Waiting for the Revolution to End: Syrian Displacement, Time and Subjectivity (UCL Press, 2023) by Dr. Charlotte Al-Khalili explores the Syrian revolution through the experiences of citizens in exile. Based on more than three years of embedded fieldwork with Syrians displaced in the border city of Gaziantep (southern Turkey), the book places the Syrian revolution and its tragic aftermath under ethnographic scrutiny. It charts the evolution from peaceful uprising (2011) to armed confrontation (2012), descent into fully fledged conflict (2013) and finally to proxy war (2015), to propose an understanding of revolution beyond success and failure.
While the Assad regime remains in place, the Syrian revolution (al-thawra) still holds a transformational power that can be located on intimate and world-making scales. Dr. Al-Khalili traces the unintended consequences of revolution and its unexpected consequences to reveal the reshaping of Syrian life-worlds and exiles’ evolving theorizations, experiences and imaginations of al-thawra. She describes the in-between spatio-temporal realm inhabited by Syrians displaced to Turkey as they await the revolution’s outcomes, and maps the revolution’s multidimensional and multi-scalar effects on their everyday life. By following the chronology of events inside Syria and Syrians’ geography of displacement, the book makes the relation between revolution and displacement its centerpiece, both as an ethnographic object and an analytical device.
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.