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Kuwait Transformed: A History of Oil and Urban Life

Book launch hosted by LSE Kuwait Programme

In Kuwait Transformed: A History of Oil and Urban Life, Farah Al-Nakib argues that decades of urban planning, suburbanisation, and privatisation after the discovery of oil eroded a once open, tolerant society and gave rise to the insularity, xenophobia, and divisiveness that characterise Kuwaiti social relations today. However, Al-Nakib discussed in her talk how new social forces and youth-based movements were staking claims to the city and demanding a different kind of urban experience. Beyond simply reviving the declined urban center, their efforts could have the potential to restore Kuwaiti society’s lost urbanity.


  • Farah Al-Nakib

    Farah Al-Nakib

    Farah Al-Nakib is Assistant Professor of History and Director of the Center for Gulf Studies at the American University of Kuwait and author of Kuwait Transformed.

  • Philipp Rode

    Philipp Rode

    Philipp Rode is Executive Director of LSE Cities and Senior Professorial Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science. As researcher and consultant he has been directing interdisciplinary projects comprising urban governance, transport, city planning and urban design since 2003. The focus of his current work is on green economy strategies in cities, which includes co-directing the cities programme of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.

  • Courtney Freer

    Courtney Freer

    Dr Courtney Freer is a Research Officer at the LSE Kuwait Programme. Having received a BA from Princeton University in Near East Studies and an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, she recently completed her PhD in Politics at the University of Oxford. Courtney’s thesis is focused on revising rentier state theory by examining the socio-political role played by Muslim Brotherhood affiliates in the so-called “super-rentiers” of Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE. Courtney previously worked as a Research Assistant at the Brookings Doha Center and as a researcher at the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council.