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Baathist 'Culture Shock': Pre-2011 Syrian Regime Policy in Culture and the Arts

While political, social, and economic influences on national, ethnic, and religious groups generally dominate the focus in researchers’ studies of revolution or war, the sway of the arts remains largely overlooked. According to Salam Kawakibi in his “Baathist ‘Culture Shock’: Pre-2011 Syrian Regime Policy in Culture and the Arts,” (scheduled to appear in the forthcoming issue of Al Jadid magazine, Vol. 21, No. 72, 2017), this oversight continues to occur despite the importance of the arts in creating a “collective identity and harmony.” Kawakibi’s essay, which offers an in-depth introduction to Ettijahat’s recently published “Cultural Activities in Syria During the Dark Assadist Years,” states that the arts not only play significant roles in the settlement of civil disputes, effectively “renew [ing]…the social fabric of war-torn countries,” but also build a favorable climate for creativity and expression, a task the state often fails to promote.

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