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Understanding the Arab Revolutions

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Thursday, October 18, 2018
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5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
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Asef Bayat (U of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)

The outbreak of the Arab uprisings created an unprecedented optimism about the future of democracy in the Arab world. But today, a strong sense of pessimism and despair surround the trajectory of these uprisings. Why did the Arab revolutions experience such trajectories? How do we understand the nature of the Arab Spring? Dr. Bayat's presentation attempts to historicize the Arab revolutions comparing them with those of the 1970s notably the Iranian revolution of 1979. He suggests that what transpired in the Tunisia, Egypt or Yemen in 2011 were not revolution in the sense of their 20th Century counterparts, but 'refo-lution', that is, revolutionary movements that emerged to compel the incumbent regimes to reform themselves. He will discuss why this was so, and what it meant for the outcome of these revolutions.