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CMSS Seminar Series: Religion, State and Society, 2017
Thu. 27 April 2017, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm AWST
DATE: Multiple (details below)
TIME: 4.00pm – 6pm
WHERE: Fox Lecture Theatre, Arts Building, The University of Western Australia
REGISTRATION: Register via Eventbrite or email.
Legalizing Authoritarianism in Egypt
Dr Amr Hamzawy, American University in Cairo and Cairo University
DATE: Thursday, 16 March 2017
This talk examines the ways through which successive Egyptian governments have utilized lawmaking to eliminate opponents and silence voices of dissent since the coup of 3 July 2013. Key examples include the adoption of a draconian protest law and anti-terrorism laws. Most recently, the legislature passed a bill that, subject to the president’s approval, is poised to significantly curtail the autonomy of civil society organizations. By restricting freedom of expression and association and clamping down on voices of dissent, these legal initiatives have helped upgrade the repressive bureaucratic tools at the disposal of the government.
Amr Hamzawy studied political science and developmental studies in Cairo, The Hague, and Berlin. After finishing his doctoral studies and after five years of teaching in Cairo and Berlin, Hamzawy joined the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Washington, DC) between 2005 and 2009 as a senior associate for Middle East Politics. Between 2009 and 2010, he served as the research director of the Middle East Centre of the Carnegie Endowment in Beirut, Lebanon. In 2011, he joined the Department of Public Policy and Administration at the American University in Cairo, where he continues to serve today. Hamzawy also serves as an associate professor of political science at the Department of Political Science, Cairo University. His research and teaching interests as well as his academic publications focus on democratization processes in Egypt, tensions between freedom and repression in the Egyptian public space, political movements and civil society in Egypt, contemporary debates in Arab political thought, and human rights and governance in the Arab world. Dr. Hamzawy is a former member of the People’s Assembly after being elected in the first Parliamentary elections in Egypt after the 25th of Jan 2011 revolution. He is also a former member of the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights. Hamzawy contributes a daily column and a weekly op-ed to the Egyptian independent newspaper Shorouk. His publications include: A Margin for Democracy in Egypt – The Story of a Failed Transition (in Arabic) Cairo: The Egyptian Lebanese Publishers (2014), On Religion, Politics, an Democratic Legitimacy in Egypt Carnegie Middle East Centre, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (in English and Arabic) (2013) and Remarks on Political Writing and its Role in Defending Democracy, Freedoms, and Human Rights (in Arabic) Ahram: Journal of Democracy (2013).
The Arab world: between Collapse and Transformation
Dr Shafeeq Ghabra, Kuwait University
DATE: Thursday, 6 April 2017
Since the rebellions of 2011 and more so since 2012, the Arab order is actually in a state of disorder, sitting atop a time bomb made up of youth, who constitute the overwhelming majority. Today’s youth, in stable and in non-stable states, want more freedom, dignity, jobs, and security — in short, more fulfilling lives. The state’s desire for unaccountability and security cannot satisfy their aspirations and in fact pushes them in the opposite direction. If the present trends dominated by unaccountable and non-responsive security-oriented regimes continues, the next wave of Arab revolutions will be more radical in its thinking and methods.
Shafeeq Ghabra is a Professor of Political Science at Kuwait University. He is currently Visiting Scholar at the Arab Centre, Doha, Qatar. From 1996 to 1999 he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Social Sciences at Kuwait University. Dr Ghabra has been a Visiting Professor at The College of William and Mary and a Visiting Scholar at George Mason University’s Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution. He has also been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Denver. His most recent books include: Kuwait and the Dynamics of State and Society (2011) and Unsafe Life: The Generation of Dreams and Disappointments (2012).
The Forgotten Periphery: Creating the Iraqi public sphere
Dr Hala Fattah
DATE: Thursday, 27 April 2017
Too many observers of present-day Iraq have accepted the argument that the nation-state was created, and remained the monopoly of certain groups. Because narratives of the past, particularly Arabic-language memoirs, have never been taken into account in the manufacture of this rigid (and unsophisticated) argument, the dynamics of diverse groups outside of the government and their influence on regime politics is frequently ignored. And yet, despite the purported Sunni and Arab-centric biases of Hashemite Iraq and the later republican regime of Abdul-Karim Qasim, the voices of the so-called periphery were quite influential in the making of the Iraqi nation. Activist leaders did emerge from regions tenuously linked to the formative nation. Moreover, some of them were co-opted into government, thereby giving the lie to the alleged inflexibility of the politics of the period. This lecture will be based primarily on recently-published Arabic-language memoirs of ex-politicians, poets and journalists who lived in the Hashemite and early Republican eras and who left important records challenging stereotypical, exaggerated and unidimensional explanations of nation-formation in Iraq (1941-63).
Hala Fattah received her PhD from UCLA in the history of the Modern Middle East in 1986. She has authored two books: ‘The Politics of Regional Trade in Iraq, Arabia and the Gulf, 1700-1900’, (SUNY Press, 1997); and ‘A Brief History of Iraq’, (Facts on File, 2008) and various articles on late Ottoman and independent Iraq. She taught the history of modern Middle East, Iraq and the Gulf at Georgetown University, and then worked as a researcher in Jordan at Prince Hassan ibn Talal’s office and the Royal Institute of Inter-Faith Studies. In 2004, she became the resident representative for The American Academic Research Institute on Iraq (TAARII), an organisation devoted to academic exchange. In 2006, she joined the Scholar Rescue Fund, a programme focused on the placement of endangered Iraqi scholars in neighbouring Arab and non-Arab countries. From 2013 to 2015, she was Assistant Professor in the Humanities Department at Qatar University, where she taught the history of the Indian Ocean. Hala Fattah is now an independent scholar and a consultant in Amman, Jordan.
The three speakers are visiting the Centre for Muslim States and Societies, The University of Western Australia, as part of the Australian National University's Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies' 'CAAR International Speakers Program'. This program is supported by the Commonwealth through the Council for Australian-Arab Relations (CAAR), which is part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
CMSS’s Religion, State & Society Seminars will explore the role of religion in shaping lived experiences of Muslims in the contemporary globalised world. This involves exploring the interaction between Muslims and non-Muslim in political, social, cultural and economic spheres at local, national and global levels.
Leading academics and researchers in the field will present papers on various topics, including terrorism and radicalisation, gender issues, democratisation, secularism, and so on.