Benoit Challand

Benoit Challand
Associate Professor in Sociology, New School for Social Research, NY
Contact: Email:  challanb (at)

Benoit Challand holds a PhD in Political and Social Sciences from the European University Institute, Florence (2005), with previous studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London, 2000) and at the Universities of Fribourg (CH), Basel and Bonn. His thesis, written under the supervision of Prof. Philippe Schmitter, dealt with the impact of international aid on the structuration of Palestinian civil society. He works in the field of political and historical sociology, at the crossroad of Middle Eastern studies and contemporary European history. He was a Marie Curie fellow at the European University Institute (History Department, 2006-2008) and has participated in various post-doctoral programmes dealing with Islam and modernity, and with the interplay of religion and politics. He has contributed to International Journal of Middle East Studies, Religion, State and Society, Middle Eastern Studies, and European Journal of Social Theory. His work has been translated into Arabic, French, Italian, Czech, and Japanese. He was also member of the Swiss Expert Pools for Civilian Peacebuilding (Political Division IV, Swiss Foreign Ministry, Bern), for which he has written a commentated bibliography on Democratization.

At the CCDP, Benoit worked on the ‘Religion and Politics’ programme and coordinated the research and activities related to the Arab Middle East, in particular the Swiss-Egyptian NGO Dialogue and the Islamic Charities Project for the years 2008-2011.

Field(s)of Interest:
  • International aid for civil society in the Arab world
  • The role of civil society in conflict-transformation
  • Middle Eastern politics and society
  • Palestinian politics
  • Islamic social movements
  • Critical analysis of the representation of Islam
  • Understanding ethnocentrism in social sciences
Selected Publications:
  • The Struggle for Influence in the Middle East: The Arab Uprisings and Foreign Assistance, co-edited by Federica Bicchi, Benoit Challand, Steven Heydemann, (London: Routledge, 2016).
  • co-editor of a special issue of Mediterannean Politics 19(3) "The Politics of Foreign Aid in the Arab World: The Impact of the Arab Uprisings" (9 contributions).
  • Palestinian Civil Society. Foreign Donors and the Power to Promote and Exclude (London: Routledge, 2009).
  • "Fatah-Hamas Rivalries after Gaza: Is Unity Impossible?", The International Spectator, Vol. 44, Num. 3, 2009, 7-13.
  • "1989, Contested Memories and the Shifting Cognitive Maps of Europe", European Journal of Social Theory, Vol. 12, Num. 3, 2009, 397-408.
  • "A Nahdhah of Charitable Organisations? Health Service Provision and the Politics of Aid in Palestine", International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 40, Num 2, 2008, 227-247.
  • "The Evolution of Western Aid for Palestinian Civil Society: The Bypassing of Local Knowledge and Resources", Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 44, Num. 3, 2008, 397-417.
  • "Les mutations du leadership palestinien: des accords d'Oslo à la victoire du Hamas (1993-2007)", A Contrario, Vol. 5, Num. 2, 2008 12-37.
  • Rethinking Political Myth. The Clash of Civilizations as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy', (co-authored with Chiara Bottici), European Journal of Social Theory, Vol. 9, Num. 3, 2006, 315-336.
  • La Ligue Marxiste Révolutionnaire en Suisse Romande (1969-1990) (Fribourg, 2000).