Maia Holtermann Entwistle

Key information

Graduate Teaching Assistant
MRes (Birkbeck), MSc (LSE), MA (University of Edinburgh)
Russell Square: College Buildings
Email address
Thesis title
“Petro-Culture: Cultural Infrastructure and Liberal Power in the Arab Gulf States”
Internal Supervisors
Dr Rahul Rao


"Maia Holtermann Entwistle holds an MA in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Edinburgh and an MSc from the LSE in International Relations. Her MSc Dissertation entitled “Everything Leaks: Security, Pop Culture and the War on Terror” was awarded the 2015 International Relations Philip Windsor Prize for Best Dissertation.

Since October 2017, Maia has been a PhD candidate in SOAS’ Department of Politics and International Studies. Her ESRC-funded project “Petro-Culture: Cultural Infrastructure and Liberal Power in the Arab Gulf States” examines the mushrooming cultural infrastructure in the Arab Gulf States, known in Arabic as the Khaleej. Most political analyses of this burgeoning cultural sphere have sought to make sense of the phenomenon either as a cynical PR effort on the part of a new generation of leaders keen to consolidate their authoritarian power over rentier states or optimistically as both an expression of current and historic indigenous cultural production that operates independently of the established Western centres of the “art world”. Against these assessments, her analysis draws on Foucauldian and Deleuzian theories of liberal power, situating these emergent cultural spheres and their political effects in the context of the Gulf’s nested position within the capitalist world system and, more importantly, its incorporation into the liberal world order. Her project also seeks to contribute to critical scholarship on liberalism by inflecting theories of the biopolitical with the idea of the “cultural subject”."

Research interests

  • Political Theory
  • Politics and History of the Middle East
  • Cultural and Visual Studies
  • Critical Logistics Studies
  • Postcolonial and decolonial theory
  • Liberalism


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