Historically, following factors have caused the current chaotic situation, corruption, dictatorship, weakness of civil society and crisis in Muslim societies in the Middle East.
1. Resistance to religious reforms, and integration of religion and state.
2. Failure in nation-state building, a prerequisite for modern society.
3. Imported modernity. Modern civilization was a homegrown development in the West, but it was viewed as an alien phenomenon in Muslim societies.
Modernity was introduced to Muslim societies in late 19th century. Prior to that, collective identity in these societies was built based on ethnicity or/and two elements of nationality such as Arab, Iranian, Turkish …, and Islam as the dominant religion. Modern values became the third dimension of cultural identity of more prosperous part of population, and adversely caused mental distress and cultural conflict in more traditional and economically deprived part of society. The latter as a social base has served religious fundamentalists to demand regressive changes and an illusionary Islamic society.
To end the cultural identity crisis, Iran was dragged into a revolution in 1979 and Egypt into continuous religious movements and eventually the fall and return of dictatorship. The unleashed violence in other countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and Libya could similarly be analyzed along with tribal conflicts. Foreign intervention has always played a major role in the crisis.
When society enters into a crisis, only a structural change may resolve it. Is the Middle East ready for a structural change?
Note: Attendance to this event is FREE to all AIAP members and also students.
About the speaker: Dr. Kazem Alamdari
Dr. Kazem Alamdari received his Ph. D. in sociology from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urban, his MA in Educational Administration from Illinois State University, and his BS from the University of Tehran in Psychology. He has taught at various universities, including UCLA, CSULA, and CSUN. Alamdari has published five books and numerous articles in English and Persian, including:
1. Civil Society: Theories, Contexts, and Experiences, 2015;
2. Why the Reform Failed: A Critical Study of the Eight Year Reform Era in Iran: 1997-2005, 2008;
3. Why the Middle East Lagged Behind: The Case of Iran 2004;
4. The Global Crisis: A Critique of the Clash of Civilizations and Dialogue Among Civilizations, 2003; and
5. a best seller that reached to 18th edition Why Iran Lagged Behind and the West Moved Forward, 2000 – 2014.
His latest articles include: “Global Civil-Society Movements: What the World Social Forum Can Do to Change the World’s Situation,” Sociology and Criminology, 2014, 2:2. His article “Religion and Development Revisited: Comparing Islam and Christianity with Reference to the Case of Iran,” in the Journal of Developing Societies, London: Sage, Vol 20 (1-2), has been one of “The 50 Most-Frequently-Read Articles” in five years, reaching number 2 in January 2005. Alamdari was the recipient of a fellowship from the Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS) in Japan, Kyushu University in 1997. As a public intellectual, he is frequently featured in the media and presents lectures at national and international conferences in different parts of the world.
6:00 pm - 6:45 pm - Dinner and Networking (Dinner will not be served after 6:45pm)
7:00 pm - 7:40 pm - Short Presentation and music
7:40 pm - 8:00 pm - Break and Networking
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm - Lecture and Q&A
Please note that all Non-RSVP attendees will be charged $5 extra for dinner.