation of Syrian filmmakers throughout the first decade of the rule of Bashar al Assad of whom some became icons and martyrs of the Syrian Revolution. 

I exemplified this cinematic development with several cinematic works by Mohammed Malas, Rami al-Farrah, and Bassel al Shehadeh and the 2021 film by Abdallah al Khatib “Little Palestine, Diary of a Siege” filmed in the biggest Palestinian refugee camp – Yarmouk, in Damascus, Syria.

Keywords
Syria, Documentary, Cinema, Revolution, Radical Film, Social Movements, Palestine Film Unit, Damascus Cineclub
National Category
Studies on Film Visual Arts Media Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-57805 (URN)
Note

This seminar was an invited talk on Monday 23 January 2023, for the first session of the ERC Project DREAM - DRafting and Enacting the revolutions in the Arab Mediterranean (online) seminar series. The full programme with seminars and presenters is here: https://dream.hypotheses.org/dream-seminar-2023

Available from: 2023-01-25 Created: 2023-01-25 Last updated: 2023-01-30Bibliographically approved
Wessels, J. (2023). The webinar as a tool for diasporic political communication to counter mis/disinformation about Syria. In: Ehab Galal, Mostafa Shehata, Claus Valling Pedersen (Ed.), Middle Eastern Diasporas and Political Communication: (pp. 67-85). Routledge
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The webinar as a tool for diasporic political communication to counter mis/disinformation about Syria
2023 (English)In: Middle Eastern Diasporas and Political Communication / [ed] Ehab Galal, Mostafa Shehata, Claus Valling Pedersen, Routledge, 2023, p. 67-85Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Under the global pandemic, the webinar has become a popular tool of digital communication to reach global audiences. Aimed at shedding light on how misinformation affects diasporic political communication, this chapter investigates how Syrian pro-democracy activists and diasporic political entrepreneurs use the webinar to counter mis/disinformation and conspiracies about Syria. During the Covid-19 pandemic, alignment between conspiracy narratives on both the far right and the left became stronger, forming a so-called red-brownist alignment (Bevensee, 2020). These narratives include anti-vaccination arguments and mis/disinformation about Syria. In August 2020, a webinar series entitled Common Sense on Syria, by Just World Educational (JWE), provided a platform for communicating misinformation narratives about Syria, which Yassin al-Haj Saleh calls a ‘top-down anti-imperialist discourse’ (al-Haj Saleh, 2021). Syrian diaspora actors countered with another webinar series, The Syrian Revolution: A History from Below, to unpack the root causes and context of the Syrian revolution. Through the method of discourse analysis, with the webinar as unit of analysis, this chapter unpacks the discursive structures and narrative intentions of these two webinar series, which represent polar positions on the spectrum between conspiracy theories, mis/disinformation and fact-based opinions about Syria.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2023
Series
Routledge Studies on Middle Eastern Diasporas
National Category
Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-64305 (URN)10.4324/9781003365419-5 (DOI)2-s2.0-85169405640 (Scopus ID)9781003365419 (ISBN)9781032430294 (ISBN)
Available from: 2023-12-12 Created: 2023-12-12 Last updated: 2023-12-12Bibliographically approved
Wessels, J. (2022). A sense of presence: empathic ethnographic encounter and participatory 360-video with Syrians in Jordan.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A sense of presence: empathic ethnographic encounter and participatory 360-video with Syrians in Jordan
2022 (English)Other (Other academic) [Artistic work]
Abstract [en]

Over the past 5 years, immersive media technologies continue to provide new and challenging opportunities for participatory approaches in social sciences. In particular the use of small 360-video cameras for visual ethnographic work provides new innovative research methods for migration research and participatory action research (PAR). This paper describes and analyses the preliminary results of a 6-year research programme entitled 'Refugee Migration and Cities: Social Institutions, Political Governance and Integration in Jordan, Turkey and Sweden', led by Gothenburg University in collaboration with Malmö University, Sweden and Bogazici University in Turkey. How does immersive 360-video enhance the ability to understand the Other? This paper aims to give insight into ongoing longterm research on attitudes towards refugees of war, in which participatory 360-video is used as a methodology for ethnographic enquiry with Syrians in Sweden, Turkey and Jordan. The programme implemented a methodology based on the use of immersive 360-video technology for a visual multi-sited ethnographic study on refugee lifeworlds, encounters and conviviality, conducted in three different geographical locations with Syrian refugees. The study makes use of 360-video cameras to capture and document everyday life from the point of view of Syrian refugees in respectively Gothenburg, Sweden, Adana, Turkey and Irbid, Jordan. Providing preliminary conclusions, the author will reflect on building rapport with refugees in the field and various levels of agency and authorship of the research participants.

Keywords
VR360, Ethnography, Empathic Encounter, Participatory Approach, Visual Methods, Immersive Media
National Category
Media Studies Social Anthropology Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-56743 (URN)
Projects
Refugee Migration and Cities: Social Institutions, Political Governance and Integration in Jordan, Turkey and Sweden (SIPGI)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2018-03700_VR
Note

Presentation at Lost in the Metaverse: Virtual Reality and Research at the Beyond the hype: Virtual Reality Cinema Minifest, 13-16 December 2022. Livestream recordings here: https://mau.se/en/calendar/lost-in-the-metaverse-virtual-reality-and-research/

Available from: 2022-12-15 Created: 2022-12-15 Last updated: 2022-12-16Bibliographically approved
Wessels, J. (2022). A sense of Presence; visual ethnography using immersive 360-video with Syrian refugees. In: : . Paper presented at Migration and Super-Diversity: Theory, Method and Practice, NFP-MI Conference, 17-18 March, Centre on Global Migration, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A sense of Presence; visual ethnography using immersive 360-video with Syrian refugees
2022 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
National Category
Social Anthropology Communication Studies Media Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-56723 (URN)
Conference
Migration and Super-Diversity: Theory, Method and Practice, NFP-MI Conference, 17-18 March, Centre on Global Migration, Gothenburg, Sweden
Projects
Refugee Migration and Cities: Social Institutions, Political Governance and Integration in Jordan, Turkey and Sweden (SIPGI)
Available from: 2022-12-15 Created: 2022-12-15 Last updated: 2022-12-15Bibliographically approved
Wessels, J. (2022). A Visit to Sällbo: JPI Urban Europe Housing and Integration study visit - 8 June 2022.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Visit to Sällbo: JPI Urban Europe Housing and Integration study visit - 8 June 2022
2022 (English)Artistic output (Unrefereed)
National Category
Social Anthropology Architecture
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-56745 (URN)
Projects
The Housing-Integration-Nexus: shaping exchange and innovation for migrants’ access to housing and social inclusion - HOUSE-IN
Available from: 2022-12-15 Created: 2022-12-15 Last updated: 2022-12-16Bibliographically approved
Wessels, J. (2022). Families in Flux: a longitudinal study of life histories, communitas and dispersal based on multi-sited and digital ethnography with Syrians conducted over two decades. In: : . Paper presented at 19th Annual IMISCOE Conference, Wednesday June 29th, 2022, Oslo, Norway.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Families in Flux: a longitudinal study of life histories, communitas and dispersal based on multi-sited and digital ethnography with Syrians conducted over two decades
2022 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper traces migration histories of an extended patronymic Syrian family group and explores how these experiences over time define and structure the daily lives of Syrians and their transnational family bonds. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Syria, Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands and a unique archive of ethnographic film extending 21 years (1999-2020), The paper discusses trajectories of migration and an anthropology of events based on interviews with respondents between the ages of 17 and 48 of both genders, from three extended families from Aleppo and Raqqa province (northern Syria), with whom I have built and developed rapport since my long-term visual ethnographic fieldwork between 1999 and 2002 in their original village in northern Syria. The study demonstrates how temporality and processes of migration and displacement, transformed marriage conditions and customs between extended family members across generations and geography. This study considers how communitas is maintained and affected by the violence of war, and different trajectories of younger generations in the Netherlands and Germany and their friendships with family members of the same age and the same extended family group, still living in northern Syria. The paper analyzes how distant memories of a nostalgic place, important for a study on mobility, migration and Syrian refugees, have become a bonding force to connect the “we” from which the world is perceived, to construct the communitas.

Keywords
Syrian, Refugees, Famiuly, Mobility, Lifehistory
National Category
Social Anthropology Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-56729 (URN)
Conference
19th Annual IMISCOE Conference, Wednesday June 29th, 2022, Oslo, Norway
Available from: 2022-12-15 Created: 2022-12-15 Last updated: 2022-12-15Bibliographically approved
Wessels, J. (2022). Graffiti and Mural Arts for Visions of Sustainable Futures in Sudan. In: : . Paper presented at Storytelling and collaborative future making – symposium at Malmö University, 23-25 May, 2022..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Graffiti and Mural Arts for Visions of Sustainable Futures in Sudan
2022 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In 2019, the Sudanese people managed to bring down an authoritarian regime that ruled the country for over 3 decades. Their visions for change in Sudan can be seen and observed in the large body and collections of graffiti art and mural paintings throughout the public space in the city of Khartoum. Some of these murals give a clear image of how the revolutionaries see and envision the Sudan they want to build (‘Hanabniho’ = ‘we will build’). The term ‘Hanabniho’ derives from a poem written by Mahjoub Sharif and sung by legendary Nubian Sudanese singer Mohammed Wardi; ‘We will build Sudan, how we dreamt it every day, homeland of goodness, homeland of democracy’ It was sung during the 2019 Sudanese Revolution. The creative and imaginary capacities of Sudanese young revolutionaries to imagine Sudan’s future, are the basis for a research project that explores collaborative storytelling and future making through bringing together Sudanese graffiti artist collectives and environmental activists for future visioning exercises to imagine a sustainable future for Sudan. Since January 2020, the author has documented the Sudanese revolutionary graffiti and murals using ArcGIS story mapping in which locations of important mural are geolocated and presented interactively to document and explore important relations between places, spaces and stories. In February 2022, the author conducted ethnographic fieldwork with environmentalists and mural artists in Khartoum. In this paper, she will present preliminary results of the study and participatory future workshopping as a method that she applied during the fieldwork. The goal of the future workshop was to creatively explore how Sudanese graffiti artists and environmentalists can co-create sustainable future visions for Sudan. Both groups exchanged knowledge, discussed SDGs, sketched together and collaborated in telling their stories for earthly survival and human rights with the walls as canvas.

Keywords
Sudan, Graffiti, Sustainability
National Category
Communication Studies Human Geography Media Studies Social Anthropology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-56726 (URN)
Conference
Storytelling and collaborative future making – symposium at Malmö University, 23-25 May, 2022.
Available from: 2022-12-15 Created: 2022-12-15 Last updated: 2022-12-15Bibliographically approved
Wessels, J. (2022). Graffiti and Mural Arts for Visions of Sustainable Futures in Sudan - final report.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Graffiti and Mural Arts for Visions of Sustainable Futures in Sudan - final report
2022 (English)Report (Other academic)
Keywords
Urban Street Art, Graffiti, Visual Storytelling, Sustainability, Environmentalism, Sudan, Revolution
National Category
Visual Arts Social Anthropology Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-56739 (URN)
Available from: 2022-12-15 Created: 2022-12-15 Last updated: 2022-12-16Bibliographically approved
Wessels, J. (2022). Keynote Speech - Street Art and Graffiti in Sudan: An Overview of Revolutionary Murals from the Sudanese Revolution of 2019.. In: : . Paper presented at ART AND THE CITY: URBAN SPACE, ART & SOCIAL CHANGE, Aarhus University, 23-25 June 2022.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Keynote Speech - Street Art and Graffiti in Sudan: An Overview of Revolutionary Murals from the Sudanese Revolution of 2019.
2022 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Keywords
Graffiti, Sudan, Revolution, StreetArt, Aesthetics
National Category
Media Studies Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-56728 (URN)
Conference
ART AND THE CITY: URBAN SPACE, ART & SOCIAL CHANGE, Aarhus University, 23-25 June 2022
Note

This was a Keynote speech at the conference "ART AND THE CITY:URBAN SPACE, ART & SOCIAL CHANGE" at AARHUS UNIVERSITY, 23-25 June 2022, School of Communication and Culture, Denmark

Available from: 2022-12-15 Created: 2022-12-15 Last updated: 2022-12-15Bibliographically approved
Wessels, J. (2022). Killing the dispensables: massacres perpetrated in the villages of Eastern Aleppo Province in 2013. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 49(3), 463-485
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Killing the dispensables: massacres perpetrated in the villages of Eastern Aleppo Province in 2013
2022 (English)In: British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, ISSN 1353-0194, E-ISSN 1469-3542, Vol. 49, no 3, p. 463-485Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In 2013, Aleppo province was engulfed in violence. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and affiliated Shi'a militias executed a campaign of massacres in the rural areas located on the eastern fringes of the province. The violence caused an exodus from this region, eventually dissipating local rural communities entirely. What can explain such extreme and brutal political violence perpetrated at a local level in the east Aleppo countryside throughout 2013? To find an answer, I analyse the personal accounts of those who witnessed the violence and YouTube videos. Taken together, these sources provide a visceral description of the massacres-in particular the summary executions in the village of Rasm al-Nafl, as a case study of extreme violence in one of the poorest rural areas of Syria. Problematizing mono-causal sectarian explanations, I argue that a deeper non-sectarian complex of rurality and a process of subaltern othering in combination with opportunism, governmental retribution, and strategic military concern for territorial control in order to secure alternative supply routes to Aleppo, ultimately led to the eradication of life and cultural genocide in these rural areas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2022
Keywords
Syria, political violence, rurality, subalternity, cultural genocide, massacre
National Category
Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-43991 (URN)10.1080/13530194.2021.1920267 (DOI)000648130500001 ()2-s2.0-85105239122 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-06-23 Created: 2021-06-23 Last updated: 2024-02-05Bibliographically approved
Projects
Sustainable Sudan; documenting the past and visioning the future through graffiti and environmentalism; Malmö University; Publications
Wessels, J. (2022). Graffiti and Mural Arts for Visions of Sustainable Futures in Sudan. In: : . Paper presented at Storytelling and collaborative future making – symposium at Malmö University, 23-25 May, 2022.. Wessels, J. (2022). Graffiti and Mural Arts for Visions of Sustainable Futures in Sudan - final report. Wessels, J. (2022). Keynote Speech - Street Art and Graffiti in Sudan: An Overview of Revolutionary Murals from the Sudanese Revolution of 2019.. In: : . Paper presented at ART AND THE CITY: URBAN SPACE, ART & SOCIAL CHANGE, Aarhus University, 23-25 June 2022. Wessels, J. (2022). Multimodal data collection to document graffiti of the 2019 Sudanese Revolution. In: : . Paper presented at ECREA pre-conference workshop on “Visual Politics & Protest – Current Methodological Challenges” Online, 6-7 October 2022. Wessels, J. (2022). Sustainable Sudan: documenting the past and visioning the future through graffiti and environmentalism. In: : . Paper presented at CEDEJ Sudan in Revolution - Final Workshop, 5 October 2022, Khartoum, Sudan.
The Housing-Integration-Nexus: shaping exchange and innovation for migrants’ access to housing and social inclusion - HOUSE-IN
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0003-2682-035X

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