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Between Global Capitalism and Global Warming: Saudi Arabia, the US and the Ends of the Arab Spring

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

In 1945 the State Department declared that the young kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s oil resources constituted “a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history.” The United States, which emerged as the preeminent global power after World War II, forged a lasting alliance with the house of al-Saud. That alliance has been shaken on more than one occasion, but grew particularly tight after the 1973/74 “energy crisis.” 

This talk will probe key aspects of the evolving partnership between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. 

Why have successive U.S. presidents committed the country to “energy independence” but failed to deliver, despite the threats posed by global warming? 

What does Saudi Arabia and the oil wealth of the Arabian Gulf have to do with the ascendance of finance within global capitalism? 

How have the strains between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia after 9/11 manifested in their respective approaches to the so-called Arab Spring? 

What does the alliance mean today for Americans and for the pro-democracy movements of the Middle East?


Charles Anderson is a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Bard College. Charles was trained at New York University in the joint program in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and History. He is broadly interested in the social and political history of the modern Middle East. 

Charles has articles and reviews published or forthcoming in Arab Studies Journal, International Journal of Middle East Studies, and Review of Middle East Studies, and is a member of the editorial team of the Arab Studies Journal.


Supported by: The Human Rights Project, The Middle Eastern Studies Department, and Students for Justice in the Middle East

For more information, call 602-750-0029, e-mail cg6773@bard.edu,
or visit https://www.facebook.com/events/299728863493976/.

Location: Campus Center, Weis Cinema