Dr. Stephen Zunes is a Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he chairs the program in Middle Eastern Studies. A native of North Carolina, Professor Zunes received his PhD. from Cornell University, his M.A. from Temple University and his B.A. from Oberlin College. He has previously served on the faculty of Ithaca College, the University of Puget Sound, and Whitman College. He serves as a senior policy analyst for the Foreign Policy in Focus project of the Institute for Policy Studies, an associate editor of Peace Review, and chair of the academic advisory committee for the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.
Professor Zunes is the author of scores of articles for scholarly and general readership on Middle Eastern politics, U.S. foreign policy, international terrorism, nuclear nonproliferation, strategic nonviolent action, and human rights. He is the principal editor of Nonviolent Social Movements (Blackwell Publishers, 1999), the author of the highly-acclaimed Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Common Courage Press, 2003) and co-author (with Jacob Mundy) of the forthcoming Western Sahara: War, Nationalism and Conflict Irresolution (Syracuse University Press.)
This event is an installment of the CCAS spring series, 'Revolution in the Long View.'
In January 2011, Tunisia’s authoritarian government was toppled in a populist uprising, and the country has since entered a political transition whose outcome remains uncertain and open-ended. While the full dimensions of Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution remain unknown, the dismantling of the autocratic regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali holds dramatic implications for the Arab regimes and the western governments that support them. Indeed, the specter of anti-authoritarian revolt now looms across the political landscape of the Arab world, from Mauritania to Yemen, as the reverberations of the Jasmine Revolution promise to impact fundamentally the relations between local governing elites and their respective populations. The recent and unfolding developments in Egypt merely confirm that the Jasmine Revolution has transcended the boundaries of Tunisia proper, to lay claim to a broader regional mobilization of democratic aspirations and demands for radical sociopolitical reforms.
The lecture series on 'Revolution in the Arab World: The Long View' proposes a variety of interdisciplinary and long-term perspectives on the local and regional repercussions of the Jasmine Revolution for the Arab world and beyond. By addressing the question of “authoritarianism” both as a thematic and regional issue, the series seeks to interrogate two unfolding aspects of this momentous and complex event. The first has to do with the fluid situation in Tunisia itself as state elites, the military, and emergent non-state actors struggle to define a new balance of power in the country. The second pertains to the wider implications of the Tunisian event, specifically in its challenges to the patterns and operations of Arab authoritarian regimes. Among the thematic questions the series aims to examine and address are: the prospects for Tunisian and Egyptian reformers to institutionalize the achievements of their revolutions; the potential for the Tunisian and Egyptian examples to be repeated in other Arab countries; the comparative vulnerability of Arab authoritarian states to similar popular uprisings, and the various counter-strategies they may employ to resist, contain, or co-opt the momentum of the Tunisian and Egyptian protests?
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