Tariq Tell - American University of Beirut

The Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies
American University of Beirut
Cordially invite you to a lecture by
Tariq Tell
Edge of Empire: the Social Origins of Mandatory
rule in Trans-Jordan 1921-46
Thursday March 27, 2014
4:00 pm
College Hall, Auditorium B1
Abstract: Mandatory Trans-Jordan (1921-1946) was for long dismissed as an imperial artifact, an artificial
entity created to accommodate the ambitions of Abdullah ibn al-Hussein and Britain’s strategic interests
in the Arab east. Without established urban centers or a significant middle class, it lacked the social
structures that could support an effective anti colonial movement or sustain meaningful contestation of
colonial rule. On this view, oppositional politics came to an end with the departure of the Syrian Istiqlal in
the mid 1920s, leaving in place a patriarchal political system in which Abdullah, aided by a coterie of
British proconsuls ruled over a tribal and politically inert population. Tariq Tell’s talk offers a revisionist
view, uncovering a pattern of ‘nativist’ opposition that was only contained by sharp repression and
judicious social reform. In this version, a raft of policy measures -- including a land settlement that
protected the interests of small holders, light taxation and relief work, and the skillful use of military
employment as a means of cooptation – crafted a moral economy that ‘worked’ for Trans-Jordan’s rural
majority and was the real source of its acquiescence in Mandatory rule.
Bio: Tariq Tell is a political economist currently teaching at the Centre for Arab and Middle Eastern
Studies at the American University of Beirut. He has previously taught at the American University in Cairo
and the University of Manchester (UK). He has also held research posts at the International Institute for
Strategic Studies in London, and in Amman at the Centre d’Etudes et de Recherche sur le Moyen Orient
Contemporain (CERMOC) and the Royal Scientific Society. Tell has co-edited Village, Steppe and State: The
Social Origins of Modern Jordan (I.B. Tauris, 1994) and edited The Resilience of Hashemite Rule: Politics
and the State in Jordan before 1967 (Cahier de Cermoc, 2001). His book, The Social and Economic Origins
of Monarchy in Jordan was published by Palgrave in 2013 and he is now working on a Historical Dictionary
of Modern Jordan (forthcoming Scarecrow Press, Boston). He has degrees from St. Antony’s College
(Oxford University), the Institute of Development Studies (University of Sussex) and the London School of
Economics and Political Science. His current research interests include the comparative history and
politics of Arab monarchies and the relationship between imperialism, food sovereignty and political
stability in the Middle East. Dr. Tell is a candidate for the CAMES position in Middle East Studies with a
focus on the contemporary Arab world. At 10 am on Feb. 26, Dr. Tell will be hosting a graduate seminar
for CAMES/PSPA students entitled “Rethinking the Resource Curse: Comparing the Rentier State with
‘Khaleej Capital’”. Those interested to attend can contact [email protected] to inquire about seating