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Roger Owen


New Texts Out Now: Roger Owen, The Rise and Fall of Arab Presidents for Life

[Cover of Roger Owen,

Roger Owen, The Rise and Fall of Arab Presidents for Life. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Roger Owen (RO): I was intrigued by news reports from Algeria in the spring of 2009 stating that President Abdel-Aziz Bouteflika of Algeria was going to amend the constitutional term limits in order to allow him become, in effect, president life, as Ben Ali and other Arab republican presidents had done before him. This led me ...

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Year One of the Egyptian Revolution: Some Lessons

[Protesters in Tahrir square. Image from Hossam el-Hamalawy Archive.]

Revolutions, as students of the French and the Russian ones know well, require an inflammatory event, something that Vladimir Lenin described as a spark (the name of his newspaper in Russian): something which poor Mr. Bouazizi provided in Tunisia and the confrontation with the armed security police in Cairo a month later. Sparks unleash an unruly momentum in which more and more people are involved on both sides, some as active revolutionaries determined to root out all ...

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Roger Owen

Roger Owen is currently the A. J. Meyer Professor of Middle East History at Harvard University and a former director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the same university. He previously taught Middle East political and economic history at Oxford University, where he was also many times the Director of the St Antony's College Middle East Centre. His books include Cotton and the Egyptian Economy, The Middle East in the World Economy: 1800-1914, and State, Power and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East (3rd revised edition, 2004). He is also the co-author (with Sevket Pamuk) of A History of the Middle East Economies in the Twentieth Century. He has written a biography of Evelyn Baring, the first Lord Cromer, Lord Cromer: Victorian Imperialist, Edwardian Proconsul, which was published by Oxford University Press in January 2004. His most recent book is The Rise and Fall of Arab Presidents for Life, published by Harvard University Press in May 2012. He has written a regular column for the Arabic newspaper, Al-Hayat, since the late 1980s.