Karam S. Nachar is a historian of the modern Middle East. His work focuses on social and intellectual history of Syria and Lebanon in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with particular interest in urban modernity, everyday culture, and social history of liberal and leftist intellectuals. Nachar completed his PhD in Modern History at Princeton University. He holds an MA in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from Oxford University, St. Anthony's College, and a B.A. in Political Science from the American University of Beirut. Besides his academic work, Nachar also serves as the executive director of the award-winning Syrian cultural magazine aljumhuriya,net
The panoramic talk Conservative Families, Progressive Intellectuals: Damascene Modernity and Its Discontents will provide a non-linear account of the modern history of Damascus from the late nineteenth century to the current moment by focusing on the interplay of its late Ottoman social fabric, rooted in the city's old neighborhoods and "notable" families, with its post-World War II modernization and expansion which made the city the capital of Arab radical intellectuals in the 1950s and 1960s. The way these two social forces ultimately colluded and converged will provide an explanation for the way the city has evolved under the Assad dynasty and since 2011.