Conference Program

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International Conference

The Unfinished Project of the Arab Spring: Why “Middle East Exceptionalism” is Still Wrong

University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
September 25-27, 2015

FRIDAY, 25 September 2015

Friday Evening (September 25, 2015) – Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA), University of Alberta

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM: Conference Registration
ECHA Room 2-190 

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM: Musical Performance and Opening Remarks
ECHA Room 2-190
Mojtaba Mahdavi, ECMC Chair in Islamic Studies, Political Science, University of Alberta. Conference Chair
Lise Gotell, Acting Dean – Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta
Lois Harder, Chair and Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Alberta
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM: Keynote Address
ECHA Room 2-190

Chair: Randy Goebel (Associate Vice-President: Academic & Research, University of Alberta)

Keynote: Tariq Ali
World-Renowned Writer, Journalist and Filmmaker
Talk title: RECOLONIZING THE ARAB WORLD

SATURDAY, 26 September 2015

Saturday (September 26, 2015) – Lister Centre, University of Alberta

8:30 AM – 9:00 AM – Conference Registration

Special Panel: Middle East Today: What is Missing in the Media?

Saturday (9:00 AM – 10:15 AM)
Wild Rose Room, Lister Centre
Chair: Roger Epp (Political Science, University of Alberta)

* Juan Cole (The Richard Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History, University of Michigan, USA)
* Bessma Momani (Political Science, University of Waterloo and the Balsillie School of International Affairs)
* Ramin Jahanbegloo (York-Noor Visiting Chair in Islamic Studies; Political Science, York University)
* Tariq Ali (World-Renowned Writer, Journalist and Filmmaker)

Coffee Break: 10:15 AM -10:30 AM

Saturday Morning Panels (10:30 AM – 12:30 PM)

Panel 1 : Beyond ‘Middle East Exceptionalism’: “What the Middle East Offers to World History”

Saturday (10:30 AM – 12:30 PM)
Wild Rose Room, Lister Centre
Chair: Lynette Shultz (Associate Dean – International, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta)

* Israel, Palestine and the Politics of Race: From Exceptionalism to Global Context
Yasmeen Abu-Laban (Political Science, University of Alberta) and Abigail Bakan (Social Justice Education, University of Toronto)

* Challenges of Democratization in Iran: A Case Study of the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Green Movement of 2009
Ramin Jahanbegloo (York-Noor Visiting Chair in Islamic Studies; Political Science, York University)

* Exceptions to Exceptionalisms! What the Middle East Offers to World History
Peyman Vahabzadeh (Sociology, University of Victoria)

* How Applicable are Mainstream Social Movement Theories to the Middle East?
Navid Pourmokhtari (Political Science, University of Alberta)

* “The Old is Dying”: The Unfinished Project of the MENA Social Movements
Mojtaba Mahdavi (Political Science, University of Alberta)

Panel 2 : Critique From Within: Intellectual Discourses and the MENA Uprisings

Saturday (10:30 AM – 12:30 PM)
Prairie Room, Lister Centre
Chair: Jocelyn Hendrickson (History & Classics and Religious Studies, University of Alberta)

* The Predicament of the Arab Spring: Mohammed Abed Al Jabri’s Project of Renewal and the Way Ahead
Mohammed Hashas (Political Science, LUISS Guido Carli University, Rome-Italy)

* Nahda vs. Sunna as Theology vs. Politics: Tracing the Genealogy of the Muslim Brotherhood to Understand Contemporary Islamist Movements
Sarah Eltantawi (Comparative Religion, The Evergreen State College, USA)

* Arab Spring and Arab intellectuals
Carlotta Stegagno (Political Thought and Communication, University of Genoa, Italy)

* How About a Third Pill? Indigenous Modernity Beyond the Eurocentrism/Nativism Binary
Kara Abdolmaleki (Comparative Literature, University of Alberta)

Panel 3 : “The Quiet Encroachment” of the Counter-revolutionaries: How the Autocrats Survived the MENA Uprisings

Saturday (10:30 AM – 12:30 PM)
Evergreen Room, Lister Centre
Chair: ​Isabel Altamirano-Jimenez (Political Science, University of Alberta)

* Social Protest and Authoritarian Manoeuvring in Algeria: How Bouteflika Survived the Arab Spring
Merouan Mekouar (Social Science, York University)

* The Elite and the Street: Why Those Who Shape Yemen’s Future Were Neglected
Larissa Alles (University of St. Andrews, UK)

* The Exhaustion of the February 20th Movement and the Re-sectorization of Struggles in Morocco
Nadia Hajji (Université du Québec à Montréal Alumna)  

* “Unlicensed Protests”: An Analysis of the Representation of the Bahrain Uprising by the Bahraini Government
Calum McMillan (Macalester College Alumnus, USA)

Break: 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM: Keynote Address
Wild Rose Room, Lister Centre
Chair: Yasmeen Abu-Laban (Political Science, University of Alberta)

Keynote: Karima Bennoune
Professor of International Law, University of California, Davis
Talk title: THE STRUGGLE AGAINST FUNDAMENTALISM AFTER THE REVOLUTIONS OF 2011: YOUR FATWA STILL DOES NOT APPLY HERE

Coffee Break: 3:00 PM- 3:30 PM

Saturday Afternoon Panels (3:30 PM – 5:30 PM)

Panel 4 : Geopolitics of the Arab Uprisings: Oil, Foreign Intervention and Military Coup

Saturday (3:30 PM – 5:30 PM)
Wild Rose Room, Lister Centre
Chair: David Marples (History & Classics, University of Alberta)

* China Policy Toward the Middle East After the Arab Spring
Juan Cole (The Richard Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History, University of Michigan, USA)

* The Future of Egypt after July 2013: Potentials and Possibilities
Mohamed A. Mohamed (Sociology & Social Work, Northern Arizona University, USA)

* Libya in the Wake of “Humanitarian Intervention” – An Assessment
Sina Salessi (Independent Scholar of global political economy, USA)

* Libya and the Arab Spring: Debating an Ethical Justification for Humanitarian Intervention
Ahmed Khattab (Department of Government, Georgetown University, USA)

Panel 5 : What Happened to “Songs of the New Arab Revolutions”?

Saturday (3:30 PM – 5:30 PM)
Prairie Room, Lister Centre
Chair: Janice Williamson (English & Film Studies, University of Alberta)

* Michael Frishkopf (Music, University of Alberta)
* Iman Mersal (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta)
* Guilnard Moufarrej (Languages and Cultures Department, U.S. Naval Academy)
* Nermeen Youssef (Pharmacology, University of Alberta)

Panel 6 : Gendering the MENA Uprisings: Women and Politics of the Body

Saturday (3:30 PM – 5:30 PM)
Evergreen Room, Lister Centre
Chair: Siobhan Byrne​ (Political Science, University of Alberta)

* The Politics of the Body in the Arab Spring
Ellen Amster (Jason A. Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine, McMaster University)

* The Egyptian Uprisings, the Social-Political, and Sexual Violence
Mark Ayyash (Sociology, Mount Royal University)

* Gendering Dignity in the Moroccan Family Code
Lahoucine Ouzgane (English and Film Studies, University of Alberta)

SUNDAY, 27 September 2015

Sunday (September 27, 2015) – Lister Centre, University of Alberta

9:00 AM -10:15 AM: Keynote Address
Wild Rose Room, Lister Centre
Chair: David Goa (Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion & Public Life University of Alberta, Augustana Campus)

Keynote: Amina Wadud
Professor Emerita of Islamic Studies; Expert on Islam, Gender and Justice
Talk Title: REFORMIST ISLAM, GENDER AND THE QUESTIONS OF AUTHORITY

Coffee Break: 10:15 AM – 10:30 AM

Sunday Morning Panels (10:30 AM – 12:30 PM)

Panel 7 : Finished or Unfinished Social Movements? Is the Return of the Repressed Possible?

Sunday (10:30 AM – 12:30 PM)
Wild Rose Room, Lister Centre
Chair: Laurie Adkin (Political Science, University of Alberta)

* Circularity of Arabs and the Arab Spring
Bessma Momani (Political Science, University of Waterloo and the Balsillie School of International Affairs) and Melissa Finn (Political Science, University of Waterloo and the Balsillie School of International Affairs)

* Finished or Unfinished? The Uncertain Future of Christians in the Middle East
Paul Rowe (Political and International Studies, Trinity Western University)

* Social Movements in MENA: Is the “Return of the Repressed” Possible?
Maria D’Aria (School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh, UK)

* Instances of Political Reform Within a Rentier Economy: The Case of Iran
Hajar Amidian (Political Science, University of Alberta)

* The Gezi Commune: The Harbinger of the “Newest Social movements” or a Flash in the Pan in the History of Late Capitalism?
Poyraz Kolluoglu (Cultural Studies, Queen’s University)

Panel 8 : Online Activism in the MENA Uprisings: Media and Politics of Representation

Sunday (10:30 AM – 12:30 PM)
Prairie Room, Lister Centre
Chair: Ann McDougall  (History & Classics, University of Alberta)

* Women Online Activism: The Case of Iranian Women
Victoria Tahmasebi-Birgani (Historical Studies, University of Toronto Mississauga, and Women and Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto)

* #Hashtags for Change: Can Twitter Promote Social Progress in Saudi Arabia
Irfan Chaudhry (Sociology, University of Alberta)

* Ancient Hatreds and Contemporary Conflicts? Ethno-Sectarian Mosaics, the Arab Uprisings, and American Media Geopolitics
Luke Struckman (Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University)

Panel 9 : Five Years After the Uprisings: “A Tale of High Hopes and Dashed Expectations”?

Sunday (10:30 AM – 12:30 PM)
Evergreen Room, Lister Centre
Chair: Julian Castro-Rea (Political Science, University of Alberta)

* Microwave Democracy: The Perils of Fast-Tracking Democratic Transition in Post-Arab Spring Egypt
Stephanie Wheatley (Religious Studies and Political Science, Oklahoma State University)

* Secular Social Movement Organizations in Egypt 4 Years After Mubarak: A Tale of High Hopes and Dashed Expectations
Arne F. Wackenhut (School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden)

* Inclusion-Moderation Theory, Ideology and State Suppression: An Examination of Three Islamist Parties in their Institutional Context
Claire Sadar (Boston University Alumna)

Break: 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Sunday Afternoon Panels (1:30 PM – 3:30 PM)

Panel 10 : “Why They Joined” Extremist Groups: ISIS, Boko Haram and al-Shabaab

Sunday (1:30 PM – 3:30 PM)
Wild Rose Room, Lister Centre
Chair: Greg Anderson (Political Science, University of Alberta)

* The Foreign Fighter Phenomenon: Western Non-state Combatants in the Middle East and North Africa
John McCoy (Political Science, University of Alberta) and W. Andy Knight (Director of the Institute of International Relations, University of the West Indies and Political Science, University of Alberta)

* Statistical Trends and Patterns of Mohammed Shekau’s Boko Haram
Temitope Oriola (Sociology, University of Alberta) and Marcella Cassiono (Sociology, University of Alberta)

* Why They Joined: The Somali Diaspora and Perceptions of al-Shabaab
Sandra Bucerius (Sociology, University of Alberta)

* ISIS and the Bosnian Connection: The Case Study of the Wahhabi Community in Gornje Maoce
Srdja Pavlovic (History & Classics, University of Alberta)

* The Young Muslim Members of ISIS: Origins and Motives
Faruk Arslan (Human Relations Behaviour, Wilfrid Laurier University)

Panel 11 : Arts and Literature: Diaries and Performance of the MENA Uprisings

Sunday (1:30 PM – 3:30 PM)
Prairie Room, Lister Centre
Chair: Manijeh Mannani (English & Comparative Literature, Athabasca University)

* “These People Need a Doomsday to Bring Them Down”: The Revolution in Contemporary Egyptian Theatre
Rebekah Maggor (Warren Center at Harvard University)

* Life Writing as a Democratic Force in Iran
Safaneh Mohaghegh Neyshabouri (Comparative Literature, University of Alberta)

Panel 12 : Gendering the Uprisings: Women’s Movements

Sunday (1:30 PM – 3:30 PM)
Evergreen Room, Lister Centre
Chair: Jennifer Hsu (Political Science, University of Alberta)    

* The Political Empowerment of Female Egyptian (Post-) Islamist Youth: A Growing Project Within the Arab Spring
Dina Hosni (The Institut für Soziologie, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Germany)

* The Discursive Repositioning of Women’s Associations and Youth Vis-à-vis the State in Post-Arab Spring Morocco and Tunisia
Ginger Feather (Political Science, University of Kansas, USA)

3:30 PM – 4:00 PM: Closing Remarks
Wild Rose Room, Lister Centre




Cover photo by Anis Mili/REUTERS