Losing and Restoring a Right to the City: Kuwait's Urban Development Between 1950 and 2014

Event Date: 
Monday, October 20, 2014 -
4:30pm to 6:30pm
Campus Location: 
Room Number: 
Room 257 (Last Minute Change)

A discussion with Dr. Farah Al-Nakib

This colloquium analyzes the impact of state-led urban development in Kuwait after the advent of oil modernization in 1950. Between the 1950s and 1980s, city planning and construction focused more on building a spectacle of Kuwait's modernity and progress than on meeting the needs and desires of the city's inhabitants. Since around 2005, however, various groups in Kuwait —from entrepreneurs and architects to civil society actors and political protestors — have been pushing for a restoration of what Henri Lefebvre describes as a "right to the city": to centrality and to a vibrant urban life. The talk examines the current ongoing impact of these bottom-up movements on city development, and how they are slowly yet unconsciously changing Kuwait's planning paradigm for the first time in sixty years.

Farah Al-Nakib is an Assistant Professor of History and Director of the Center for Gulf Studies at the American University of Kuwait.  She is currently a visiting scholar at the Institute for Middle East Studies at the George Washington University in Washington, DC (Fall 2014).  Al-Nakib obtained her PhD (2011) and MA (2006) in History from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.  Her research primarily focuses on the urban history of Kuwait City before and after oil, and her work has been published in the Journal of Arabian Studies, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, the International Journal for Middle East Studies, Built Environment, and City (forthcoming).

Connection Information for Distance-Based Students

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