Lecture to focus on Islamism and the Arab Spring

Portrait of Asef Bayat, a leading expert on Islam and social movements.

The Arab Spring surprised and impressed many experts and lay observers for their largely civil, peaceful and immensely popular revolutions. But the intense debate was on the nature of these revolutions. Yet, the impressive showing of religious parties in the general elections in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt has reinforced the view of those who feared yet another wave of Islamist fundamentalism in the Arab world.

Do these revolutions herald the entrenchment of Islamist politics in the Middle East? Asef Bayat, a leading expert on Muslim social movements, will address this question in a free lecture at the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at noon, March 5, in West Hall room 135 on the Tempe campus.

Bayat, the coiner of the phrase “post-Islamism,” is the widely regarded author and editor of a number of key books on democratic trends and counter-trends in the Middle East, including “Making Islam Democratic” (2007), “Being Young and Muslim: New Cultural Politics” (2010) and “Life as Politics: How Ordinary People Change the Middle East” (2010).

Bayat, currently serving as the inaugural holder of the Aga Khan Visiting Professor of Islamic Humanities at Brown University, is a professor of sociology and Middle East studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to joining the University of Illinois, Bayat was the director of the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) and the chair of the program in Society and Culture of the Modern Middle East at Leiden University in Amsterdam from 2003-2010. Before that, he taught sociology and Middle East studies at the American University in Cairo.

In addition to his teaching and writing, Bayat has also served on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Development and Change, ISIM Review, Middle East Report, Middle East Critique, Eutopia, and Cairo Papers in Social Science.

Bayat’s lecture is part of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict’s “Conversations at the Center” series, which features leading academics whose theoretical and substantive work on the dynamics of religion and conflict cuts across multiple disciplines. The faculty of religious studies in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies is co-sponsoring the event.

For more information, see http://csrc.asu.edu/. Tickets are not required to attend this event.