Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

Social Change and the Global Middle East

THE MIDDLE EAST IS A REGION whose recent history has been marked by rapid, often unexpected bouts of change. The last decade in particular has seen the region experience a series of seismic events set into motion by the Arab Spring and escalating regional rivalries. These events, including the largest refugee crisis since World War II and the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, have blurred the lines between regions and borders. The impacts have been worldwide, as global powers have grappled with the legacies of their involvement in the Middle East. At the same time, these events have pushed social issues to the forefront, encouraging dialogue, expression, and the rethinking of established norms. In its 2021-2022 theme year, Social Change and the Global Middle East, The Andrea Mitchell Center examines the region through multiple lenses and perspectives in order to shed new light on a part of the world that remains as relevant, and as complicated, as ever.

An Evening with Nobel Laureate Tawakkol Karman

Thu. September 30, 6:00-7:30 pm
Perry World House, World Forum, 3803 Locust Walk
Please register here.

A lecture and discussion with Yemeni journalist and 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate TAWAKKOL KARMAN.

THE MITCHELL CENTER AND MIDDLE EAST CENTER’S YEAR-LONG EXAMINATION of the possibilities and challenges facing the Middle East begins with a conversation with TAWAKKOL KARMAN, Yemeni Nobel Laureate, journalist, politician, and human rights activist, and leader the group "Women Journalists Without Chains," which she co-founded in 2005. She became the international public face of the 2011 Yemeni uprising and a co-recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the first Yemeni, the first Arab woman, and the second Muslim woman to win a Nobel Prize. As a leader of the Arab Spring, she offers her perspective on its legacy ten years later, as well as her views on the dire crisis in Yemen, the risks faced by activists and journalists in Middle Eastern countries, and the current prospects for change in the region.

Social Change and Contentious Politics

Thu. October 21, 4:30 to 6:00 pm
Forum (Room 250), Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics
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A panel discussion with JOEL BEININ (Stanford) and RASHID KHALIDI (Columbia University) moderated by SEAN YOM (Temple University).

THE MIDDLE EAST HAS A LONGSTANDING REPUTATION as a place of contention, where ethnic groups and global powers alike have struggled over land, trade routes and, more recently, valuable resources such as oil. The Arab Spring of the early 2010s added a new dimension to the region’s contentious politics, as internal tensions between rulers and populaces erupted into a series of revolts, which have since inspired similar protests around the world. A decade later, two leading thinkers on the impact of the Arab Spring, JOEL BEININ and RASHID KHALIDI, assess the prospects for the region  going forward. They will discuss the likelihood of democratic change, the factors that inhibit social transformation, the historical context of the current era of contentious politics, the often overlooked actors at the urban and regional peripheries, how patterns of political activism have changed over time – and the enduring relevance of these movements to popular struggles for dignity, justice, and bread the world over.

Citizenship

Thu. November 18, 4:30 to 6:00 pm
Forum (Room 250), Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics
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A panel discussion with SINAN ANTOON (NYU Gallatin) and SIMA SHAKHSARI (University of Minnesota) moderated by ZAINAB SALEH (Haverford College).

THROUGHOUT THE 20TH AND 21ST CENTURIES, debates on citizenship and belonging in Iran and Iraq have shaped government practices and popular struggles alike. They have become embedded in national discourses and practices of state formation, imperial interventions and geopolitical calculations, and popular mobilizations to (re)configure belonging and boundaries. The disparities between ideologies of citizenship and their daily operations are tied to the construction of racial, ethnic, class, political, and religious differences within the state and civil society. SIMA SHAKHSARI and SINAN ANTOON address the ways citizenship have been articulated, rearticulated, and disarticulated in nexuses of power and empire, mobility and diaspora, political activism, class and gender, and media technologies.

Governance

Thu. December 9, 4:30 to 6:00 pm
Forum (Room 250), Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics
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A panel discussion with LISA ANDERSON (Columbia University) and NOURA ERAKAT (Rutgers University) moderated by HOCINE FETNI (University of Pennsylvania).

Religion and Political Transformation

Thu. January 20, 4:30 to 6:00pm
Forum (Room 250), Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics
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A panel discussion with TAREK MASOUD (Harvard Kennedy School) and ZAKIA SALIME (Rutgers University) moderated by SA’ED ATSHAN (Emory University).

THE RISE OF ISLAMIZATION HAS HAD ENORMOUS IMPACTS on the political and social landscapes of Egypt, Morocco, and the broader Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. TAREK MASOUD and ZAKIA SALIME will address the complexity of these impacts across a varied region.How are Islamic and Islamist social movements and political parties positioning themselves within their national contexts? How do the various movements relate to each other across the MENA region? What are their prospects for bolstering- or undermining-pluralism in terms of gender equality, political diversity, and religious tolerance?

Regional and External Politics

Thu. February 17, 4:30 to 6:00 pm
Forum (Room 250), Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics
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A panel discussion with AMANEY JAMAL (Princeton University) and TIM MITCHELL (Columbia University) moderated by NADA MATTA (Drexel University) and EILEEN RYAN (Temple University).

Theorizing Political Violence

Thu. April 14, 4:30 to 6:00 pm
Forum (Room 250), Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics
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A panel discussion with BANU BARGU (UC Santa Cruz) MURAD IDRIS (University of Virginia) moderated by ROXANNE EUBEN (University of Pennsylvania).