Call for papers / Conference: « The Middle East c.1960-1980 – Global and Transnational Perspectives », St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, 5 March 2021 — LIMITE : 30/07/2020

The Middle East c.1960-1980 – Global and Transnational Perspectives

Conference: 5 March 2021

St Antony’s College, University of Oxford

Supported by Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute

In recent years the “global 1960s” and the “global 1970s” have been the focus of much interest, popular as well as scholarly, but this interest has largely concerned itself with western Europe and the USA. This conference seeks to integrate the Middle East into the global perspectives used to understand these two decades. It intends to re-examine the history of the Middle East in the two decades roughly bracketed by the years 1960 and 1980, a period which represented the high point across the region of a political radicalism which was profoundly global in character. Symbolically inaugurated by Che Guevara’s visit to Gaza in 1959, and closed by the consolidation of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the early 1980s, and the Lebanon war, the siege of Beirut and the eviction of the PLO from Beirut in 1982, this period was saturated both by the discourses of revolution and anti-imperialism and by actual upheavals in the world of concrete politics. The many landmarks of these years included events such as the victory of Algerian independence in 1962 following a long war with France, the launch of the Palestine revolution, the establishment of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen following a long war with Britain, the overthrow of the monarchy in Libya in 1969, the rebellion in Dhofar between 1962-76, and the Iranian revolution of 1977-1979. In addition to such major transformations, these years also saw serial popular interventions in politics, sustained labour activism and the formation of leftist organizations, including in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies. By the mid-late-1970s, however, these political and ideological trends were already faltering, reflecting a global trend. This eventually resulted in a widespread disillusionment which, although at first taking place largely under the radar, accelerated rapidly, eventually succumbing to the rise of an ideological and political challenge in the specific form of Islamic activism and a generalized acceptance of neo-liberalism.

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