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Popular Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East

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Abstract

In this seminar John Chalcraft introduces his new book Popular Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East, a new history of revolutions, uprisings, movements, and diverse forms of protest from Morocco to Iran from the eighteenth century to the present. The focus is on unruly collective action: the emergence of new, fragile collective subjects and transgressive forms of contention. Writing against socioeconomic and discursive determinism alike, the book is particularly concerned to analyse the active agencies shaping mobilizing projects: forms of moral, political and intellectual leadership, trans-local appropriation, intellectual labour, normative commitments, and modes of organization, strategies and tactics. It challenges existing forms of Orientalism and teleological modernism by foregrounding the ways in which movements are situated within, and have shaped, the rise, establishment, reform and attrition of political hegemony

Bio

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.

This talk is part of the Critical Theory and Practice Seminar series.

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