You are cordially invited to the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Media Studies lunchtime Brownbag lecture:
Constitutional Emergency; or, On the Intellectual History of Law in Post-Independence Syria
Wednesday, 22 March @ 12pm-1pm in Nicely 204
The intellectual and cultural history of law and constitutionalism in post-independence Syrian history has not attracted a great deal of attention from historians. In this talk, I explore how Syrian intellectuals, lawyers, and political society engaged with and argued over questions of constitutionalism, rule of law, and parliamentary democracy during the first few decades of independence, amidst state instability and ideological ferment. In the first part of this paper, I explore some of the ways in which the experience of Mandate colonial rule shaped debates in the 1950s over how constitutional legal principles ought to be defined and implemented in post-colonial Syria. In the second part, I turn to closely examine how one leading Syrian jurist in the early 1970s interpreted the doctrines of martial law and state of emergency at the very moment in which Hafiz al-Asad launched his so-called “Correctionist Movement.”
*Max Weiss is Associate Professor of History and Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. He is the author of In the Shadow of Sectarianism: Law, Shi`ism, and the Making of Modern Lebanon (Harvard UP, 2010), co-editor (with Jens Hanssen) of Arabic Thought Beyond the Liberal Age: Towards an Intellectual History of the Nahda (Cambridge UP, 2016), and translator, most recently, of Mamdouh Azzam, Ascension to Death (London, 2017). Currently he is writing about the intellectual and cultural history of modern Syria, and translating several works of modern and contemporary Arabic literature.