This talk explores causes for the prominence of sectarian politics through a historical political sociology of the Middle East. Since 2011 various state and non-state actors have used sectarian politics to bolster their support base, delegitimize their political opponents, and seek international alliances. The institutional legacies of Ottoman, French, and British imperial rule, as well as the failure of secular ideologies and the rise of Islamism, have paved the way for the rise of sectarian politics. In modern times two factors are key: “identity entrepreneurs” profiting from strengthened sectarian identities and conflict; and the internationalization of communal conflict. Any attempt to defuse tensions in the region and to stop the spread of sectarian hatred must take into account the historical genealogies and political economies of sectarianism, as well its international dimension.
Simultaneous Arabic interpretation will be provided
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