Crown Center for Middle East Studies

Mythmaking in Saudi Arabia

A Crown Seminar with Rosie Bsheer and Robert Vitalis

December 2, 2020

Religion is often seen as central to the conception of Saudi Arabia and oil to its "special" relationship with the United States. In this panel discussion, Rosie Bsheer and Robert Vitalis will challenge these conventional wisdoms and analyze the politics of how history is produced. Bsheer will explore the increasing secularization of the Saudi state since 1991 and how this official history-making project is reflected in documents, buildings, and urban spaces in Riyadh and Mecca. Vitalis will question whether "oil for security" really defines the U.S.-Saudi relationship and will unpack why fears of oil scarcity and conflict remain so widely held.

Rosie Bsheer is an assistant professor of history at Harvard University.
Robert Vitalis is a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania.  
Pascal Menoret, discussant, is the Renée and Lester Crown Professor of Modern Middle East Studies, Crown Center, Brandeis University.

Co-sponsored by the Islamic and Middle Eastern studies program, Department of History, Department of Politics, and Religious Studies program

Free and open to the public