Syria’s People: Lessons for the Future?

22 October 2018 18:30 to 20:00

Council for British Research in the Levant, 10 Carlton House Terrace

Dawn Chatty, author of Syria: The Making and Unmaking of a Refuge State and Diana Darke, author of The Merchant of Syria: A History of Survival will each give a presentation on their recent books. Together, these talks will explore Syria’s historical embrace of refugees of all hues - Christian, Muslim and Jewish and its impact on its people. Using individual case studies, they will illustrate the complex web of social interactions that Syria’s people have developed over time to counter the fallout from colonial and regional wars and from political turbulence in their region. Both books begin with the late Ottoman Empire and Greater Syria (Bilad al-Sham) as it has been known for centuries and trace the unique social resilience of Syrians right up to the present crisis.

Dawn Chatty is Emeritus Professor in Anthropology and Forced Migration and former Director of the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, United Kingdom. She is a Fellow to the British Academy and former Honorary Secretary of the Council on British Research in the Levant (CBRL). After a childhood spent largely in Damascus, she continued her education in the United States  and specialized in Middle Eastern ethnography with a special interest in Bedouin tribes of the Levant (Syria, Lebanon and Jordan). Her research interests include refugee youth in protracted refugee crises, conservation and development, pastoral society and forced settlement. She is the author of  numerous books. Among them are Displacement and Dispossession in the Modern Middle East, Cambridge University Press, 2010, From Camel to Truck, White Horse Press, 2013, and Syria: The Making and Unmaking of a Refuge State, Hurst Publishers and Oxford University Press, 2018.

 Diana Darke is a Middle East cultural expert with special focus on Syria. A graduate in Arabic  from Oxford University, she has spent over 30 years specialising in the Middle East and Turkey, working for both government and commercial sectors. Her previous book is the highly acclaimed My House in Damascus: An Inside View of the Syrian Crisis (Haus, third edition 2016). Her work on Syria has been published by the BBC website, The Sunday Times, The Guardian and The Financial Times and she regularly broadcasts on BBC Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent. With her Damascus house in use since 2012 as a refuge for displaced friends, her links with Syria are deep and ongoing.  She has been back seven times since the current uprising began in March 2011, most recently in April 2018, and remains actively committed to helping Syrians achieve a better future.

This is a CBRL public event organised in partnership with Hurst Publishers. Both books, 'Syria: The Making and Unmaking of a Refuge State’ and ‘The Merchant of Syria: A History of Survival’ will be available to purchase at the event. 

This event is open to all and free to attend, donations welcome towards CBRL's Post-Graduate Travel Grants. 

Seating is unreserved - the lecture room seats 80. 


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