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In this workshop, participants will hear a range of perspectives that contextualize contemporary Iranian history and culture within a framework of regional and global dynamics. Expert speakers will discuss topics including the role of the Islamic Revolution in shaping contemporary politics and culture; Iran’s relationship with neighbors in the Middle East and Central Asia; and U.S. foreign policy on Iran. We will hear from educators who are creating curricular resources that highlight diverse Iranian responses to contemporary politics.

This workshop is a collaboration between GW's Institute for Middle East Studies, Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, and the Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative at George Mason University.

A light breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Thursday, October 24, 2019
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Carver Educational Services Center Auditorium
850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville, Maryland 20850

What are the experiences of local Muslim youth during an era characterized by both hijabi fashion models and enduring post-9/11 stereotypes? In this workshop, we will hear from the authors of this newly-released title from DC-based Shout Mouse Press, I Am the Night Sky & Other Reflections of Muslims American Youth. Through poems, essays, artwork, and stories, these young people aim to show their true selves, to build connection, and to create more inclusive and welcoming communities for all.

After hearing from the authors, educators will explore lesson plans and curricular resources to use the book in their classrooms. A complimentary copy of the book will be provided along with light refreshments.

This workshop is co-sponsored by the Institute for Middle East Studies at the George Washington University, Shout Mouse Press, and Montgomery County Public Schools.

October 4, 2019

12:30pm

1957 E St NW Room 505

Washington, DC 20052

The book will be available for purchase and a light lunch will be provided.

This event is co-sponsored with the Elliott School of International Affairs.

The end of World War II heralded a new global order. Decolonization swept the world and the United Nations, founded in 1945, came to embody the hopes of the world's colonized people as an instrument of freedom. North Africa became a particularly contested region and events there reverberated around the world. In Morocco, the emerging nationalist movement developed social networks that spanned three continents and engaged supporters from CIA agents, British journalists, and Asian diplomats to a Coca-Cola manager and a former First Lady. Globalizing Morocco traces how these networks helped the nationalists achieve independence—and then enabled the establishment of an authoritarian monarchy that persists today.

David Stenner tells the story of the Moroccan activists who managed to sway world opinion against the French and Spanish colonial authorities to gain independence, and in so doing illustrates how they contributed to the formation of international relations during the early Cold War. Looking at post-1945 world politics from the Moroccan vantage point, we can see fissures in the global order that allowed the peoples of Africa and Asia to influence a hierarchical system whose main purpose had been to keep them at the bottom. In the process, these anticolonial networks created an influential new model for transnational activism that remains relevant still to contemporary struggles.

 

About the Author

David Stenner is Assistant Professor of History at Christopher Newport University. He is a historian of the modern Arab world specializing in decolonization. 

December 5, 2019

5:30pm

1957 E St NW Room 505

Washington, DC

How do people live in unlivable places? What do the materialities of unlivability have to do with sovereignty, and with how people experience politics and ethics? Based on her forthcoming book, Waste Siege: The Life of Infrastructure in Palestine, Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins will offer an analysis unusual in the study of Palestine: it begins with the environmental, infrastructural, and aesthetic context in which Palestinians forge their lives, naming that context a “waste siege.” She argues that to speak of waste siege is to describe a series of conditions, from smelling wastes to negotiating military infrastructures, from biopolitical forms of colonial rule to experiences of governmental abandonment, from obvious targets of resistance to confusion over responsibility for the burdensome objects of daily life. The talk focuses on waste as an experience of everyday life that is continuous with, but not a result only of, occupation. Tracing Palestinians' experiences of wastes over the past decade, and their improvisations for mitigating the effects of this siege, it will consider how multiple authorities governing the West Bank—including municipalities, the Palestinian Authority, international aid organizations, and Israel—rule by waste siege, whether intentionally or not. The talk depicts waste's constant returns. It thus challenges both common formulations of waste as "matter out of place" and as the ontological opposite of the environment, by suggesting instead that waste siege be understood as an ecology of "matter with no place to go." Waste siege thus not only describes a stateless Palestine, but also becomes a metaphor for our besieged planet.

About the Author

Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Bard College. Her first book, Waste Siege: The Life of Infrastructure in Palestine, was published in 2019 and explores what happens when waste is transformed from matter out of place into matter with no place to go.

October 24, 2019

5:30pm

1957 E St NW Room 505

Washington, DC

Asma Sayeed will explore the history of women as religious scholars from the first decades of Islam through the early Ottoman period. Focusing on women’s engagement with hadīth, she analyzes dramatic chronological patterns in women’s hadīth participation in terms of developments in Muslim social, intellectual and legal history, challenging two opposing views: that Muslim women have been historically marginalized in religious education, and alternately that they have been consistently empowered thanks to early role models such as ‘Ā’isha bint Abī Bakr, the wife of the Prophet Muhammad.

 

Asma Sayeed received her PhD from the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. She was previously Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Lafayette College, where she taught courses in Islam and World Religions. She has published on topics related to Muslim women and their religious participation in journals such as Studia Islamica and Islamic Law and Society and has contributed a number of encyclopedia articles on women’s history in early and classical Islam. In 2010, she undertook archival research in Syria on Muslim women’s education in the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods under the auspices of a Fulbright fellowship. Her current project relates to Muslim education and in particular to an examination of texts and textual practices in diverse regional and historical contexts.

October 3, 2019

5:30pm

1957 E St NW Room 505

Washington, DC

Since the late nineteenth century the Persian Gulf has been transformed from a social world facilitating movement and interdependence to a fault-line needing to be secured.  To examine this geographical shift, I consider how this region developed in relation to and in tandem with other scales and space – the imperial, the national, the international, and the urban.  Specifically, in this paper I examine how sovereignty accrued and was partitioned in multiple ways between myriad actors.  Empires, firms, rulers, social classes, and others seeking to accrue capital and power used territoriality to achieve their objectives.  Regionalism in the Persian Gulf is an expression of these concrete, yet often contradictory, processes, which have left their imprint in how regional politics materialize today.

Arang Keshavarzian is Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University.  His is the author of Bazaar and State in Iran: the Politics of the Tehran Marketplace as well as essays on various topics related to Iran, the Persian Gulf, and the Middle East in such journals as Politics and SocietyInternational Journal of Middle East StudiesGeopoliticsEconomy and Society, and International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.  His current research explores the regionalization of the Persian Gulf across geographic scales and the long twentieth century. He is a member of the editorial committee for Middle East Report (www.merip.org).

September 12, 2019

5:30pm

1957 E St NW Room 505

Washington, DC

Since 2011 over 5.6 million Syrians have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and beyond, and another 6.6 million are internally displaced. The contemporary flight of Syrian refugees comes one century after the region's formative experience with massive upheaval, displacement, and geopolitical intervention: the First World War.

In this talk, Stacy Fahrenthold examines the politics of Syrian and Lebanese migration around the period of the First World War. Some half million Arab migrants, nearly all still subjects of the Ottoman Empire, lived in a diaspora concentrated in Brazil, Argentina, and the United States. They faced new demands for their political loyalty from Istanbul, which commanded them to resist European colonialism. From the Western hemisphere, Syrian migrants grappled with political suspicion, travel restriction, and outward displays of support for the war against the Ottomans. From these diasporic communities, Syrians used their ethnic associations, commercial networks, and global press to oppose Ottoman rule, collaborating with the Entente powers because they believed this war work would bolster the cause of Syria's liberation. Between the Ottomans and the Entente shows how these communities in North and South America became a geopolitical frontier between the Young Turk Revolution and the early French Mandate. It examines how empires at war-from the Ottomans to the French-embraced and claimed Syrian migrants as part of the state-building process in the Middle East. In doing so, they transformed this diaspora into an epicenter for Arab nationalist politics.

About the Author

Stacy Fahrenthold is an Assistant Professor of Migration History at the University of California, Davis. Her research has specialized in global migration, forced displacement, and modern Syria and Lebanon. Her first Book, Between the Ottomans and the Entente: The First World War in the Syrian and Lebanese Diaspora, 1908-1925, was published in 2019.

April 24, 2019
12:00pm - 1:30pm

Elliott School of International Affairs, Room 505

Matt Buehler will discuss his new book Why Alliances Fail: Islamist and Leftist Coalitions in North Africa, with POMEPS on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at the Elliot School of International Affairs, Room 505.

Since 2011, the Arab world has seen a number of autocrats, including leaders from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, fall from power. Yet, in the wake of these political upheavals, only one state, Tunisia, transitioned successfully from authoritarianism to democracy. Opposition parties forged a durable and long-term alliance there, which supported democratization. Similar pacts failed in Morocco and Mauritania, however. In Why Alliances Fail, Buehler explores the circumstances under which stable, enduring alliances are built to contest authoritarian regimes, marshaling evidence from coalitions between North Africa’s Islamists and leftists. Buehler draws on nearly two years of Arabic fieldwork interviews, original statistics, and archival research, including interviews with the first Islamist prime minister in Moroccan history, Abdelilah Benkirane. Introducing a theory of alliance durability, Buehler explains how the nature of an opposition party’s social base shapes the robustness of alliances it builds with other parties. He also examines the social origins of authoritarian regimes, concluding that those regimes that successfully harnessed the social forces of rural isolation and clientelism were most effective at resisting the pressure for democracy that opposition parties exerted. With fresh insight and compelling arguments, Why Alliances Fail carries vital implications for understanding the mechanisms driving authoritarian persistence in the Arab world and beyond.

Matt Buehler is a Global Security Fellow at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and an assistant professor of political science at the University of Tennessee.

Free copies of the book will be available for students

A light lunch will be provided

April 11, 2019
12:00pm - 1:30pm

Elliott School of International Affairs, Room 505

POMEPS is pleased to announce the Washington, D.C., book launch of Winning Hearts and Votes: Social Services and the Islamist Political Advantage by Steven T. Brooke. In Winning Hearts and Votes, Steven Brooke argues that authoritarians often seek to manage moments of economic crisis by offloading social welfare responsibilities to non-state providers. But providers who serve poorer citizens, motivated by either charity of clientelism, will be constrained in their ability to mobilize voters because the poor depend on the state for many different goods. Organizations that serve paying customers, in contrast, may produce high quality, consistent, and effective services. This type of provision generates powerful, reputation-based linkages with a middle-class constituency more likely to support the provider on election day.

Steven Brooke is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Louisville and Associate Fellow (Non-Resident) at the Middle East Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School.

Free copies of the book will be available for students

A light lunch will be provided

April 9, 2019
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Elliott School of International Affairs, Room 505

Jillian Schwedler will discuss the latest issue of the Middle East Report: The Fight for Yemen along with Kate Kizerand Waleed Alhariri with POMEPS on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 4PM at the Elliot School of International Affairs, Room 505.

The ongoing war in Yemen that began in 2015 has created one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. The scope of destruction and human suffering is catastrophic: hundreds of thousands are dead from bombing, war-related disease and malnutrition and millions remain on the brink of famine without access to drinking water or medicine. While critical awareness of the magnitude of the crisis is growing, the political and economic roots of the crisis and the complex realities of Yemeni political life are often obscured by misunderstandings.  Contributors to The Fight for Yemen disentangle the social, political and economic factors that are behind the war, the cataclysmic impact of the war on Yemeni society, particularly its women, and introduce readers to the complex realities within Yemen in order to create a just peace.

Jillian Schwedler is a professor of political science at Hunter College of The City University of New York. She is author of Faith in Moderation: Islamist Parties in Jordan and Yemen (2006), editor of Understanding the Contemporary Middle East (2013), and co-editor of Policing and Prisons in the Middle East: Formations of Coercion (2010). She is a member of the Middle East Research and Information Project’s Board of Directors and a Special Editor of the current issue.

Kate Kizer is the policy director at Win Without War, which seeks to establish a more progressive U.S. foreign policy and national security strategy. Previously she was the director of policy and advocacy at the Yemen Peace Project, a non-profit that advocates for the rights and interests of Yemeni Americans and for constructive U.S. policies toward Yemen.

Waleed Alhariri, Fellow-in-Residence at Columbia Law School, heads the New York office of the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies (SCSS) and the center’s US-based operations generally. His work includes advising the international diplomatic community, UN agencies and INGOs on key Yemen-related policy issues. Alhariri leads the center’s US-based research and project development, and authors the monthly report “Yemen at the UN”, which assesses the efforts of the UN Security Council and the international community in relation to the Yemen crisis. Alhariri is also a Carnegie New Leader at Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.

Free copies of the issue will be available.

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