Rory McCarthy.jpg

I am a Fellow by Examination (a postdoctoral fellow) at Magdalen College, Oxford, where I work on social movements, contentious politics, and Islamism in the Middle East and North Africa.

My new book, Inside Tunisia's al-Nahda: Between Politics and Preaching (Cambridge University Press, 2018), is a city-level political ethnography of the Islamist movement al-Nahda. It traces how an Islamist organization transforms over time by studying the tension between its political and religious ambitions, and it provides new evidence explaining social movement resilience under repression.

I am working on two projects. First, I study the dilemmas of Islamism in the wake of the Arab uprisings, looking at the ambiguities and internal dynamics of contemporary Islamist mobilizations and rethinking concepts of ‘post-Islamism’. Second, I’m writing about the politics of protest in the Middle East after the Arab uprisings through a region-wide comparative analysis of contentious politics and claims to dignity.

At Oxford I teach papers on the Politics of the Middle East, the Politics of the Maghreb, and on Political Islam. I wrote Nobody Told Us We Are Defeated: Stories from the New Iraq (Chatto & Windus, 2006) and co-edited Civil Resistance in the Arab Spring: Triumphs and Disasters (Oxford University Press, 2016). Previously, I spent a decade as a foreign correspondent with the Guardian, with postings in Islamabad, Baghdad, Beirut, and Jerusalem. I have a BA in History from Cambridge and an MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies and a DPhil in Oriental Studies from Oxford.