CFP: [International] Workers' Struggles and Nationalist Movements in the Arab World, 1900-present

full name / name of organization: 
Elizabeth Bishop

Dear Colleagues,

We invite you to submit abstracts on "Workers' Struggles and
Nationalist Movements in the Arab World, 1900-present" before 1
September 2008. We are directing a workshop on this theme at the
Tenth Mediterranean Research Meeting which will take place near
Florence (Italy) on 25 â€"28 March 2009.

We welcome contributions on Arab workers' literature (not limited to
the zajal or colloquial poetry of Egypt), workers in Arab literature
(including such works as Abdelrahman Munif's novel Mudun al-milh), as
well as Arab workers in literature in European languages (such as the
Algerians in William Gardner Smith's novel The Stone Face).

You will find the workshop abstract below:

Workers' movements present a problematic when considered
internationally, as their context has been defined by national
liberation in the Middle East and across North Africa. When workers
carried out strikes in colonized areas, sustained agitation against
the managers of the enterprises that hired them meant indigenous
workers' struggles for better wages, safer working conditions, and
more secure contracts were seldom simply for their own well-being.
Migrant workers' protests also fueled larger national liberation
movements by defining inclusive national communities and articulating
progressive directions for such communities.

So how do we assess the significance of the strikes that took place
outside what have now become postcolonial states? Calling for
acknowledgement of the colonial-era split (both in the theoretical
realm of law and the practical realm of political institutions)
between metropolitan and indigenous workers, and recognizing that the
movement's history exceeds both institutional histories of labor
unions and political parties, this workshop addresses labor and
affiliated issues both in a comparative framework and transnationally.

Since transfers of populations--whether for labor, military service,
settlement, or in response to induced environmental
disasters--characterized colonialism, many Arabs from colonized parts
of West Asia and North Africa worked as émigrés in the various
métropoles. We propose to address the link between labor and national
liberation bridging across the national histories that have fragmented
common aspects of modern Arab experience. Furthermore, we seek to
address labor and nation with the inclusiveness of new social
movements, since workers developed strategic alliances with other
organizations and political interests (whether miners from Algeria,
dock workers in Aden, or Palestinian factory workers) to strengthen
and broaden collective consciousness across gender and class.
A detailed workshop description (and instructions for submission) is
available at:

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Received on Sun Aug 10 2008 - 19:52:06 EDT