Shame is ever-present. It is an emotional state that overcomes us in the most intimate moments, but it is also a concept we return to at major historical junctures. In English, it is present in expressions that relate to a heavy weight, to the chest, to a stifling of air. In Arabic, the expressions derive from shyness and modesty, which deal with the eye and the face as sites of individual and collective shame.
This special issue on “Shame” raises questions about how we receive the disapproving gaze of the other. How does our internalization of shame change our self-perception? How do we live shame individually and collectively in the most intimate and historical moments? In what ways do we flaunt the source of our shame in order to confront it? How do we wield shame as a tool for disciplining the self and others? Ahmed Naji, Zeina G. Halabi, Angela Brussel, Omar Mismar, Rima Rantisi, and the Editorial Team at Megaphone, interpret shame in various prose and multimedia approaches. This issue also features unpublished images from Myriam Boulos’s “Sexual Fantasies” project as well as the first Arabic translation of Silvan Tomkins’ seminal text, in which he describes shame as “the sickness of the soul.”
This special issue was edited by Zeina G. Halabi for Megaphone News and Rusted Radishes: Beirut Literary and Art Journal, with the support of the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC).