The description is submitted to:


Session R5886 (Archive Wars: The Politics of History in Saudi Arabia), 2020
"Archive Wars" is a fantastic book. Exploring complex themes, based on rich ethnographic and other sources, smartly written, and compelling, it is easily among the best books ever written on Saudi Arabia. It compels us to think in complicated new ways about multiple layers of power and contest in the kingdom, from the political economic to the material. It is also a deeply global book, mapping out connections and entanglements inside and outside Saudi Arabia. These global connections require more reflection and more discussion -- to ask about the extent to which domestic political struggles and matters there transcend domestic spaces. Are the kingdom's struggles to manage its own image, to shape its material politics, to control space, and the constant struggle for the renewal of authoritarian power simply provincial? The answer is almost certainly no. If not, how are these complex internal challenges and histories global? And to what extent are they both shaped by and shaping regional neighbors, global powers, and global thought about the kingdom, its legitimacy, and the limits and possibilities of its authority?