Structures of Personalized Power in the Modern Middle East: Presidents, Prime Ministers and Party Bosses

2012 Levi Della Vida Award for Excellence in Islamic Studies, honoring the scholarship of Professor Roger Owen.

2012 Levi Della Vida Award

Roger Owen is currently the A.J. Meyer Professor of Middle East History at Harvard University and a former director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the same university. He previously taught Middle East political and economic history at Oxford University where he was also many times the Director of the St. Antony's College Middle East Centre.

His books include: Cotton and the Egyptian Economy; The Middle East in the World Economy: 1800-1914; State, Power, and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East (3rd revised edition 2004); and Lord Cromer: Victorian Imperialist, Edwardian Proconsul. He is also the co-author (with Sevket Pamuk) of A History of the Middle East Economies in the Twentieth Century.

His most recent book, published by Harvard University Press in 2012, The Rise and Fall of Arab Presidents for Life, examines the origins and dynamics of the monarchical presidential regimes that largely defined the Arab Middle East in the twentieth century and which came to an end, effectively, with the revolutions of the "Arab Spring."

He has written a regular column for the Arabic newspaper, Al-Hayat, since the late 1980s.

Conference Podcasts

2012 Levi Della Vida Conference:"Structures of Personalized Power in the Modern Middle East: Presidents, Prime Ministers and Party Bosses" Keynote Address
Keynote lecture by 2012 Levi Della Vida Award recipient Roger Owen, Harvard University


The Revolutionary Process in Egypt: a horizontalist challenge to personalized power?
A talk by John Chalcraft, London School of Economics.


Personalism in Decline? Collective Rule and the Prospects for Military Abdication in Egypt
A talk by Lisa Blaydes, Stanford University.


Historical and contemporary patterns of regime change in Arab republics: revolutions, coups, transitions, interventions, dynastic succession - and back?
A talk by Sheila Carapico, University of Richmond.


Between Minorities and the Masses: The Paradoxes of Kamal Junblat (1917-1977)
A talk by Jens Hanssen, University of Toronto.


Jordan’s King Abdullah and the “Tribal” Problem: The Challenges of Patronage, Protests, and Reform
A talk by Jillian Schwedler, University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Reformer to Tyrant: The Corruption of Bashar al-Asad and the Syrian System
A talk by David Lesch, Trinity University.


The Arab Dark Age, 1974-2011: Sociological Features of the Road to Revolution
A talk by Mohammed Bamyeh, University of Pittsburgh.


The Cult of Personality in the Arab World
A talk by Joseph Sassoon, Georgetown University/Oxford University.


Women, Democracy and Dictatorship
A talk by Sami Zubaida, Birbeck College, University of London.