[R6438] Ten years after the uprisings: new perspectives on Tunisia?

Created by Lana Salman
Tuesday, 11/30/21 2:00 pm


A decade after the revolution of 2011 which ignited the Arab uprisings, the streets of Tunis are still boiling with anger. Young, mostly male, protestors defied a government-imposed lockdown to reiterate the yet unmet demands of the revolution shoghol, hurriyah, karama watania (jobs, freedom and national dignity). This generation came of age in the decade since revolution. Amidst bleak academic, journalistic and foreign policy proclamations of an inevitable “Arab winter” in a region decidedly unfit for democracy, this panel asks how has Tunisia been taken up as an object of research ten years after revolution? What new methods of studying the contemporary have emerged which break with conventional academic analysis of the country and the region? What new geographies of theory has the studying of unfolding dynamics in Tunisia enabled? What does that imply about the ways in which academics study and teach the Arab uprisings a decade on?
This roundtable will bring perspectives from anthropology, sociology and urban studies, to explore how Tunisia has been taken up as a site and object of research for the past decade. The presenters will consider questions around the politics of research and politicized research in the context of intimate revolutionary struggles that have marked Tunisia’s recent history. For example, we seek to explore the creation of new political subjectivities through city-making, paying attention to diffused change in the ordinariness of everyday that is not perceived as change at all. Another frame we are attentive to is that of political economy and especially how everyday discourses of economic crises map onto class struggles and aspirations. We also examine the construction and contestation of anti-Blackness in the light of ruptures in political and social imagination since the revolution. We look at alternative forms of contestation that go beyond street protests – like hiphop and graffiti for instance. Finally, we explore the talk about the turn to the past in Tunisian society in the last decade, including the uptick in "excavating" Tunisian history and how this is reflected in our methodological approaches.
We will grapple with these themes as they address what it means to do research when the possibilities for scholarship have been dramatically transformed in the past decade. By scrutinizing the past decade of research in Tunisia, the roundtable will address what it means to study contemporary dynamics through a variety of angles that center the everyday and refuse exceptionalist accounts on Tunisia today.


American Institute for Maghrib Studies (AIMS)


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Sami Zemni

(Middle East and North Africa Research Group - Ghent University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Discussant;

Lana Salman

(Harvard University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Shreya Parikh

(UNC-Chapel Hill and CERI-Sciences Po Paris)
Shreya Parikh is a Dual-PhD student in sociology and politics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and CERI-Sciences Po Paris. Her research focuses on the question of race and racism, religion, and immigration in North Africa and France....
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Myriam Amri

(Harvard University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Margaux Fitoussi

(Columbia University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;