The University of Iowa

The ‘Facebook’ Revolution in North Africa is Baraza topic April 18

April 5th, 2011

What: The University of Iowa African Studies Program’s spring Baraza lecture series
When: Monday, April 18, at noon
Where: 1117 UCC
Topic: “The Networking Barbarians…eh…Berbers at the Internet Gateways: The “Facebook” Revolution of 2011 in North Africa, Power Relations, and the Gateway Model of Internet Regulation”
Presented by: Lyombe Eko

All Baraza lectures are free and open to the public.

The so-called “Jasmine Revolution,” the fierce sandstorms of mass protests that started in Tunisia in 2010 and are currently sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East–leaving in their wake fleeing dictators, cowed autocrats, and countries in war and turmoil–were whipped up on social media sites in cyberspace before they took human form in real space. The revolt of the proverbial “Arab street” was incubated in the online social media.

In this presentation, Eko uses the Internet regulatory typology (Eko, 2001) and Foucault’s perspective on “relations of power” (1994) to argue that the media in general, and online social media–Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and others–in particular, are weapons instrumentalized by the protagonists in the life and death power struggles between autocratic governments and disenfranchised, media-savvy youth yearning for change.

Eko is an associate professor in the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The Swahili word “baraza” roughly translates to “meeting” or “forum” in English. The series brings a combination of UI and external scholars, graduate students, faculty and practitioners in various fields to the university for lectures on interdisciplinary research in African studies.

International Programs and the African Studies Program are sponsoring the series.

To view the entire series schedule, visit For more information, contact Leo Eko at or 319-353-1926.