Middle East Studies

Peter Green Lecture: “Popular Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East”

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

12:00pm – 2:00pm

Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute, 111 Thayer St. Providence, RI 02906

Between people power uprisings and armed jihadism, how can we best understand transgressive mobilization in the Middle East and North Africa? Scholarship on protest has traditionally been based either on Orientalism, or on theories of capitalism, modernization or globalization. Drawing on his new history of protest in the MENA, and engaging critically with social movement studies, John Chalcraft offers a glimpse in this lecture of an alternative view rooted in the dynamics of hegemonic contestation. This view stresses both hegemonic disarticulation on the one hand, and the contingent construction of mobilizing projects on the other. It points to the importance in the contemporary period of the crisis of the post-colonial state, and the roles of both intellectual labour and mass mobilization.

JOHN CHALCRAFT is an associate professor in the history and politics of Empire/ Imperialism at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Previous posts include a Lectureship at the University of Edinburgh and a Research Fellowship at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. His research focuses on labour, migration and contentious mobilisation in the Middle East. He is the author of The Striking Cabbies of Cairo and Other Stories: crafts and guilds in Egypt, 1863-1914 (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2004) and The Invisible Cage: Syrian migrant workers in Lebanon (Stanford University Press, 2009). His new book Popular Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2016.