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Welcome to the personal site of Benoit Challand!


Benoit Challand is currently Assistant Professor at the Kevorkian Center for Near East Studies , New York University. In 2010-2012, he was visitng associate professor at the New School for Social Research (Politics Department) in New York. He is also Research Fellow at the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva, for his work on religion and politics (with an affiliation at the Center on Conflict, Development and Peacebuidling). He was lecturer with the University of Bologna where he taught introductory courses to Middle Eastern politics from 2008 until 2010. He holds a PhD in Social and Political Sciences from the European University Institute in Florence (2005) and has been Marie Curie Fellow at the History Department from the European University Institute (2006-2008) and Research Fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (2008-2009) in Florence (Italy).

His mixed background in political sociology and history leads him to work on Arab civil society, questions of aid and development, religion and modernity, social theory, and communist ideologies in Western Europe. He has been teaching in Bologna, Pavia, and Bethlehem and was also guest lecturer at the Universities of Fribourg (CH) and Pisa. 

Going to the roots is a way to describe his interdisciplinary endeavour to bring new light onto historical and sociological topics of timely importance. It also describes a way to confront and question euro-centric thinking present in much of the social science and history literature.


You should find in this website a few entry points to these topics...

Yemen Gate in Sanaa Bab Al-Amoud AlQuds Damascus Gate JerusalemInstitut du Monde Arabe Paris

Latest News

He has a series of new books. With Chiara Bottici, he  co-edited a book on the role of imagination in contemporary politics: The Politics of Imagination, published with Birkbeck Law Press, collects a dozen essays which explore how the power of imagination reverberates in the various ambits of social and political life.

With Caroline Abu-Sada, he published an edited volume dedicated to the evolution of Arab NGOs when in contact with various western or local Arab donors. The introduction connects these transformations with the outbreak of the Arab revolts. Tthe book's title is: "Le développement, une affaire d'ONG ? Associations, Etats et bailleurs dans le monde arabe (Karthala, 2011).

Over the summer 2012, their co-authored The Myth of the Clash of Civilizations, which came out with Routledge in 2010 (Routledge Advances in Middle East and Islamic Studies) has been made available in paperbackversion. The book received a very positive welcome, as the first book review in the Journal of Islamic Studies attests. His earlier book on Palestinian civil society is also available in a paperback version. For a preview of the book on Foreign Donors and the Power to Promote and Exclude (2009), click here .

As the international focus remains largely on the Arab Spring, readers of this website will be interested in discovering some short blogs I posted on this topic on a colleague's website at the New School , Jeffrey C. Goldfarb, at the peak of the Arab revolts.


Benoit Challand


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