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Department of Social Anthropology


Charlotte Loris-Rodionoff (UCL)

MARTYRDOM, REVOLUTION, PREDESTINATION: Making Sense Of The Syrian Revolution’s Unexpected Outcomes

This paper explores the ways in which Syrians displaced to Turkey make sense of the series of unexpected and unpredictable transformations that resulted from revolutionary actions and events, describing how Syrians explain the revolution, its violent repression (on a collective and individual scale), its defeat, and its tragic consequences in their lives. Looking at individual and collective endings, it argues that Syrians understand their current situation through the Islamic concept of predestination. It describes the contested conceptions of martyrdom on the religious and political levels and examines Syrians questioning of whether destiny can explain history’s course and political events. The paperargues that predestination becomes a theory of individual and collective political action through which Syrians understand the tragic aftermath of their defeated revolution. It thus shows that the series of ruptures and disruptions that marked Syrians’ lives in the aftermath of their revolution and in displacement can also be framed as continuity within the wider scale of contentious political history (i.e., on the longue durée) and within the cosmological frame of divine time-space. 

Thursday, 7 February, 2019 - 17:00 to 18:30
Event location: 
Edmund Leach Room, Department of Social Anthropology Free School Lane, Cambridge