Book Talk: Charity in Saudi Arabia: Civil Society under Authoritarianism (CUP 2022)

Nora Derbal Discussion

Colleagues in London and beyond! I'll be doing a book talk on May 23 at 6-7:30 pm BST at King's College London, Strand Campus. I'll be discussing my monograph, Charity in Saudi Arabia: Civil Society under Authoritarianism (Cambridge University Press, 2022).

This talk is about Saudi civil society, about politics 'from below' and 'everyday Islam' in Saudi Arabia. The book investigates non-profit organisations dedicated to the fight against poverty in Jeddah and their struggle to improve the lives of marginalized communities. With the zakat considered one of the five pillars of Islam, non-profit organisations have enjoyed relative freedom and legitimacy under the umbrella of charity, which has enabled all kinds of activism. By following those social workers, philanthropists and social activists, who engage on the ground for the poor and needy of the kingdom, the book sketches a rich ethnography of community activism and the inner workings of Saudi society. The research explains how Saudis and non-Saudis in Saudi Arabia find in Islam a worldly guide and ethical frame that is often at odds with religious officialdom.

I hope that some of you can join us!