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homeNewsThe Other Saudis: Shiism, Dissent and Sectarianism

The Other Saudis: Shiism, Dissent and Sectarianism

The Other Saudis: Shiism, Dissent and Sectarianism

The Centre for Academic Shi'a Studies is pleased to announce the launch of its new monthly seminar series in 2016 with a number of distinguished authors from the UK and abroad. These seminars will primarily focus on the Shi'a and Shi'a leadership in the Middle Eastern countries.

The first of seminars will be by Toby Matthiesen, senior reseach fellow at University of Oxford, on Wednesday 13 January 2016 at 18:30. This seminar will focus on Toby's latest book titled "The Other Saudis: Shiism, Dissent and Sectarianism". In his book, Toby Matthiesen traces the politics of the Shi'a in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia from the nineteenth century until the present day. This book outlines the difficult experiences of being Shi'a in a Wahhabi state, and casts new light on how the Shi'a have mobilised politically to change their position. Shi'a petitioned the rulers, joined secular opposition parties and founded Islamist movements. Most Saudi Shi'a opposition activists profited from an amnesty in 1993 and subsequently found a place in civil society and the public sphere. However, since 2011 a new Shi'a protest movement has again challenged the state. The Other Saudis shows how exclusionary state practices created an internal Other and how sectarian discrimination has strengthened Shi'a communal identities. The book is based on little-known Arabic sources, extensive fieldwork in Saudi Arabia and interviews with key activists. Of immense geopolitical importance, the oil-rich Eastern Province is a crucial but little known factor in regional politics and Gulf security.

There will be an opportunity at the end of seminar to purchase the book and have it signed by the author.

Toby Matthiesen gained his doctorate from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in 2011. His thesis won the 2012 APSA (American Political Science Association) Aaron Wildavsky Award for the Best Dissertation on Religion and Politics. Matthiesen is currently a Senior Research Fellow in the International Relations of the Middle East at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford. He was previously a Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is the author of "Sectarian Gulf: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the Arab Spring That Wasn’t" (Stanford University Press, 2013), and "The Other Saudis: Shiism, Dissent and Sectarianism" (Cambridge University Press, 2015). Matthiesen has published in various academic journals and in the mainstream media (The New York Review of Books, Foreign Policy, Middle East Report, The Middle East Journal, International Journal of Middle East Studies and Neue Zürcher Zeitung), and has appeared on major TV and radio networks. He has also worked for the International Crisis Group.


Venue: Al-Khoei Foundation, Chevening Road, London NW6 6TN

Date: 13/1/2016

Time: 18:30

Places are limited. To register please send your name and affiliation to info@shiaresearch.com by Monday 11 January.