the fire these times

73/ 1958: Re-imagining a Revolutionary Year in Revolutionary Times (with Jeffrey Karam)

This is a conversation with Jeffrey Karam. He’s Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Lebanese American University and an associate at Harvard’s Middle East Initiative.

He’s also the editor of the book “The Middle East in 1958: Reimagining a Revolutionary Year“, the topic of our conversation.

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Topics Discussed:

  • What was so special about 1958? Its legacy in the Middle East and the world
  • The formation of the short-lived United Arab Republic (between Egypt and Syria), the Iraq revolution, the attempted coup in Jordan, the slide towards more authoritarianism in Iran, the clash between the princes in Saudi Arabia, the collapse of the fourth republic in France etc
  • The internationalization of the region and the role of the great powers (US, UK, France, USSR)
  • History as non-linear, connecting different threads
  • Authoritarianism in the region and the role of the big powers
  • Asking ‘what ifs’ in thinking about history
  • 1957 in Lebanon (the rigged elections with US support) and the 1958 events
  • A look into the debates on decolonization, revolutionary nationalism, internationalism, post-colonialism, imperialism, anti-imperialism and state formation
  • Lessons from 1958 for the present day, the example of Iraq
  • How hope is linked to the understanding of time
  • Upcoming book: The Lebanon Uprising of 2019: Voices from the Revolution, co-edited with Rima Majed
  • Learning about revolutions in revolutionary times

Book recommendations

Resources mentioned/that are relevant

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Music by Tarabeat.

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