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Middle East Studies Center Panel Discussion: Revolt and Reform: Electoral Politics in the New North Africa
Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - 7:00pm
Middle East Studies Center Panel Discussion: Revolt and Reform: Electoral Politics in the New North Africa

Smith Memorial Student Union, room 294, 1825 SW Broadway

North Africa is a relatively understudied region in the Muslim world, yet it has been at the center of the Arab Spring. The Jasmine Revolution began in Tunisia in December 2010, leading to the ouster of President Ben Ali and unleashing a wave of popular discontent through the Middle East and beyond. North Africa stands at a crossroads, with Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt holding parliamentary, and in some cases, presidential elections in 2011 and 2012. Yet, the future of reform is uncertain and its results likely to be varied.

Lindsay J. Benstead (Ph.D. 2008, Public Policy and Political Science, University of Michigan--Ann Arbor) is Assistant Professor of Political Science in the School of Government where she teaches courses on Middle East and North African politics and research methods. Her working book project, entitled Legislative Connections: Why Diverse Patterns of Parliamentary Clientelism Stabilize Authoritarian Governance in Arab North Africa, examines the relationship between regime type and the structure of patron-client relationships, bringing these insights to bear on understanding how legislatures strengthen authoritarian regimes and how political transition affects the durability and breakdown of patronage networks. Professor Benstead also examines gender-related dimensions of electoral politics, public opinion, and survey methodology in the Middle East. One of her projects seeks to understand why popular perceptions of women as good political leaders vary across Middle Eastern societies and assesses whether gender quotas affect popular support for gender equality.  Professor Benstead is also working on several papers assessing the impact of interviewer gender and religious dress on attitudes in Moroccan social surveys.

Ellen Lust is Associate Professor of Political Science, Yale University. Her research concerns the dynamics of political opposition, the formation of political institutions, and the links between foreign policy and domestic crisis, focusing on the Middle East. Her articles have appeared in International Interactions, Middle Eastern Studies, and edited volumes.

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Co-sponsored by the Middle East Studies Center, the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government and the Portland Center for Public Humanities

Created in 2000 to take advantage of the synergy of uniting several interdisciplinary units, today the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University is a vibrant, high energy institution with unparalleled opportunities for students and faculty. Located in an award-winning new $40 million building, the Hatfield School offers students the latest in technological capabilities and exposure to a wide variety of courses spanning political science, public administration, and criminal justice. | | 503-725-3921

The Portland Center for the Public Humanities at Portland State University (PCPH)  promotes rigorous humanistic inquiry into the languages, histories, and ideas that shape our ways of life, as well as those that offer a means of positively transforming them.  In our view, the underlying purpose of the core humanistic disciplines is to engage public life by reframing our perspectives, interrogating our assumptions, and raising questions about human thought, history, and culture.  Closely aligned with Portland State’s renowned community engagement mission, PCPH deepens the city of Portland’s intellectually and culturally vibrant life by supporting a rich program of humanist inquiry that can speak to great questions of public interest.  In an age of rapid cultural and social change, PCPH works to preserve the public’s consciousness of its core intellectual traditions, while also openly exploring questions about the value and significance of what is historically new or innovative.

The center seeks to let knowledge serve the Portland community in the most direct possible sense, by providing forums where intellectual inquiry and civic engagement come together. We seek partnerships with all local organizations who share these goals. | | 503-725-9662

The Middle East Studies Center at Portland State University promotes understanding of the people, cultures, languages and religions of the Middle East. As a National Resource Center for Middle East Studies under the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI program, the Center serves as a resource on issues pertaining to the Middle East through activities that reach students and scholars, as well as businesses, educators, and the media. The Middle East Studies Center supports academic conferences, workshops, cultural events, lectures, and a resource library. | | 503-725-4074