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USF to host international expert on “Arab Spring”

TAMPA, Fla. -- From its beginnings at the end of 2010, the “Arab Spring” has inspired both hopes and fears about dramatic social change throughout the Middle East. The USF Humanities Institute will host Tamara Sonn, Ph.D., to speak at the college. The lecture will be at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 30 in the auditorium at the Patel Center for Global Solutions (CGS), with a reception and book signing to follow.

Sonn is one of the nation’s foremost experts and will be speaking on The Arab Spring: Democracy’s Difficult Birth in the Middle East.

Sonn, the Kenan Professor of Religion and Professor of Humanities at the College of William and Mary, has carried out recent research in Libya, Egypt, Jordan and Palestine, following years of research in Pakistan and elsewhere. She notes that understanding the revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East can be a daunting task.

“This presentation will place the revolutions in historic context, demonstrating that the uprisings are only the most recent wave in struggles for good governance that have been ongoing for well over a century,” she said. “Yet each country has a unique profile.”

Her talk will guide the audience through the political, religious and socio-economic challenges that shape Arab struggles for stable, representative governments.

Sonn’s research focuses on Islamic intellectual history and Islam in the contemporary world, and her books include (among others): “Islam: A Brief History” (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010); “The Sage Handbook of Islamic Studies” (2010); “The Religion Toolkit: A Complete Guide to Religious Studies” (with J. Morreall; Wiley-Blackwell, 2011); “Interpreting Islam: Bandali Jawzi's Islamic Intellectual History” (Oxford, 1996), and “Judaism and Islam in Practice” (with J. Neusner and J. Brockopp; Routledge, 2000). She has published many articles and book chapters, and United States Institute of Peace and the American Council of Learned Societies have funded her work.

The talk is co-sponsored by the USF Department of Religious Studies and Research One. For more information, contact Liz Kicak:


Filed under:Arts and Sciences Humanities Institute    
Author: Special to CAS