• What kind of advancements have we seen in artificial intelligence in the Middle East and North Africa in the contemporary period, how has this technology been used for good and where has it maintained structures of inequality?

    In this talk by Nagla Rizk, Professor of Economics at the American University in Cairo, the potential opportunities and challenges of artificial intelligence were explored, with an emphasis on the future of work and questions of knowledge production in relation to development.

    This webinar was also the launch of the latest season of the LSE Middle East Centre's podcast series 'Instant Coffee'. This latest season will explore technology and its developments in the region, with the first episode being released on Tuesday 30 January.

    For further details about this event:

  • Smartphones, food-only debit cards, biometric data checks at border crossings, these are some of the ways refugees and migrants interact with technology in their daily lives both in the region and the diaspora.

    This episode unpacks the benefits, ambivalences and concerns surrounding these technologies. Our guests, Dr Reem Talhouk and Dr Yener Bayramoğlu discuss refugee-centered design technologies for humanitarian aid as well as smartphone usage amongst refugees and migrants and how it has given them control over their own lives and narratives as they cross borders.

    Reem Talhouk is an Assistant Professor in Design and Global Develpment at Northumbria University where she co-leads the Design Feminisms Research Group. Reem also leads the Global Development Futures Hub. Her work sits within design, and human and computer interaction. Reem works with communities considered to be ‘on the margins’ to design technologies and counter-narratives with a focus on humanitarianism, activism and social movements.

    Yener Bayramoglu is Assistant Professor in Digital Media at York University. His current research explores the role of digital media in everyday practices of belonging. Yener is particularly interested in the ambivalent meaning and function of digital media for social groups whose lives are marginalised and shaped by intersectional inequalities. Yener has previously explored how digital media technologies turn into self-empowering tools for migrants, refugees and LGBTIQ+ people.

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  • The Abbasid and British Empires are the nexus through which our two guests, Dr Ahmed Ragab and Dr Katayoun Shafiee explore technology, knowledge production and power. This episode charts medieval paper production and Abbasid-era hospitals to the "discovery" of oil by foreign entrepreneurs in southern Iran, exploring the different ways technological knowledge production developed across empire.

    Ahmed Ragab is Associate Professor of the History of Medicine and the Chair of the Medicine, Science and Humanities Programme at Johns Hopkins University. Ahmed works primarily on the history of medieval and early modern medicine in the islamic world and questions of medicine in colonial and post colonial contexts.

    Katayoun Shafiee is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Warwick. Katayoun focuses on modern Middle Eastern history and politics, and she teaches on empire and energy.

  • What kinds of obstacles are people in MENA facing with regards to access to technological opportunity and concerns around digital rights abuses? How are they tied to global challenges? Dr Nakeema Stefflbauer, tech executive, investor and digital rights advocate shares her thinking.

    This episode also features comment from Kassem Mnejja and Marwa Fatafta of Access Now, a digital rights advocacy group. They discuss these issues in relation to Tunisia, Sudan and Palestine.

    Find out more about Nakeema here:
    Find out more about Access Now here:

  • This event, as part of the LSE Middle East Centre's Kurdish Studies Series, was the launch of 'Voices That Matter: Kurdish Women at the Limits of Representation in Contemporary Turkey' by Marlene Schäfers, published by the University of Chicago Press.

    In Turkey, recent decades have seen Kurdish voices gain increasing moral and political value as metaphors of representation and resistance. Women’s voices, in particular, are understood as a means to withstand patriarchal restrictions and political oppression. By tracing the transformations in how Kurdish women relate to and employ their voices as a result of these shifts, Schäfers illustrates how contemporary politics foster not only new hopes and desires but also create novel vulnerabilities as they valorize, elicit, and discipline voice in the name of empowerment and liberation.

    Marlene Schäfers is Assistant Professor in Cultural Anthropology at Utrecht University. Schäfers' research focuses on the impact of state violence on intimate and gendered lives, the politics of death and the afterlife, and the intersections of affect and politics. She specializes in the anthropology of the Kurdish regions and modern Turkey.

    Robert Lowe is Deputy Director of the LSE Middle East Centre. He is Co-Convenor of the Centre's Kurdish Studies Series, as well as Co-Editor of the Kurdish Studies Series, published by I.B. Tauris. His main research interest is Kurdish politics, with particular focus on the Kurdish movements in Syria.

  • This event launched 'Dismantling Green Colonialism: Energy and Climate Justice in the Arab Region' edited by Hamza Hamouchene and Katie Sandwell, published by Pluto Press.

    The Arab region is a focus of world politics, with authoritarian regimes, significant fossil fuel reserves and histories of colonialism and imperialism. It is also the site of potentially immense green energy resources.

    The writers in this collection explore a region ripe for energy transition, but held back by resource-grabbing and (neo)colonial agendas. They show the importance of fighting for a just energy transition and climate justice - exposing policies and practices that protect global and local political elites, multinational corporations and military regimes.

    Covering a wide range of countries from Morocco, Western Sahara, Algeria and Tunisia to Egypt, Sudan, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Palestine, this book challenges Eurocentrism and highlights instead a class-conscious approach to climate justice that is necessary for our survival.

    Meet the speakers

    Hamza Hamouchene is Programme Coordinator for North Africa at the Transnational Institute (TNI). He is a London-based Algerian researcher-activist, commentator and a founding member of Algeria Solidarity Campaign (ASC), and Environmental Justice North Africa (EJNA). He is the author/editor of two books: 'The Struggle for Energy Democracy in the Maghreb' (2017) and 'The Coming Revolution to North Africa: The Struggle for Climate Justice' (2015).

    Katie Sandwell is Programme Coordinator at the Transnational Institute (TNI). She coordinates and supports work at TNI on a range of issues related to climate, environmental and agrarian justice; public alternatives; energy democracy; land and territories; fair trade medicinal plants; agroecology and food sovereignty.

    Michael Mason is Director of the Middle East Centre. At LSE, he is also Professor of Environmental Geography in the Department of Geography and Environment and an Associate of the Grantham Research Institute for Climate Change and the Environment. He is interested in ecological politics and governance as applied to questions of accountability, security and sovereignty. This research addresses both global environmental politics and regional environmental change in Western Asia/the Middle East.

  • This event was the launch of 'Broken Bonds: The Existential Crisis of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, 2013–22' by Abdelrahman Ayyash, Amr ElAfifi, and Noha Ezzat published by Century International.

    In this original Century International book, the authors argue that the Brotherhood is experiencing multiple crises—of identity, legitimacy, and membership—which accelerated after Egypt’s military coup in July 2013. Through myriad stories and voices from within a fragmenting movement, the authors present a nuanced portrait of a once-formidable grassroots organization.

    Abdelrahman Ayyash is a fellow at Century International and director of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood working group. He holds an MA in global affairs from Bahcesehir University in Istanbul, Turkey. He translated three books on civil-military relations and the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Amr ElAfifi is the Research Manager at the Freedom Initiative, a DC-based NGO focused on human rights in the Middle East. His current dissertation research at Syracuse University explores the political psychology of trauma amongst political prisoners.

    Jeroen Gunning is Visiting Professor at the LSE Middle East Centre and Professor of Middle Eastern Politics and Conflict Studies at King's College London. His research focuses on political contestation in the Middle East, with a specific focus on the interplay between social movements, religion, electoral politics, repression, violence and structural change.

  • This panel was an opportunity for students to hear about different pathways into Middle East related fields.

    Meet the speakers:

    Marwa Baabbad is Director of the Yemen Policy Centre. She is a researcher and development consultant with over ten years of experience working in the fields of community engagement, gender, peace and security, and youth political inclusion. Marwa was Director of the Oxford Research Group (ORG) Strategic Peacebuilding Programme between 2018-2020. There, she led the delivery of a Track-II project that fed into the United Nations-led Yemen peace process.

    Arda Bilgen is a Research Officer at the LSE Middle East Centre. His work mainly focuses on water politics, transboundary water resources management, and hydraulic infrastructure development. Arda holds a PhD in Development Studies from the University of Bonn, an MA in International Affairs/International Security Studies from the George Washington University, and a BA in International Relations from Bilkent University. Before joining LSE, he worked as a Teaching Fellow at the University of Warwick, an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Sussex, and as a Lecturer at Clark University.

    Jack Sproson is a Member of Guernica 37 Chambers. He specialises in Public/Private International Law, International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law, and International Criminal Law. Jack has extensive expertise in humanitarian and legal issues pertaining to conflict- and climate-related insecurity and displacement in Africa and the Middle East, most recently as lead counsel for a major project advocating for the continuation of UN cross-border humanitarian access in Syria.

    Michael Mason is Director of the Middle East Centre. At LSE, he is also Professor of Environmental Geography in the Department of Geography and Environment and an Associate of the Grantham Research Institute for Climate Change and the Environment. He is interested in ecological politics and governance as applied to questions of accountability, security and sovereignty. This research addresses both global environmental politics and regional environmental change in Western Asia/the Middle East.

  • This event was the launch of the paper 'A New Diaspora of Saudi Exiles: Challenging Repression from Abroad' by Professor Madawi Al-Rasheed published under the LSE Middle East Centre Paper Series.

    Since the rise of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman in 2017, a new wave of exodus began, that has pushed feminists, young students, secularists, Islamists and others to flee the country in search of safe havens in the US, Europe, Canada and Australia.

    Based on ethnographic research, this paper traces the diversity of the young cohort of exiles who are currently seeking to counter domestic repression from abroad. Although Saudi Arabia has generated waves of exiles throughout its modern history, Al-Rasheed argues this recent diaspora is different in its diversity, demographic profile and aspirations.

    Madawi Al-Rasheed is Visiting Professor at the LSE Middle East Centre and a Fellow of the British Academy. Since joining the Centre, she has been conducting research on mutations among Saudi Islamists after the 2011 Arab uprisings. This research focuses on the new reinterpretations of Islamic texts prevalent among a small minority of Saudi reformers and the activism in the pursuit of democratic governance and civil society. Her latest books are 'Salman’s Legacy: The Dilemmas of a New Era' (London: Hurst/OUP, 2018) and 'The Son King: Reform and Repression in Saudi Arabia' (London: Hurst/OUP, 2020).

    Armine Ishkanian is Professor of Social Policy and the Executive Director of the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity programme at the International Inequalities Institute, LSE. Armine’s research examines the relationship between civil society, democracy, development, and social transformation. She has examined how civil society organisations and social movements engage in policy processes and transformative politics in a number of countries including Armenia, Egypt, Greece, Russia, Turkey, and the UK.

  • This event was the launch of the paper 'Art and Activism in Iraqi Kurdistan: Feminist Fault Lines, Body Politics and the Struggle for Space' by Dr Isabel Käser and Houzan Mahmoud. This paper is the outcome of a project run under the LSE Middle East Centre's Academic Collaboration with Arab Universities Programme.

    Meet the speakers:

    Isabel Käser is a Visiting Fellow at the LSE Middle East Centre and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Social Anthropology at the University of Bern. She gained her PhD at SOAS, University of London, and is the author of 'The Kurdish Women’s Freedom Movement: Gender, Body Politics and Militant Femininities' (Cambridge University Press, 2021).

    Houzan Mahmoud is a Kurdish feminist writer, public lecturer, activist and the editor of 'Kurdish Women’s Stories' (Pluto Press, 2021). For over 25 years, she has been an advocate for women’s rights in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. She holds an MA in Gender Studies from SOAS, and is the co-founder of the Culture Project, a platform dedicated to raising awareness about feminism, art and gender in both Kurdistan and the diaspora.

    Müjge Küçükkeleş is a teaching fellow at SOAS and a research associate at Global Partners Governance (GPG). She is currently working on her book manuscript entitled 'Governing Iraqi Kurdistan: Self-rule, Political Order and the International'. Her research interests include humanitarianism, development, neoliberalism, sovereignty and political imaginaries beyond the state.

    Polly Withers is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the LSE Middle East Centre, where she leads the project “Neoliberal Visions: Gendering Consumer Culture and its Resistances in the Levant”. Polly’s interdisciplinary work questions and explores how gender, sexuality, race, and class intersect in popular culture and commercial media in the global south.

  • This event was a discussion around Dr Nora Derbal's latest book 'Charity in Saudi Arabia: Civil Society under Authoritarianism' published by Cambridge University Press.

    In this study of everyday charity practices in Jeddah, Nora Derbal employs a 'bottom-up' approach to challenge dominant narratives about state-society relations in Saudi Arabia. Exploring charity organizations in Jeddah, this book both offers an ethnography of associational life and counters Riyadh-centric studies which focus on oil, the royal family, and the religious establishment.

    It closely follows those who work on the ground to provide charity to the local poor and needy, documenting their achievements, struggles and daily negotiations. The lens of charity offers rare insights into the religiosity of ordinary Saudis, showing that Islam offers Saudi activists a language, a moral frame, and a worldly guide to confronting inequality. With a view to the many forms of local community activism in Saudi Arabia, this book examines perspectives that are too often ignored or neglected, opening new theoretical debates about civil society and civic activism in the Gulf.

    Nora Derbal is a postdoc at the Martin Buber Society of Fellows at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research interests center on Islamic charity and civil society, knowledge production and Islam, and Gulf-Palestine relations.

    Hanaa Almoaibed is a Visiting Fellow at the LSE Middle East Centre and a Research Fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies. Her research explores the influence of social dynamics on attitudes toward work, education and career choices and youth transitions in the GCC, with a particular emphasis on vocational education in Saudi Arabia.

    Steffen Hertog is Associate Professor in Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics. Steffen’s main interest lies in Gulf and Middle East political economy, with a specific focus on the political economy of public sectors, state-business relations and labour markets.

  • This event was the launch of Jamie Allinson's latest book The Age of Counter-Revolution: States and Revolutions in the Middle East published by Cambridge University Press.

    The 'Arab Spring' has come to symbolise defeated hopes for democracy and social justice in the Middle East. In this book, Allinson demonstrates how these defeats were far from inevitable. Rather than conceptualising the 'Arab Spring' as a series of failed revolutions, Allinson argues it is better understood as a series of successful counter-revolutions.

    Placing the fate of the Arab uprisings in a global context, Allinson reveals how counter-revolutions rely on popular support and cross borders to forge international alliances. By connecting the Arab uprisings to the decade of global protest that followed them, Allinson's work demonstrates how new forms of counter-revolution have rendered it near impossible to implement political change without first enacting fundamental social transformation.

    Jamie Allinson is senior lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Edinburgh. Jamie's research concerns social theory and the critique of political economy.

    Ala'a Shehabi is a lecturer in Middle East Politics at the Department of European and International Social and Political Studies at UCL. Shehabi is also a senior research fellow at The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment.

    Charles Tripp has been Professor of Politics with reference to the Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London since 2007.

    Toby Dodge is a Professor in the Department of International Relations at LSE where he is Deputy Head of the Department (PhD and Research). He is also Kuwait Professor and Director of the Kuwait Programme at the LSE Middle East Centre.

  • In order to survive in a hostile environment in the Middle East, Israeli decision makers developed a regional foreign policy designed to find ways to approach states, leaders and minorities willing to cooperate with it against mutual regional challenges. Examples include the Periphery Alliance with Iran and Turkey until 1979, cooperation with the Kurds, the Maronites in Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, South Sudan and more. Contacts with these potential partners were mostly covert.

    The aim of this lecture, which is part of a Podeh's new comprehensive book on Israel’s secret relations with its neighbours during the years 1948-2022 is two-fold: first, to offer a theoretical framework explaining the way Israel conducted its covert diplomacy; and second, to focus on several less-known episodes of such clandestine activity, such as Israel’s ties with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf more broadly.

    Elie Podeh is the Bamberger and Fuld Professor in the History of the Muslim Peoples in the Department of Islamic and Middle East Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He serves as the President of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Association of Israel (MEISAI) and is a board member of Mitvim – The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies. His areas of study include Egypt, inter-Arab relations, the Arab-Israeli conflict, education and culture in the Middle East, and Israeli foreign policy. He has published and edited twelve books and more than seventy academic articles in English, Hebrew and Arabic. His recent publications include Multiple Alterities: Views of Others in Middle Eastern Textbooks (edited with Samira Alayan, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018); The Third Way: Protest and Revolution in the Middle East (Jerusalem: Carmel, 2017) [in Hebrew]; Chances for Peace: Missed Opportunities in the Arab-Israeli Conflict (Austin: University Press of Texas, 2015); and The Politics of National Celebrations in the Arab Middle East (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011).

  • Professor Martin van Bruinessen delivered a keynote lecture on the history and development of Kurdish Studies as part of a series of activities surrounding the LSE Middle East Centre's inaugural Kurdish Studies Conference on 24-25 April, 2023.

    The first attempts at institutionalising Kurdish Studies in European academia emerged as a result of the First World War and the British and French mandates in Iraq and Syria when there was a demand for hands-on knowledge of the Kurds. Anthropological studies of Kurdish society then began around the mid-twentieth century, with the emergence of a strong Kurdish national movement from the 1960s onwards stimulating journalist as well as academic interest in Kurdish politics.

    The growth and mobilization of a Kurdish diaspora, noticeable since the 1990s, has also contributed significantly to the development of Kurdish Studies with political changes in their countries of origin also having a major impact. Professor van Bruinessen assessed the trajectory and most significant developments of Kurdish Studies from its inception to present day.

    Martin van Bruinessen is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Studies of Modern Muslim Societies at Utrecht University. He is an anthropologist with a strong interest in politics, history and philology, and much of his work straddles the boundaries between these disciplines. He has conducted extensive fieldwork in Kurdistan (Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria) as well as Indonesia and Southeast Asia generally and has taught on subjects ranging from Ottoman history and sociology of religion to theories of nationalism. He carried out his first field research among the Kurds during two years in the mid-1970s when access was relatively easy and has frequently revisited the region during the following decades. Martin has published extensively on various aspects of Kurdish society, culture and history. His work was translated into Turkish, Persian, Arabic and Kurdish and is easily available in the countries concerned. Since his formal retirement in 2011, he held visiting professorships in Indonesia and Singapore as well as Turkey. His publications include Agha, Shaikh and State: The Social and Political Structures of Kurdistan (London, 1992); Evliya Çelebi in Diyarbekir (with H. Boeschoten, Leiden, 1988), Mullas, Sufis and heretics: the role of religion in Kurdish society (Istanbul, 2000), Kurdish ethno-nationalism versus nation-building states (Istanbul, 2000), the edited volumes Islam und Politik in der Türkei (with J. Blaschke, Berlin, 1985), Islam des Kurdes (with Joyce Blau, Paris, 1998) and more. Most of his numerous published articles can be accessed at his page.

    Zeynep Kaya is a Visiting Fellow at the LSE Middle East Centre and Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Sheffield. Her main research areas involve borderlands, territoriality, conflict, peace, political legitimacy and gender in the Middle East. She has recently published a monograph entitled Mapping Kurdistan: Territory, Self-Determination and Nationalism with Cambridge University Press. Zeynep is co-editor of I.B. Tauris-Bloomsbury's Kurdish Studies Series and is co-convenor of the LSE Middle East Centre's Kurdish Studies Conference.

  • Life in Abu Dhabi is centred around cars. Its urban development and open space infrastructure has impacted the walkability of the city, increasing residents' reliance on cars for mobility. This pattern of development is embedded in a social and spatial practice of not only urban life, but also urban governance and planning.

    This seminar explores some of the dimensions that have impacted and are emerging from a car infrastructure-led expansion in Abu Dhabi. How did historical decisions lead to car-centric development? How has the road network affected the city and its residents? What is the impact of car-centric development?

    This seminar is part of the Abu Dhabi (Dis)connected exhibition that was on display at the LSE in February-March 2023.

    Recorded on 10 March 2023.

    Alexandra Gomes is Research Fellow with LSE Cities where she is responsible for coordinating the Centre’s socio-spatial analysis across a range of projects. Her research focuses on urban studies, comparative analysis, urban inequalities, urban health, sustainable mobility and placemaking. Alex is Principal Investigator on the 'Roads as Tools for (Dis)connecting Cities and Neighbourhoods' project.

    Apostolos Kyriazis is Associate Professor of Architecture and Urbanism at Abu Dhabi University. His research focus includes Architecture, Urban Design and Urban/Rural Sociology. Apostolos is co-Principal Investigator on the 'Roads as Tools for (Dis)connecting Cities and Neighbourhoods' project.

    Clémence Montagne is Director of Care Design Lab based at the L'École de Design, Nantes Atlantique which leads on abductive research in urbanism and social design. Clémence is a consultant for the 'Roads as Tools for (Dis)connecting Cities and Neighbourhoods' project.

    Peter Schwinger is a transport economist and planning expert and is a consultant for the 'Roads as Tools for (Dis)connecting Cities and Neighbourhoods' project.

    Philipp Rode is Executive Director of LSE Cities and Associate Professorial Lecturer at the School of Public Policy. He is Co-Director of the LSE Executive MSc in Cities and Visiting Professor at University of St Gallen’s Institute for Mobility. Philipp has been leading interdisciplinary programmes in urban development and transport, sustainable urbanism and climate change, and city policy and governance at the LSE since 2003. Across his work, he is interested in multi-dimensional aspects of global urbanisation, sustainability and urban change.

    Join the conversation on Twitter using #LSEMiddleEast #AbuDhabiDisconnected

  • This event opened the exhibition 'Ruptured Domesticity: Mapping Spaces of Refuge in Iraq' by Dr Sana Murrani, hosted at LSE until 12 May 2023. Using photographs, illustrative maps and drawings, Murrani examines the domestic and intimate spaces of refuge created by Iraqis in preparation for, and in response to, wartime and violence. This work is funded by the British Institute for the Study of Iraq.

    Murrani was joined by Ammar Azzouz and Dena Qaddumi in a broad-ranging discussion on the exhibition and her forthcoming book 'Rupturing architecture: spatial practices of refuge in response to war and violence in Iraq' (Bloomsbury, 2024).

    Sana Murrani is an Associate Professor in Spatial Practice at the University of Plymouth. She studied architecture at Baghdad University School of Architecture at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Sana completed her PhD in the UK. Sana’s main research falls within the fields of architecture, human geography and urban studies in particular, the imaginative negotiations of spatial practices and social justice. She is the founder of the Displacement Studies Research Network and co-founder of the Justice and Imagination in Global Displacement research collective.

    Ammar Azzouz is a Research Associate at the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, and a Lecturer in Heritage Studies, at the School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex.

    Dena Qaddumi is a Fellow in City Design and Social Science in the Department of Sociology at LSE. Her research spans architectural and urban studies and draws on postcolonial urban theory, political geography, and cultural studies.

  • What is the relationship between archiving and collective visions for liberation? Where does the practice of archiving fit within contemporary subaltern struggles? This conversation, co-curated between historian Leyla Dakhli, Yasmine Kherfi (LSE Middle East Centre), and Mai Taha (LSE Human Rights), builds on the work of Dakhli, who joined us to reflect on archival projects from the Middle East and North Africa, with a focus on those that emerged in the 2000s in Syria, Algeria and Lebanon. By exploring archival traces of imagined futures and the aesthetic forms they assume, Dakhli's work seeks to understand how archiving practices can be understood as gestures of a continued revolt.

    Leyla Dakhli is a full-time researcher in Modern History at the French Center for National Research (CNRS), and member of the Center of social history of Contemporary Worlds (CHS). Her work deals with the study of Arab intellectuals and social history of the South Mediterranean region, with a particular focus on the history of women and the question of exiled intellectuals and activists.

    Sara Salem is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, LSE. Her main research interests include political sociology, postcolonial studies, Marxist theory, feminist theory, and global histories of empire and imperialism.

    Mai Taha is an Assistant Professor in Human Rights at LSE. Previously she was a Lecturer in Law at Goldsmiths, University of London, and an Assistant Professor in International Human Rights Law and Justice at the American University in Cairo (AUC). Mai has written on international law and empire, human rights, labour movements, class and gender relations, and care work and social reproduction.

  • How does the political and cultural shape the linguistic? How does power seep into terminology? What vocabulary is left for a people facing accumulated traumas caused by authoritarian brutality and imperial interventions recently compounded by natural disasters?

    This panel focuses on Syria to explore these questions about conducting cultural studies in times of disaster. It brings together the editor of and contributors to the recent special issue in the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication “Keywords in Contemporary Syrian Media, Culture and Politics.” The panellists will address the place of keywords in their scholarly research and engagement.

    Emma Aubin-Boltanski is a social anthropologist and an Arabist. She is one of the principal investigators of the research programme SHAKK (From revolt to War in Syria: Conflict, displacements, uncertainties), funded by the ANR (2018-2022) where she coordinates the project of a lexicon of the revolution and the war in Syria:

    Eylaf Bader Eddin is a post-doctoral researcher at The Prison Narratives of Assad’s Syria: Voices, Texts, Publics (SYRASP) Project (851393) for his research “Musical Remains and Songs in Syrian Prisons and Exile” at the EUME Forum, Transregionale Studien in Berlin.

    Razan Ghazzawi is an exiled Syrian-Palestinian. Ghazzawi finished their PhD at the University of Sussex in Brighton and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at EUME, Berlin. Their thesis project is an ethnographical exploration of sexuality politics in the context of the ‘war on terror’ and the ‘refugee crisis’ in Syria and Lebanon by examining checkpoints and arrests as everyday forms of political violence against Syrian and Palestinian LGBTQ activists, artists, migrant workers, students and teachers based in Lebanon.

    Omar Al-Ghazzi is an Associate Professor in Media and Communications at LSE. His work focuses on the geopolitics of global communications, particularly in relation to news media and popular culture.

  • This panel, co-organised with Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), focused on the role that representations of femininities, masculinities, and sexualities in media and cultural productions play in maintaining or challenging stereotypes, and the gendered norms and regimes that these give rise to.

    Drawing on feminist approaches to media and cultural studies, speakers will discuss how different media forms, ranging from traditional print to film, advertising, and digital media have shaped gendered discourses and, relatedly, feminist thinking and praxes in the Middle East.

    Dalia Said Mostafa is Associate Professor on the Women, Society & Development Programme, Hamad Bin Khalifa University. On this panel she will discuss 'Women's Formidable Role and Influence in the Making of Arab Cinema'.

    Polly Withers is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the LSE Middle East Centre. On this panel she will discuss 'Problematising feminist media studies from the Middle East: Gendering media in Palestine'.

    Amal Al-Malki is the Founding Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar Foundation. Before that, she was the Executive Director of the Translation and Interpreting Institute, which she founded in 2011. She also was an Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar where she taught courses in writing composition, postcolonial literature, theories of translation, and Islamic feminism.

    Marc Owen Jones is an Associate Professor of Middle East Studies at Hamad bin Khalifa University, where he lectures and researches on political repression and informational control strategies. His recent work has focused on the way social media has been used to spread disinformation and fake news in the Middle East.

    Sophie Richter-Devroe is Associate Professor in the Women, Society and Development Program at the College of Humanities and Social Science, Hamad Bin Khalifa University. Sophie's broad research interests are in the field of everyday politics and women's activism in the Middle East.

  • This event was the launch of Spyros A. Sofos' latest book 'Turkish Politics and ‘The People’: Mass Mobilisation and Populism' published by Edinburgh University Press.

    By analysing Turkish political culture and institutional architecture through archival research and a critical rereading of the historiography of the Turkish state and society, Sofos proposes key conceptual tools to study popular and populist politics and applies them to the Turkish case.

    Drawing on a diverse body of scholarship including sociology, cultural studies, psychosocial studies, political science and political theory, Turkish Politics and 'The People' explores the transformations of the notion of ‘the people’ from the late Ottoman to current Turkish political discourses.

    Spyros A. Sofos is a political scientist based at the London School of Economics Middle East Centre and is founder and lead editor of openDemocracy’s #rethinkingpopulism. His other books include Nation and Identity in Contemporary Europe (1996, Routledge), Tormented by History: Nationalism in Greece and Turkey (2008, Hurst and Oxford University Press), Islam in Europe: Public Spaces and Civic Networks (2013, Palgrave).

    Bahar Baser is Associate Professor at Durham University's School of Government and International Affairs. Previously, she was Associate Professor at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University where she led the "Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation Research Group".

    Dimitar Bechev is a Russia and East European Studies Affiliate at the School of Global Area Studies, University of Oxford. His research interests are the politics of Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Turkey as well as Russian foreign policy.