Sussex Centre for Conflict and Security Research (SCSR)

Forthcoming events

SCSR Annual Lecture. The geoeconomic role of the US Army Corps of Engineers in the Arabian Peninsula

Tuesday 31 October 17:00 until 19:00
Chowen Lecture Theatre, BSMS
Speaker: Laleh Khalili
Part of the series: SCSR Annual Lecture

The infrastructural power of the military: the geoeconomic role of the US Army Corps of Engineers in the Arabian Peninsula

In analysing the relationship between the United States and the spread of capitalism worldwide, most mainstream critical accounts see the US military's invasion and conquest of various states as paving the way for the arrival of US businesses and capitalist relations. However, the US military in particular has been a major geoeconomic actor who has wielded its infrastructural power, via its US Army Corps of Engineers, overseas and during peacetime. The process of transformation of global economies in the twentieth century has included the capitalisation of the newly independent states and the consolidation of liberal capitalist relations in the subsequent decades.

The US Army Corps of Engineers has not only extended lucrative and transformative contracts to private firms (based not only in the US and host country, but also geopolitically aligned states), but perhaps most importantly the Corps has established a grammar of capitalist relations itself. It has done so by forging both physical infrastructures (roads, ports, utilities and telecommunications infrastructures), but also by creating virtual capitalist infrastructures through its practices of contracting, purchasing, design, accounting, regulatory processes and labour and private property regimes.

Laleh Khalili is a professor of Middle East politics at SOAS, Univerrsity of London, the author of Heroes and Martyrs of Palestine: The Politics of National Commemoration (Cambridge 2007) and Time in the Shadows: Confinement in Counterinsurgencies (Stanford 2013), editor of Modern Arab Politics (Routledge 2008), and co-editor (with Jillian Schwedler) of Policing and Prisons in the Middle East: Formations of Coercion (Hurst/Oxford 2010). She is currently working on an ESRC-funded project on the politics of maritime infrastructures in the Arab world.


Please note registration is not required. Please arrive promptly at 17:00 at Chowen Lecture Theatre, BSMS Teaching Building, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9PX. There are no parking charges after 5pm.

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By: Katy Joanna Joyce
Last updated: Monday, 18 September 2017