Almanac is a student-run initiative at the University of Oxford. Every two weeks, a number of students sit down for an in-depth discussion about the region which has made history for thousands of years and continues to make headlines today.
Independence and Colonialism in the Western Sahara
Piotr Schulkes, Helna Murphy, Hajar Meddah, and Felix Walker discuss the recent development in the Western Sahara, caused by America’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the territory. They give an overview over the area’s history, the foreign actors involved, and what the future might hold
History, politics, and Anecdotes with Eugene Rogan
Piotr Schulkes and Eugene Rogan discuss the importance of history in contemporary Middle Eastern politics, how the West discusses the region, and a number of stories from Rogan’s time at Oxford.
Lebanon’s Economic and political crisis
Piotr Schulkes, Felix Walker, and Michael Memari cover the ongoing crises in Lebanon’s political and economic systems. They discuss the importance of the confessionalist system in perpetuating the corruption and dependency structures that have hollowed out the Lebanese state, the role of foreign actors, and what the country might face in the future.
New Year’s Episode
The whole team gets together to discuss what their moment of note of 2020 was, what they are looking out for in 2021, and what their favourite book on the Middle East is.
Child abuse and dancing boys in Afghanistan
Piotr Schulkes, Rose Johnson, and Max Randall dive into the phenomenon of the Dancing Boys of Afghanistan. They discuss the parallels which can be found in Persian and Sufi poetry, why it has seen a resurgence the last decades, and how it cannot be separated from the socioeconomic conditions of the country today.
Avi Shlaim on Revisionist History and Israel
Piotr Schulkes and Avi Shlaim, Fellow of the British Academy, sit down to discuss Israel’s New Historians; who they are, what they believe, and the popular reception to it. They also cover the role of history in Israeli politics, the significance of the Oslo Accords, and what Prime Minister Netanyahu has meant for historical research in Israel