BOOK LAUNCH: The Politics of Mass Violence in the Middle East/ Laura Robson

Lior Sternfeld's picture
December 1, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, Jewish History / Studies, Middle East History / Studies, Political Science

The Department of History at Penn State invites you to a book launch of The Politics of Mass Violence in the Middle East by Laura Robson. December 1, 2020 at 12:00 pm (EST)

Discussants: Joel Beinin, Mustafa Aksakal, Dirk Moses, and Laura Robson. Chair: Nina Safran

The Middle East today is characterized by an astonishingly bloody civil war in Syria, an ever more highly racialized and militarized approach to the concept of a Jewish state in Israel and the Palestinian territories, an Iraqi state paralyzed by the emergence of class- and region-inflected sectarian identifications, a Lebanon teetering on the edge of collapse from the pressures of its huge numbers of refugees and its sect-bound political system, and the rise of a wide variety of Islamist paramilitary organizations seeking to operate outside all these states. 

The region's emergence as a 'zone of violence', characterized by a viciously dystopian politics of identity, is a relatively recent phenomenon, developing only over the past century; but despite these shallow historical roots, the mass violence and dispossession now characterizing Syria, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, and Iraq have emerged as some of the twenty-first century's most intractable problems. In this study, Laura Robson uses a framework of mass violence - encompassing the concepts of genocide, ethnic cleansing, forced migration, appropriation of resources, mass deportation, and forcible denationalization - to explain the emergence of a dystopian politics of identity across the Eastern Mediterranean in the modern era and to illuminate the contemporary breakdown of the state from Syria to Iraq to Israel.

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Lior Sternfeld


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