Northwestern Events Calendar


MENA Monday Night at the Evanston Public Library. Workers and Thieves: Labor Movements and Popular Uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt — Joel Beinin

When: Monday, April 3, 2017
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM CT

Where: Community Meeting Room (First Floor), Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave., Evanston, IL 60201

Audience: Public

Cost: Free

Contact: Danny Postel  

Group: Middle East and North African Studies

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Since the 1990s, the Middle East has experienced an upsurge of wildcat strikes, sit-ins, and workers' demonstrations. Well before people gathered in Tahrir Square to demand the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, workers had formed one of the largest oppositional movements to authoritarian rule in Egypt. In Tunisia, years prior to the 2011 Arab uprisings, the unemployed chanted in protest, "A job is a right, you pack of thieves!"

Despite this history, most observers have failed to acknowledge the importance of workers in the social ferment preceding the removal of Egyptian and Tunisian autocrats and in the political realignments after their demise. In Workers and Thieves, Joel Beinin corrects this by surveying the efforts and impacts of the workers' movements in Egypt and Tunisia since the 1970s. He argues that the 2011 uprisings in these countries—and, importantly, their vastly different outcomes—are best understood within the context of these repeated mobilizations of workers and the unemployed over recent decades.

Joel Beinin is Professor of Middle East History at Stanford University. His many books include Workers and Thieves: Labor Movements and Popular Uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt (2015), Social Movements, Mobilization, and Contestation in the Middle East and North Africa (2013), The Struggle for Worker Rights in Egypt (2010), Workers and Peasants in the Modern Middle East (2001),and The Dispersion of Egyptian Jewry: Culture, Politics, and the Formation of a Modern Diaspora (1998).

This event is part of the MENA Monday Night series, a partnership between Northwestern's MENA Program and th Evanston Public Library aimed at improving the public's understanding of the MENA region and allowing space for questions and discussion.

Registration is not required, but helps us plan our seating. You may register with the Evanston Public Library online or by calling the Reference Desk at 847-448-8630.

Copies of the book will be available for sale and Professor Beinin will be happy to sign copies.

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