March 02, 2018
Ali Ahmida, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Political Science, delivered two invited keynote presentations in Tunis, Tunisia, on December 16.
Ahmida gave the first talk, titled “A critical review of the method and theories of tribe and state relations in the Middle East and North Africa: The case of Libya,” at the Center for Social and Economic Research at Tunis University. Addressing both faculty and graduate students, he discussed the role of power in producing orientalist and colonial social science on North Africa and Libya, and he explored the nationalist reaction to the theories and models of tribe and state.
According to Ahmida, the concept of tribe and tribalism is largely fabricated, as most people live in urban areas and have been integrated in the market economy since late 19th century. He proposed a critical assessment of both theories and argued to recover local, civil society or the subaltern voices that were overlooked by both colonial and nationalist theories of change and modernization.
Ahmida’s second presentation, “The struggle over Libyan national symbols,” delivered at the Libya Center for Advanced Studies, focused on a critique of identity politics and a new analysis of the role of symbols in contextualizing modern politics by applying this new analysis to today’s Libyan civil war struggles over the national past, including issues such as national anticolonial leaders, the fight over the flag, religion and the national anthem in Libya during the 20th century.
The talk was posted on Facebook in Arabic and aired four times on the television station Libya Rouh al Watan.
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