[URBANTH-L] CFP: Workers' Struggles and Nationalist Movements in the Arab World

Nadji KHAOUA workersnationalism at gmail.com
Wed Jul 30 16:42:35 EDT 2008

Dear Colleagues,

We invite you to submit abstracts on "Workers' Struggles and Nationalist
Movements in the Arab World, 1900-present" before 1 September 2008.

We are directing a workshop on this theme at the Tenth Mediterranean
Research Meeting which will take place near Florence (Italy) on 25 –28 March

You will find the workshop abstract below:

Workers' movements present a problematic when considered internationally, as
their context has been defined by national liberation in the Middle East and
across North Africa. When workers carried out strikes in colonized areas,
sustained agitation against the managers of the enterprises that hired them
meant indigenous workers' struggles for better wages, safer working
conditions, and more secure contracts were seldom simply for their own
well-being. Migrant workers' protests also fueled larger national
liberation movements by defining inclusive national communities and
articulating progressive directions for such communities.

So how do we assess the significance of the strikes that took place outside
what have now become postcolonial states? Calling for acknowledgement of the
colonial-era split (both in the theoretical realm of law and the practical
realm of political institutions) between metropolitan and indigenous
workers, and recognizing that the movement's history exceeds both
institutional histories of labor unions and political parties, this workshop
addresses labor and affiliated issues both in a comparative framework and

Since transfers of populations--whether for labor, military
service, settlement, or in response to induced
environmental disasters--characterized colonialism, many Arabs from
colonized parts of West Asia and North Africa worked as émigrés in the
various métropoles. We propose to address the link between labor and
national liberation bridging across the national histories that have
fragmented common aspects of modern Arab experience. Furthermore, we seek
to address labor and nation with the inclusiveness of new social
movements, since workers developed strategic alliances with
other organizations and political interests (whether miners from
Algeria, dock workers in Aden, or Palestinian factory workers) to strengthen
and broaden collective consciousness across gender and class.
A detailed workshop description (and instructions for submission)
is available at:


More information about the URBANTH-L mailing list