The ACRPS Winter School launched today, Tuesday 4 January 2022, under the title “Variations in Populism”. This round of the Winter School program will be held from 4-13 January 2022 and will follow a hybrid model with both remote and in-person attendance from participants, lecturers, and discussants.
This Winter School will address the theme of Populism, approached from an interdisciplinary perspective, and raises key questions such as: To what extent are the current definitions adequate for analyzing emerging cases of populism? Are the empirical tools developed to measure populist attitudes valid and comprehensive?
The first day of the Winter School began with welcoming remarks from the Executive Director of the Arab Center, Mohammad Almasri, and Assistant professor at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, and member of the Winter School Organizing Committee, Abdelkarim Amengay. Almasri welcomed the Winter School participants and discussed the Winter School’s contribution to critical and in-depth knowledge production in the social sciences and humanities. He noted that the program provides the opportunity for PhD students and early career researchers to network with regional scholars and gain substantive knowledge that might be unavailable in their home institutions. Almasri referred to the success of the first round of the Winter School on the theme of “Communitarianism, Sectarianism and the State” in 2020 and the second round on the theme of “The State in Flux” in 2021, and the general role played by the Arab Center in knowledge and academic production in the Arab region and worldwide. Since its establishment in 2010, the Arab Center has organized more than 180 academic conferences, published more than 500 books in addition to numerous peer-reviewed academic journals specialized in social sciences, political science and public policy, and other disciplines. Almasri highlighted the English language journal, AlMuntaqa, that aims to familiarize non-Arabic speaking researchers with Arabic language research through translation.
In his speech, Abdelkarim Amengay explained that the reason “Variations in Populism” was chosen to be this Winter School theme, was to reflect emerging research trends in a variety of social science disciplines. After decades of research within South American and European contexts, the study of populism has gained more momentum during the last few years, particularly in the wake of the UK’s vote to withdraw from the EU in 2016 (Brexit), the election of Donald Trump in 2016, and the rise of populist political figures in India, Brazil, and the Philippines. Regarding the Arab region, Abdelkarim noted that aside from a few rare exceptions, populism has not been studied in this region or by regional scholars, and this round of the Winter School is an important step towards bridging this gap.
In the next ten days, eighteen researchers will present their research projects across varying specializations that range from conceptualizing to cross-regional comparisons of populism. The program will include lectures by both Arab Center researchers and external specialists on the study of Populism, and ACRPS General Director, Azmi Bishara, will give the opening lecture titled “Populism and the Permanent Crisis of Democracy” today, 4 January 2022, at 18:00 Doha Time.