Authoritarian Consolidation and the Criminalization of Knowledge Production in the Middle East

Asli Ü. Bâli

Monday, April 16, 2018 - Lunch Program (11:45am) - RSVP

Authoritarian Consolidation and the Criminalization of Knowledge Production in the Middle East

Asli Bâli, professor at UCLA Law School, will examine the ways in which authoritarian consolidation in Turkey has produced new frameworks through which rule-of-law discourse is inverted and deployed to undermine rather than protect academic freedom. She will then examine the ways in which similar frameworks have been developed across a number of other contexts in the Middle East and conclude with some reflections on why incipient forms of populist authoritarianism across the region have come to treat knowledge production as a particularly dangerous threat.

Academic freedom is often thought of as something that depends upon and is protected by law—the rights of freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, and freedom of thought are understood to be core civil and political rights protected under the international human rights regime and the right to science is similarly seen as a fundamental economic, social, and cultural right. The centrality of the marketplace of ideas to the freedoms tied to self-government is a well-worn trope of liberal democratic practice. It is therefore unsurprising—though remarkably under-appreciated—that the rising tide of authoritarianism has been accompanied by global campaigns of repression targeting academics and universities. Nowhere is this more true than in the Middle East, where social scientific research and other forms of inquiry are increasingly heavily regulated and even prohibited by the state.

Bâli is faculty director of the Promise Institute for Human Rights, director of the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies, and professor of law at the UCLA School of Law where she teaches in the International and Comparative Law Program. Bâli’s scholarship has appeared in the American Journal of International Law Unbound, International Journal of Constitutional Law, UCLA Law Review, Yale Journal of International Law, Virginia Journal of International Law, as well as numerous edited volumes published by Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press. Her edited volume, Constitution Writing, Religion and Democracy, was published by Cambridge in 2017. She also currently serves as co-chair of the Advisory Committee for Human Rights Watch-Middle East.
Professor Bâli's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights at CMC.

Monday, April 16 at 11:45am to 11:45am

Event Type



Staff, Faculty, Students, Alumni, zzCUC Lecture


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