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Panel I: Everyday Politics in the Middle East

9:30 am – 10:55 am
Smith Memorial Student Union, room 236

Faculty Discussant: Paul Silverstein, Reed College, Associate Professor of Anthropology

Student Presenters:

  • Mark Frazer, Portland State University, The Struggle for Equality: Palestinian Arabs and the Military Government of Israel, 1948-1967
    + view abstract
    This paper examines how the State of Israel exacerbated internal disagreements between Palestinian Arabs as a means of control and how they sought allies, such as the Druze. The efforts by Israel’s Military Government to fragment Palestinian political activity helped create fractures along class and religious lines, affecting the ability of Palestinian Arabs to offer a cohesive response to Israel’s policies.
  • Monica Parisa Rabii, Portland State University, Non-Ideological Spaces in the Iranian Revolution: The Case of the Tehran Bazaari
    + view abstract
    The merchants of the Tehran Bazaar, or the bazaari, have been continuously and uncritically labelled a “homogeneous” group, one that is defined by its conservative Islamic nature, rooted in outdated market practices, and unwilling to change. This narrative, however, stands in direct opposition to what bazaari political behavior has demonstrated throughout the 20th Century: an ability to survive tumultuous regime changes, eras of economic hardship, and direct government oppression. Tracing the evolution of bazaari political activity from the late Pahlavi era through the first decade of the Islamic Republic of Iran, this paper examines the diversified set of relations the different bazaari classes maintained with the world outside of the bazaar, especially with regards to Iran’s intellectual elite and Islamic clergy, demonstrating how this diversity and capacity to act non-ideologically would allow the bazaari to act as an adhesive between the contrasting ideologies of the Iranian population that opposed the Pahlavi monarchy.
  • Benjamin Torrens, Portland State University, Generations of Revenge 
    + view abstract
    The Palestinian population within the occupied territories, regardless of military incursion, economic sanctions, and internal political struggles, has kept a rapid growth of population since the 1967 war, with a high level of age disparity, with many young people. The research and analysis in this paper approaches and asks the questions of why and how this population has been able to grow at such a rapid pace, and how the population disparity has affected the peace process.
  • Devon Woznack, Portland State University, Institutionalization of Palestinian Refugee Camps in Lebanon
    + view abstract
    Since 1948, the once-temporary camps set up for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have morphed into a permanent part of the Lebanese landscape while the refugees themselves have been held at arm’s length and excluded from Lebanese government and life. As leadership of the camps has changed and the refugees themselves have been alternately empowered and systematically oppressed, the state of the camps has grown ever more institutionalized. Through a careful examination of the many facets of camp and refugee life, this paper seeks to show that the institutionalization of the camps coupled with changes in laws and leadership has resulted in a precarious instability of the camps.

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