- Language in politics
- Arabic language and culture
- Youth in the Arab world
- Contentious politics
Three major projects currently take up most of my time. From 2012-December 2016 I head the project Language Change in the Arab World
, which is about the political and ideological dimensions of changing language practices in a number of Arab countries, notably Egypt and Morocco. The project has resulted in two major surveys, one of which has already been published
. In addition to a number of articles written by the project participants, we will also publish an edited volume, and I will spend the better part of 2016 writing a monograph about the language and ideology of contemporary Arab comics for adults. The project comprises 12 researchers from the Arab world, Europe and North America. It has not web site, but please contact me if you are interested in learning more about it.
The second main project in which I am engaged is The New Middle East
, which is hosted by the Department of Cultural Studies and Oriental Languages. Within this project I focus on contentious politics in Palestine, with a focus on young people in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. This project ends in December 2015.
Third, I am excited to take part in the project Aid in Crisis?
, led by Kristin Bergtora Sandvik
at PRIO, which investigates how rights-based approaches (RBA) affect the impact of humanitarian action. My task in this project is to study the Norwegian aid given to Palestine.
Senior researcher, PRIO (2013-)
Adjunct associate professor, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo (2015-)
Senior researcher, Fafo Institute for Applied International Studies (2009-2013)
PhD fellow, University of Oslo (2004-2008)
PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oslo (2008)
Cand. Philol. in Arabic, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oslo (2003)
Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Monday, 4 April 2016
Yes, this little piece will relate to Asef Bayat’s gem of an article ‘Islamism and the politics of fun.’ But first a comment on the current goings-on in Egypt. The last time I visited the country, in early February, the news about the murder of Giulio Regeni broke. The Italian PhD student was tortured for a week and then killed. The Egyptian security authorities deny that they have been involved, but nobody believes them, just as nobody believes them when they claim they do not abduct Egyptian citizens – the so-called ‘forced appearances.’ The murder of Regeni was chilling to ...
Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Tuesday, 27 October 2015
The last time that the Palestinians staged a collective uprising in anger and frustration was in 2000. Why is there a new wave of violence now? The Palestinians have been betrayed by everyone: by their own leaders, by Israel, and by the international community. Their sense of hopelessness has bred the recent uncoordinated knife attacks. The fundamental problem – one that is spoken of all too seldom by diplomats and politicians – is Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory. In 2014, I wrote that any new Palestinian uprising would be chaotic, ineffective, and characterized by violent acts perpetrated by individuals. I ...
Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Friday, 9 October 2015
The choice of the Tunisian quartet as the receiver of the Nobel peace prize is surprising, but by no means unreasonable. Unlike the case of US President Barack Obama, who received the prize for his intentions rather than his achievements, this time, the prize is awarded to politicians who are in the midst of a difficult transition process. The award should remind us just how remarkable it is that Tunisia’s political elite has managed to avoid armed struggle and civil war, when all the other countries affected by the Arab spring have descended into civil war or renewed authoritarianism. However, ...
Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Tuesday, 29 September 2015
January 12, 2013: Israeli armed forces dismantle a peaceful Palestinian sit-in in the West Bank, arresting several of the organizers. July 6, 2012: the Palestinian Authority’s security forces violently attack a peaceful demonstration against normalization with Israel in Ramallah, the West Bank. These episodes illustrate the predicament of Palestinian non-violent activists. These activists experience what I call double repression, being harassed and persecuted not only by the Israeli occupation forces, but also by their own authorities in Gaza and in the West Bank. Yet it is this very activism that today holds the most promise for the Palestinian struggle against ...
Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Thursday, 23 April 2015
New media, new content Warning: This is all work in progress, so it leaves much to be desired. But this subject is so fun working on that I wanted to share what I have even if it is still pretty undeveloped. OK, here goes: During the last few years, the literary scene in Egypt has been enriched by a new kind of medium: Comics for grown-ups. Arab comics for grown-ups is a new cultural phenomenon which is only now beginning to attract attention, not least thanks to the efforts of Marcia Lynx Qualey, and it provides a rich, fun and ...
Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Monday, 19 January 2015
The level of conflict in Jerusalem is now so high that more and more people are talking of a “Third Intifada” – a new popular uprising by Palestinians against the Israeli occupation – that would be centred in Jerusalem. In fact, there is little to suggest that a Third Intifada is imminent, but it does seem likely that there will be an increase in violence and unrest in Jerusalem in the future. In this article I will attempt to explain why. There are two immediate reasons for the recent increase in political violence among Palestinian Jerusalemites. First, there was the ...
Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Friday, 28 March 2014
This week, an Egyptian court sentenced 529 defendants to death after a two-day trial. Finally, after being mostly silent through more than half a year of brutal repression by Egypt’s military regime, Western governments expressed ‘shock’, judging the sentences to be ‘unacceptable’. Whatever the consequences this farcical trial will have for Western policies towards the military regime in Egypt (if any), it is probably going to be too little, too late. Since the military coup on 3 July 2013 over a thousand persons have been killed, and the super-rich Egyptians who fled the country after Mubarak’s ouster are starting to ...
Posted by Jacob Høigilt & Kristian Takvam Kindt on Monday, 24 March 2014
Today’s death sentences of 529 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood must bring an end to the Norwegian Government’s tacit acceptance of the military regime in Egypt. Today, an Egyptian court sentenced 529 members of the Muslim Brotherhood to death, the latest in a number of moves towards authoritarian government by the military regime in Egypt. Since the coup d’état in Egypt on 3 July 2013, more than 1,400 peaceful protesters have been killed. The anti-Mubarak activists who manned the barricades in 2011 are now imprisoned. Journalists critical to the new regime have lost their jobs. All forms of organised opposition ...
Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Wednesday, 12 February 2014
The grassroots popular resistance movement in the West Bank continues its strategy of reclaiming Palestinian land to highlight how Israel slowly annexes big parts of the West Bank. This time they did not establish a new village, like the case was in early 2013, with Bab al-Shams and its offshoots. Instead, they re-established an existing village in the vicinity of Jericho. Its inhabitants were expelled by the Israeli army, which established a base near the site. Their descendants have been denied access to the village ever since. Read more in the blog post published February 12, 2014 on the New ...
Posted by Jacob Høigilt on Friday, 25 October 2013
Over the last few years I have encountered a number of professional Western diplomats who express their disbelief in any serious Israeli intention of achieving peace with the Palestinians. To be sure, these diplomats also fault the Palestinian leadership for their ability to bungle almost any initiative and opportunity they encounter. But unlike the refrain in much of Western media and public opinion, they do not view Israel and the Palestinians as two equal parties with equal blame for the stalled peace process. They recognize that the onus is on Israel to achieve progress, and that while most Israeli politicians ...