The Making of the Washington Consensus in the Middle East and North Africa.
Negotiating international assets, debts and power (1979-91)
History, Economic History, Historical Sociology, International Relations
Massimiliano Trentin, Assistant Professor, Department of Political and Social Sciences, University of
Bologna, Italy, firstname.lastname@example.org
WOCMES-5 (World Congress of Middle East Studies), Seville, Spain,16-22nd of July 2018
The panel aims at investigating the politics of the negotiations on international debts and assets that
took place in the Middle East and North Africa during the 1980s.
The 1980s were marked by a long series of defaults, moratoria on repayment, renegotiations of existing
loans and negotiations on new loans. Since the second half of the 1980s, such complex phenomenon
has passed down onto history under the label of the "international debt crisis". Among Latin America,
Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia, this was the case as for the Middle East and North Africa as well.
Though almost all states were involved in the process, the crisis concerned in particular Morocco,
Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria.
A wide literature has dealt with the subject, with renewed interest since the beginning of the "great
recession" in 2008 and the "Arab uprisings" of 2011. Most of such literature, however, suffers from
two main (interrelated) flaws: on the one hand, there are only a few case studies based on archival
research; on the other, it most works assume that creditor/debtor negotiations necessarily had to end
with the creditors' upper hand. However, history is rich with cases that prove that debtors can either
have it their way, or force creditors to compromise. It appears necessary, thus, to investigate the
negotiations empirically, in order to observe the playing out of the respective strengths and weaknesses
of creditors and debtors in the specific conditions of the 1980s.
The panel seeks to gather scholars who have engaged with numerous archives from creditors, debtors
and international organizations, with a broad approach that keeps account of the interactions of various
factors in determining the final outcome of the negotiations concerning the Middle East and North
Africa: negotiating assets and liabilities, negotiating skills, existence or lack of alternatives, and the
role of language and the public opinion.
The panel is part of an on-going project, funded by the Italian Ministry of Education and University
Research (MIUR, Prin 2015), and based at the Department of Political and Social Sciences, University
of Bologna. The project will have allowed a thorough reconstruction of a crucial process of the
international relations of the recent past, with possible useful policy-relevant indications for our time.
• Proposals must include a title, an abstract and five keywords. Abstracts should be between 300
and 400 words.
• Accepted languages are English and French (WOCMES working languages).
• Proposals must be sent in both Word and PDF formats to (organizer(s) name(s) and mail
• The deadline for proposals submission is September 30, 2017.
• Authors will be notified of acceptance on or before October 20, 2017.
• Further information about WOCMES-5 is available at http://www.tresculturas.org/wocmes18/