The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy & International Affairs at AUB
In co-sponsorship with The Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies
Cordially invite you to a lecture:
Electrifying the History of Lebanon:
Public Utilities and Popular Protests in the Wake of Independence
Ziad M. Abu-Rish
Affiliated Scholar at the Issam Fares Institute
and Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Ohio University
Friday, October 7th, 2016 | 12:00 - 2:00pm
Issam Fares Institute Conference Room (4th floor)
AUB (Green Oval)
The main purpose of this presentation is to highlight the ways in which public utilities constituted one of the central arenas of the struggles over the organization of the political economy of early independence Lebanon. It does so by tracing popular and elite mobilizations around the predominantly French-owned Sharikat Kahruba’ Bayrut (Société Électricité de Beyrouth–EDB). The EDB owned the exclusive rights to develop and operate both electric current and tramlines in Beirut. The pricing, quality of service, and ownership structure of public utilities—such as those the EDB provided—were a contentious issue in the period shortly after independence. These struggles first resulted in direct state intervention to lower the prices of electric utility rates (1952), and subsequently the nationalization of the EDB (1954). The analysis is developed through a close reading of press reports, ministerial documents, company memos, development treatises, and oral history interviews. The narrative of these mobilizations and their outcomes sheds light on the historical legacies of state building, economic development, and social mobilizations that long preceded both the civil war and the contentious debates around the nature of post-war reconstruction.
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This even is free and open to the public.
Note: This event will be in English.