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The MEC builds on LSE's long engagement with the Middle East and North Africa and provides a central hub for the wide range of research on the region carried out at LSE.
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Kurds and Yezidis in the Middle East (Webinar)
This event was co-organised with the Kurdish Studies Programme at the University of Central Florida. It was the book launch of 'Kurds and Yezidis in the Middle East: Shifting Identities, Borders, and the Experience of Minority Communities'.
The diversity of Kurdish communities across the Middle East is now recognized as central to understanding both the challenges and opportunities for their representation and politics. Yet little scholarship has focused on the complexities within these different groups and the range of their experiences. This book diversifies the literature on Kurdish Studies by offering close analyses of subjects which have not been adequately researched, and in particular, by highlighting the Kurds' relationship to the Yazidis. Case studies include: the political ideas of Ehmede Xani, “the father of Kurdish nationalism”; Kurdish refugees in camps in Iraq; the perception of the Kurds by Armenians in the late Ottoman Empire and the Turks in modern Western Turkey; and the important connections and shared heritage of the Kurds and the Yazidis, especially in the aftermath of the 2014 ISIS attacks.
The book comprises the leading voices in Kurdish Studies and combines in-depth empirical work with theoretical and conceptual discussions to take the debates in the field in new directions. The study is divided into three thematic sections to capture new insights into the heterogeneous aspects of Kurdish history and identity. In doing so, contributors explain why we need to pay close attention to the shifting identities and the diversity of the Kurds, and what implications this has for Middle East Studies and Minority Studies more generally.
Majid Hassan Ali completed his doctoral research with a focus on religious minorities in Iraq, at the Institute of Oriental Studies, University of Bamberg, Germany. He is an associate member of the Department of Yezidi Studies at the Giorgi Tsereteli Institute of Oriental Studies, Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia. His research interest includes the difficulties and challenges the ethnic and religious minorities are facing in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East.
Ohannes Kılıçdağı researches the history of non-Muslims in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey. He was Kazan Visiting Professor in Armenian Studies at California State University in Autumn 2020. In Spring 2020 he was appointed as Nikit and Eleanora Ordjanian Visiting Professor in the department for Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies (MESAAS) at Columbia University.
Güneş Murat Tezcür is the Jalal Talabani Chair and Professor at the School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs at the University of Central Florida (UCF). He also directs UCF's Kurdish Political Studies Program. Most recently, he has edited Kurds and Yezidis in the Middle East: Shifting Identities, Borders, and the Experience of Minority Communities, and The Oxford Handbook of Turkish Politics. He is currently writing a book on liminal minorities in the Middle East.
Arzu Yilmaz is a visiting scholar at the University of Hamburg. She moved to Berlin in 2018 as Istanbul Policy Centre (IPC)- Mercator Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). She spent seven years in the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI) as a lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the University of Duhok and as the Chair of the Department of International Relations at the American University of Kurdistan.
Zeynep Kaya is a Lecturer in International Development in the Department of Social and Policy Studies, University of Bath, and a Visiting Fellow with the LSE Middle East Centre. Previously she was a Senior Teaching Fellow at the Department of Development Studies at SOAS and an Academic Associate at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. Her research looks at the relationship between gender, violen
Redefining Deprivation in a Conflict Area: Learning from the Palestinian Experience (Webinar)
This event was the launch of the publication 'Redefining deprivation in a conflict area: learning from the Palestinian experience using mixed methods' produced as part of the Academic Collaboration with Arab Universities Programme, led by Principal Investigators Tiziana Leone, Rita Giacaman and Weeam Hammoudeh.
Conflicts threaten public health, human security, and wellbeing. While their visible impacts garner considerable attention (such as physical disability, injury, and death), they affect populations in other important ways. This paper reviews findings from a two-year collaboration project to understand how people make sense of, and cope with, various forms of deprivation and trauma resulting from experiences of conflict and military occupation in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt). Using mixed methods, the paper explores mental health and wellbeing outcomes associated with deprivation in a conflict setting.
Weeam Hammoudeh is currently an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Community and Public Health, Birzeit University and formerly ACSS (Arab Council for the Social Sciences) Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Researcher at the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Birzeit University. She is interested in understanding how political and social transformations impact health, psychosocial wellbeing, and population processes, particularly in conflict areas; as well as how health systems and social institutions develop and shift in relation to political, economic, and structural factors, particularly in developing countries and post-colonial settings.
Tracy Kuo Lin is an Assistant Professor of Health Economics at the University of California, San Francisco. Her research examines health policy and health system resource allocation and their impact on public health and healthcare processes. She received her PhD from the University of California, Davis and held a fellowship at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her work has been published in journals such as Cancer, Journal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy, Globalization and Health, and Implementation Science Communication. She is a researcher on the project 'Re-Conceptualising Health in Wars and Conflicts: A New Focus on Deprivation and Suffering'.
Suzan Mitwalli is an academic researcher at the Institute of Community and Public Health - Birzeit University, and assistant coordinator of the Masters in Public Health program. Her main research interest is mental health, and she has worked for many years on intervention research with the Community Based Rehabilitation organization (CBR). She has also been involved in several research projects at the Institute relating to women’s health, population health, child health, and occupational health using quantitative and qualitative research methods.
Tiziana Leone is an Associate Professor at the London School of Economics. Tiziana’s research agenda is focused around maternal and reproductive health, including a lifecourse approach to women’s health. She is currently analysing secondary data on the linkages that menarche, menopause and mid-life age have on fertility outcomes and health in later life. She has collaborated in expert roles with international organisations (eg: WHO, UNFPA and UNICEF) in tracking the progress of the MDGs and SDGs in LMICs in maternal and child health.
Hitting The Glass Ceiling? Women's Political Participation in Kuwait (Webinar)
This Kuwait Programme event was a discussion about Dr Zeynep Kaya’s recent research on women's political participation in Kuwait. Dr Lubna Al-Kazi acted as a discussant, and Dr Courtney Freer chaired the event.
Since the introduction of women’s suffrage in 2005, the number of women elected to parliament in Kuwait has been very small. Despite this, their presence in high political office has changed the discourse around women’s political and public roles, while also generating a misogynistic backlash against women. The paper Dr Kaya will present at this event provides an overview of the discussions about women’s electoral participation in Kuwait building on 27 semi-structured interviews conducted in 2019 with politicians, public officers, academics and activists and the academic literature on women’s political participation. The paper captures the state of the discussions on women’s electoral participation and provides an account of what issues are emphasised and omitted in these discussions in 2019. The interviews provided important insights on the dynamics that influence women’s electoral participation in Kuwait and the strategies they used to get elected.
Dr Zeynep Kaya is a Lecturer in International Development in the Department of Social and Policy Studies, University of Bath, and a Visiting Fellow with the LSE Middle East Centre. Previously she was a Senior Teaching Fellow at the Department of Development Studies at SOAS and an Academic Associate at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. She is interested in understanding how communities and political groups perceive, interact with and challenge international processes and dominant norms. Her research looks at the relationship between gender, violence and development in conflict and post-conflict contexts. Zeynep has a PhD in International Relations from the LSE, where she conducted research on the transformation of Kurdish nationalism and territorial identity in an international context. Her book Mapping Kurdistan: Territory, Self-Determination and Nationalism was published by Cambridge University Press in 2020.
Dr Lubna Ahmed Al-Kazi is Director of the Women’s Research and Studies Center at Kuwait University. Lubna has been a professor in the Sociology Department at Kuwait University since 1984, after graduating from the University of Texas in 1983 with a PhD in Demography and Sociology. She was a consultant with the Population Division at the United Nations for one year from 1986-87, and in 2009 a consultant for the United Nation Development Programme, when she prepared the section on Gender and Development for the Kuwait National five-year plan 2010 – 2015. Lubna is on the editorial board of Arabic Journal Al-Thaqafa Al-Alamiah and the Journal of Arabian Studies. She is a member of the ‘Women’s Cultural and Social Society’ and ‘the Sociologists Association’ in Kuwait. She is also a member of Advisory Board of Vital Voices, an women‘s organization established by Hillary Clinton when she was the First Lady in the United States. Her areas of interest and research are gender, population change and family.
Dr Courtney Freer is an Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at the Middle East Centre. Her work focuses on the domestic politics of the Gulf states, particularly the roles played by Islamism and tribalism. Her book Rentier Islamism: The Influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gulf Monarchies, based on her DPhil thesis at the University of Oxford and published by Oxford University Press in 2018, examines the socio-political role played by Muslim Brotherhood groups in Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
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Sino-Algerian Relations: From Anti-Colonial Allies to Strategic Partners? (Webinar)
This webinar was co-organised with the Society for Algerian Studies.
Sino-Algerian relations date back to the Afro-Asian Bandung conference in 1955. China’s status as first non-Arab country to recognise Algeria’s pre-independence provisional government in 1958, coupled with Algiers’ support in helping China restore its security council seat at the UN in 1971, represent key moments that consolidated the historic bilateral relationship.
Despite this early political and diplomatic alliance, economic relations did not take off until the early 2000s, propelled by Algeria’s accumulation of hydrocarbon revenues. Chinese companies obtained major billion dollar contracts in construction and infrastructure works. Despite many challenges, Algeria found in China a reliable partner supporting its development. The two countries continue to cooperate not only bilaterally, their preferred framework for economic and commercial exchange, but also through multilateral fora such as FOCAC and CASCF.
In 2014, China elevated the relationship to a “comprehensive strategic partnership”, the highest level of diplomatic-cum-economic relations which Beijing extends to key partners. Algeria is also a signatory to Beijing’s flagship Belt and Road initiative. For Beijing, the North African state has a geostrategic location with proximity to Europe and to the Sahel and sub-Saharan Africa. The scope and strength of relations in the post-pandemic era will likely continue to strengthen.
This webinar explored the historical background and the evolution of the political and economic relations between the two countries, highlighting opportunities and challenges going forward.
Francesco Saverio Leopardi is Research Fellow at the Marco Polo Centre for Global Europe-Asia Connections, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and teaches Global Asian Studies at Ca’ Foscari International College. His research interests currently focus on the Sino-Algerian economic relations and the history of economic transformation in Algeria. He also has a long-time interest in the history of the Palestinian national movement and in 2020 he published with Palgrave Macmillan his first monograph The Palestinian Left and its Decline. Loyal Opposition.
Chuchu Zhang is Associate Professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs, Fudan University, China. She received her PhD in Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge, UK. Her research focuses on Middle Eastern Politics, China-Middle Eastern relations and China’s foreign policy. She is author of Islamist Party Mobilization: Tunisia’s Ennahda and Algeria’s HMS Compared, 1989-2014 (Palgrave, 2020). She has published in a number of peer reviewed journals including Middle East Policy, Environment and Planning: Economy and Space, Globalizations, Pacific Focus, and Chinese Political Science Review, Asian Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies.
Yahia H. Zoubir is Professor of International Relations and International Management, and Director of Research in Geopolitics at KEDGE Business School, France. He taught at multiple universities in the United States and was a visiting faculty member at various universities in China, Europe, the United States, India, Indonesia, South Korea, and the Middle East and North Africa. His recent book is Algerian Politics: Domestic Issues & International Relations (Routledge, 2020). He has published in academic journals, such as Journal of Contemporary China, Foreign Affairs, Third World Quarterly, Mediterranean Politics, International Affairs, Africa Spectrum, Journal of North African Studies, Democratization, Middle East Journal, Arab Studies Quarterly, Africa Today, Middle East Policy, etc. He has also contributed many book chapters and written various articles in encyclopedias. In 2020, he was Visiting Fellow at Brookings Doha Center.
غزة مفتوحة: عمران الأمل
غزة مفتوحة: عمران الأمل by LSE Middle East Centre
Open Gaza: Architectures of Hope (Webinar)
This webinar launched the book 'Open Gaza: Architectures of Hope' edited by Deen Sharp and the late Michael Sorkin.
The Gaza Strip is one of the most beleaguered environments on earth. Crammed into a space of 139 square miles (360 square kilometers), 1.8 million people live under an Israeli siege, enforcing conditions that continue to plummet to ever more unimaginable depths of degradation and despair. Gaza, however, is more than an endless encyclopedia of depressing statistics. It is also a place of fortitude, resistance, and imagination; a context in which inhabitants go to remarkable lengths to create the ordinary conditions of the everyday and to reject their exceptional status. Inspired by Gaza’s inhabitants, this book builds on the positive capabilities of Gazans. It brings together designers, environmentalists, planners, activists, and scholars from Palestine and Israel, the US, the UK, India, and elsewhere to create hopeful interventions that imagine a better place for Gazans and Palestinians. Open Gaza engages with the Gaza Strip within and beyond the logics of siege and warfare, it considers how life can be improved inside the limitations imposed by the Israeli blockade and outside the idiocy of violence and warfare.