Event Title

Making Modernity in Saudi Arabia: Technology, Territory, and Global Networks of Control

Location

King Building 243

Start Date

4-27-2018 11:00 AM

End Date

4-27-2018 12:20 PM

Abstract

As states attempt to frame themselves as modern, what price do civilians pay? For centuries, the Middle East has been framed by Western writers as a homogenous and pre-modern region, dominated by tribal dynamics and structurally immune to globalization. While a large amount of this rhetoric has dissipated, academics, politicians, and the media continue to stress the exceptional nature of Saudi Arabia’s relationship to modernity. The Kingdom is often framed as a site of paradox, at once authoritarian and neoliberal, integrated within the international community through global flows of capital while remaining domestically repressive. Through situating Saudi Arabia’s current political environment within global networks of technological and territorial control, this project aims to destabilize conceptions of Saudi Arabian exceptionalism and highlight the way liberal democracies enable authoritarianism.

Keywords:

urban development, modernization, Middle East studies

Notes

Session I, Panel 3 - Political | Confrontations
Moderator: Zeinab Abul-Magd, Associate Professor of History and Chair of International Studies

Major

Politics

Advisor(s)

Mike Parkin, Politics

Project Mentor(s)

Sarah El-Kazaz, Politics
Mike Parkin, Politics
Zeinab Abul-Magd, History

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Apr 27th, 11:00 AM Apr 27th, 12:20 PM

Making Modernity in Saudi Arabia: Technology, Territory, and Global Networks of Control

King Building 243

As states attempt to frame themselves as modern, what price do civilians pay? For centuries, the Middle East has been framed by Western writers as a homogenous and pre-modern region, dominated by tribal dynamics and structurally immune to globalization. While a large amount of this rhetoric has dissipated, academics, politicians, and the media continue to stress the exceptional nature of Saudi Arabia’s relationship to modernity. The Kingdom is often framed as a site of paradox, at once authoritarian and neoliberal, integrated within the international community through global flows of capital while remaining domestically repressive. Through situating Saudi Arabia’s current political environment within global networks of technological and territorial control, this project aims to destabilize conceptions of Saudi Arabian exceptionalism and highlight the way liberal democracies enable authoritarianism.