The Place of Religion After the Uprisings

It is often noted that the Arab uprisings of 2011 were not started by Islamists, but that these groups were often their initial beneficiaries given their long-standing grassroots presence and their ability to effectively organise for elections. Yet ten years on from the initial openings, the political landscape has changed almost beyond recognition, with Islamists decidedly on the backfoot alongside the emergence of new secular voices that would like to see religious politics consigned to the history books.

Speaker biographies:

Dr Shadi Hamid, senior fellow, Brookings Institution; contributing writer, The Atlantic

Dr. Shadi Hamid is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a contributing writer at The Atlantic, and founding editor of Wisdom of Crowds. He is the author of Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam is Reshaping the World, which was shortlisted for the 2017 Lionel Gelber Prize for best book on foreign affairs, and co-editor of Rethinking Political Islam. His first book Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in a New Middle East was named a Foreign Affairs Best Book of 2014. In 2019, Hamid was named one of the world’s top 50 thinkers by Prospect magazine. He received his B.S. and M.A. from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and his DPhil in politics from Oxford University.

Dr. Nadia Oweidat, as Assistant Professor at Kansas State University and Senior Middle East Fellow at New America Foundation.

My research focuses on the history, culture, and politics of the modern Middle East and North Africa region as well as the intellectual history of Islamic thought.

My doctoral research examined obstacles to reforming Islamic thought in the second half of the twentieth century. While I include the arguments of various intellectuals and thinkers, my case study was the Egyptian scholar, Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd (1943-2010).

My current book project examines individuals who are attempting to challenge extremist thought and Islamic theology through social media. The rise of the internet and social media has made available information and texts, including historical texts not previously readily available . My book, in detailing these changes through case studies, narratives, and quantitative research, argues that the impact of these technological developments is analogous to that of the Reformation and the printing press in Europe.