Northwestern Events Calendar


Webinar: Watermelon Democracy: Egypt’s Turbulent Transition (Joshua Stacher)

When: Monday, May 11, 2020
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM CT

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: FREE and open to the public

Contact: Danny Postel  

Group: Middle East and North African Studies

Category: Lectures & Meetings, Academic, Global & Civic Engagement


Please join the MENA Program and the Evanston Public Library for this FREE webinar with the political scientist Joshua Stacher, author of the new book Watermelon Democracy: Egypt's Turbulent Transition.

In Egypt, something that fails to live up to its advertised expectations is often called a watermelon: a grand promise that later turns out to be empty talk. The political transition in Egypt after protests overthrew Husni Mubarak in 2011 is one such watermelon.

In this webinar, political scientist Joshua Stacher will examine the uprising and its aftermath to show how the country’s new ruling incumbents deferred the democratic dreams of the people of Egypt. At the same time, he will lay out the circumstances that gave the army’s well-armed and well-funded institution an advantage against its citizens during and after Egypt’s turbulent transition.

Stacher will outline the ways in which Egypt’s military manipulated the country’s empowering uprising into a nightmare situation that now counts as the most repressive period in Egypt’s modern history. In particular, Stacher will chart the opposition dynamics during uprisings, elections, state violence, and political economy to show the multiple ways autocratic state elites try to construct a new political regime on the ashes of a discredited one. Stacher will confront the totality of the military-led counterrevolution and illuminate why Egyptians rightfully feel they ended up living in a watermelon democracy.

Joshua Stacher is Associate Professor of Political Science at Kent State University. His scholarship focuses on politics, state violence, protests, mobility, and social movements in the Middle East and North Africa. He is the author of Adaptable Autocrats: Regime Power in Egypt and Syria (Stanford University Press, 2012) and Watermelon Democracy: Egypt's Turbulent Transition (published in Spring 2020 in the Syracuse University Press series The Modern Intellectual and Political History of the Middle East).

He is a regular contributor to and a former editorial committee member of MERIP's Middle East Report. He is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Middle East Studies (IJMES) and serves on the Middle East Studies Association's Committee on Academic Freedom. Stacher has made media appearances and written commentary for NPR, CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, Foreign Affairs, Jadaliyya, and The New York Times, among others. He is also a founding member of the Northeast Ohio Consortium on Middle East Studies (NOCMES), which focuses on public education in Northeast Ohio.

This event is part of the MENA Monday Night series, a partnership between Northwestern's MENA Program and the Evanston Public Library aimed at expanding the public’s understanding of the MENA region and fostering a forum for questions and dialogue.

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Meeting ID: 915 4237 9657
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