Western Intervention in the Wake of the Arab Uprisings: Political Containment, Neoliberalism, and Imperial Legacies

Western Intervention in the Wake of the Arab Uprisings: Political Containment, Neoliberalism, and Imperial Legacies

Tuesday, 23 February 2021 - 9:00am to Thursday, 25 February 2021 - 5:15pm
ZOOM Online Webinar
Susann Kassem (Oxford University)
Shun Watanabe (Kyoto University).
Catherine E. Herrold (Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy)
Corinna Mullin (City University of New York)
Jacob Mundy (Colgate University)
Negar Razavi (University of Pennsylvania)
Benjamin Schütze (Arnold Bergstraesser Institute)
Kiri Santer (University of Bern)
MEC Seminar

Generously sponsored by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation

Register here for: Tuesday, February 23, 9-10:15 am

Junko Chano (Sasakawa Peace Foundation) and Eugene Rogan (University of Oxford) Opening remarks

Susann Kassem (University of Oxford) and Shun Watanabe (Kyoto University) Introductory comments

Benjamin Schütze (Arnold Bergstraesser Institute Freiburg) Managing and controlling popular discontent: External ‘democracy promotion’ interventions in Jordan

Shun Watanabe (Kyoto University) Politics of reform as a new ruling formula in neoliberal Jordan: the case of decentralisation

Register here for: Wednesday, February 24, 4-5:15 pm

Jacob Mundy (Colgate University) Why is the ‘everywhere war’ mostly in the Middle East and North Africa?

Kiri Santer (University of Bern) Governance assemblages in cooperative deterrence: the case of the Libyan Coast Guard

Negar Razavi (Northwestern University) Syria still haunts me: The moral-affective politics of Washington’s ‘non-intervention’ interventions in the Arab world

Register here for: Thursday, February 25, 4-5:15 pm

Corinna Mullin (CUNY/ New School) Disciplining revolt: ‘Counter-terror’ as (neo)colonial intervention in post-uprising Tunisia

Catherine Herrold (Indiana University) Negotiating Western intervention: NGOs, foreign aid, and civil society in post-uprising Egypt

Susann Kassem (University of Oxford) Concluding remarks


Catherine E. Herrold is an associate professor at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and faculty affiliate at the Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. She is an expert on civil society in the Middle East and US foreign aid policy and practice. Herrold’s book, Delta Democracy: Pathways to Incremental Civic Revolution in Egypt and Beyond, was published by Oxford University Press in 2020. Her research on civil society in Egypt and Palestine has also appeared in Social Problems, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Nonprofit Policy Forum, and VOLUNTAS. Herrold holds a PhD in public policy from Duke University.

Susann Kassem is currently a Postdoctoral Research Officer and Sasakawa Peace Foundation Fellow in Middle East Studies at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies. Starting April 2021, she will be a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Faculty Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. Her research examines the role of international interventions carried out in the name of peace in the post-Cold War era. Her book manuscript analyzes the conceptualization and practices of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, one of the oldest and largest peacekeeping forces active today. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork conducted in rural south Lebanon between 2009–15, it tracks how UN peacekeeping merges military activities with civilian practices of economic, civic, and cultural engagement in an attempt to implement an idealized political order in the former colonial world.

Corinna Mullin is an academic based in New York. She currently teaches at the New School and John Jay College, City University of New York (CUNY). Her research examines the historical legacies of colonialism, the role of capitalist expansion and imperialist imbrications in shaping the Tunisian security state, with a focus on political repression, labor exploitation, natural resource extraction and other forms of Global North accumulation and Global South value drain. Corinna has also researched and published works on anti-/decolonial theory and struggles, knowledge production, and popular education with a focus on the Maghreb and West Asia.

Jacob Mundy is an Associate Professor in Peace and Conflict Studies and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at Colgate University. During the 2018–2019 academic year, he was a Fulbright Scholar at the Université de Tunis, teaching courses in international political-economy at the Tunis Business School. His books include Imaginative Geographies of Algerian Violence (Stanford 2015) and Libya (Polity 2018), as well as the coauthored work Western Sahara: War, Nationalism and Conflict Irresolution (Syracuse 2010) with Stephen Zunes and the coedited volume The Postconflict Environment (Michigan 2015) with Dan Monk.

Negar Razavi is a political anthropologist with a focus on critical security studies, expertise, gender, race, humanitarianism, and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Her research specifically examines the role of policy experts and think tanks in shaping U.S. security policies towards this region. She received her PhD in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently the ACLS Emerging Voices Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University.

Kiri Santer is a PhD candidate in social anthropology at the University of Bern, Switzerland. Her doctoral project examines recent transformations in the governance of migration in the Central Mediterranean and the EU’s project of border externalisation there and in Libya. She is the recipient of a Doc.ch grant of the Swiss National Science Foundation for her PhD. In 2019-2020 she was a resident fellow at the Istituto Svizzero in Rome, where she carried out the final part of her fieldwork. She graduated with an MA in Anthropology and Sociology from SOAS, university of London in 2015.

Benjamin Schütze is a Senior Research Fellow at the Arnold Bergstraesser Institute (ABI) in Freiburg. His research examines the politics of intervention, transregional authoritarian entanglements, security collaboration, and the political economy of renewable energy in the Middle East and North Africa. His publications have appeared in International Studies Quarterly, Security Dialogue, Cooperation and Conflict, Al-Jazeera and Jadaliyya. His book on 'Promoting Democracy, Reinforcing Authoritarianism: US and European Policy in Jordan' has recently been published with Cambridge University Press.

Shun Watanabe is a postdoctoral researcher at Kyoto University in Japan. His research examines the authoritarian politics of the Arab monarchies, including regime legitimacy, elite inclusion, and the politics of reform under the neoliberal transformation in the region. He completed his PhD in Area Studies at Kyoto University in 2018. He was a Sasakawa Peace Foundation Fellow, visiting the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies, University of Oxford, in 2018-2020.