Arab Spring Expert to Speak

The lecture, which will examine the Arab Spring phenomena, is hosted by the USF Humanities Institute.


Special to USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 25, 2013) – Tamara Sonn, one of the nation’s foremost experts on the Arab Spring phenomena that swept through North Africa and the Middle East beginning in late 2010, will be a featured speaker Wednesday as part of the University of South Florida’s Humanities Institute lecture series.


Sonn, the Kenan Professor of Religion and Professor of Humanities at the College of William and Mary, will be speaking on: The Arab Spring: Democracy’s Difficult Birth in the Middle East.


The talk will begin at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 30 in the auditorium at the Patel Center for Global Solutions (CGS), with a reception and book signing to follow.


Sonn 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 her work has been funded by United States Institute of Peace and the American Council of Learned Societies.


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