Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow
Kanwal is an inter-disciplinary historian with a background in Middle East Studies. She completed her Phd at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Affairs (IAIS) University of Exeter, UK, where she was a member of the Gulf Studies department and the European Centre for Palestine Studies (ECPS). Between March and September 2023, Kanwal will be based in Beirut as a visiting postdoctoral fellow at the OIB.
Her work is broadly about peoples’ histories of the modern Gulf (read through its entanglements with the region at large) and critical methods in historiography. It focusses on mid-20th century national, anti-colonial and leftist movements in the Gulf, working beyond the colonial archive to situate lived experience at the heart of knowledge production on and understandings of the region. She has worked as a researcher at the Middle East Centre, London School of Economics (LSE), on the social life of climate change in Kuwait, and as a post-graduate teaching assistant and course co-convener at IAIS, University of Exeter.
During her stay at the OIB Kanwal will be developing her PhD thesis into a book manuscript. She will also be conducting fieldwork for an article on Beirut as a ‘nodal city’ (Ma’asri: 2020) in the age of anti-colonialism and revolution.
Spatialisation and Radical Entanglements: Beirut, the Gulf, and Palestine
Beirut as a ‘nodal city’ (Ma’asri: 2020) in the age of Anti-colonialism and Revolution, 1950s-1970s.
This project explores Beirut as a “nodal” location (Ma’asri: 2020), a crucial site “connected to regional processes of decolonization” over the long 1960s, and through its links with the Gulf.
It draws on cultural production (periodicals, movement materials) and focusses on the radical subjectivity being developed. These materials are analysed as an important ‘site’ in the development of contestational movements, which themselves identified a ‘cultural front’ as part of their struggle.
The project incorporates this cultural front into an exploration of Beirut itself as a site of entangled networks that are shaping and being shaped through contestational movements, their material and cultural connections and circulations.
“The Quiet Emergency: Experiences and Understandings of Climate Change in Kuwait.” Co-authored with Deen Shariff Sharp, Abrar Alshammari, Kuwait Programme Paper Series, LSE Middle East Centre (13) 2021.
Forthcoming: “Toward a liberation pedagogy” co-authored with Katie Natanel and Amal Khalaf, Kohl Anticolonial Feminisms, Winter 2022.
Forthcoming: “One Struggle, Many Fronts: The National Union of Kuwaiti Students and Palestine”, Eds. Sorcha Thompson & Pelle Olsen, International Solidarity with the Palestinian Revolution (1965-1982), London (IB Tauris: 2022).
Forthcoming: “Where are the Revolutionary Women?”, co-authored with Sara Salem (LSE) for Eds. Sorcha Thompson & Marral Shamshiri-Fard, Revolutionary Internationalist Women. London (Pluto Press, publication date TBC).