Sofia Shwayri

Talk entitled ‘Beirut: the City of Recurring Conflicts’. Since October 2004 Beirut has been rocked by a number of explosions in hitherto relatively safe districts which have targeted politicians, journalists and civilians. This mobile violence was coupled in the summer of 2006 by a war which damaged many of the roads and bridges connecting the various governorates of Lebanon. Damage to Beirut’s urban landscape was further extended by the occupation of protestors of the Central District and ghettoisation and securitisation of whole neighbourhoods. Such activities have reversed 15 years of reconcstruction and stability. Does this process of destruction mark the beginning of a new round of conflict or is Beirut experiencing a new form of violence comparable to New York on 11 September 2001, Madrid on 11 March 2003, and London on 7 July 2005? Sofia Shwayri, a Visiting Fellow in Lebanese Studies at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, earned her BA and MA in Archaeology at the American University of Beirut, and her Ph.D. in architecture from the University of California, Berkley (2003). She worked as a Research Fellow and Lecturer in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Berkeley where her research focused on issues of water and violence manifested in a struggle between regional politics and local demands. She also lectured on Cities and Conflict in the Middle East. Previous to her fellowship at St. Antony’s Sofia worked at the University of New York as Assistant Professor/Fellow at the J.M. Draper Interdisciplinary Master’s Program in Humanities and Social Thought.

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