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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: July 2020

2 - The Hot Third World in the Cultural Cold War

Summary

Chapter 2 examines Arabic literary journals published in 1960s Beirut and focuses on the controversy surrounding Hiwar (Dialogue 1962–67), which was connected to a global network of similar journals, intellectually and financially administered by the Congress of Cultural Freedom (CCF), in a covert CIA operation. In focusing on this short-lived Arabic periodical, the study is concerned with three interrelated issues that are important for our historical understanding of Beirut’s cultural production in the long 1960s and its location on the global map of that era. First, it attends to the journal itself, the modernist discourse it foregrounded and the important place accorded to the modern visual arts on its pages, shedding light on the role of its graphic designer, Waddah Faris (b. 1940). Second, using the example of Hiwar, this chapter argues that US cultural campaigns were part and parcel of a Cold War counterinsurgency apparatus in the Third World. Third, it suggests that our entry to reading Hiwar should not be the outlook of the CIA, but the aesthetic discourses and political debates of Arab intellectuals and artists at this historical conjuncture.

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