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Debate | LUCIS Panel Discussion | Islam in North Africa

A Critical Return to Youth in North Africa

Friday 10 May 2019
Free drinks after; please register
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DP The Hague

How are youth in North Africa faring in the ‘aftermath’ of academic, policy, and media hype that followed 2011? That is to say – from the perspective of the youth themselves – what, if any, has been the impact on their lives of the ebb and flow of post-Arab spring international and regional attention from academic, governance and development actors? What are some of the mundane, structural, and enduring ways in which the struggles faced by youth in these locales remain unaffected by such moments of rupture and upheaval? And how useful if at all is this pre-/post-Arab spring periodization theoretically, methodologically, or thematically?

During this dynamic round-table discussion, the three guest speakers will give brief reactions to these questions based on their field experience and research, and then reflect together on the paradigm and on-the ground changes that are affecting popular, academic, and policy discourses when it comes to youth in North Africa.The aim of this debate is then to engage in a nuanced ‘stock-taking’ of how youth in North Africa are faring in the ‘aftermath’ of academic, policy, and media hype that followed 2011, and shift attention to the complexities and longer-term transformations affecting their daily realities almost 8 years on.



Cristiana Strava is a social anthropologist with a broad interest in urban spaces, economic inequality, and the politics of planning and development regimes in North Africa. Her research looks into how hegemonic power works in mundane ways and through mundane spaces and is particularly preoccupied with documenting and engaging with how marginalized and criminalized communities manage to secure their access to urban space. At Leiden, she teaches about youth cultures and urban spaces in the MENA region, among other things


Charis Boutieri is Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at King’s College London. Her research addresses knowledge production and dissemination in North Africa (Morocco and Tunisia), the imbrication of colonial, nationalist, and international development agendas, language and power, lived democracy and democratization, and citizenship. Her current work focuses on the interaction between democracy promotion and agonistic politics in post-revolutionary Tunisia. 

Meriam Cheikh is currently a Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Her area of expertise is youth, gender and sexuality in urban Morocco. Her work has been concerned with prostitution and intimate economies among underclass Moroccan youth. Her work deals with the sociology of underclass sexuality and intimacy in a national and regional context of hyper moralisation. She focuses on the transformation of Moroccan working-classes and the inter-class relations by looking at distinctive juvenile cultures.

Franziska Fay is a postdoctoral researcher at the Cluster of Excellence ‘Normative Orders’ at Goethe University Frankfurt. Her PhD research explored programs on child protection and corporal punishment in Qur’anic and primary schools in Zanzibar. Her current project looks at reform movements in the Islamic education system in the Archipelago. [While not working on North Africa, Franziska’s work combines fascinating perspectives on international development programs and ethical considerations of working with children in an Islamic context].

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