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Alternative Sources and Perspectives on Kuwait's History and Sociology

This workshop seeks to revisit the history of the processes of state- and nation-building, as seen through the eyes of those excluded or marginalized from the current tropes of studies on Kuwait.

Event details

Early seminal scholarship has mostly focused on elite actors of the urban core, connected to imperial power centres, and was produced against the theoretical background of all-prevailing modernism. As a result, it has neglected alternative perspectives from the periphery and margins, and downplayed the role of wider transnational connections and circulations.
This event would like to propose a critical reflection on the historiography of Kuwait, presenting studies that focus on subaltern visions or actors unaccounted for in the usual Gulf sociology, explore vanished and transient places and/or make creative use of innovative methods investigating oral history, material culture and literary Arabic sources.


9:30 ⎼ 10:00: Coffee/Tea

10:00 ⎼ 10:15: Welcome and Rationale

10:15 ⎼ 11:30: Panel 1: Alternative Sources
Beyond Sheikhs and Merchants: The Role of the ‘Ulama and Pearl Divers at the Beginning of the 20th Century
Abdulrahman Alebrahim, Independent Researcher
Bridging Domestic and International Politics: Local Sources and an Alternative Understanding of Kuwait’s Foreign Policy
Wafa Alsayed, London School of Economics

11:30 ⎼ 11:45: Coffee/Tea Break

11:45 ⎼ 13:00: Panel 2: Transnational Circulations
Invisible Histories: Social Movements, Contesting Colonialism, Kuwait 1900-1948
Kanwal Abdulhameed, University of Exeter
Forgotten Agents of Modernisation: The Muthaqqafīn in Kuwait
Talal Al-Rashoud, London School of Economics/ Kuwait University

13:00 ⎼ 14:00: Lunch

14:00 ⎼ 15:30: Panel 3: Alternative Voices and Spaces
The Representations of Neglected Spaces in the Works of Bidun Writers
Tareq AlRabei, Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST), Kuwait
Kuwait as an Unhomely Home in the Eyes of its Diasporic Migrant Communities
Nadeen Dakkak, University of Warwick
Chicken Thieves and Space Travellers: History, Migration and Citizenship in the Kuwaiti Theatre
Faisal Hamadah, Queen Mary University of London

15:30 ⎼ 15:45: Coffee/Tea Break

15:45 ⎼ 16:45: Theatre Screening and Discussion
Extracts from Petrol Station (2017) by Sulayman Al-Bassam

16:45 ⎼ 17:00: Plenary and Concluding Remarks


Reed Hall