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Brothers Behind Borders


Nov 08 2019


12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


Forum for Scholars and Publics

011 Old Chemistry Building, Duke's West Campus Quad

Brothers Behind Borders

Brothers Behind Borders: Islamism and Nationalism in the Middle East

A Talk by Abdullah Al-Arian

In the wake of the 2010-2011 Arab Spring uprisings and the emergence of Islamist parties as leading political actors in the post-authoritarian transitions, Western analyses were teeming with predictions that not only would groups like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and similar movements in other Arab countries sweep to power in their respective states, but that they would come together to form a unified front of Islamist-led governments from Morocco to Yemen. This paper seeks to interrogate the logic behind such analyses by challenging long-held assumptions regarding the relationship between Islamism and nationalism. It argues in favor of a historical approach that traces the process by which Islamist movements effectively localized what was once a universalist mission with a strong transnational component. By recasting Islamist movements as thoroughly nationalist actors operating within clearly defined political and sociocultural boundaries, we can better understand their posture in relation to domestic and regional developments. The diverging experiences of Islamist actors in the cases of Sudan and Tunisia, including their ideological formation, social mobilization, and political contestation, clearly demonstrate the impact of nationalist realities on the evolution of Islamism.

This event is free and open to the public. Light lunch provided. Organized by the Duke University Middle East Studies Center. Co-sponsored by the Islamic Studies Center and the Forum for Scholars and Publics at Duke University.


Abdullah Al-Arian

Georgetown University in Qatar

Abdullah Al-Arian is an associate professor of History at Georgetown University in Qatar. He received his doctorate in History from Georgetown University, where he wrote his dissertation on the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt during the decade of the 1970s. He received his Master’s degree in Sociology of Religion from the…...

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