Drawing in part on research in the SSRC’s archives, Pete Millwood’s essay tells the story of how, in the 1970s,…
A decade after the 2011 Yemeni revolution, Yemen enters its seventh year in a civil-and-proxy war that has caused a severe humanitarian crisis with millions of Yemenis suffering from famine, facing internal displacement, and depending on humanitarian aid. In this essay, Nathalie Peutz reflects on the changing desires of marginalized Yemenis who, during the revolution, had protested for full citizenship rights, but now in wartime seek refugee status. As refugees describe experiencing more rights in camps than they once had in Yemen, Peutz argues that “refugee” has transformed into an ascendant status, capturing the “hopes and disappointments” of postrevolution Yemen.
Through the lens of Egypt’s “Spirit of Tahrir Square” ten years on, Yasmin Moll reflects on the intersection of Islam and creative arts, as it connects to the way Egyptians give meaning to their public and private lives and consider a “New Egypt.” Rather than proclaim that something is singularly “Islamic” or “creative” or “revolutionary,” it is more meaningful, Moll argues, to consider the shifting categories—these thick concepts—and the impact these shifts have on Egyptian lives.
A decade after the uprisings that saw the end of dictatorship in Tunisia, the promise of democracy remains unfulfilled, particularly for Tunisian women. Examining the dynamics of justice in cases of gender violence, Ola Galal looks at how Tunisian women use social media to challenge the entrenched tendencies to ignore violence against women through online campaigns like #EnaZeda. However, as Galal argues, women in rural areas seldom benefit from these digital mechanisms for redress.
What does tracking the provenance of news stories tell us about authenticity and authentication in international news reporting? In this essay, Alejandro Paz explores sourcing and citational practices and imagines more robust methods for tracing the circulation of news.
SSRC Covid-19 grantees Timwa Lipenga and Hendrina Kachapila’s essay reflects on how governments in Malawi—both British colonial and contemporary independent—have attempted to deal with pandemics. The authors’ research on Spanish flu and smallpox campaigns under colonialism provides important background for understanding Malawi’s response to Covid 19, and how Malawians varyingly follow, resist, or avoid government mandates. A tendency to manage pandemics in a top-down manner, without adequate consultation with everyday people and how they view the nature of illness, is shared by regimes past and present.
The recent re-capturing of state power by the Taliban has led to much speculation of how they will rule Afghanistan. In this essay, Adam Baczko argues that one key part of the answer is to understand how the Taliban governed the rural territories they controlled while insurgents, in particular the judicial system they established. The Taliban courts, run by clerics, in many cases were seen as more legitimate and consistent, and less corrupt, than those set up by the NATO-backed Afghan government. Whether the localized social order that the Taliban created as a rebel group can now be replicated throughout the country as the ruling regime is open to question.
Drawing on interviews with professional social media marketers, Johan Lindquist and Esther Weltevrede break down how the algorithmic infrastructure of platforms such as Instagram shape public understandings of "authentic" politicians, influencers, and businesses.
In poor urban neighborhoods in Nairobi, Kenya, Covid-19 related restrictions have resulted in tremendous economic setbacks for residents. Through their SSRC-funded research, Anders Ese, Kristin Ese, Joseph Mukeku, Benjamin Sidori, and Romola Sanyal interviewed women traders to make connections between Covid-related setbacks, the practices of containment, and assistance provided by authorities. While the women they spoke to recognize that they often suffer unjustly at the hands of local officials, they also show notable support for both the restrictions and the powers that enforce them, helping cement long-standing and inequitable practices.