[R4435] Beyond the Square: Urbanism and the Arab Uprisings

Created by Deen Sharp
Sunday, 11/20/16 12:00nn


This roundtable will engage the emerging body of scholarship that is tackling questions of urbanism in the context of the Arab uprisings. With the exception of a small body of research looking at the role of public squares, the early literature on the so-called "Arab Spring" largely neglected the urban dimensions of the uprisings; however, more recent work has indicated a burgeoning interest in this topic-and in the sociospatial dimensions of the political upheaval more broadly. This scholarship has begun to ask how the urban landscape in which the uprisings unfolded has both informed and been impacted by the events themselves. In other words, what role have urban conditions-physical and ideological-played in the development of the uprisings? And conversely, how have these conditions been impacted by the uprisings and the subsequent political turmoil? Participants in this roundtable will explore and reflect on these questions from a variety of perspectives, geographical contexts, and temporal moments. They will discuss current research in Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey-i.e., in countries that have been at the heart of the Arab uprisings as well as those countries that have appeared peripheral to the regional upheavaln. They will also examine urban spatial dynamics prior to, during, and in the aftermath of the uprisings. Finally, they will consider a broad range of sociospatial phenomena-from neoliberal urban development and heritage management to urbicide and gendered spatial practices-and the ways in which they have intersected with the uprisings. The breadth of research to be discussed in this roundtable highlights the growing awareness of the centrality of spatial concerns-beyond the square-to the ongoing political transformations in the region. Yet it also indexes the potential of the Arab uprisings to re-shape contemporary understandings of and approaches to urbanism in the Arab world. In this way, we hope the roundtable will stimulate discussion and generate questions for a regional research agenda that has the potential to radically transform our understanding of the urban Middle East.


Archit & Urb Plng




Claire Panetta

(The Graduate Center-CUNY)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Deen Sharp

Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;