Welcome to the LSE Middle East Centre's podcast feed.
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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The Origins of the Syrian Conflict: Climate Change and Human Security (Webinar)
This event was the launch of Marwa Daoudy's latest book 'The Origins of the Syrian Conflict: Climate Change and Human Security'.
Does climate change cause conflict? Did it cause the Syrian uprising? Some policymakers and academics have made this claim, but is it true? This study presents a new conceptual framework to evaluate this claim. Contributing to scholarship in the fields of critical security, environmental security, human security, and Arab politics, Marwa Daoudy prioritizes non-Western and marginalized perspectives to make sense of Syria's place in this international debate. Designing an innovative multidisciplinary framework and applying it to the Syrian case, Daoudy uses extensive field research and her own personal background as a Syrian scholar to present primary interviews with Syrian government officials and citizens, as well as the research of domestic Syrian experts, to provide a unique insight into Syria's environmental, economic and social vulnerabilities leading up to the 2011 uprising.
Marwa Daoudy is Associate Professor and Seif Ghobash Chair in Arab Studies and International Relations at Georgetown University. Prior to this, Daoudy was a lecturer at Oxford University in the department of Politics and International Relations and a fellow of Oxford’s Middle East Center at St Antony’s College. Her research program in the last decade has generally focused on the intersection of security, politics, law and economics to examine the problems of water and the question of conflict, with a focus on the Middle East. Her main scholarly contributions have focused on three more specific research interests. The first is the relationship between transboundary water resources, power, conflict and cooperation. The second is a critical examination of the climate change-conflict nexus that is applied to developing countries in conflict. The third is the intersection of International Relations theory and Middle East politics in explaining inter-state dynamics in the region after the Arab Spring.
Mapping Kurdistan: Territory, Self-Determination and Nationalism (Webinar)
This event, as part of the Middle East Centre's Kurdish Studies Series, was a discussion around Zeynep Kaya's latest book Mapping Kurdistan: Territory, Self-Determination and Nationalism.
Since the early twentieth-century, Kurds have challenged the borders and national identities of the states they inhabit. Nowhere is this more evident than in their promotion of the 'Map of Greater Kurdistan', an ideal of a unified Kurdish homeland in an ethnically and geographically complex region. This powerful image is embedded in the consciousness of the Kurdish people, both within the region and, perhaps even more strongly, in the diaspora.
Addressing the lack of rigorous research and analysis of Kurdish politics from an international perspective, Kaya focuses on self-determination, territorial identity and international norms to suggest how these imaginations of homelands have been socially, politically and historically constructed (much like the state territories the Kurds inhabit), as opposed to their perception of being natural, perennial or intrinsic. Adopting a non-political approach to notions of nationhood and territoriality, Mapping Kurdistan is a systematic examination of the international processes that have enabled a wide range of actors to imagine and create the cartographic image of greater Kurdistan that is in use today.
Zeynep Kaya is Visiting Fellow at the LSE Middle East Centre and a Senior Teaching Fellow at the Department of Development Studies at SOAS. Kaya is also 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.
Political Repression in Bahrain Webinar
This event was a discussion around Marc Owen Jones' latest book Political Repression in Bahrain.
Exploring Bahrain's modern history through the lens of repression, this concise and accessible account spans the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, looking at all forms of political repression from legal, statecraft, police brutality and informational controls. Considering several episodes of contention in Bahrain, from tribal resistance to the British reforms of the 1920s, the rise of the Higher Executive Committee in the 1950s, the leftist agitation of the 1970s, the 1990s Intifada and the 2011 Uprising, Marc Owen Jones offers never before seen insights into the British role in Bahrain, as well as the activities of the Al Khalifa Ruling Family. From the plundering of Bahrain's resources, to new information about the torture and murder of Bahrain civilians, this study reveals new facts about Bahrain's troubled political history. Using freedom of information requests, historical documents, interviews, and data from social media, this is a rich and original interdisciplinary history of Bahrain over one hundred years.
Marc Owen Jones is Assistant Professor in Middle East Studies and Digital Humanities at Hamad bin Khalifa University, Doha. Prior to this, he was a Lecturer in Gulf History at Exeter University, where he remains an Honorary Research Fellow. Before that, Jones won a Teach at Tuebingen award, and wrote and delivered an MA module in Gulf Politics at Tuebingen University’s Institute for Political Science. He recently completed his PhD (funded by the AHRC/ESRC) in 2016 at Durham University, where he wrote an interdisciplinary thesis on the history of political repression in Bahrain. The thesis won the 2016 dissertation prize from the Association for Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Studies. Driven by issues of social justice and a specific area interest in the Gulf, his research spans a number of topics, from historical revisions, postcolonialism, de-democratization and revolutionary cultural production, to policing, digital authoritarianism and human rights. At the moment, Jones is working a number of topics, including propaganda and Twitter bots, mapping sectarian hate speech, and archival work related to Bahrain and land appropriation.
The Politics of Migration in Modern Egypt: Strategies for Regime Survival in Autocracies
This event was a discussion around Gerasimos Tsourapas' latest book The Politics of Migration in Modern Egypt: Strategies for Regime Survival in Autocracies.
In this ground-breaking work, Tsourapas examines how migration and political power are inextricably linked, and enhances our understanding of how authoritarian regimes rely on labour emigration across the Middle East and the Global South. Tsourapas identifies how autocracies develop strategies to tie cross-border mobility to their own survival, highlighting domestic political struggles and the shifting regional and international landscape. In Egypt, the ruling elite has long shaped labour emigration policy in accordance with internal and external tactics aimed at regime survival. Tsourapas draws on a wealth of previously-unavailable archival sources in Arabic and English, as well as extensive original interviews with Egyptian elites and policy-makers in order to produce a novel account of authoritarian politics in the Arab world. The book offers a new insight into the evolution and political rationale behind regime strategies towards migration, from Gamal Abdel Nasser's 1952 Revolution to the 2011 Arab Uprisings.
Gerasimos Tsourapas is Senior Lecturer in Middle East Politics at the University of Birmingham. He works on the politics of migrants, refugees, and diasporas in the Middle East and the broader Global South. He has also written on the international dimension of authoritarianism. His first book, The Politics of Migration in Modern Egypt - Strategies for Regime Survival in Autocracies (Cambridge University Press, 2019), was awarded the 2020 ENMISA Distinguished Book Award by the International Studies Association. Tsourapas has published in International Studies Quarterly, International Migration Review, International Political Science Review, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and other leading journals. He has held research fellowships at Harvard University (2019–20) and the American University in Cairo (2013–14).
Ibrahim Awad is Professor of Practice in Global Affairs and Director, Center for Migration and Refugee Studies, School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, at the American University in Cairo. He has worked for the League of Arab States, the United Nations and the International Labour Organization, holding positions of Secretary of the Commission, UN-ESCWA, Director, ILO Sub-regional Office for North Africa and Director, ILO International Migration Programme. He currently is Chair of the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD), hosted by the World Bank, Chair of the Steering Committee of the Euro-Mediterranean Research Network on International Migration (EuroMedMig) and Senior Fellow at the Migration Policy Centre (MPC) of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.
Join the conversation on Twitter using #LSEEgypt
Environmental Justice in the Middle East: Activism, Resistance, and Decolonisation
Co-organised with Jadaliyya and the Arab Studies Institute, this roundtable focuses on environmental justice, analysing the ways in which approaches to environmental studies—across disciplines ranging from international law to geography and urban planning—have traditionally overlooked and under-emphasised the critical roles of communities directly impacted by environmental injustice.
Focusing on environmental justice struggles in locations including Palestine, the Golan Heights, Lebanon, and Iraq, this conversation will explore transnational linkages between efforts and struggles in the Middle East, the United States, and elsewhere. Speakers will discuss the power of community-driven activism, organising, and resistance to forms of environmental injustice such as water access denial, land dispossession, and forced exposure to toxins. The discussion will address how inclusive cities are a core component of a comprehensive approach to environmental justice, particularly in the wake of the August 2020 Beirut explosion.
Speakers will discuss how recognising and understanding the experiences of communities contending with protracted environmental injustice at the local level are critical to fully understanding the implications of international environmental injustice and the climate crisis. How have narrow definitions of environmental justice shaped policies? And how are communities resisting this repression?
Libya's Fragmentation: Structure and Process in Violent Conflict
This event was a discussion around Wolfram Lacher's latest book Libya's Fragmentation: Structure and Process in Violent Conflict.
After the overthrow of the Qadhafi regime in 2011, Libya witnessed a dramatic breakdown of centralized power. Countless local factions carved up the country into a patchwork of spheres of influence. Only the leader of one armed coalition, Khalifa Haftar, managed to overcome competitors and centralize authority over eastern Libya. But his attempt to seize power in the capital Tripoli failed due to tenacious resistance from dozens of armed groups in western Libya, and was ultimately defeated by Turkish intervention.
Rarely does internal division and political fragmentation occur as radically as in Libya, where it has been the primary obstacle to the re-establishment of central authority. The book analyzes the forces that have shaped the country's trajectory since 2011. Based on hundreds of interviews with key actors in the conflict, it shows how war transformed pre-existing social structures. The book places the social ties of actors at the centre of analysis and explores the links between violent conflict and social cohesion.
Wolfram Lacher is a Senior Associate at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin. His research focuses on conflict dynamics in Libya and the Sahel region, and he has done frequent field research in Libya since 2007. Lacher has been published in a range of journals and media outlets, including Survival, Mediterranean Politics, Foreign Affairs and The Washington Post.
Sherine El Taraboulsi - McCarthy is an Interim Senior Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute in London. Her research focuses on humanitarian politics, conflict and security in Africa and the Middle East. She has published widely in academic and policy journals and outlets, and has been featured in a number of media outlets such as al Jazeera, the BBC, RT, Thomson Reuters, the Guardian and others. Sherine holds a doctorate from the Department of International Development and St. Cross College, University of Oxford.
Jessica Watkins has been a Research Officer at the Middle East Centre since 2017. She works on the DfID sponsored Conflict Research Programme and her research focuses on regional and domestic drivers of conflict and peace in Iraq and Syria. Jessica has a BA from Cambridge University in Arabic and French, a Masters in International Relations from the War Studies Department, King’s College London, and a PhD on civil policing in Jordan, also from the War Studies Department.
Join the conversation on Twitter using #LSELibya