24 June, 2023

The Chamber, City Hall, Centernary Square, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD1 1HY

Discover how Western powers shaped the political and social landscape of the modern Middle East and the impact this has had on the Muslim world.

Afshin Shahi, associate professor in Middle East Politics and International Relations at Keele University, and Gardner Thompson, author of Legacy of Empire, discuss the factors that led to the Ottoman Empire’s collapse and how Western countries, particularly Britain and France, contributed to its downfall.

Colonial powers exploited the power vacuum left by the Ottomans, leading to the creation of artificial nation states in the Middle East, which often ignored ethnic, linguistic, and religious boundaries. Our panel will examine the legacy of Western intervention that continues to shape the modern Middle East and the impact it has on world affairs.

About the speakers:


Dr Afshin Shahi is an associate professor (senior lecturer) in Middle East politics and international relations at Keele University. Prior to joining the School of Social, Political, and Global Studies in 2023, he worked at the universities of Durham, Exeter, and Bradford. In 2018 he was a visiting research fellow at the European University Institute in Florence. His research interests encompass Iranian politics, climate change and conflict, sectarianism, and political Islam in the Middle East. His articles have appeared in scholarly outlets including the Middle East Journal, the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, and the Journal of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs. He is the author of the Politics of Truth Management in Saudi Arabia and the co-author of a forthcoming book, Iran: the Shia State and the Sunni Minority. For about four years he was an associate editor of the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. He is a regular contributor to national and global media outlets including the BBC and Aljazeera. In 2017, he was a recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement at the University of Bradford.


Gardner Thompson is a historian of British colonialism and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He earned a BA in History from Cambridge University, an MA in East African History and Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and a PhD on the British Colonial Rule in Uganda from London University. Thompson taught History in Uganda, and then in London where he was Head of the History Department and the Academic Vice-Principal at Dulwich College. His publications include Governing Uganda: British Colonial Rule and its LegacyAfrican Democracy: Its Origins and Development in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, and Legacy of Empire: Britain, Zionism and the Creation of Israel.

Event Time: 16:00 – 17:00 BST

Price: £7.00 Concession tickets can be booked by paying a £1 refundable deposit. Visit the event page.
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