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Sponsored by the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
This event is organized in collaboration with the University of Illinois Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC.
Funded with support from the U.S. Dept. of Education Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Languages (UISFL) Program Grant.
Co-sponsored by the Center for African Studies and the Center for Global Studies.
Nouri Gana is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature & Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is the author of Signifying Loss: Toward a Poetics of Narrative Mourning, and the editor of The Making of the Tunisian Revolution: Contexts, Architects, Prospects and of The Edinburgh Companion to the Arab Novel in English. His Melancholy Acts: Defeat and Cultural Critique in the Arab World will be published next year by Fordham University Press.
Laryssa Chomiak is a political scientist, Director of the Centre d’Etudes Maghrébines à Tunis (CEMAT), and Associate Fellow at Chatham House in London, and co-founder with Jillian Schwedler of the Sidi Bou Said School of Critical Protest Studies. She is author of a book manuscript titled Archipelagos of Dissent: Protest and Politics in Tunisia. Most recently, she was a visiting researcher at the German Development Institute’s (DIE) Middle East Program in Bonn, has lectured at the University of Tunis, and worked comparative African research programs on political violence, transitional justice and societal peace. Her work has appeared as book chapters and journal articles in Middle East Law and Governance, The Journal of North African Studies, Portal 9, and Middle East Report. Dr. Chomiak has received research fellowships from the Fulbright Commission (Morocco), the International Research and Exchange Board (IREX/Ukraine) and the American Institute for Maghrib Studies (AIMS/Tunisia). She is a member of the advisory board of Middle East Law and Governance, a member of the Steering Committee of the Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS), and a member of the Columbia University-based Special Commission on Ethics and Social Science Research in the Middle East and North Africa. Her opinion analyses and essays have appeared in the Monkey Cage/Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor and for the Middle East Institute.
Laryssa Chomiak will talk about the structural conditions (historical-political as well as socio-economic) under which July 25th occurred.
Fadhel Kaboub is an associate professor of economics at Denison University, and the president of the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity. He has also held research affiliations with the Levy Economics Institute, the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and the Economic Research Forum. He is an expert on Modern Monetary Theory, the Green New Deal, and the Job Guarantee. His work focuses on public policies to enhance monetary and economic sovereignty in the Global South, build resilience, and promote equitable and sustainable prosperity. His academic work has been published in the Journal of Economic Issues, Review of Keynesian Economics, Review of Radical Political Economics, Review of Social Economy, International Journal of Political Economy, and International Labour Review. His recent work has been featured in the New York Times, Financial Times, Bloomberg, Le Monde, France 24, and CGTN. You can follow him on Twitter @FadhelKaboub and @GISP_Tweets
Fadhel Kaboub argues that Tunisia's transition to democracy was doomed to fail because it neglected the structural economic reforms that were at the center of social discontent with the Ben Ali regime. None of the post-2011 administrations was able to replace the economic engine that produced mass unemployment, poverty, inequality, and socio-economic exclusion. Instead, they all attempted to fire up the same old neoliberal economic engines (exports, tourism, foreign direct investment, remittances, and financial liberalization) that produced these problems in the first place. The culmination of this failed economic model comes in the form of crushing external debt, a weaker dinar, and rising levels of inflation. While corruption and abusive market power exacerbate these problems, it would be foolish to assume that a less corrupt and more competitive market will automatically fix all of Tunisia's problems. This is what Kais Saied seems to believe. Will his anti-corruption campaign be complemented by structural economic reforms? Does he have a comprehensive economic vision to enhance Tunisia's economic and monetary sovereignty? Does he have structural economic reforms that will end Tunisia's external debt cycle? These are some of the critical questions that he will address in this presentation.