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Department of History

Urban Violence in the Middle East

Urban Violence in the Middle East: between Empire and Nation State is a joint research project between SOAS and the Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin funded by the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) and the DFG (Deutsche Forschungemeinschaft)

This is a three-year project which started in January 2011.  The project investigates the history of public violence in a wide geographical setting stretching from Tunisia to Iran, and seeks to develop an interdisciplinary and cross regional debate on Middle Easter cities and societies.

Project website link www.urban-violence-middle-east.net

London Middle East Institute website


International Conference - Urban Violence in the Middle East: Histories of Place and Event

SOAS University of London, 13–16 February 2013
Venue: Room G2, SOAS Main Building

Conveners: Nelida Fuccaro (SOAS) and Rasmus Elling (SOAS/University of Copenhagen)

Admission is free, however, pre-registration is required.  To register please telephone +44 (0)20 7898 4330 or email lh2@soas.ac.uk.

Urban Violence in the Middle East Image


In spite of its relevance to contemporary events the history of public violence in Middle Eastern cities has not yet been the subject of systematic academic debate. Building on a workshop held at the Zentrum Moderner Orient Berlin in December 2011 this international conference explores the violent histories of some of these cities from the 18th to the late 20th centuries through a variety of actors, themes and historical processes. 

Covering the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia papers feature crowds and elites; urban space, discipline, discourse and ritual performance; empire, colonialism, war and revolution.  

Speakers include established and young Middle Eastern historians, and a number of academics specialising in other disciplines and regions in order to foster comparative and interdisciplinary understandings of urban violence.

Admission is free, however, pre-registration is required.  To register please telephone +44 (0)20 7898 4330 or email lh2@soas.ac.uk.

Keynote/Public Lecture

Fighting for Space: Theatres of Violence and Emerging Publics
Professor Charles Tripp (SOAS)
Wednesday 13 February 2013, 5.30pm Khalili Lecture Theatre

The talk will centre on struggles to control public space in the city and seek to understand their significance for the emergence of an unruly, plural public.  Taking examples largely from recent political events in the Middle East, it will look at the nature of the challenge to established authority represented by people’s efforts to define and to occupy public space.  

Urban Violence in the Middle East: Histories of Place and Event Programme (pdf; 726kb)

Urban Violence Poster (pdf; 1mb)