Assistant Professor of Political Science Stacey Philbrick Yadav was invited to speak last weekend at Brandeis University’s Crown Center for Middle East Studies. Both she and co-panelist Marc Lynch, from George Washington University, were asked to address the general question of “What Islamists Want as their contribution to the two-day event. Other speakers included former Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Itamar Rabinovich, Palestinian public opinion pollster, Khalil Shikaki, and Jon Alterman, the director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
In her address, Yadav argued that irrespective of methods and locally-specific goals, Islamists seek to bring Islam into the public through institutional reforms and new discourses about the nature and role of government. She illustrated this with examples from her research in Lebanon and Yemen, detailing the ways in which Islamist initiatives helped to both expand and contract the terms of national debate. These changes have fundamentally shifted the ways in which people speak about politics, what they consider political, and what kinds of action they consider appropriate.
A full audio recording of Professor Yadav’s address, titled “Islamist Activism and the Transformation of the Public Sphere, will be available through the Crown Center’s Web site later this month.
During Parents' weekend, Yadav shared a similarly-themed “mini-course for visiting families titled “Islamism(s) and Political Activism.