[The Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI) brings you the second in a series of “Peer-Reviewed Article Reviews” in which we present a collection of journals and their articles concerned with the Middle East and Arab world. This series will be published seasonally. Each issue will comprise one-to-three parts, depending on the number of articles included.]

Arab Studies Quarterly (Volume 39, Issue 4)

“The Uses of Geography in Youssef Ziedan’s Azazeel”

By: Sally Gomaa

Abstract: Youssef Ziedan’s controversial novel Azazeel follows an anonymous narrator’s journey from Upper Egypt to Aleppo during the first half of the fifth-century AD. This article argues that descriptions of landscape enable the narrator to articulate personal and historical crises otherwise censored or repressed. By incorporating geographical features into his identity, the narrator creates a poetic version of himself free from the hegemony of the dominant religious discourse. The search for a free, private space shapes the novel’s aesthetic as well as political concerns. Overall, Azazeel is an important novel because of its literary value, its denouncement of geopolitical definitions of God, and its ability to place the history of religious violence in Egypt within the global context.

“Withstanding the Winds of Change? Literary Representations of the Gulf War and Its Impacts on Saudi Society”

By: Zahia Smail Salhi

Abstract: This article argues that the 1991 Gulf War had a deep transformative effect on Saudi Arabia. It aims to analyze the extent to which this war brought about major ideological changes to a society seemingly deemed unchangeable. Through the study of three Saudi novels which drew on this war as a source of creative and political inspiration, this study brings to life Saudi people’s discussions, dilemmas, and reactions to the crumbling of the edifice of Arab unity and the emergence of “America” in its place as the “savior” from the evil of Saddam Hussein. We contend that despite resistance from various conservative elements of Saudi society, the winds of change brought by this war could not be resisted. The novels under study skillfully portray the events of this war not as battlefield accounts, but as accounts of a society wrestling with an irresistible wind of change.

“Saudi Society and the State: Ideational and Material Basis”

By: Muharrem Hilmi Özev

Abstract: This article considers religious, social, political, and economic dimensions of the Saudi-Wahhabi state imagination. Since the inception, the Saudi state has relied on two main pillars: the monarchy and Wahhabism, which have been in a symbiotic relationship. In time, the state imagination in Saudi Arabia has been determined and reconstructed by factors like Wahhabism, monarchism, rentierism, internal and international political and economic obligations, and modernization efforts imposed by being a “nation state.” Those factors made Saudi Arabia a sui generis state. The legitimacy of the monarchy has been ensured through tribalism and, on a larger scale, religion. Foreign aid, booties, oil revenues, and, on a rather insignificant scale, tax revenues have created a material infrastructure to build citizenship.

Arabica (Volume 64, Issue 5-6)


“The Feminine Ending -at as a Diptote in the Qurʾānic Consonantal Text and Its Implications for Proto-Arabic and Proto-Semitic”

By: Marijn van Putten

Abstract: This paper examines the feminine ending ‘-at’ in the Qurʾānic Consonantal Text. It argues that from the Qurʾānic Consonantal Text, and various data of comparative linguistic evidence, it is likely that the language of the Qurʾānic Consonantal Text goes back to a variety of Arabic where the feminine ending was treated as a diptote. It is moreover argued that this feminine ending was likely also diptotic in Proto-Arabic.

Cet article examine la terminaison du féminin -at dans le texte consonantique du Coran. Il soutient qu’à partir du texte consonantique du Coran et de nombreuses données de linguistique comparée, il est probable que le texte consonantique du Coran remonte à une variété d’arabe dans laquelle la terminaison du féminin était traitée comme un diptote. En outre, il est soutenu que cette terminaison du féminin était probablement aussi diptote en proto-arabe.

This article is in English.

“Naǧīb al-Kīlānī and the Islamic Storyteller”

By: Samira al-Khawaldeh

Abstract: Naǧīb al-Kīlānī is an Egyptian novelist and theorist whose work has acquired importance by virtue of its unique position as a literary manifestation of the thought and worldview of the Society of the Muslim Brotherhood. To embark on such a writing career in Egypt in the mid-twentieth century meant, first, the antagonisation of certain power centers, leading to political jail, and ultimate diaspora, and second, addressing the task of transforming the rudimentary conjecturing about an Islamic theory of art into a somewhat systematic form of theorization. The study thus aims to investigate al-Kīlānī’s contribution to the foundation of a theory of Islamic novel, focusing on his approach to the dilemmas and ambiguities surrounding the role of the modern Islamic novelist, such as maintaining the intricate balance between the demands of religion and the freedom of art.

Naǧīb al-Kīlānī est un romancier et théoricien égyptien dont le travail acquit une importance en raison de sa position unique en tant que manifestation littéraire de la pensée et de la vision du monde des Frères musulmans.S’engager dans une telle carrière d’écrivain en Égypte au milieu du vingtième siècle signifiait d’abord se trouver en porte-à-faux avec certains centres de pouvoir, menant à la prison pour motifs politiques et à l’exil définitif, et, deuxièmement, s’atteler à la tâche de transformer les rudiments d’une théorie islamique de l’art en une forme quelque peu systématique de théorisation. L’étude vise donc à étudier la contribution d’al-Kīlānī à la fondation d’une théorie du roman islamique, en se concentrant sur son approche des dilemmes et des ambiguïtés entourant le rôle du romancier islamique moderne, comme le maintien de l’équilibre complexe entre les exigences de la religion et la liberté de l’art.

This article is in English.

“Grammaticalization in Emirati Arabic”

By: Najib Ismail Jarad

Abstract: This paper is concerned with the process of language change whereby lexical items and constructions, in specific contexts, come to serve new grammatical functions. Emirati Arabic provides us with a wide range of grammaticalization phenomena. The aim of this paper is twofold: to shed light on the basic concepts relating to grammaticalization phenomena, and to examine the grammaticalization of a number of constructions in Emirati Arabic- investigating their formation and the changes in their functions. The development of these grammatical constructions follows a grammaticalization pathway identified for a wide range of linguistic items cross-linguistically.

Cet article s’intéresse au processus du changement de la langue dans laquelle des éléments et des constructions lexicales, dans des contextes spécifiques, viennent assurer de nouvelles fonctions grammaticales. L’arabe émirati nous offre un large éventail de phénomènes de grammaticalisation. L’objectif de cet article est double : mettre en lumière les concepts fondamentaux relatifs au phénomène de grammaticalisation et examiner la grammaticalisation d’un certain nombre de constructions en arabe émirati, en étudiant leur formation et les changements dans leurs fonctions. Le développement de ces constructions grammaticales suit un processus de grammaticalisation identifié pour un large éventail d’éléments linguistiques.

This article is in English.

“Sequence Organization of Requests among Australian English and Saudi Arabic Speakers: A Contrastive Study”

By: Saad Al-Gahtani

Abstract: Previous research on cross-cultural pragmatics has primarily focused on how native speakers of different languages perform speech acts in relation to politeness and directness. However, Gabriele Kasper (2006), among others, has called for adopting a more discursive approach rather than analyzing data according to the Cross-Cultural Speech Act Realization Project (CCSARP) coding scheme. Therefore, this paper uses Conversation Analysis for Interlanguage Pragmatics to investigate sequence organization of requests in Australian English and Saudi Arabic using role-play scenarios. It specifically examines pre-expansions, pre-pres, accounts in request turn, insert-expansions, and post-expansions, and the extent to which the social variable power affects them. The results showed that both languages share some regularities in aspects of sequence organization, but differed in others. Power influenced the production of some regularities in both languages.

Les recherches antérieures sur la pragmatique interculturelle se sont principalement concentrées sur la manière dont les locuteurs natifs de différentes langues accomplissent des actes de parole en lien avec la politesse et la franchise. Cependant, Gabriele Kasper (2006), entre autres, a appelé à adopter une approche plus discursive plutôt qu’à analyser les données selon le système de codification du Cross-Cultural Speech Act Realization Project (CCSARP). Par conséquent, cet article utilise l’Analyse Conversationnelle pour la Pragmatique Interlangue afin d’explorer l’organisation séquentielle de requêtes en anglais australien et en arabe saoudien, en utilisant des scénarios de jeu de rôle. L’article examine spécifiquement les pré-expansions, les pré-prés, les justifications dans les tours de requête, les expansions insérées et les post-expansions, ainsi que l’étendue dans laquelle le pouvoir de la variable sociale les affecte. Les résultats montrent que les deux langues partagent certaines régularités dans des aspects de l’organisation séquentielle, mais diffèrent dans d’autres. Le pouvoir a influencé la production de certaines régularités dans les deux langues.

This article is in English.


Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (Volume 37, Issue 3)


“Iranian Migrations in the Durrani Empire, 1747–93”

By: Sajjad Nejatie

Abstract: The presence of Iranian émigrés in the Durrani Empire has garnered minimal attention, even though the formation of the polity by Ahmad Shah Durr-i Durran (r. 1747–72) was accompanied by a steady rise in Iranian migrations to the Durrani territories of Indo-Khurasan. Nejatie’s article seeks to better understand the movement of Iranians to the Durrani Empire and their ascendency therein, particularly during the reigns of Ahmad Shah and his son and successor, Timur Shah (r. 1772–93). It does so by investigating some of the key factors that prompted the growth in Iranian migrations to the Durrani Empire and the considerable role they came to play in the extension and consolidation of Durrani authority in Indo-Khurasan. Although the influence of these Iranian émigré communities would gradually decline following the reign of Timur Shah, their contributions to the complex process of state building in Indo-Khurasan left a lasting mark on the political culture of the early Durrani state and its contemporary counterpart, Afghanistan.

“Of Parrots and Crows: Bīdil and Ḥazīn in Their Own Words”

By: Jane Mikkelson

Abstract: This article offers a close reading of three early modern Persian lyric poems: a ghazal by Ṣā’ib Tabrīzī (d. 1676), and two response poems (javābs) by Bīdil Dihlavī (d. 1721) and Ḥazīn Lāhījī (d. 1766). In these ghazals, all three poets venture into a shared wilderness of metaphor, where each poet maps new meanings for geography and exile, homeland and strangeness, state of mind and sense of place. An intentionally dynamic collocation of reality and abstraction is shown to be a pivotal feature of all three ghazals, although the resulting lyric landscapes are quite different in each case. The article concludes by suggesting that close analysis of lyric poetry, in addition to the rich range of meanings, values, and attitudes it brings to light, can also open up new avenues for approaching more general questions of style and geography—including the question of the “Indian style”—in the early modern Persianate world.

“Going Native: Iranian Émigré Poets and Indo-Persian”

By: Arthur Dudney

Abstract: Iranian men of letters who came to the Indian subcontinent during the Mughal period contributed greatly to the development of Persianate culture in South Asia. Modern scholars who have addressed this migration have tended to assume that Iranians brought authentic knowledge of a Persian mother culture to Indians who struggled with some kind of inferior local product that was replaced by higher-quality imported Persian as it was made available. This article addresses the neglected question of, what features might have defined Indian Persian, and more importantly what ideology accompanied it? We should historicize language ideology rather than assuming that so-called native speakers (an anachronistic concept for premodern times) control a cosmopolitan tradition like that of Persian. The scope for different affinities to language is clear from the experience of Qizilbash Khan Ummid (d. 1746), an Iranian immigrant who was reputedly so aware of the subtleties of Indian music that he would correct native Indian singers.

“Vernacular Conquest?: A Persian Patron and His Image in the Seventeenth-Century Deccan”

By: Subah Dayal

Abstract: This article examines a literary circuit of poets and chroniclers in the Deccan (south central India) region that formed around an Iranian émigré, Mustafa Khan Lari (d. 1648), using a largely neglected versified history in Dakkani Urdu. An earlier generation of historians drew on Persian materials, as well as Dutch and Portuguese archives, to illustrate the role of Iranians as statesmen and merchants. However, Dayal turns to Persian chronicles and a maṣnavī or narrative poem written in the courtly vernacular to understand Mustafa Khan’s role as a literary patron, especially of history writing across two languages in the seventeenth-century Deccan. This literary circle of poets and chroniclers—along with their patron—circulated across Safavid Iran, Mughal Hindustan, and the Deccan; they forged new allegiances and affinities during a period of conquest and chose to observe the world around them in new tongues. The polyphonic activities of this literary circuit challenge an ethnolinguistic parochialism pervasive in the study of court culture in early modern South Asia. Further, the circuit shows how itinerant literati used the technique of ethnography to apprehend enemies and friends while moving with armies in a period of volatile and unpredictable conquest.

“What Storytellers Were Worth in Mughal India”

By: Pasha M. Khan

Abstract: This study considers how the worth of storytellers in Mughal India was related to the extent to which the genre of the romance (qissah/dāstān) was valued. It shows that the cultural capital possessed by Iranian émigré storytellers, such as ‘Ināyat Allāh Darbār Khān, Muhammad Tanbūrah, Mullā Asad, and ‘Abd al-Nabī Fakhr al-Zamānī, derived from a variety of roles apart from their roles as producers and performers of romances. The contribution of each to the raising of the worth of the romance genre in the hierarchy of genres must be considered in the light of the intersection of each of their roles as storytellers with his other roles. This study briefly outlines three strategies whereby storytellers raised the worth of the romance: by activating its political exemplarity, by capturing young patrons among the nobility, and by presenting it as a model of linguistic excellence.

“Imperial Citizenship at the End of Empire: The Ottomans in Comparative Perspective”

By: Michelle U. Campos

Abstract: The article is a theoretical and historiographic overview of imperial citizenship, centered on the Ottoman case, with comparative dialogue with the Qajar, Qing, Russian, and Habsburg cases. Drawing on her own previous scholarship and an overview of recent scholarship in these fields, Michelle Campos argues that in these empires, complex and multilayered projects of imperial citizenship had developed by the turn of the twentieth century that encompassed institutional reform, intellectual, and civil society engagement in an imperial public sphere, and the development of notions and practices of imperial belonging, patriotism, and political participation.

Critical Studies on Terrorism (Volume 10, Issue 3)


“Building foundations for the comparative study of state and non-state terrorism”

By: Melissa Finn & Bessma Momani

Abstract: In this article, we argue that a comparative study of state and non-state terrorism that uses the minimal foundationalist definition of terrorism as its central analytical framework offers a unique and instructive approach for answering the question: “what is terrorism?” To date, most recent comparative case study analyses of terrorism focus on ideologies, political/governance models, structural/contextual enablers, practices, organisational structures, and/or the basis of issues such as trust, belonging, and membership. We uniquely contribute to the growing literature on comparative terrorism studies by comparing and contrasting state and non-state terrorism on the basis of strategic communication vis-à-vis the preparation, execution, and outcomes of political violence (the “terrorism attack cycle”), the instrumentalisation of victims, and fear management. We argue that state and non-state terrorism are co-constituting and co-enabling phenomena, possibly best conceptualised as two bounded and coiled strands of the political violence DNA.

“’Good and Evil’ narratives in Islamic State media and Western government statements”

By: Imogen Richards

Abstract: This article uses a critical discourse and documentary analysis to explore “Good and Evil” narratives in Islamic State (IS) media and in the official policy statements of the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. The analysis initially considers how IS and Western governments define the other as “Evil” drawing from premodern Manichean and Abrahamic religious conventions. It then interprets how these entities subscribe to a post-Enlightenment ethic that associates the triumph of “Good” over “Evil” with science, reason and technological innovation. Distinct from similar analyses that emphasise the persuasive power of religion, this article reflects on how IS and Western governments use conflicting religious and philosophical imperatives to articulate their strategic political agendas. It further interprets how these agendas become ideologically convincing, through reflexive communication.

“Under the shade of AK47s: a multimodal approach to violent extremist recruitment strategies for foreign fighters”

By: Peter Wignell, Sabine Tan, Kay L. O’Halloran

Abstract: Two notable features of the current conflict in Syria and Iraq are the number of foreign fighters from western countries fighting for Sunni militant organisations, and the use of the Internet and social media by some extremist groups to disseminate propaganda material. This article explores how the group which refers to itself as Islamic State and an affiliated British group, Rayat al Tawheed, deploy combinations of images and text which serve as bonding icons to rally supporters. The data consists of the English language edition of ISIS’s online magazine Dabiq and online materials produced by Rayat al Tawheed. The results suggest that ISIS and Rayat al Tawheed adopt similar but different iconisation strategies. While ISIS adopts a global strategy to present a unified world view utilising a range of ISIS values in its iconisation, Rayat al Tawheed foregrounds jihad using strategies specifically targeting young, English-speaking men of Islamic/Arab backgrounds.

“The limit-experience and self-deradicalisation: the example of radical Salafi youth in Tunisia”

By: Aitemad Muhanna-Matar

Abstract: This article gives an example of self-deradicalisation from Tunisia. It addresses the potential of radicalised individuals to de-radicalise themselves from within the Salafi doctrine with no external interventions, in comparison with the state’s religious rehabilitation approaches to tackling radicalism which not only fail but are also counterproductive. Deradicalisation could, of course, involve a more comprehensive rejection of Salafi ideology. This article suggests that an effective type of deradicalisation that is more likely to make the desired change possible is one in which there is a gradual modification of some attitudes and behaviours without abandoning the whole underpinning Salafi ideology. Referring to the personal narratives of 28 individual Tunisian Salafis, the article identifies phases of radicalisation and deradicalisation as the individual voluntarily moves from embracing radical ideology to a more critical understanding and practice reflecting on personal and interpersonal experiences of being radicalised. The research shows that the process of self-deradicalisation is reflective of Salafi youth experience of engagement with radicalism and is more likely to happen in societies that allow political expression and individual freedom that invoke individuals’ critical thinking.


Democratization (Volume 24, Issues 6 & 7 and Volume 25, Issue 1)


“Using civil society as an authoritarian legitimation strategy: Algeria and Mozambique in comparative perspective”

By: Jasmin Lorch, Bettina Bunk

Abstract: Recent research on civil society in authoritarian regimes shows that civil society can contribute to legitimating authoritarian rule. This finding has not, however, been connected with the nascent literature on authoritarian regime legitimation. This article seeks to bridge this gap by synthesizing the relevant theoretical literature and presenting an in-depth comparative analysis of Algeria and Mozambique. We argue that in both cases the ruling authoritarian regime has used civil society as a legitimation tool. The article identifies five patterns according to which authoritarian regimes can use civil society for legitimation purposes.

“What does democracy mean? Activist views and practices in Athens, Cairo, London and Moscow”

By: Armine Ishkanian, Marlies Glasius

Abstract: We shed light on the discontent with and the appeal of democracy by interviewing some of the most committed critical citizens: core activists in street protests. Based on interviews in Athens, Cairo, London, and Moscow, we found that they rejected representative democracy as insufficient, and believed democracy to entail having a voice and a responsibility to participate intensively in political decision-making. Activists saw themselves as engaged in prefigurative politics by fostering democratic practices within the movement and, ultimately, in society, but also raised concerns about internal power dynamics reproducing existing inequalities and exclusions. The insistence by activists that citizens have both a right and a duty to participate should be taken more seriously by political scientists and policymakers, not just as a threat to democracy and democratization, but as an opportunity. However, contemporary social movements are not straightforward sites of prefiguration, but sites of struggle between experimental and traditional forms of organizing, between inclusive aspirations and exclusive tendencies.

“Conquering versus democratizing the state: political Islamists and fourth wave democratization in Turkey and Tunisia”

By: Murat Somer

Abstract: What do we learn from Turkey and Tunisia regarding the relationship between political Islamism and democratization? Variables identified by current research such as autonomy, “moderation”, and cooperation with secular actors can cut both ways depending on various political-institutional conditions and prerogatives. Particularly, the article argues that preoccupation with “conquering the state from within as opposed to democratizing it” has been a key priority and intervening variable undermining the democratizing potential of the main Turkish and Tunisian political Islamic actors – primarily the AKP and Ennahda. These actors have prioritized acceptance by and ownership of their respective nation states over other goals and strategies, such as revolutionary takeover or Islamization of the state and confrontations with state elites. This has led to a relative neglect of designing and building institutions, whether for Islamic or democratic transformation. Hence, while contributing to democratization at various stages, these actors have a predisposition to adopt and regenerate, reframe and at times augment the authoritarian properties of their states. Research should ask how secular and religious actors can agree on institutions of vertical and horizontal state accountability that would help to address the past and present sources of the interest of political Islamists in conquering rather than democratizing the state.

“Pathways of Islamist adaptation: the Egyptian Muslim Brothers’ lessons for inclusion moderation theory”

By: Sumita Pahwa

Abstract: The Muslim Brothers’ transition from religious movement to majority-seeking party in Egypt’s post 2011 democratic experiment offered a key test of the inclusion-moderation hypothesis. While the MB’s increasing religious and organizational conservatism at new electoral thresholds appears to challenge the hypothesis, I argue that it was the result of strategic adaptation based on functional alternative interpretations of political opportunity that did not require a trade-off between power-seeking and expressive goals, constrained by prior pathways of electoral adaptation, and shaped by the ambiguous political incentives of democratic transition. This article shows that the MB, like other religious parties, has alternated between strategies for electoral adaptation, challenging expectations of linear evolution; that majority-seeking sometimes encourages intra-movement dynamics that are radicalizing as well as moderating; and shows that expressive goals and identity remain important to religious parties even in office, and make some paths of adaptation more attractive while precluding others. While the case affirms the relevance of political learning mechanisms predicted by inclusion-moderation theory, the divergent outcomes of this learning suggest the need to focus on the contexts and motivations that set movements along one of multiple possible adaptive pathways.

“Weathering the storm: why was there no Arab uprising in Algeria?”

By: Gianni Del Panta

Abstract: This article re-opens the discussion of why there was “no Arab Uprising in Algeria.” After critically reviewing previous findings, the paper suggests that the stability of the Algerian regime was mainly a result of the non-formation of a cross-class and cross-ideological coalition. Splitting this hypothesis into its two main parts, it will be shown, first, that the working class was the missing element. Two factors explain this: (a) the numerical and strategic marginalization of productive workers – in turn, an effect of the process of de-industrialization that hit the country from the late 1980s onwards; and (b) the presence of an aristocracy of labour in the hydrocarbon sector, from which a tiny minority of workers produced an overwhelming amount of wealth. Secondly, the enduring distrust among opposition groups – a direct legacy of the still-too-recent civil war, as well as an effect of the specific institutional environment that developed from the mid 1990s onwards – prevented the establishment of a “negative coalition” through which all opposition forces could jointly mobilize against the regime.

“Online clustering, fear and uncertainty in Egypt’s transition”

By: Marc Lynch, Deen Freelon, Sean Aday

Abstract: Does the uncertainty associated with post-authoritarian transitions cause political and social polarization? Does ubiquitous social media exacerbate these problems and thus make successful democratic transitions less likely? This article examines these questions in the case of Egypt between the 11 February 2011 fall of President Hosni Mubarak and the 3 July 2013 military coup, which overthrew President Mohamed el-Morsi. The analysis is based on a Twitter dataset including 62 million tweets by 7 million unique users. Using a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods, we demonstrate how clusters of users form and evolve over time, the density of interactions between them, and the flow of particular types of information through the clustered network structure. We show that the Egyptian Twitter public developed into increasingly isolated clusters of the like-minded which shared information unevenly. We argue that the growing distance between these clusters encouraged political conflict and facilitated the spread of fear and hatred, which ultimately undermined the democratic transition and won popular support for the military coup.

“Political activism in Iran: strategies for survival, possibilities for resistance and authoritarianism”

By: Paola Rivetti

Abstract: This article examines mobilizations and activism in authoritarian settings by considering the case of Iran. By focusing on the transformation of activism since the 1990s and the green movement, it advances an explanation of how oppositional political groups have been able to survive and produce forms of resistant subjectivity despite authoritarian constraints. In order to do so, the article brings together two scholarly traditions, namely Social Movement Theory (SMT) and the study of subjectivity and resistance as framed by Sari Hanafi. SMT explains how activists have been able to navigate repression and create opportunities for mobilization while shifting between formal and informal politics. The study of subjectivity helps conceptualize the type of subjects or political citizens that authoritarian environments generate. The article builds on field research with activists conducted in Iran and Turkey between 2007 and 2016. It argues that authoritarian constraints allow autonomous activism to flourish while emptying of meaning the regime-sanctioned political infrastructures.

“Creating the enemy, constructing the threat: the diffusion of repression against the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East”

By: May Darwich

Abstract: On 25 December 2013, the military-backed government in Egypt declared the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization. A few months later, the Saudi Kingdom followed suit and attempted to build a regional coalition to counter this constructed enemy. Although the Saudi Kingdom, acting as an aspiring regional autocratic power, exerted pressure to compel other regimes to follow its lead, the recipient states varied in their willingness to converge. Whereas the United Arab Emirates followed the Saudi lead, Jordan, Kuwait, and Bahrain resisted the diffusion of repression against the Muslim Brotherhood to their domestic spheres. This article examines this variation in the (non-)convergence of repressive policies as an outcome of diffusion. While most explanations of how autocratic policies diffuse focus on either ideology or interest as drivers of state behaviour, this article provides a nuanced understanding of this phenomenon. Based on a neoclassical realist approach, I explore the variation in the convergence with fellow autocrats as the result of interaction between regional interests and regime autonomy vis-à-vis societal groups. By looking at autocratic diffusion of repression as a process lying at the intersection of regional and domestic spheres, this article contributes to the literature on the international diffusion of authoritarianism.

“The study of authoritarian diffusion and cooperation: comparative lessons on interests versus ideology, nowadays and in history”

By: André Bank

Abstract: This article outlines and discusses the central comparative findings on the role of interest versus ideology in the study of authoritarian diffusion and cooperation. It highlights the primacy of pragmatic interests in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, a finding that holds in diverse cases in Eastern Central Europe, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. Of particular importance here are negative findings that reflect the absence of ideological appeal. At the same time, the primacy of interest-based accounts needs to be qualified, both today (Bolivarianism in Latin America) and especially considering a longer historical perspective. As the experiences of fascism and communism suggest, there used to be autocracies with missionary ideologies that inspired emulation in a wide range of countries. Against this background, the article advocates a “moving back” to history to better account for the context-bound nature of authoritarian diffusion and cooperation. It also calls for a “moving down” the ladder of abstraction to study the more concrete mechanisms in which authoritarian diffusion and cooperation unfold.

“Legitimacy and protest under authoritarianism: explaining student mobilization in Egypt and Morocco during the Arab uprisings”

By: Kressen Thyen & Johannes Gerschewski

Abstract: Political protests constitute a major concern to authoritarian regimes. Existing research has argued that they indicate a lack of regime legitimacy. However, empirical evidence on the relationship between legitimacy and protest participation remains rare. Based on new survey data from Morocco and Egypt, this study investigates whether legitimacy played a significant role in student mobilization during the 2011 uprisings. In doing so, we first develop a context-sensitive concept of legitimacy. This allows us to differentiate the ruler’s legitimacy claims and the citizens’ legitimacy beliefs. Furthermore, we distinguish between two different objects of legitimacy: the broader political community and specific regime institutions. Our empirical analysis suggests that legitimacy had an independent and significant impact on students’ protest participation, yet in more nuanced ways than generally assumed. While protest participation was driven by nationalist sentiments in Egypt, it was motivated by dissatisfaction with the political performance of specific regime institutions in Morocco.

“Minority Arab voting: village dynamics and electoral observations in Israel”

By: William F.S. Miles

Abstract: For all the novelty of a democratizing “Arab Spring”, there have long been pockets in the Middle East where Arabic-speaking voters have gone to the polls in competitive elections, albeit as minority citizens. This article sheds light on such voting at the grassroots level, in Israel, where passions are intense even as the issues and candidates are local. Contradictions between Western notions of electoral democracy and the power of the Arab extended family (hamula) result in what we call “electoral hamulism”. Unexamined heretofore in the scholarly literature are the variability of polling station openness and the methodology of electoral observation in the Arab electoral world. Also underappreciated are psycho-cultural consequences of electoral loss. Overall, the article takes up Valbjørn’s call for “meta-study” analysis and “self-reflective” rethinking of the study of Arab politics.

“Sources of Muslim democracy: the supply and demand of religious policies in the Muslim world”

By: Michael D. Driessen

Abstract: This article explores the supply of and demand for religiously infused democratic politics in the Muslim majority world. The first half of the article reexamines the widespread support of Muslim publics for both democracy and shari’a law. Results from 15 years of public opinion polls in the Muslim world highlight a clear pattern of support for pious political candidates, but not clerical control of politics. These results, the article further claims, are consistent with contemporary scholars’ understanding of Muslim democracy. The second half of the article formulates and then tests several hypotheses about the role of states’ religious policies in generating this public demand for Muslim democracy. Using cross-national data on religion-state arrangements and Arab Barometer and World Values Survey data, the article finds support for the hypothesis that religious favouritism increases demand for pious political candidates, but less support for the hypothesis that religious regulation reduces demand for clerical control of politics.


International Affairs (Volume 93, Issue 5)


“Iconoclasm and strategic thought: Islamic State and cultural heritage in Iraq and Syria”

By: Matthew Clapperton, David Martin Jones & M. L. R. Smith

Abstract: This article analyses the way in which the group calling itself the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Islamic State) manages cultural heritage sites under its control. By drawing on three different cases—Palmyra, Islamic heritage sites (belonging to the Sufis, Shi’as, and Sunnis), and Mosul—it examines the way in which the logic of the Islamic State’s iconoclasm might also be considered a strategy. To be considered strategic, the contention is that three factors need to prevail: the degradation and delegitimization of the existing societal fabric, the removal of all reference to the previous society, and an attempt to reconstruct society in keeping with a new ideological vision. When these three factors are present and interconnected, then iconoclasm as a strategy can be said to manifest. In the case of the Islamic State, this article also seeks to illustrate that its actions may broadly be categorized as either pragmatic or dogmatic, thus creating an inconsistent dichotomy within the Islamic State’s rhetoric. The article frames such a dichotomy within the context of a strategic narrative both in order to be able to connect pragmatic Islamic State policy to action, and to show that when rigid doctrine clashes with the exceptionality of war, an irresolvable paradox is created.


International Interactions (Volume 44, Issue 1)


“Coup-Proofing and Military Inefficiencies: An Experiment”

By: Andrew W. Bausch

Abstract: Coup-proofing occurs when a leader arranges his military to prevent military leaders from overthrowing him. However, coup-proofing often has the additional effect of lowering the military’s effectiveness in conflict. This article discusses coup-proofing in the context of the Nouri al-Maliki’s regime in Iraq, before presenting two formal models. The first model shows when coups are possible, leaders select military commanders with lower ability but higher loyalty. The second model shows that when coups are possible, leaders rotate their military commanders to prevent any one commander from becoming too powerful. The article then presents experimental tests of the models. The results of these laboratory experiments show that leaders are more likely to select loyal commanders or rotate their commanders under the coup treatment relative to groups with no leadership turnover or with leadership turnover according to elections. Thus, when faced with the possibility of a coup, leaders intentionally lower their military effectiveness. This article captures the dynamics behind a fundamental inefficiency introduced into groups when leadership is valuable, delegation is necessary, and powerful subordinates can remove the leader from office.

International Political Science Review (Volume 38, Issue 5 and Volume 39, Issue 1)


“Got political Islam? Are politically moderate Muslims really different from radicals?”

By: Dilshod Achilov & Sedat Sen

Abstract: Is making an explicit distinction between politically moderate devout Muslims and political radicals empirically valid? If yes, in what ways do political moderates differ from political radicals? By systematically examining cross-national Muslim attitudes, this article scrutinizes the distinctiveness of politically moderate and politically radical Islam against the weight of empirical evidence. By drawing from extant theoretical linkages, we conduct a confirmatory factor analysis of cross-national survey data from 13 Muslim-majority states to test the fit of two widely theorized factors—moderate and radical Islamism. The findings suggest that support for politically moderate Islam is distinctively different from support for politically radical Islam. This article makes two key contributions. First, this study introduces a systematic empirical operationalization of Political Islam, and a more nuanced measurement thereof for empirical research. Second, the findings help advance our understanding of the variation in politically divergent religious attitudes in the Islamic world.

“State and regime capacity in authoritarian elections: Egypt before the Arab spring”

By: Kevin Koehler

Abstract: Scholarship on electoral authoritarianism has increasingly recognized state capacity as an element enhancing electoral control. Building on such arguments, I examine the interaction between state capacity and regime strength in authoritarian elections. Drawing on empirical evidence from Egyptian elections under Mubarak, I show that the degree to which official regime candidates were able to profit from state penetration depended on the strength of the ruling party. In urban settings where party structures were stronger, service provision by the state helped secure the dominance of the hegemonic National Democratic Party; in rural constituencies where the party was weak, by contrast, service provision strengthened local elites who often ran and won against the party’s official candidates. This suggests that variation in regime capacity to channel political support needs to be taken into account when examining the relationship between state capacity and electoral control under authoritarianism.

Iran (Volume 55, Issue 2)


“New Discoveries in the Bampur Valley (South-Eastern Iran) and Their Implications for the Understanding of Settlement Pattern in the Indo-Iranian Borderlands During the Chalcolithic Period”

By: Benjamin Mutin, Hossein Moradi, Hossein Sarhaddi-Dadian, Hassan Fazeli Nashli, Mojtaba Soltani

Abstract: This article presents the results of the first systematic archaeological survey of the Bampur Valley in south-eastern Iran. This survey discovered 39 Chalcolithic sites dating to between the mid-to-late fifth and mid-to-late fourth millennium BC and collected numerous archaeological ceramics. These new data include substantial evidence for relationships with cultural complexes extending in the neighbouring regions of Kerman to the north-west and Kech-Makran in Pakistan to the south-east, as well as materials with styles never previously seen. Analysis of this data provides important, new details as to the chronology and archaeological cultures of the Bampur Valley and enables a first assessment of settlement pattern in this valley during the Chalcolithic period. Data of this survey are also critical for comprehending the cultural spheres and interactions at the level of southern Middle Asia at that time.

“Newly Discovered Bronze Age Archaeological Sites on Qeshm Island, Iran”

By: Alireza Khosrowzadeh, Abolfazl Aali, Lloyd Weeks

Abstract: Archaeological surveys of Qeshm Island conducted in 2006 and 2012 have identified a total of 191 archaeological sites dating from prehistoric to late Islamic times and provided new insights into the ancient settlement of the island. Among the identified sites, seven (three settlements and four cemeteries) can be attributed to the Bronze Age, representing the first archaeological sites from this period to have been identified on the Iranian islands of the Persian Gulf. Although only a preliminary reconstruction of the social and economic aspects of the third-millennium BC settlement of Qeshm Island is possible from these two seasons of survey, it appears that communities practised both agricultural production and the exploitation of marine resources. Material remains collected during surface survey indicate cultural, economic and technological connections between the Bronze Age inhabitants of Qeshm Island and neighbouring communities in south-eastern Iran and south-eastern Arabia.

“The Yaz I–III Settlement Pattern in the Serakhs Oasis, Southern Turkmenistan”

By: Nazarij Buławka

Abstract: The paper deals with the archaeological materials of the Yaz period from surveys carried out in the Serakhs oasis (Turkmenistan) by the Polish Archaeological Mission in 2007–2008 and the following seasons of archaeological work in the oasis, which brought to light 16 new sites of this period. The settlement analysis in the Serakhs oasis indicates that the changes that took place here are comparable to settlement dynamics in other regions of Central Asia during the Iron Age.

“A Report on the Excavation at the Mala Mcha Graveyard, Kurdistan, Iran”

By: Sheler Amelirad, Abdolreza Mohajerynezhad, Masoume Javidkhah

Abstract: The Mala Mcha graveyard is located in Iranian Kurdistan, near the ancient Mannaean site of Ziwiya. Abdolreza Mohajerynezhad and Rasol Oshtodan conducted rescue excavations at Mala Mcha in 2012, and 16 graves were uncovered. Although most of the graves had been plundered by tomb robbers the tomb structures, and especially the grave-goods that remained, suggest an Iron Age III date and close relations with neighbouring sites such as Ziwiye, Qalaichi and Changbar. Most of the graves were covered with large flat slabs and contained one, two or three burials, the exception being tomb no. 7 with 14 burials.

“Columned Halls in Ancient Chorasmia”

By: Michele Minardi, Alison V. G. Betts, Gairatdin Khozhaniyazov

Abstract: Ancient Chorasmia in the period from around the sixth century BC to the second century AD was rich with large fortified sites, many containing monumental architecture. Some of these buildings were large halls, others smaller columned chambers. With particular reference to the site of Akchakhan-kala, this paper discusses the form, development and origins of Chorasmian columned halls.

“The Late Sasanian Treasury of Qouri Qaleh Cave: Votive Offerings for a Mithra Temple in Kermanshah, Western Iran”

By: Sajjad Alibaigi, Alireza Moradi Bisotuni, Fereshteh Rahimi, Shokouh Khosravi, Hossein Alibaigi

Abstract: Due to the small amount of evidence and artefacts associated with the cult of Mithraism, the study of this topic is a very complex issue. According to the current archaeological data, it would seem that evidence of Mithraism in Iran is often manifested in caves and in most cases as symbolic illustrations of Mithra on artefacts. The discovery of silver vessels related to late Sasanian period, in Qouri Qaleh near Paveh, decorated with a hawk catching a bird, birds, lions and a phoenix (senmerv), suggests that they were offered to a Mithra temple located in a cave, in an area where most of the known Mithra temples in Iran are located. Sasanian and Arab-Tabarian coins have also been found in the cave, suggesting that the cave might have been a Mithra temple occupied from the late Sasanian period until probably the second century Hegira. The widespread Arab domination and the expansion of Islam were probably the major reasons for its abandonment.

“Excavations at Bazeh-Hur in North-Eastern Iran: A Preliminary Report”

By: Meysam Labbaf-Khaniki

Abstract: The first season of archaeological activity at the Bazeh-Hur chahartaq (fire temple) has shed new light on the original plan of the building and led to the identification of some of the features surrounding it. The excavations showed that unlike its current appearance, the western taq (arch) of the main building was originally blocked by a wall; parallel to the southern taq, a portico or ayvan served as the main entrance; and access to the northern room was provided through two narrow doorways in the northern wall. Excavations in the north-eastern area have also resulted in the discovery of the remains of two columns and a small part of a wall abutting the north-eastern corner of the chahartaq.

Iran and the Caucasus (Volume 21, Issues 3 & 4)


“New Data on Archaeobotany of the Lake Sevan Basin”

By: Roman Hovsepyan

Abstract: Recent archaeobotanical investigations (2013-2015) at three sites situated in the southeastern part of the Lake Sevan basin (Sotk-2, Norabak-1 and Sotk-1 settlements, and Sotk-10 cemetery) revealed important data on plant economy, agriculture, diet, and environment of the region during the Early Bronze Age, Middle-Late Bronze Age and Mediaeval periods. These materials show that agriculture was the main direction of plant economy to gain vegetal food staple, but it was likely accompanied also by gathering of wild plants. The principal direction of agriculture at the studied region was the cultivation of cereals for all the above-mentioned periods. Correspondingly, the main source of vegetal food were cereal-based products (presumably bread, porridges, etc).

“Northwestern Caucasus in the Early Middle Ages: A Few Notes”

By: Petr Charvát

Abstract: The paper is on the history of the Northwestern Caucasus between the turn of the eras and the 13th century. From among the many ethnic groups inhabiting this region since the times of Greek and Roman Antiquity, the Alans were probably the best known. Settling down first in the submontane tracts of the Northern Caucasus, they gradually ascended the accessible valleys and rendered themselves as masters of the whole area north of the Caucasus main ridge. Constantly having to find their way between the ambitions of Byzantium and the Khazar Khanate of the steppes, the Northwestern Caucasians successfully exploited the region’s natural resources and engaged in long-distance trade along a side artery of the Silk Road. In the 10th century, Alans embraced Christianity and created their own state, a staunch ally of Byzantium. Alania perished in consequence of the Mongol invasion at the beginning of the 13th century. Most of its inhabitants followed their new masters into Central Asia, some have found new homes in Byzantium, Hungary and their vicinity.

“Islamic Education and Personal Career Mobility in the Circassian Sultanate (Late 14th–Early 15th Century)”

By: Evgeny I. Zelenev, Milana Iliushina

Abstract: The authors explore the issue of education influence on the social status of people during the reign of the Circassian Sultans in Cairo (1382–1517). The study is focused on the issue, how social mobility, affected by the received education, could have influenced the personal status and the entire social structure of the Circassian Mamluks state.

“The Khalwatiyya Sheikhs in Dagestan (16th-17th Centuries)”

By: Shakhban Khapizov; Magomed Shekhmagomedov, Ramazan Abdulmazhidov

Abstract: It has always been assumed that the active penetration of the Khalwatiyya ṭariqa to Dagestan should be dated back to the 19th century, the period of the Russian expansion to the Northern Caucasus, the Sufi teaching having allegedly been an ideological platform for the resistance against the Russian Empire. However, the materials presented in this paper clearly indicate that already in the 16th century, the Khalwatiyya sheikhs effectively preached in the Avar and Tsakhur communities of Dagestan.

“An Indo-European Origin of Kartvelian Names for Two Maloid Fruits”

By: Rhona S. H. Fenwick

Abstract: The four living Kartvelian languages preserve a rich, largely inherited suite of terms for cultivated fruit trees. But many identifiable Indo-European loans are present even at the level of Kartvelian unity, which leads one to wonder to what extent intercultural exchanges may be responsible for this rich Kartvelian fruit-tree terminology. Here, I propose an etymological connection between Proto-Kartvelian names for the medlar and the domestic pear and suggest that both arise from a borrowing of Late PIE *(s)h2éml- “apple, tree fruit”. I close by discussing this etymology’s implications for the chronology of IE-Kartvelian contact and for the phonetics of the PIE laryngeal *h2 .

“The Population of the South Caucasus according to the 1897 General Census of the Russian Empire”

By: George Bournoutian

Abstract: The article is about the population statistics of the South Caucasus by religion, language/ethnicity and profession, following the first General Census of the Russian Empire in 1897.

“Two New Rock-cut Tombs in the Bārāndūz Valley, Iran”

By: Roberto Dan; Behrouz Khan Mohammadi, Keomars Haji Mohammadi

Abstract: The article presents a newly discovered site with a fortress and a rock-cut complex in the Lake Urmiya basin. The site is located approximately 1 kilometre north-west of the village of Sydk/Sīdak in the Bārāndūz River valley, about 30 km south-west of the city of Urmiya.

“A Typology of Ethnic Minorities in Armenia”

By: Ilona Schulze

Abstract: The term “minority” mainly refers to ethnicity and group size without taking into account that the groups referred to as minoritarian may show structural similarities and differences that allow their grouping along specific parameters. In this paper I will show that historical and present political and socio-cultural influences have an impact on the shape of the minorities of Armenia. The relevant parameters identified in this paper allow both to group minorities along similarities and, at the same time, account for their special structure and their future prospects.

“Yezdistan versus Kurdistan: Another Legend on the Origin of the Yezidis”

By: Victoria Arakelova

Abstract: The paper focuses on the analysis of the term Yezdistan (Ēzdīstān) attested in a Yezidi legend, having obvious parallels with the Shahnameh’s “Tale of Zahhak”. It is particularly interesting that this plot does not occur in any of the Kurmanji versions of the Shahnameh ever recorded in Armenia and represents, in fact, a separate legend out of the epic context.

“On the Third Dagestani Campaign of Nadir Shah Afshar (1741): The Letters of Ibrahim of Urada”

By: Timirlan Aytberov

Abstract: The article presents the English translation with commentaries of three messages in Arabic by Ibrahim of Urada addressed to the people of Avaristan during the campaign of Nadir Shah to Dagestan. They provide important data elucidating the details of this poorly studied historical event that took place in the fall of 1741.

“SWIran. *didā- ‘fortress, walled residence’ in Iranian Toponymy”

By: Garnik Asatrian

Abstract: The paper deals with the identification of the Iranian place-names produced with the lexical elements derived from South West Iranian *didā-/*daidā- “fortress, a fortified walled residence” (vs. North West Iranian *dizā-/*daizā- ‘id.’), hitherto assumed to be absent from the geographic nomenclature of Iran and the adjoining areas.

“Bezeichnungen von Wurfwaffen und Belagerungsgeschützen im Iranischen I: Iranica mutuata II”

By: David B. Buyaner

Abstract: The paper focuses on two words of obscure etymology occurring in the Pahlavi text of presumably Parthian origin Draxt ī asūrīg, namely and . For the former, numerous related forms in Classical Armenian, Old Georgian and New Persian are considered, and a new suggestion is made as regards the ultimate, i. e. Old Iranian, etymology of the term and the way by which it entered Middle West Iranian, as well as in respect of a subgroup of the forms discussed, which turns out to have derived from a variety of the etymon characterised by certain semantic and phonetic features. For both terms Sogdian origin is established and some further etymological considerations are made.

“The Uyghur Terrorism: Phenomenon and Genesis”

By: Maria A. Soloshcheva

Abstract: The aim of this paper is 1) to analyse the historical and political roots of the current situation in Xinjiang; 2) to identify the boundaries that separate the legal opposition from what is usually called non-system opposition; and 3) to study a set of preconditions that have affected the emergence of the phenomenon of the Uyghur terrorism. In a broader sense, the engagement of the Uyghur population in separatist activities under the slogan of the most radical Islamic religious-political movements (Jabhat an-Nusra (alias Jabhat Fateh al-Sham), ISIL, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, etc.) is addressed. Generally, the author tries to answer the following questions: What are the motives and methods of Uyghur terrorists? What dynamics of their violent acts may we consider in the People’s Republic of China and abroad? What legal and terrorist organisations have Chinese Uyghurs as members? And what distinguishes legal and the so called non-system Uyghur opposition?

“The Chechen Conflict”

By: Caspar ten Dam

Abstract: The review article analyses several key publications on the Chechen conflict in the light of the portraits of Maskhadov and other prominent figures of the post-1991 Chechen insurgencies, with a view on the inner controversies between secularist and jihadist wings of this anti-Russian separatist movement.


Islamic Law and Society (Volume 24, Issue 4)


“The Principles of Hadith Criticism in the Writings of al-Shāfiʿī and Muslim”

By: Belal Abu-Alabbas

Abstract: Modern research by Muslim and early European scholars takes it for granted that Hadith criticism as documented by classical textbooks of muṣṭalaḥ al-ḥadīth represents how early Hadith criticism worked. In this essay I examine the standards of Hadith criticism established by two prominent scholars whose writings are the earliest known extant works on the theories of Hadith criticism, Muḥammad b. Idrīs al-Shāfiʿī (d. 204/820) and Muslim b. al-Ḥajjāj al-Naysābūrī (d. 261/875). In doing so, I determine the extent to which Hadith criticism as defined by Muslim is consistent with the system outlined by al-Shāfiʿī. A comparison of their works reveals that there is little difference between al-Shāfiʿī and Muslim on the principles of Hadith criticism, despite differences in their respective frameworks and agendas. Early Hadith critics appear to have adhered to a consistent system of criticism that likely developed in the generation before al-Shāfiʿī.

“Before the Eternal: Muslim Law and the Eternity of Divine Speech”

By: Mohamed Ahmed Abdelrahman Eissa

Abstract: This essay examines the interconnections between the theological controversy around the eternity of the Qurʾān and the legal theory debate on the normative categorization of human actions before the advent of divine revelation (ḥukm al-ashyāʾ qabla wurūd al-sharʿ). Prior to the sixth/twelfth century, legal theoreticians and theologians rarely connected the two debates. Early in this century, they started to argue that a scholar’s position on the ‘eternity of divine speech’ should inform his position on the ‘before revelation’ question. I trace the changing relationship between the two debates and use my examination to better understand the nature of the relationship between speculative theology and legal theory.

“Troubling Technology: The Deobandī Debate on the Loudspeaker and Ritual Prayer”

By: Ali Altaf Mian

Abstract: This article contributes to Islamicist scholarship on the relationship between modern technology and Muslim thought and practice by closely reading and historicizing a twentieth-century South Asian Ḥanafī treatise on the use of the loudspeaker in ritual prayers. In this treatise, the Ḥanafī jurist Muḥammad Shafīʿ discusses the reasons for changing his legal opinion. The jurist first argued that the use of the loudspeaker invalidates the ritual prayer of the congregant (muqtadī). In his revised position, however, he held that the loudspeaker should be avoided in ritual prayers, but that its use does not invalidate the prayer. While Muḥammad Shafīʿ appears to have revised his position in response to newfound scientific knowledge about the ontological status of the loudspeaker’s sound or for the sake of public benefit (maṣlaḥah), I suggest that his revised fatwā was based on distinctive Ḥanafī modes of legal reasoning. By grounding his revised position in casuistry, the muftī renewed his commitment to his law school’s methodologies in a social context in which scientific knowledge and legal pluralism were weakening Ḥanafī modes of reasoning.

“Judicial Ijtihād as a Tool for Legal Reform: Extending Women’s Right to Divorce under Islamic Law in Pakistan”

By: Muhammad Zubair Abbasi

Abstract: In a series of judgments starting in 1959, Pakistani judges reformed Islamic family law by extending women’s right to no-fault based divorce (khulʿ). For this purpose, they directly interpreted the Qurʾān and Sunnah, and removed the requirement of the consent of a husband for judicial khulʿ. This article analyses the methods and the methodological tools that Pakistani judges used to justify the unilateral right of women to no-fault judicial divorce. The analysis shows that instead of following the opinions of classical jurists, Pakistani judges exercised independent legal reasoning (ijtihād). By using judicial ijtihād, Pakistani judges continue to play a key role in reforming classical Islamic family law with changing circumstances.

“Algeria’s GIA: The First Major Armed Group to Fully Subordinate Jihadism to Salafism”

By: Alexander Thurston

Abstract: In the mid-1990s, the world’s most successful jihadi group – the group that came closest to overthrowing an Arab regime – was Algeria’s Groupe islamique armé (Armed Islamic Group, GIA). Here I argue that the GIA was the first major armed group to prioritize adherence to Salafi theology over the jihadi strategic objective of building a “big tent.” The GIA used the vocabulary of Salafism to justify killing rivals and would-be allies and eventually turned against the Algerian population itself. In part one, I re-read GIA sources, particularly the group’s London-based newsletter Al-Anṣār, to show how the GIA sidelined potential allies in the name of purity. In parts two and three, I examine the effects of this approach. Through analysis of counter-texts by the GIA’s ideological and theological rivals, I demonstrate how their rejection of the GIA sharpened disagreements about what it meant to be a Salafi-jihadi.

Journal of Peace Research (Volume 54, Issue 6 and Volume 55, Issue 1)


“Gender differences in support for direct and indirect political aggression in the context of protracted conflict”

By: Lihi Ben Shitrit, Julia Elad-Strenger, Sivan Hirsch-Hoefler

Abstract: The relationship between gender and political aggression is hotly debated and the empirical evidence is often mixed. While many surveys find a gender gap, with women less supportive of politically motivated aggression and violence than men, numerous case studies point to women’s active involvement in political violence and refute the association of women with peacefulness. This article argues that the gender–aggression relation depends upon (1) the type of political aggression under study (i.e. direct vs. indirect political aggression), and (2) contextual factors, notably the salience of a protracted conflict. Using original datasets representing Israeli Jews (N = 3,126) we found that in the context of protracted conflict, gender has a unique effect on support for indirect forms of political aggression, over and above other central predictors of political aggression (i.e. political orientation and threat perceptions), such that women are actually more supportive of politically motivated social distancing and exclusion of out-groups in conflict as compared to men. Women and men, however, do not differ in their support for direct, politically motivated, violent acts against government officials. Results also shed light on potential mechanisms underlying these differences (and lack thereof), in the context of protracted conflict. The findings cast further doubt on the stereotype of ‘peaceful women’ and point to the need for policymakers concerned with conflict resolution to address context-related factors when considering the gender-based differences in political aggression.

“Iraq and the material basis of post-conflict police reconstruction”

By: Jesse SG Wozniak

Abstract: Existing scientific literature on post-conflict police reconstruction is largely divided between two camps. The first, and most widely employed in practice, can be termed a neo-liberal model, which argues progress comes through technological and organizational sophistication delivered by Western officials. This neo-liberal model has been the guiding principle of the reconstruction of the Iraqi state and police force. However, many scholars have argued this model is woefully inadequate for post-conflict reconstruction and have instead developed an alternative approach which can be termed a reflexive model. Similar to what is known as fourth generation peacebuilding in the International Relations literature, the reflexive model stresses building relationships with local stakeholders and relying on indigenous knowledge to guide post-conflict reconstruction. Drawing from 48 intensive interviews, 87 qualitative surveys, and six months of ethnographic examination of an Iraqi police training academy, this article argues that both the neo-liberal and reflexive models suffer from ignoring the material basis of reconstruction. This article employs the term ‘material’ in the theoretical sense; while police reconstruction programs spend significant effort on reshaping the ideologies of police, few address the real conditions police face, from the necessary levels of funding and equipment in their training centers, to basic concerns such as adequate pay to draw qualified applicants and prevent corruption. This study examines how economic inequality affects the ‘other side’ of conflicts, the security sector. The central finding is that the material deprivation experienced by Iraqi police has resulted in an underqualified force consisting of uninterested officers whose capacity and skill deficits have fed directly into the rise of powerful non-state organizations such as the Islamic State. This article explicates a central underlying cause of the problem with the reconstruction of the Iraqi police specifically and the larger case of neo-liberal post-conflict police reconstruction generally.

“Causal beliefs and war termination: Religion and rational choice in the Iran–Iraq War”

By: Marco Nilsson

Abstract: This article analyzes the length of interstate wars and the process of reaching a mutually acceptable bargaining solution. Rational choice scholarship has mainly sought to explain long wars in terms of commitment problems and private information. This article complements these rational choice perspectives by arguing that causal beliefs – a variable not considered by previous research – can also prolong wars by increasing expectations of battlefield performance and slowing down information updating. It illustrates the role of religiously based causal beliefs with the case of one of the longest interstate wars of modern time, the Iran–Iraq War of 1980–88. Even though commitment problems were present, they do not identify the root cause of Iran’s high expected utility of continuing the war, as religiously based causal beliefs played a more prominent role in prolonging the war. Religious causal beliefs constitute a real word mechanism that not only creates different priors about expected military capacity, but also slows down the process of updating beliefs, as battlefield events are not seen as credible information. Although the prevalence of religious conflicts has increased over time, the formation of beliefs and their effects on wars remains understudied when applying rational choice to real world conflicts.

Journal of Qur’anic Studies (Volume 19, Issue 3)


“Qur’anic Manuscripts in the Islamic West: Editor’s Preface”

By: Nuría Martínez de Castilla

“A Bilingual ‘Morisco Qur’an’ with Thirteen Lines to the Page”

By: Nuria Martínez de Castilla

Abstract: Three copies of the ‘Morisco Qur’an’, RESC/101D.2, RESC/39E, and RESC/58B.1, provide an exceptional testimony for the study of textual transmission within Morisco communities. They lead us to think that the copyists working for these communities knew and used a systematic methodology for transcribing texts which we could call ‘commented’ (or ‘translated’) Qur’ans, with 13 lines to the page. In all three cases, the text was written at the beginning of the sixteenth century, if not in direct parallel at least within a short time span, by the same hand, with an identical layout, on a paper of the same type and size, and with the same portions of text on the same page. They are clearly exceptional, since no similar examples have been found in the entire manuscript production of the Western Islamic world known to date. We are dealing here with a careful process of standardisation similar to that found later in the wider Islamic world––more precisely in the Ottoman Empire––from 1620 onwards, which will become widespread in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

“Qur’anic Studies in al-Andalus: An Overview of the State of Research on qirāʾāt and tafsīr”

By: Adday Hernández López

Abstract: In this paper I aim to offer a state-of-the-art assessment of extant studies on qiraʾāt and tafsīr, and an overview of the development of research in Qur’anic exegesis, in al-Andalus. Over the last decade, humanities research has embraced the use of new methodologies, and different types of bio-bibliographical resources have recently become available within the field of Andalusī studies. As a result, we have at our disposal new tools that allow us to manage a larger amount of data, such as the HATA online catalogue, which will be employed to study the transmission of Andalusian exegetical knowledge in the Islamic world. Pilgrimages and studies trips (riḥlāt fī ṭalab al-ʿilm) have always been the main connection between al-Andalus and the Islamic East and, as it will be shown, certain Andalusī works are known nowadays in the contemporary Islamic world because of this medieval link. Therefore, this contribution will not only discuss the most famous tafsīr titles and authors within the Andalusian literary tradition, but also the diffusion of these Andalusian works to the Islamic East, as well as the reciprocal spread of major Arabic works into Andalusia.

“Abū Muḥammad b. al-Qurṭubī versus Abū ʿAlī al-Rundī: An Andalusī Polemic on the Modes of Transmission of the Qur’an”

By: Camilla Adang

Abstract: This contribution deals with Abū ʿAlī al-Rundī’s (d. 616/1219) refutation of Abū Muḥammad b. al-Qurṭubī’s (d. 611/1214) views on the modes of transmission of the Qur’an and the qirāʾāt (‘variant readings’). It is the last in a series of texts on this topic included by Aḥmad al-Wansharīsī (d. 914/1509) in his famous fatwā collection, al-Miʿyār al-muʿrib. The two Andalusī scholars had similar academic profiles and vied for recognition as the foremost authority on Qur’an readings in Malaga, which during the Almohad period was home to a large number of eminent ʿulamāʾ. Asked whether he thought that the Qur’an, in its variant readings, should be transmitted with an isnād, from one person to the next, Ibn al-Qurṭubī had apparently replied in the affirmative. In the text under discussion, al-Rundī aims to destroy the arguments of his arch-rival, whom he describes in scathing terms. He argues that the Qur’an has always been transmitted through tawātur (that is, by a multitude of trustworthy people) which alone guarantees sound knowledge. The refutation not only reflects the state of Qur’anic Studies in al-Andalus at the time, but also the acrimonious relations between two important scholars.

Journal of the American Oriental Society (Volume 137, Issue 4)


“The Monk’s Daughter and Her Suitor: An Egyptian Shadow Play of Interfaith Romance and Insanity”

By: Li Guo

Abstract: The Egyptian shadow play, commonly known as ʿAlam wa-Taʿādīr, tells the story of a Coptic monk whose daughter falls in love with a Muslim merchant. Since its initial discovery in the 1900s, this remarkable play has slipped into oblivion. This article presents a survey of earlier research, an outline of the layers of the composite text based on all known textual and visual testimonies, an analysis of the building blocks—themed zajal song-cycles—, and a summary of the sole working script that features dialogue as well. These findings will hopefully form a solid foundation for future research into this work, which in many ways is representative of Egyptian shadow plays in the Ottoman and early modern times.

“Chronicling a Dynasty on the Make: New Light on the Early Ṣafavids in Ḥayātī Tabrīzī’s Tārīkh (961/1554)”

By: Kioumars Ghereghlou

Abstract: This article studies Qāsim Beg Ḥayātī Tabrīzī’s unpublished account of Ṣafavid history, which has long been considered lost. Ḥayātī’s account—dedicated, in 961/1554, to Shah Ṭahmāsp’s sister, Princess Mihīn Begum (d. 969/1562)—spans the period between the formative years of the Ṣafaviyya Sufi order under Ṣafī al-Dīn Isḥāq Ardabīlī (d. 735/1334), and the early years of the reign of Shah Ismāʿīl (907–30/1501–24). Emphasis is given to the way in which it fills in the gaps of our knowledge insofar as the pre-dynastic and early dynastic phases of Ṣafavid history, as well as the administrative history of the Ṣafavid shrine in Ardabīl are concerned.

Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient (Volume 60, Issues 5 & 6)

“Refractions of China in Russia, and of Russia in China: Ideas and Things”

By: Mark Gamsa

Abstract: This article analyses perceptions of China in Russia and of Russia in China, by focusing on exchange through material culture, including the tea trade and the borrowing of architectural styles. It demonstrates that some Chinese things became domesticated in Russia, having first arrived there in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, whereas others continued to represent an exotic outlook on China. Fewer Russian things were familiar in imperial China. In twentieth-century China, Russia became closely associated with Communism, while the idea of “Russia” was also fashioned via cultural and material exchange. Other areas of historical contact between Russia (and European countries) and China (and Asian countries) have been mapped out by extensive research. This article argues that the field of contact between Russia and China has been neglected because historians have grown too used to conceptualizing relations between Europeans and Asians in terms of a confrontation of West and East.

“Mongol, Muslim, Rajput: Mahimāsāhi in Persian Texts and the Sanskrit Hammīra-Mahākāvya”

By: Michael Boris Bednar

Abstract: The life of a Mongol named Mahimāsāhi underwent a series of transformations in Persian and Sanskrit texts. Mahimāsāhi was born a Mongol, became a New Muslim, and died a Kshatriya Rajput warrior in 1301. With time, he moved from history into historical memory. This historical memory was further transformed by literary conventions in Sanskrit and Persian texts. While Mahimāsāhi represents a Mongol threat in Persian texts, he embodies the warrior’s duty in the Sanskrit Hammīra-Mahākāvya and serves as an example for others on how to become Rajput.

“Problematizing Ottoman Sunnism: Appropriation of Islamic History and Ahl al-Baytism in Ottoman Literary and Historical Writing in the Sixteenth Century”

By: Vefa Erginbaş

Abstract: A growing number of studies argue that the Ottomans became militantly Sunni in the sixteenth century as they participated in the age of confessionalization. In defining Ottoman Sunnism, both state policy and state-appointed jurists and scholars played a significant role. This paper attempts to define Ottoman Sunnism in the sixteenth century in a manner subtly different from that of the jurists, by looking at the views of Ottoman historians on the issues that divided the original Muslim community, ultimately resulting in the Sunni-Shiʿi schism. Despite the seemingly sectarian conflicts of the sixteenth century, neither rigid Sunnism nor fierce confessionalization was carried over into the intellectual and cultural scene. A moderate inclination towards Shiʿism/ʿAlidism and strong attachment to Ahl al-Bayt continued to be potent forces in Sunni Ottoman intellectual circles.

“Economic Aspects of the Peasant-Led National Palestinian Revolt, 1936-39”

By: Amos Nadan

Abstract: This paper examines economic aspects of the Arab Revolt of 1936-39, which was, beyond doubt, a national Palestinian revolt. It is suggested that, while the rebels (most of whom were peasants) acted collectively for national causes, many of them also perceived personal economic and rural collective interests in participating and acted to pursue economic and national goals simultaneously. This analysis helps explain why peasants comprised the main rebel force, why many of them were “landless” and from the poorest stratum of Palestinian rural society, why militias tended to be small, why banditry became dominant in 1938, and how economic motivations fueled an internal Arab-Palestinian civil war.

“How and Why Do We Praise the Emperor? Debating and Depicting a Late Western Han Court Audience”

By: Luke Habberstad

Abstract: In 51 BCE, a powerful foreign leader attended the annual court audience with the Western Han emperor. Modern scholarship has understood the audience primarily as an important event in the history of early Chinese foreign relations. This article shifts focus inward, comparing three different accounts of the audience in order to show that the event is perhaps even more important as an index of changing social and institutional patterns at the capital, as well as normative understandings of imperial power. Long after 51 BCE, the audience was rewritten in historical accounts not as the apex of Han power over foreign lands but as a beginning of efforts to refashion the imperial court according to principles associated with the Five Classics.

“Babylonian Populations, Servility, and Cuneiform Records”

By: Jonathan S. Tenney

Abstract: To date, servility and servile systems in Babylonia have been explored with the traditional lexical approach of Assyriology. If one examines servility as an aggregate phenomenon, these subjects can be investigated on a much larger scale with quantitative approaches. Using servile populations as a point of departure, this paper applies both quantitative and qualitative methods to explore Babylonian population dynamics in general- especially morbidity, mortality, and ages at which Babylonians experienced important life events. As such, it can be added to the handful of publications that have sought basic demographic data in the cuneiform record, and therefore has value to those scholars who are also interested in migration and settlement. It suggests that the origins of servile systems in Babylonia can be explained with the Nieboer-Domar hypothesis, which proposes that large-scale systems of bondage will arise in regions with plentiful land but few workers. Once established, these systems persisted and were reinforced through Babylonia’s high balance mortality, political ideologies, economic incentives, and social structures.

“Early Medieval Central Asian Population Estimates”

By: Étienne de la Vaissière

Abstract: Census data from 8th-century Eastern Central Asian oases, combined with the measurements of the oases and data from archives discovered there, allow us to calculate estimates both of the individual oases’ populations and of their respective feeding capacities, which is to say the number of people who could be fed from the output of one hectare of agricultural land. These numbers in turn have parallels in Western Central Asia, where oasis sizes can also be calculated by examination of preserved archaeological landscapes and oasis walls. It is therefore possible to reach a rough idea of the populations dwelling in the main oases and valleys of sedentary Central Asia. As regards nomadic regions, the data are far more hypothetical, but references in certain sources to the sizes of nomad armies and rates of nomadic military levying can allow us to calculate at least the possible scales of magnitude for populations living to the north of the Tianshan.

“Royal Imagery on Kushan Coins: Local Tradition and Arsacid Influences”

By: Fabrizio Sinisi

Abstract: This article deals with the development of Kushan royal imagery as known from coins in the period between the 1st and the 3rd centuries AD (i.e. from the so-called Heraios series to the coins of Vasudeva). The aim is to challenge the traditional interpretative models which ascribed a crucial role to a Roman contribution, and to highlight instead first the role of the local numismatic tradition, which stretched back to the Graeco-Bactrians, and then the influx of patterns of royal imagery of western Iranian—namely Arsacid Parthian—origin, around the time when Vima Kadphises inaugurated a new imperial coinage.


Middle East Policy (Volume 24, Issues 3 & 4)


“Post-ISIS Iraq and Syria: Avoiding Chaos”

By: James Jeffrey, Denise Natali, Wa’el Alzayat, Paul Salem

“The Future of Iraq: Is Reintegration Possible?”

By: Dylan O’Driscoll, Dave van Zoonen

“The Role of the Muslim Brotherhood In the Syrian Civil War”

By: Yehuda U. Blanga

“The Four Waves of Global Jihad, 1979–2017”

By: Glenn E. Robinson

“Iran’s Defense Strategy: The Navy, Ballistic Missiles and Cyberspace”

By: Gawdat Bahgat, Anoushiravan Ehteshami

“Reality vs. Fantasy: Transforming the Arab States’ Military Force Structure”

By: Jomana Amara

“The Gaza Fighting: Did Israel Shift Risk from Its Soldiers to Civilians?”

By: Yagil Levy

“The Southern Transitional Council: Implications for Yemen’s Peace Process”

By: Robert Forster

“Energy Security in the Eastern Mediterranean”

By: Andrea Prontera, Mariusz Ruszel

“The Future of Iran-Russia Energy Relations Post-Sanctions”

By: Omid Shokri Kalehsar, Azime Telli

“The GCC Rift: Regional and Global Implications”

By: Timothy Lenderking, Perry Cammack, Ali Shihabi, David Des Roches

“Understanding Qatar’s Foreign Policy, 1995–2017”

By: Faisal Mukhyat Abu Sulaib

“Saudi Arabia’s Motives in the Syrian Civil War”

By:Yehuda U. Blanga

“The Gulf States and the Horn of Africa: A New Hinterland?”

By: Asteris Huliaras, Sophia Kalantzakos

“Sanctions and Nuclear Rollback: The Case of Iran”

By: Farhad Rezaei

“Why Was Muammar Qadhafi Really Removed?”

By: Christopher M. Davidson

“The Impact of ISIS on Algeria’s Security Doctrine

By: Djallil Lounnas

“Tunisia’s Jihadi Problem and How to Deal with It”

By: Lisa Watanabe, Fabien Merz

“Negotiating Crisis: International Aid and Refugee Policy in Jordan”

By: Victoria Kelberer

“The Balfour Declaration a Century Later: Accidentally Relevant”

By: Ian S. Lustick

Middle East Quarterly (Volume 24, Issue 4)


“Is the Western Wall Judaism’s Holiest Site?”

By: F.M. Loewenberg

“The Vatican Joins the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”

By: Leonard Hammer

 “Are Returning Jihadists a Major Threat?: Jihad in the West”

By: Thomas R. McCabe

 “The Islamic State’s Virtual Caliphate: Jihad in the West”

By: Mina Hamblet

Middle Eastern Literatures (Volume 20, Issue 3)


“The Poet(ry) of Frankish enchantment: the Ifranjiyyāt of Ibn Qaysarānī”

By: Nizar F. Hermes

Abstract: In this article, I examine the life and career of forgotten Levantine poet Ibn al-Qaysarānī (d. 1154), and explore his largely obscure poetic legacy, especially his fascinating Ifranjiyyāt (Poems on the Franks). Among Ibn al-Qaysarānī’s poetic treasures, there is an intriguing alterist corpus of poems he composed while journeying into the Principality of Antioch (1098–1268). Especially if read against Edward Said’s Orientalism, the Ifranjiyyāt’s ultimate historical and cultural value, I argue, lies not only in how these understudied poems capture the poet’s complex depiction of the Franks, but also, and most importantly, in how they poetically document the array of medieval Arab-Muslim responses to the Crusades.

“A contribution to the literature of the First World War by Mikhail Naimy: an analysis of the short story ‘Shorty’”

By: Gregory J. Bell

Abstract: This paper analyzes Mikhail Naimy’s 1919 short story “Shorty,” which is set in World War I and which clearly draws upon Naimy’s own military service with the American Expeditionary Force in France. Naimy’s life prior to the war is briefly reviewed and the question of why Naimy, who was not an American citizen and who abhorred war, chose to serve is explored. The paper then analyzes the ways Naimy exploited his firsthand experience of the war to express its ironic futility. Finally, an attempt is made to place Naimy’s story within the canon of Great War literature.

Middle Eastern Studies (Volume 53, Issues 5 & 6)


“Islamist radicalism in the provinces of Iran 1906–9: a stage in the development of Islamism”

By: Vanessa Martin

Abstract: Islamist radicalism emerged in the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1906–9. This article examines the early stages of its emergence with particular reference to the provinces of Iran. It looks at the subject thematically and traces the development of an Islamist notion of the state, characterized by Islamic law, and the shaping of new views on nationalism, absolutism, and the economy. Increasingly politicized ordinary people also influenced ideological change. The article begins by establishing the background and influence of individuals and groups who played a leading role in developing an Islamist radical political perspective and identity. It then discusses their vision for an alternative state in terms of the authority to govern, its institutions and its laws and considers their methods of organization and propagation to oppose the existing system, and their attempts to change it. Since the article is intended primarily for those interested in the history of Islamism, it ends by evaluating the stage it had reached in 1909.

“Revisiting the legal infrastructure for the confiscation of Armenian and Greek wealth: an analysis of the CUP years and the early modern Republic”

By: Ümit Kurt

Abstract: Properties belonging to Ottoman Armenians and Greeks were seized through various laws, decrees, and other legal regulations passed by the Committee of Union and Progress (hereafter CUP) government, and later the cadres of the Republican regime. Both governments concocted ways of making this illegal process look legitimate by using the legal veil of the law. Central to this process were the economic outcomes of violence committed against Armenians and Greeks. The aim of this article is to analyze these laws and statutes, which were known as the Abandoned Properties Laws, and discuss the impact of this legislation on the process of the changing of hands of Armenian and Greek properties. It attempts to elucidate the dominant logic of the laws, decrees, and regulations concerning the abandoned properties in the periods of 1915–1923 and post-1923.

“A crude marriage: Iraq, Turkey, and the Kirkuk–Ceyhan oil pipeline”

By: John V. Bowlus

Abstract: Since the discovery of oil at Kirkuk in northern Iraq, oil has shaped relations between Iraq and Turkey, as the former needed markets and export routes to the Mediterranean and the latter reliable sources of supply. This article examines the origins of the Kirkuk–Ceyhan oil pipeline from northern Iraq to the Turkish Mediterranean coast, charting the period of Iraqi–Turkish economic rapprochement in the 1960s to the construction of the pipeline in the 1970s. It also seeks to add to our collective understanding of why transnational oil pipelines in the Middle East succeed or fail by examining the pipeline’s operational record.

“The İnönü era translation movement: classics in the service of Turkish nationalism”

By: F. Betul Cihan-Artun

Abstract: In 1939, a comprehensive and systematic translation movement began in Turkey under the supervision of ‘Turkish humanists’ who believed in the survival of the traces of ancient Greek culture within the daily lives and literary traditions of Anatolian peoples. This article, which is based on the premise that translations should be discussed as records of cultural contestation and ideological struggles rather than as simple linguistic transpositions, examines this state-sanctified movement vis-à-vis the nationalist project. The Turkish humanists’ belief in a geography-based nationalism was promoted by the state insofar as their attempt to influence the direction of the development of ‘nascent’ Turkish identity and literature coincided with the aims of the state. Ostensibly initiated to introduce the Turkish reading public to Western classics, the translated texts were used, this article argues, as a means in fashioning and controlling the emergent national identity during the first decade of the Inonu era.

“Shifts in sexual desire: bans on dancing boys (köçeks) throughout Ottoman modernity (1800s–1920s)”

By: Mustafa Avcı

Abstract: The main objective of this article is to understand the ways in which the köçek (dancing boys) performance became a source of shame, and how the practice was subjected to a number of bans in Ottoman Istanbul. In the literature on the köçek, there is a general trend that argues that the practice was banned because of the fights, quarrels, and other disputes related to the köçeks, and that the practice disappeared altogether no later than 1856. This is what this article refers to  as the ‘social disorders argument’, and while this article acknowledges that history and examines some evidence of social disorders associated with the dancing boys, it also re-analyse the disorders arising from a powerful homoerotic desire that was so common as to even be normative in certain circles in the Ottoman era. In this article, through historical evidence, it is shown that there are a number of proscriptions against the köçeks. Through a brief history of the bans from the sixteenth century onwards, it shows the ways in which the mentality of the bans changed during the Westernization/modernization period, and how shame from homoeroticism became a significant determinant in the bans of the nineteenth century.

“The map as an official symbol and the ‘Greater Israel’ ideology”

By: Ofira Gruweis-Kovalsky

Abstract: This article examines the combined use of maps and symbols as an official symbol of political organization. Used in combination, a map and an emblem push the geographical component to the forefront of cultural–political discourse as an element of myth, drawing attention to an aspect that is not a conscious part of daily life. The article explores how the map of the Land of Israel was used as an official symbol by Zionist organizations, and attempts to decipher the political–cultural significance of the symbolic geography they employed. A symbolic map of Eretz Yisrael was adopted by three Zionist organizations: the Jewish National Fund (JNF), HaMahanot HaOlim Socialist–Zionist youth movement, and the Revisionist movement. Aside from their differences in mission and raisons d’être, the organizations in this study represent different models of map and symbol usage. The main distinguishing feature was in their use of outlines and borders.

“Street arts of resistance in Tahrir and Gezi”

By: Hakkı Taş

Abstract: With the tremendous visibility of popular mobilization in the last decade, scholars have increasingly directed their attention to the streets to examine the dynamics of power and resistance. Among emerging venues of politics, this study examines street art and graffiti as a performance of resistance in the 2011 Tahrir Revolution and 2013 Gezi Protests in Egypt and Turkey respectively. As re-appropriation of the urban landscape and modes of self-expression, street art and graffiti lie at the intersection of politics, space, and identity. Inspired by James C. Scott’s concept of ‘arts of resistance’, this study takes up these ‘street arts of resistance’ as revealing the hidden transcript, namely, the self-disclosure of subordinates under the politics of disguise. While unpacking that subversive power, this study rests on its claim that street art and graffiti not only seek to represent, but also to perform and interject. Thereafter, it examines how these modes of visual culture interrupt time, space, and the self, along with their respective effects.

“Halil Kut – ‘the last Ottoman Pasha’”

By: Syed Tanvir Wasti

Abstract: The siege of British Indian forces by the Ottoman Army at Kut-al-Amara ın Iraq during the First World War, which ended on 29 April 1916 with the surrender of the garrison under the command of Major General Sir Charles Townshend, was an important mılıtary defeat for Great Britain. The article provides supplementary information on aspects of the 147 day long siege and surrender, based mainly on the memoirs of the Turkish General H. K. Pasha, whose forces took well over 10,000 British Indian officers and men into custody at Kut-al-Amara.

“Societal transformation, public opinion and Saudi youth: views from an academic elite”

By: Mark C. Thompson

Abstract: Saudi socio-politics is being affected by societal transformation; one that is being driven by a potent combination of demographics, improved education, wider access to the Internet and burgeoning new media usage. Whilst Saudi government decision-making remains ‘top-down’, the dynamic within this approach has shifted as the top-down system incorporates a consultation process that includes newly established civil society institutions. Nonetheless, of particular significance in Saudi Arabia is growing public awareness, particularly amongst young educated Saudis, of the need for government accountability, transparency and best-practices.
This paper discusses the views of a group of young men who represent an academic elite. Saudi-related literature frequently centers on the status of Saudi women, but the perspective of young Saudi men is generally overlooked even though this constituency is going to be of critical importance to the Kingdom’s future social and political stability. The author recognizes that this elite sample does not represent Saudi youth in its entirety, but the diversity of student backgrounds and access to their extended networks can act as a barometer of educated youth opinion regarding many of the pressing politico-economic and socio-cultural issues facing Saudi Arabia today.

“Centenary of the Balfour Declaration”

By: Michael J. Cohen

Abstract: During World War One, both Arabs and Zionists sought to become “the tools of British imperialism.” The British exploited both as their own interests dictated, without giving a thought for future consequences. In 1915, the MacMahon-Husayn correspondence – conducted between Britain’s High Commissioner in Cairo and a non-representative Arab Bedouin leader from the Arabian Peninsula – ended inconclusively, without agreement. In contrast, the Balfour Declaration – the culmination of 6 months of British-initiated negotiations with the Zionists, was published in order to further Britain’s military, strategic and propaganda interests. At the time, the British considered it to have been a ‘brilliant coup’.

“The border as bridge: an Israeli perspective on the Mandelbaum Gate in divided Jerusalem (1948–1967)”

By: Kobi Cohen-Hattab

Abstract: Between 1948 and 1967, Jerusalem was divided by a ‘city line’, dividing Jordan (East Jerusalem) from Israel (West Jerusalem). Between the two sections stood one border crossing called ‘Mandelbaum Gate’. While existing literature on the Gate tends to emphasize its military status – owing in particular to the military convoy that crossed the border on a regular basis – research using sources from that time paints a picture of a border with civilian activity run jointly by two ostensibly warring countries. Whether it was the return of civilians and bodies, tourism coordination, or medical passage, those manning the border worked together to make it a bridge, rather than a barrier – and may even have paved the way to a peace agreement years later.

“Turkey’s approach towards Israel in the 1950s: not merely following US policy”

By: Ekavi Athanassopoulou

Abstract: Within the context of Turkey’s relationship with Israel, the 1950s are remembered largely as the decade when bilateral relations developed dramatically reflecting the US orientation of Adnan Menderes’s foreign policy. On closer observation, however, one cannot fail to notice that there was more ebb than flow in Turkey’s policy towards Israel which already assumed the double-faced profile (cold or reproachful in public/positive behind closed doors), which is usually associated with the next two decades. Drawing on substantial research in official US and British archives, this article explores the multiple considerations which informed the approach of the Menderes government towards Tel-Aviv. Crucially, it places the Turks’ approach within their broader Middle Eastern policy with the aim of showing that it was shaped not only by their relationship with their powerful ally, the United States, but also by the need to look after relations with neighbourly Arab regimes.

“Half-heartedly: Menachem Begin and the establishment of the Likud Party”

By: Amir Goldstein

Abstract: This article seeks to add another dimension to the growing and extensive research on right-wing Zionism, by returning to an era when the Likud was first created. I will examine the major difference between processes that have led to the two key landmarks in the formative years of the Right in Israel: the establishment of Gahal in April 1965 and the founding of the Likud in August–September of 1973. While Gahal’s establishment was a product of a prolonged, determined, patient and conscious effort on the part of Menachem Begin, the establishment of the Likud was, to a considerable degree, forced upon him. Those who were interested in expanding Gahal and creating an alignment of centre-right parties were actually the factors outside Herut, while Herut’s more veteran leadership disapproved of these attempts. Within the Herut Movement, the voices that called for the creation of a broad political alignment were those that came from Herut’s ‘internal opposition’, which revolved around Ezer Weizman. The article analyses the reasons behind Begin’s reservations about a continued right-wing merger, examines the negotiation process and sheds light on the oscillation in Menachem Begin’s ideology and politics between the fundamental and the pragmatic poles.

“From ‘Star Wars’ to ‘Iron Dome’: US support of Israel’s Missile Defense systems”

By: Arnon Gutfeld

Abstract: This article traces the process that bolstered Israel into becoming one of the world’s leading high-tech top-tier defense producers in the world from Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative to the present multi-layer anti-missiles – the Arrow, David’s Sling and Iron Dome. The article analyses the Israeli–American strategic partnership in the context of US/Middle Eastern policies from Reagan to Obama. This is a crucial element in the ‘Special Relationship’ between the United States and Israel.

“The Kurdish image in statist historiography: the case of Simko”

By: Kamal Soleimani

Abstract: This article focuses on the uprising in 1918–1922 of Ismail Agha of Shikak (a.k.a. Simko) in Iranian Kurdistan and how he has been portrayed in Persian historiography. Painting Simko simply as another Kurdish rebellious chief with no nationalist aspirations leaves important questions unanswered. Simko introduced a number of firsts in Kurdish political history to Iranian Kurdistan, yet his innovations have generally been overlooked. Simko was conscious of, informed by, and founded his politics upon the communal distinctions deemed to legitimize varying degrees of Kurdish self-rule. In addition to his political and military activities, Simko co-founded the first Kurdish school in Iran, published the first Kurdish–Persian newspaper, and made Kurdish the official medium of his reign. This article draws on memoirs, personal accounts, and other unexplored primary documents to show a more complex picture of Simko’s resistance, problematizes some idées reçues about Simko and his ethno-nationalism, and explores inconsistencies in the existing literature on the subject.

“The career of Ozdemir: a Turkish bid for northern Iraq, 1921–1923”

By: Othman Ali

Abstract: From 1921 to 1923, Turkey and the United Kingdom contended for control of the Vilayet of Mosul, now known as northern Iraq. The United Kingdom was the mandatory power in Iraq at that time. Although this crisis, which is known as the Mosul affair, was settled in 1925 in favour of Iraq, Turkey never totally relinquished its historical claim to this strategically important border region. Turkey’s persistent claim to the area, and the fact that the region is predominantly inhabited by Kurds whose nationalism shows no signs of waning, make northern Iraq a potentially destabilizing factor in the region. The article will discuss the historical roots of Mosul frontier affairs, which is a legacy of colonialism in the Middle East. This international conflict has many dimensions, but the article will confine itself to the study of the distinguished career of Ali Shafiq, also known as Ozdemir, a Turkish statesman and the architect of Turkish policy during the Mosul affair. This is, to a large extent, a political history of the conflict and the author utilizes British and Turkish archival material and contemporary memoirs, journals, and relevant secondary sources in Arabic, Kurdish, Turkish, and English.

“‘A matter of political expediency’: Iran, Britain, South Africa and the settlement of Reza Shah’s estate”

By: Shaul Bakhash

Abstract: When Reza Shah, the former ruler of Iran, died in exile in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1944, he left some £110,000 in cash in his bank account and valuables and other items worth another £20,000. But he left no will; and the Union government proceeded to impose a tax amounting to over £43,000 (one-third of the total value) and to distribute the remainder among heirs as specified in Union law for persons who had died intestate. Reza Shah’s son, Mohammad Reza Shah, the ruling Iranian monarch, hard up for money, fought these requirements. He claimed everything in his late father’s possession was his, and that neither estate taxes nor distribution to heirs applied. A four-year battle over the estate ensued. It was eventually resolved, but only after vigorous efforts by two British ambassadors to Tehran, endeavours at the highest levels of the British government; the involvement of the South African prime minister and, finally, an act of the South African parliament. This article examines the intricate tug-of-war surrounding the settlement of the estate of Reza Shah and what it tells us about the principal parties involved.

“The Egyptian Muslim Brothers’ ideal state model: a religious state – out; a civil state – in”

By: Limor Lavie

Abstract: This article examines the change in the discourse of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt regarding the model of a civil state. It outlines a transition in the doctrine of the movement from an all-Islamic state to a modern nation state with Western norms and institutions. The paper traces milestones in the process that led to the acceptance of the civil model into the Muslim Brothers’ rhetoric and political platform albeit a creative interpretation of the concept. Due to the movement’s inconsistency and vagueness using this vision, the article focuses on the post-Mubarak era and the Morsi administration in order to test this shift in practice.


Palestine – Israel Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture (Volume 22, Issue 4 and Volume 23, Issue 1)


“Our Jerusalem — A Reality Check”

By: Menachem Klein

Abstract: The processes that Jerusalem has been going though for the past 50 years has severely hurt the city, and a major change in direction is needed.

“Jerusalem for All Times”

By: Hind Khoury

Abstract: There is a dire need to seek a political solution and to postpone negotiations about narratives, history, and religion until peace is restored and, with it, the freedom to discuss, negotiate and research freely.

“The Jerusalem Anomaly”

By: Nir Hasson

Abstract: Today’s Jerusalem is a place of administrative and governmental anomaly, where residents of the eastern half of the city do not have the same status, benefits, or public systems

“A Noble Hashemite Custodianship Undermined”

By: Mustafa Abu Sway

Abstract: Muslim (and Christian) holy places and property are also Palestinian national issues, and Israeli occupation policies with regard to Al-Aqsa Mosque are in contravention of international law, universal conventions, and the peace treaty with Jordan.

“Destructive Unilateral Legislation and Plans on Jerusalem’s Boundaries”

By: Yehudit Oppenheimer

Abstract: A secure and stable life in Jerusalem can exist only based on recognition of the full extent of the connections of both of these peoples to the city.

“Imposing the Israeli Curriculum on Palestinian Jerusalem Schools: The Shovel Destroying Our National Identity”

By: Naser Issa Hidmi

Abstract: Given that the Palestinian people are a nation living under occupation and struggling for freedom, the Israeli occupation has no right to interfere in what we teach our children in our homes, schools, or universities.

“Jerusalem under Nir Barkat: Three Dangerous Approaches to the City’s Future”

By: Laura Wharton

Abstract: Barkat’s focus on running the city like a business to his own political benefit is a driving force behind the increased poverty and rising tensions among Jerusalem’s diverse populations.

“The Palestinian Christians Are Integral in the Palestinian National Movement”

By: Manuel Hassassian

Abstract: Contrary to portrayals in Western social media, Palestinian Christians and Muslims are united in resisting the Israeli occupation, which is the true cause of Christian emigration.

“How to Live Together with the Clashing Narratives over the Holy Places”

By: Yitzhak Reiter

Abstract: Living together with respect for both the Jewish and Muslim religious and historical narratives of the holy site is a pre-condition for a successful final negotiation. In the interim, we should return to the “status quo” of tacit understandings that prevailed between 1967 and 1996.

“The Israeli Curriculum and the Palestinian National Identity in Jerusalem”

By: Musa Ismael Basit

Abstract: The Israeli occupation tried to force on the Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem its curriculum, which seeks to teach Palestinian children to accept (at the expense of their own national identity, religion, and values) a Jewish state that views the Jews as superior to any other race or religion.

“Inclusive Security and Gender-Sensitive Planning in Jerusalem”

By: Eetta Prince-Gibson

Abstract: Peace should be more than a formula for ending violence; it must include a plan for a new political order, based on human rights, equality, and inclusion for all.

“The Palestinian National Theatre EL-Hakawati at Risk”

By: Samer Al-Saber

Abstract: Without local and international support, Jerusalem and the entire region could lose one of its most revered, respected, and historically significant cultural institutions.

“Under the Golden Dome”

By: Eliezer Yaari

Abstract: In the East Jerusalem village of Sur Baher, discriminatory practices that left residents dependent on Israeli health clinics have resulted in manipulation and tensions.

“Walaja as a Microcosm of Jerusalem”

By: Aviv Tatarsky

Abstract: The village of Walaja, at the southern edge of the area that Israel annexed to Jerusalem in 1967, is a bitter example of Israeli policies carried out across East Jerusalem

“Mapping the Complexity of Our Jerusalem; Story by Story”

By: Jill Levenfeld

Abstract: Envisioning Jewish and Palestinian children coming together to walk through and talk about their neighborhoods as the city’s future leaders who will be able to see beyond a divided Jerusalem.


Perspectives on Politics (Volume 15, Issue 4)

“Spectacles of Sovereignty in Digital Time: ISIS Executions, Visual Rhetoric and Sovereign Power”

By: Roxanne L. Euben

Abstract: The ISIS videos staging the executions of James Foley and Steven Sotloff are usually understood as devices to deter, recruit, and “sow terror.” Left unanswered are questions about how these videos work, to whom they are addressed, and what about them can so continuously bring new audiences into existence. The evident durability of ISIS despite the imminent defeat of its state, coupled with the political impact of these particular videos, make these questions unusually urgent. Complete answers require analysis of the most understudied aspect of the videos that also happens to be vastly understudied in US political science: the visual mode of the violence. Approaching these videos as visual texts in need of close reading shows that they are, among other things, enactments of “retaliatory humiliation” (defined by Islamists) that perform and produce an inversion of power in two registers. It symbolically converts the public abjection of Foley and Sotloff by the Islamist executioner into an enactment of ISIS’ invincibility and a demonstration of American impotence. It also aims to transpose the roles between the US, symbolically refigured as mass terrorist, failed sovereign, and rogue state, and ISIS, now repositioned as legitimate, invincible sovereign. Such rhetorical practices seek to actually constitute their audiences through the very visual and visceral power of their address. The affective power of this address is then extended and intensified by the temporality that conditions it—what I call digital time. Digital time has rendered increasingly rare ordinary moments of pause between rapid and repetitive cycles of reception and reaction—moments necessary for even a small measure of distance. The result is a sensibility, long in gestation but especially of this time, habituated to thinking less and feeling more, to quick response over deliberative action.


Political Studies (Volume 65, Issue 3)

“Paying Refugees to Leave”

By: Mollie Gerver

Abstract: States are increasingly paying refugees to repatriate, hoping to decrease the number of refugees residing within their borders. Drawing on in-depth interviews from East Africa and data from Israeli Labour Statistics, I provide a description of such payment schemes and consider whether they are morally permissible. In doing so, I address two types of cases. In the first type of case, governments pay refugees to repatriate to high-risk countries, never coercing them into returning. I argue that such payments are permissible if refugees’ choices are voluntary and if states allow refugees to return to the host country in the event of an emergency. I then describe cases where states detain refugees, and non-governmental organisations provide their own payments to refugees wishing to repatriate. In such cases, non-governmental organisations are only permitted to provide payments if the funds are sufficient to ensure post-return safety and if providing payments does not reinforce the government’s detention policy.

Review of International Political Economy (Volume 24, Issue 6)


“Conceptualizing dynamic challenges to global financial diffusion: Islamic finance and the grafting of sukuk”

By: Jikon Lai,Lena Rethel, Kerstin Steiner

Abstract: Following the Global Financial Crisis of 2008–2009, there has been renewed interest in the diffusion and pluralization of financial ideas and practices, and in understanding how new ideas and practices can emerge to challenge the prevalence and diffusion of dominant ones. However, existing concepts and language in the broader literature on diffusion limit our ability to analyze and assess the contestation of ideas, especially as it is sustained and transformed over time. In this paper, we develop the concept of grafting as a post-equilibrium approach to analyze the ongoing contestation of global finance at the level of market practice. We apply our conceptual framework to analyze the complex dynamics of a class of financial assets that, in recent years, has made significant inroads in global financial markets: sukuk, often referred to as Islamic bonds. We highlight dynamic differences in the grafting of ideas and practices from Islam and conventional finance, and suggest that the grafting of sukuk is an ongoing contestation of the diffusion of global finance that contributes to the emergence of an increasingly pluralistic global economy.

The Arab Studies Journal (Volume 25, Issue 2)


“Jungle Films in Egypt: Race, Anti-Blackness, and Empire”

By: Ifdal Iskalat

Abstract: Not available

“Trapped Escape: Young Palestinian Women and the Israeli National-Civic Service”

By: Suhad Daher-Nashif

Abstract: Not available

“Spiritual Capital and the Copy: Painting, Photography, and the Production of the Image in Early Twentieth-Century Palestine”

By: Nisa Ari

Abstract: Not available

“The Inequality Puzzle in Egypt: What Do We Really Know?”

By: Tamer El Gindi

Abstract: Not available

“Arab Self-Criticism after 1967 Revisited: The Normative Turn in Marxist Thought and Its Heuristic Fallacies”

By: Manfred Sing

Abstract: Not available