Friday, 13. January 2023, 19:00-21:00
The production of history is premised on the selective erasure of certain pasts and the artifacts that stand witness to them. From the elision of archival documents to the demolition of sacred and secular spaces, each act of destruction is also an act of state building. Following the 1991 Gulf War, political elites in Saudi Arabia pursued these dual projects of historical commemoration and state formation with greater fervor to enforce their postwar vision for state, nation, and economy. Seeing Islamist movements as the leading threat to state power, they sought to de-center religion from educational, cultural, and spatial policies. This book talk explores the increasing secularization of the postwar Saudi state and how it manifested in assembling a national archive and reordering urban space in Riyadh and Mecca.
Rosie Bsheer is Associate Professor of History at Harvard University, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on oil and empire, social and intellectual movements, urban history, political economy, and the historiography of the modern Middle East. Rosie is a board member of the journal Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East(CSSAME), Associate Producer of the 2007 Oscar-nominated film My Country, My Country, and a co-editor of Jadaliyya E-zine. Rosie received her Ph.D. in History from Columbia University (2014), after which she taught at Yale University for four years.