"Self, Skin, & Space: Changing Embodiment through Smartphones in Egypt & Lebanon." Conference: “Corporeality in Arab Public Culture: The State of the Field.” Co-sponsored by the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences and Humanities (NIAS) & the Project for Advanced Research in Global Communication, Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Wassenaar, Netherlands. October 2015.
This paper was an attempt to produce an update to a previous thought-piece (The Whispers of WhatsApp: Beyond Facebook and Twitter in the Middle East (Jadaliyya 2013)). Through ethnographic examples in Egypt and Lebanon it explored the role of the smartphone to the body – and the body in space. I was thinking through the manner in which smartphones function like a "skin" that mediates and tempers experiences. Namely, how various accounts of sensations become interpreted through the perceptions on/via/through the cellphone, both virtually and in the physcial world. In the context of Lebanon and Egypt how are smartphones, through various apps, producing various kinds of visible, interactable, recordable, and complicit bodies? As well as sets of bodily practices in relationship to movement, occupying, and understanding spaces of citizenship unique to these locations?
Online published version in summer 2017.