SOU History Professor to Explore the Past, Present and Future of the Middle East

Dr. Bob Harrison in his office.

Dr. Bob Harrison in his office. Photo: Jspeer

(Ashland, Ore.) – Dr. Robert Harrison, Southern Oregon University Professor of History, will present “The Middle East and the Arab Spring: Troubled Past, Hopeful Future?” on Monday, February 13 at 7:00 p.m. in the Meese Room of the Hannon Library on the SOU campus. A reception follows immediately. The talk is free and open to the public.

Professor Harrison will review the history of the region from the pharaohs to the sultans, shahs and kings, through the colonial rule of the British and French, and to the dynastic dictators who followed and led to the people’s revolutions of the Arab Spring of 2011.

A lack of democratic traditions is a major challenge to stability in the region, according to Harrison. “No one ever elected pharaohs,” he says. Other challenges come from long standing enmities between the secular military rulers and religious fundamentalists, between Shia and Sunni Muslims, and between Israel and the Arab World.

“We can be hopeful for the future if we can get past these differences, make a peace settlement between Israelis and Palestinians, and push through the economic roadblocks,” says Harrison. Otherwise, he says countries like Egypt will dissolve into civil war in just a couple of years.

Professor Harrison has taught history at Southern Oregon University since 1990. From 1979 until 1990, he taught history at Biola University. He was a Fullbright scholar in Egypt in 1987.

Dr. Harrison holds a bachelor’s degree in History from Biola University, a master’s in divinity in Church History from the Fuller Seminary, a master’s in History from California State University, Los Angeles, and a PhD in History from the University of Southern California.

The Insights Distinguished Lecture Series was created by SOU President Mary Cullinan “to showcase the excellent work of our faculty and to share the high caliber of SOU teaching and research with audiences from on and off campus.”

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