Nationalism, Class, and Activism in Lebanon in the Shadow of Syrian Civil War
Yasemin Ipek, Assistant Professor in the Global Affairs Program, George Mason University
Monday, April 1, 2019, 4:30-6 p.m.
Scheuer Room, Kohlberg Hall
Between 2011 and 2014, more than a million registered Syrian refugees came to Lebanon, making the tiny country host to the largest refugee population per capita in the world. Based on ethnographic research in Beirut between 2012 and 2015 with a wide-ranging set of actors such as unemployed NGO volunteers, middle-class social entrepreneurs, advocacy activists, the returning Lebanese diaspora, and Western aid workers, this talk examines the reconfigurations of Lebanese nationalism and sectarianism in the aftermath of the Syrian civil war. The Lebanese experience of activism, which has been transformed in the context of the Syrian civil war and the refugee crisis, questions the common theorizing that tends to romanticize activism as inherently subversive. The talk suggests that local framings of activism cannot be understood only through lenses of the liberal human rights discourse or neoliberalism, but are also tied to diverse postcolonial aspirations and practices related to national identity.
Co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Islamic Studies, Global Studies, the Arabic section and Peace and Conflict Studies
Free and open to the public.