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Visiting Speaker - Dr Ross Porter, IAIS

"No one represents us!" Revolution and the Crisis of Politics in Yemen"

This lecture will present that findings of long-term ethnographic fieldwork at the heart of the recent revolution in Yemen, tracing the history of the event from 2011 to the current civil war.

Event details

By drawing attention to the moral dimension of revolutionary life, this talk seeks to challenge the assumption that “political crisis” signals the end, or failure, of revolution.  From the outset of the Yemeni Revolution, a radical egalitarian ethos fuelled a deep-seated mistrust for political parties, representation and institutionalisation.  Rival groups accused one another of seeking to hijack the revolution and deprive “the people” of its will.  Attempts to reach a unified agreement have continually failed, with different groups accusing one another of self-interest.  In this lecture, I argue that that the ideal of containing power within the imaginary of “the people” motivated a fundamental mistrust for “the political” in Yemen.  Safeguarding against the concentration of power around elite interests inspired the revolutionaries to continually diffuse power and even preempt the possibility of a political solution.

Ross Porter is a newly-appointed Research Fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter.  He received his PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge in 2015, writing a thesis based on ethnographic research conducted within the revolutionary encampment known as Change Square in Sana’a.  Prior to coming to Exeter, he held a research fellowship at the University of Zurich, and was a visiting scholar at Harvard University.  He is currently working on an ethnographic monograph of the Yemeni Revolution.

Ross_Porter___A4_Notice.pdf (522K)


IAIS Building/LT1