Avenues of Social and Political Change: Five Years of Contention in the Middle East and North Africa

April 8, 2015 | 8:30am – 6:00pm | Room 5409

Key Note Speaker: Jillian Schwedler (Department of Political Science, Hunter College)

The conference is to be followed by a talk by Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi as part of the Anthropology Colloquium Series.

Five years after the eruption of mass protests across FlyerNorth Africa and the Middle East, citizens of these countries now live under contrasting conditions. While some countries, such as Tunisia, have made headway on the road to freedom and social justice, others, are embroiled in civil strife, like Syria, or are being crushed by the return of authoritarianism, like Egypt. Yet despite the zigzagging trajectory that these uprisings have thus far treaded, new channels and imaginings of social, political and economic change have opened up over the past five years. This conference will explore current possibilities that have been opened up through and in the aftermath of the grassroots uprisings that have swept through the region since 2011 and the sustained struggles for these arenas as well as the counter-efforts that have attempted to constrain and constrict them. Instead of succumbing to a choice between either presenting a triumphant narrative or emphasizing the democratic setbacks facing social movements, activists, and the population at large, this conference will attempt to reframe the question to ask what actual and concrete opportunities for economic, social and political transformation have unfolded beyond and despite of the historical and structural constraints that are in place.

Sponsors: Generous contributions have come from the Committee on Globalization and Social Change, the Middle East Studies Organization; as well as students in Anthropology, History, and MEMEAC and the DSC.


Avenues of Social and Political Change: Five Years of Contention in the Middle East and North Africa
Date: April 08, 2016
Time: 8:30 am - 6:00 pm

Location: Graduate Center, CUNY Room 5409
Address: 365 Fifth Ave., NY 10016 (View Map)