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Jillian Schwedler

Protesting Jordan

Tuesday, November 14, 2023, 6:00–7:00pm

Seminary Co-op Bookstore, 5751 S Woodlawn Ave, Chicago, IL 60637

Protest has been a key method of political claim-making in Jordan from the late Ottoman period to the present day. More than moments of rupture within normal-time politics, protests have been central to challenging state power, as well as reproducing it—and the spatial dynamics of protests play a central role in the construction of both state and society. In this talk based on her new book, Protesting Jordan: Geographies of Power and Dissent (Stanford University Press, 2022), Jillian Schwedler considers how space and geography influence protests and repression, and, in challenging conventional narratives of Hashemite state-making, offers the first in-depth study of rebellion in Jordan.

Based on twenty-five years of field research, Protesting Jordan examines protests as they are situated in the built environment, bringing together considerations of networks, spatial imaginaries, space and place-making, and political geographies at local, national, regional, and global scales. Schwedler considers the impact of time and temporality in the lifecycles of individual movements. Through a mixed interpretive methodology, this book illuminates the geographies of power and dissent and the spatial practices of protest and repression, highlighting the political stakes of competing narratives about Jordan’s past, present, and future.

Schwedler will be joined in conversation by Ghenwa Hayek. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

Jillian Schwedler is Professor of Political Science at the City University of New York’s Hunter College and the Graduate Center and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Crown Center at Brandeis University.  She is member of the editorial committee for Middle East Law and Governance (MELG) and elected member of the APSA Council, the governing board of the American Political Science Association. Dr. Schwedler’s research currently focuses on contentious politics and political geography, particularly concerning protests in urban and peri-urban settings. Her most recent books are Protesting Jordan: Geographies of Power and Dissent (Stanford University Press, 2022) and The Political Science of the Middle East: Theory and Research since the Arab Uprisings, author and co-editor with Marc Lynch and Sean Yom (Oxford University Press, 2022).

Ghenwa Hayek is an Associate Professor of Modern Arabic Literature at the University of Chicago and author of Beirut, Imagining the City: Space and Place in Lebanese Literature (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014). She is a scholar of modern Arabic literature from the late nineteenth century to the present. She works on the entangled relationships between literary and cultural production, space and place, and identity formation in the modern Arab Middle East, with a specific focus on Lebanon. She is interested in using the formal techniques of literary scholarship to nuance and complicate our understandings of the processes through which these dynamic cultures understand, represent, and position themselves in the world.

Presented by the Seminary Co-op Bookstores, the Pozen Center for Human Rights, and 3CT.

This event is free and open to the public.