City/ State/ Resistance: Spaces of Protest in the Middle East and Mediterranean

Event Date: 1 December 2011
Royal Holloway University of London
2 Gower Street
London WC1E 6DP

City/ State/ Resistance: Spaces of Protest in the Middle East and Mediterranean

Interdisciplinary workshop from Royal Holloway University

Sponsored by The British Academy

Convenor: Dr Sara Fregonese


Since Mohamed Bouazizi sparked the Tunisian uprising one year ago, protests against authoritarian regimes and calls for social justice and freedom have spread across the Middle East and have been met with fierce state repression. However, is this an exclusively Arab phenomenon? While the ‘Arab Spring’ has swept across the south and east of the Mediterranean, several countries in Mediterranean Europe and recently in northern Europe are also experiencing their largest protests in decades. – What Links protests against neo-liberalism and public sector cuts in Europe to protests in the Arab world?- How do urban spaces shape dynamic and tactics of protest, resistance and revolution?- What are the implications of the geographies of the protest for state sovereignty?

Welcome and introduction
Sara Fregonese (Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London) .

Paper session I: Actors

Lynn Staeheli (Geography, Durham)
Youth and citizenship: Struggles on and off the Street


Andrea Teti (Politics & International Relations, Aberdeen)
Challenges to the System in Egypt and Italy. Notes on a Biopolitics
of Convergent Illiberalism and the Exception

Sara Fregonese (Geography, RHUL)
Beyond the domino. Transnational (in)security and the 2011 protests


Panel 1 Questions



Keynote and audience discussion

Lorenzo Trombetta (Independent Researcher, Beirut)
Anti-regime protesters and loyalist forces in Cairo. A dialectical confrontation

Discussant: Laleh Khalili (Politics & International Studies, SOAS)

Talk and Questions


Paper Session II: Settings

Adam Ramadan (Geography, Cambridge)
Blogs, Bodies, and Camps

Yair Wallach (Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East, SOAS)
Space for change – Opening up? Closing down? The 2011 Israeli summer protests

Jeremy Anderson (International Transport Workers Federation)
The Labour Movement in Egypt


Panel 2 Questions



Closing panel and audience discussion:

City/state/resistance, in the Mediterranean and beyond – new actors, new settings, new relationships?

Alan Ingram (Geography, UCL)
Alan Ingram is a geographer working in critical geopolitics and security. His research currently focuses on the ways in which contemporary art practice engages matters of geopolitics. In 2011-2012 he holds a British Academy Mid Career Research Fellowship for the project Art & War: Responses to Iraq, which explores how artists and art spaces in the UK responded to the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation. He is co-editor (with Klaus Dodds) of Spaces of Security and Insecurity: Geographies of the War on Terror (Farnham: Ashgate 2009) and co-edits the Ashgate Critical Geopolitics book series.

Nadim Shehadi (Chatham House)
Nadim Shehadi is an Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House where he directs a programme on the regional dimension of the Palestinian refugee issue in the Middle East Peace Process. He is also a senior member of St Antony’s College Oxford where he was director of the Centre for Lebanese Studies from 1986 to 2005. Nadim is a member of the executive board of the Centro de Estudios de Oriente Medio of the Fundacion Promocion Social de la Cultura in Madrid. In 2010 he was a visiting fellow at the Aspen Institute in Washington DC and in the summer semester of 2012 he will be a visiting scholar at Tufts University. He is also a consultant to several governments and international organizations. Nadim was trained as an economist with an interest in the history of economic thought.
Chris Doyle (CAABU)
Chris is the Director of CAABU. He has worked with the Council since 1993 after graduating with a first class honours degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Exeter University. As part of this course he spent a year in Alexandria. Since then he has travelled widely in the Middle East and North Africa. In 1996 Chris moved to work for a professional government relations firm but returned to a more senior role at CAABU in 1997. In November 2002, he was made full-time Director.
As the lead spokesperson for Caabu and as an acknowledged expert on the region, Chris is a frequent commentator on TV and Radio, having given over 150 interviews on the Arab uprisings in the first six months of 2011. He gives numerous talks around the country on issues such as the Arab Spring, Libya, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Islamophobia and the Arabs in Britain. He has had numerous articles and letters published in the British and international media.
He has travelled to nearly every country in the Middle East. He has organised and accompanied numerous British Parliamentary delegations to Arab countries. Most recently he took Parliamentary delegations to the West Bank in November 2010 and November 2008, he accompanied a delegation including Edward Davey MP, the Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesman, to Israel and the West Bank.
Final Questions and Close

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