Dr. Lina Benabdallah to Speak at UA Feb. 16

Dr. Lina Benabdallah of Wake Forest University will visit the department on Friday, February 16, 2024 from Noon to 1:30pm in ten Hoor 346. The event is co-sponsored by the Program for Middle East Studies and the Department of Political Science.

Infrastructures of Feeling: Imperial Nostalgia and Landmark Restoration Projects

States and state actors often engage in infrastructure and landmark restoration, construction, and reconstruction abroad for a variety of strategic reasons, including reviving imperial nostalgias. This presentation examines the power of infrastructure and landmark (re)construction in the context of (re)emerging powers, such as China and Turkey. It analyzes the mechanisms by which actors engaging in nostalgic infrastructure (re)construction create attachments (and feelings) to memory-narratives from the past when rationalizing these projects to both domestic and foreign audiences. Empirically, the paper unpacks how Turkish and Chinese governments look to the past when couching their post-imperial infrastructure projects in nostalgic narratives about civilizational grandeurs and promises for the possibility of a return of their unique paths to modernization and prosperity as alternatives to the Liberal International Order.

Lina Benabdallah is an associate professor for the Politics and International Affairs Department at Wake Forest University. She is the author of Shaping the Future of Power: Knowledge Production and Network-Building in China-Africa Relations (Michigan, 2020), which develops a framework drawing on Qin Yaqing’s Relational International Relations theory to analyze China’s human capital investments and network-building motivations in Africa. Her writing has appeared in International Studies Quarterly, International Studies Review, Third World Quarterly, Foreign Affairs, Washington Post among other outlets. She is a contributing editor at Africa is a Country and currently co-editor of PS: Political Science & Politics.