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From Sidi Bou Zid to Sidi Bou Sa`id: A Longue Durée Approach to the Tunisian Revolutions

SFS Center for Contemporary Arab Studies

Thursday, November 8, 2012 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM (EST)

From Sidi Bou Zid to Sidi Bou Sa`id: A Longue Durée...

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CCAS is proud to present

The Kareema Khoury Annual Distinguished Lecture

From Sidi Bou Zid to Sidi Bou Sa`id: A Longue Durée Approach to the Tunisian Revolutions

Julia Clancy-Smith


This lecture employs a longue durée approach to the so-called “Arab Spring,”--or better, the “Maghrib Spring,” particularly when examining the Tunisian Revolution. It argues that the story is much deeper and more complicated than the tale of a dictator and dictatorship gone wrong.  Many of the processes at work, directly or indirectly, boast longer historical pedigrees, stretching not only to the early years of independence in 1956 but also to the colonial and even pre-colonial periods. Some, indeed many, of the social triggers and political causes invoked to “explain”  the current upheavals are not new to the twenty-first century, for examples, the “youth bulge,” globalization, and the impact of novel social media technologies. In addition, the lecture investigates the recent democratic uprisings in relationship to traditions of militant mass action directed against several kinds of Tunisian states stretching back to the nineteenth century. In part, it adopts not only a long-term historical view but an environmental perspective to understand the trans-Mediterranean, indeed global, transformations that produced the coastalization of the early 21st century and its discontents. It probes the historical currency of present-day political targets and spaces, notably the symbolic significance of the Mediterranean villa, and the critical realms of women and education. It concludes by reflecting on the trans-national repercussions of the Tunisian revolutions that inspired protests not only in Egypt, the rest of the Maghrib, and the Middle East but also world-wide. 

Julia Clancy-Smith (Georgetown University, BSFS, School of Foreign Service; MA History, Georgetown; PhD History, University of California, Los Angeles) is Professor of History at the University of Arizona, Tucson.  She is the author of: Mediterraneans: North Africa and Europe in an Age of Migration, c. 1800-1900 (California UP, 2010), which won the 2011 French Colonial Historical Society Book Award and the 2011 Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society Award, and will appear in a paperback edition this year. She also published Rebel and Saint: Muslim Notables, Populist Protest, Colonial Encounters (Algeria and Tunisia, 1800-1904) (California UP, 1994), which received three book awards.   

In addition, she co-edited [and authored the introduction and a chapter]  Walls of Algiers: Narratives of the City through Text and Image (Los Angeles and Seattle: The Getty Research Institute and University of Washington Press, 2009) as well as Domesticating the Empire: Gender, Race, & Family Life in the Dutch and French Empires (University of Virginia Press, 1998). She also co-edited a special issue of French Historical Studies, entitled “Writing French Colonial Histories” (2004), an issue of the Journal of Persianate Studies, on “Fathers and Daughters in Islam” (2011); and is editing a special issue of the International Journal of Middle East Studies devoted to recent trends in modern North African history. In addition, she edited North Africa, Islam, and the Mediterranean World from the Almoravids to the Algerian War (2001).  She is currently completing a monograph From Household to School Room: Women’s Education in Colonial North Africa, to be published by Cambridge University Press, UK, and two textbooks: editor and author, A History of North Africa in the Modern Era (Cambridge, 2011) ; and co-editor and author, A History of the Middle East and North Africa in Documents (Oxford 2011).  She has been a fellow in residence at: La Maison Méditerranéenne des sciences de l’homme, Aix-en-Provence; the National Humanities Center; the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science, Princeton; and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington DC. 

Clancy-Smith contributed a pamphlet and book chapter to the AHA series in women, gender, and comparative history: Exemplary Women and Sacred Journeys: Women and Gender in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam from Late Antiquity to the Eve of Modernity (American Historical Association/University of Illinois Press, 2006).  In 2010, she was awarded the AHA’s William Gilbert Award for Best Article on Teaching History and participated in the Center for History and New Media Project, World History Matters, George Mason University,  “Women in World History project,” document-based website, by submitting a module on “Women in North African History, 19th-20th centuries.” In 2006, the AHA awarded the James Harvey Robinson Prize for Outstanding Contribution to the Teaching and Learning of History collectively to the contributors to the World History Matters, CHNM. 

Clancy-Smith has also published numerous journal articles, book chapters, encyclopedia entries, and book/film reviews. The collective edited volume Contesting Archives: Finding Women in the Sources (University of Illinois Press, 2010), to which Clancy-Smith contributed a chapter, won the 2011 Kanner Book Prize awarded by the Western Association of Women Historians.

 Other Teaching Awards:

University of Virginia, Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1990. 

University of Virginia, Adelle F. Robertson Teaching Award, Continuing Education, 1993.

University of Virginia First Annual T. Braxton Woody Teaching Award, 1994. 

University of Arizona, SBS 2003 Most Distinguished Teacher in Graduate Level Courses.

American Historical Association, the University of Arizona, History Department, the 2012 recipient of the AHA Equity Award which recognizes achieved excellence in recruiting and retaining under-represented minorities in the historical profession.

Lecture will be followed by a reception in the Presidents Room 


Marina Krikorian

Public Affairs Coordinator

phone: 202-687-6215

email: ccasevents@georgetown.edu

Have questions about From Sidi Bou Zid to Sidi Bou Sa`id: A Longue Durée Approach to the Tunisian Revolutions ? Contact SFS Center for Contemporary Arab Studies

When & Where

Georgetown University
Washington, 20057

Thursday, November 8, 2012 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM (EST)

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