Civilization and the Making of the State in Lebanon and Syria (Webinar)

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This event was a book launch for 'Civilization and the Making of the State in Lebanon and Syria' by Dr. Andrew Delatolla. The book argues that the modern state, from the nineteenth century to the contemporary period, has consistently been used as a means to measure civilizational engagement and attainment. This volume historicizes this dynamic, examining how it impacted state-making in Lebanon and Syria. By putting social, political, and economic pressure on the Ottoman Empire to replicate the modern state in Europe, the book examines processes of racialization, nationalist development, continued imperial expansion, and resistance that became embedded in the state as it was assembled. By historicizing post-imperial and post-colonial state formation in Lebanon and Syria, it is possible to engage in a conceptual separation from the modern state, abandoning the ongoing reproduction of the state as a standard, or benchmark, of civilization and progress. Andrew Delatolla is a Lecturer in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Leeds, and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Middle East Centre. His research interests centre on issues of race, gender, and sexuality in relation to statehood and state formation. His research tends to focus on issues of violence and exclusion from an international historical political sociological lens, examining the international relations of the Middle East and North Africa (Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, and the Ottoman Empire). Shourideh C. Molavi is a writer and scholar specializing in critical state theory, migration and border studies, and trained with a background in International Humanitarian Law. She has over 15 years of academic and fieldwork experience in the Middle East—focusing on Israel/Palestine—on the topics of border practices, citizenship and statelessness, and human and minority rights, with an emphasis on the relationship between the law, violence and power. Since 2014, she has worked as a Lead Researcher on Israel-Palestine and fieldworker with Forensic Architecture, an interdisciplinary research agency based at Goldsmiths, University of London. Mai Taha is a Lecturer in Law at Goldsmiths, University of London. Grounded in anti-racist socialist-feminism, her research focuses on how the organization of race, class and gender is a fundamental way of forming social hierarchies through law. She has written on international law and empire, labour movements, gender relations, care work and social reproduction in the interwar and postcolonial Middle East. She is also interested in the areas of law and literature, and law and film, exploring alternative archives, artefacts and literary narratives. She is currently working on the legal politics of refusal in Mandate Palestine, focusing on labour and gender relations during the 1936-1939 Arab Revolt.

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