The Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI) brings you the fifth 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.
British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies(Volume 45, Issue 3)
A Balancing Pretence: The Johnson Administration’s Policy towards Jordan, 1964–1967
By: Joakim Aalmen Markussen, Hilde Henriksen Waage
Abstract: King Hussein of Jordan was often at odds with his less conciliatory counterparts in the Arab world. He was one of the few Arab leaders who engaged and communicated with Israel. The administration of US President Lyndon B. Johnson wanted to ensure the continuation of Hussein’s moderate line towards Israel and sold weapons to Jordan. However, providing military support to an Arab state when the vast majority of Americans favoured Israel involved significant political costs. As the Johnson administration saw it, openly favouring only Israel would negatively affect the United States’ position and interests in the Arab world. Therefore, Johnson pursued a policy of seemingly balancing Israeli and Jordanian interests. This article argues that the United States supported Jordan primarily to ensure Israel’s security, but ultimately, the Johnson administration lacked the will and understanding to properly address Jordan’s concerns and failed to prevent King Hussein from joining the Arab side of the 1967 War against Israel.
Understating the Logic of Regime Survival? Conceptualizing State–Society Relations and Parliamentary Liberation in Post-2011 Jordan
By: Paul Maurice Esber
Abstract: Both reform and revolutionary movements in the Arab world have called on institutions of state to follow through on the cries for dignity, bread, and social justice emanating from the street. These movements are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and may demonstrate overlapping commonalities of practice. Asef Bayat has designated this phenomenon an example of “refo-lution,” the amalgamation of a revolutionary agenda with a reform process. This paper will argue that 2011/2012 demonstrations in Jordan fall into this category, and that they elucidate that the relationship between the Hashemite monarchy and Jordanian society needs to be reframed for political stability. The theoretical frame of this article, grounded in the selectorate theory of Bruce Bueno de Mesquita in conjunction with insights from Nazih Ayubi, suggests that this stability requires a more defined separation of powers and functions of the monarchy and the parliament, making the latter an autonomous legislative body.
De-politicizing Westoxification: The Case of Bonyad Monthly
By: Ali Mirsepassi, Mehdi Faraji
Abstract: This article studies materials published in the Bonyad Monthly, a journal sponsored by the Pahlavi state. It was published for two years (1977–78), just prior to the 1979 Revolution in Iran. Bonyad Monthly’s mission was to engage in the ongoing intellectual debates at the time in Iran’s encounter with modernity. It primarily published articles, interviews and translations, with the aim of exposing the cultural and moral perils of modern Western culture. The writers of Bonyad Monthly cast the modern world as morally soulless, culturally debased, politically imperial and arrogant. The journal also depicted Iranian culture as the mirror image of the modern West, and part of the rising “Eastern spiritual” resurrection. More specifically, Bonyad Monthly helped invert and de-politicize the notion of Gharbzadegi (Westoxification). The Gharbzadegi discourse, a powerful rhetorical device, had been used by oppositional intellectuals to condemn the Pahlavi modernization programme. It was now ironically claimed by the Pahlavi state and used to craft a new state-sponsored anti-modern ideology. This signified a major ideological turning point for the modernizing state in Iran. The editor and writers of Bonyad Monthly were influenced by a broader anti-modernist current around the Pahlavi state. Very prominent scholars such as Henry Corbin, Ahmad Fardid, Hussein Nasr and Ehsan Naraghi articulated anti-modernist ideas, calling for the return to Persian and Islamic spiritual identity. This article discusses the ironies and complexities of a modernizing state imagining itself as the champion of anti-modern ideas and traditions.
Questioning the ‘immortal state’: the Gezi protests and the short-lived human security moment in Turkey
By: Oğuzhan Göksel, Omer Tekdemir
Abstract: This article has three interrelated objectives: firstly, it challenges monolithic depictions of the 2013 Gezi protests and conceptualizes the so-called “Spirit of Gezi” as a highly influential—albeit temporary—power in the politics of Turkey. Secondly, it traces the success of the HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) in the 7 June 2015 parliamentary election back to Gezi while acknowledging the roots of the party within the Kurdish political movement. Thirdly, it examines the manifestation and subsequent decline of what is termed the human security moment in Turkey. The arguments of the work are mostly based on interviews with Gezi activists. It is argued that Gezi produced a discursive challenge to the national security-oriented understanding of the “Kurdish question.” Yet, even though the human security-oriented Gezi discourse had brought the Kurdish political movement and the Turkish left together, it ultimately failed to permanently transform Turkish politics due to the collapse of the peace process in June 2015. In addition to contributing to the literature on Gezi, the article also draws insights for security studies. It concludes that alternative discourses to the state-centric securitization approach to conflicts such as the Kurdish question can only have a lasting effect under conditions of ceasefire.
Foreign relations and semi-modernization during the reigns of Haidar ‘Ali and Tipu Sultan
By: Kaveh Yazdani
Abstract: It was during the reigns of the late-eighteenth-century rulers of Mysore, Haidar ‘Ali (r.1761–82) and Tipu Sultan (r.1782–99), that one of the earliest efforts of semi-modernization in the regions of West, Central and South Asia, as well as North Africa was taking place. Some scholars have described Haidar and Tipu as premodern rulers, but continuity and tradition do not fully explain Mysore’s transitional character, which was embodied in these rulers’ reforms. Their encounter with European powers convinced and compelled them that a transformation of state and society was the most promising means to resist colonization and remain independent. The following will inquire into Mysore’s late-eighteenth-century foreign relations and recruitment of foreign artisans. It will be intended to assert that neither can these efforts be exclusively understood in terms of tradition nor do they reflect the minds of modern rulers. Instead, they manifest a historical juncture that was neither dominantly traditional nor modern, but resided in a transitory phase.
The fall of a village in the 1948 war: a historical close-up of the conquest of Mi’ilya and its surrender
By: Kobi Peled
Abstract: The present paper attempts to take a close look at the events surrounding the conquest of the Palestinian village of Mi’ilya in the 1948 war based on Hebrew-language documents in the Israel Defense Forces archive and interviews conducted in Arabic with elderly people living in Mi’ilya. Its aim is to explore how these two types of sources and the distinct cultures of remembrance which they represent may be combined to produce a new historical canvas, affording a broader and deeper picture than could be achieved based on the Israeli archive alone or on Palestinian memories alone. Our main concern has been to reconstruct the past; a task that has become particularly urgent as regards oral memories of the war. At the same time we seek to show how present-day cares weigh on our recollections of the past and affect their form.
The 2011 Egyptian revolution chants: a romantic-Muʿtazilī moral order
By: Hiba Ghanem
Abstract: While most literature on the 2011 Egyptian Revolution chants highlights the revolutionary role of poetry, little attention has been paid to the role that theology plays within this domain. This article argues that reading Abu al-Qassim al-Shabbi’s poem, “Life’s Will” (1933), which inspired the chant for the fall of the regime, through the lens of Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age (2007) sheds light on the political relevance of the theological theme within this poem. The essay re-reads al-Shabbi’s investment in the Islamic lmuʿtazili doctrine of free will in terms of the creative role that Taylor gives to romantic poetry in creating a community’s “moral order.” Such an analysis brings to light the contribution that a comparative theological-literary framework can have to the political deliberation on the Arab Spring revolutions, especially the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.
Matrimony and baptism: changing landscapes in Greek (Rum) Orthodox Jerusalem (1900–1940)
By: Merav Mack, Angelos Dalachanis, Vincent Lemire
Abstract: Previously unexamined material from two archives of the Greek (Rum) Orthodox community in Jerusalem shed new light on our understanding of the dynamic of an important segment of the city during the transition period between the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate eras. We use these unexplored records to question communal affiliations, transitions of identity, the impact of modernity as well as notions of sacred space. We offer unique insight regarding the Christian Orthodox denomination in the city by examining its two main sub-communities, Palestinians and Greeks, and exploring the connection between the community and the city. We argue that the proximity to the holy sites bears little impact on private Christian life. We trace the impact of modernity through the change of professions and argue that the most important divide in the community was not between the ethnic groups but between the older and younger generations. Naming patterns (prosopography) disclose other influences of modernity. We contend that a seemingly minor change in naming patterns is indicative of two important processes: the secularization of the community and rising Palestinian nationality.
Understanding Egyptian capitalism through the Muslim Brotherhood’s eyes: the quest for an ‘Islamic economy’ in the 1940s and its ideological and social impact
By: Panos Kourgiotis
Abstract: The following article addresses the intricate issue of contemporary Islamist thought’s relation to the modern capitalist economy, with special reference to the Egyptian case. Islamist thinkers have been vigorously proclaiming for the past decades that the economic prosperity of some Muslim nations stems from the proper adoption of an ‘Islamic economy’, whereas the absence of such a model has been mainly responsible for the crises that other nations faced. At the same time, we witness that the Muslim nations are fully integrated into the global market system. Although their rulers boast about achieving social justice, by economically interpreting Islam, nonetheless poverty and horrific injustices are officially retained and morally accepted, thus, enabling the upper classes to keep performing their pious duties in the name of God. In this regard, it seems that capitalism and piety are intertwined: the first justifies the necessity of the second, while the second humanizes the brutal impact of the first. By referring to the historical example of the Muslim Brothers in pre-socialist Egypt, the article tends to show under which circumstances was capitalism’s relation to religious piety conceptualized in Islamist thought and literature, in addition to the main social, organizational and ideological outcomes of this conceptualization.
The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s transnational advocacy in Turkey: a new means of political participation
By: Shaimaa Magued
Abstract: This study examines the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s transnational media advocacy as a shift in the Islamists’ political participation in general and the Brothers’ in particular. The article argues that the Brothers created their own TV channels in order to challenge the new regime’s legitimacy after 3 July 2013 by taking advantage of a sympathetic political environment in Turkey. Their media advocacy embraced a collective Islamic identity in its denunciation of the Sisi regime and called for a democratic restitution as a common Egyptian cause. Based on interviews conducted with TV presenters and a content analysis of the expatriates’ TV channels, this study presents transnational advocacy as a novelty in the Islamists’ repertoire of action.
Renegotiations of femininity throughout the constitutional debates in Turkey: representative claims in 2014 presidential elections
By: Sezen Yaras, Ahu Yigit
Abstract: In August 2014, for the first time in the history of the Turkish Republic, the president was elected through a popular vote. The quest for a new constitution and revisions to the political system were the main topics that the three presidential candidates, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and Selahattin Demirtas, raised during their presidential campaigns. Women’s problems and issues were among the central topics through which the matters of the new constitution and the revisions to be made in the system were addressed. Through a qualitative content analysis of the campaign material, this article maps the candidates’ approaches to women’s interests and the roles the candidates promised to play to promote these interests and roles. The findings indicate that motherhood, daughterhood and sisterhood are the key terms through which the candidates formulated the ultimate purpose of their gender-related agenda. They simply blamed the existing constitution as the main cause of alienated motherhood, polarized daughterhood and complicit femininity respectively. Based on the analysis of these simultaneous calls for heightening-disavowal of certain femininities, the article argues that competing projects for the (re)establishment of the constitutional regime in Turkey can be construed as renegotiations of feminine attachments to political authority.
Iranian Studies (Volume 51, Issue 4)
The Last Sasanians in Chinese Literary Sources: Recently Identified Statue Head of a Sasanian Prince at the Qianling Mausoleum
By: Hamidreza Pasha Zanous, Esmaeil Sangari
Abstract: Qianling Mausoleum (乾陵) which is located in the northwest of Xi’an, is the tomb of Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty (唐高宗, r. 649–83 AD) and his Empress Wu Zetian (武則天, r. 690–705 AD). In this mausoleum, there are two statues of Pērōz, son of Yazdegird III (632–51 AD), and another Persian nobleman who have been recognized by western scholars. However, scholars’ attention has been limited to a general and mistaken description of the statues. This paper reassesses both statues in order to give some new insight into the head of one of the statues found at the Qianling Mausoleum.
The Lives and Afterlives of Vis and Rāmin
By: Cameron Cross
Abstract: This article is a review of the afterlife, or Nachleben, of the romance Vis and nRamin, one of the first representatives of its genre in New Persian literature. In addition to providing readers with an extensive bibliography of sources and research concerning the poem, it also analyzes these materials to put forward two basic arguments: one, that moral or religious antipathy to the poem’s contents may not have played as great a role in its fortunes as did aesthetic taste; and two, that V&R proved to be a more widely circulated and durable work than is commonly supposed, but on the level of fragments, not the entire text. In light of these arguments, it is proposed that studies structured around the comparison of fragments—themes, ideas, ethics, and motifs, rather than whole texts—may offer more purchase in constructing models of analysis that situate V&R, and Persian literature more broadly, within a literary oikumene in which it connects and interacts with neighboring traditions.
Yaḥyā Dawlatābādī’s Contribution to Persian Poetic Modernity
By: Amr Taher Ahmed
Abstract: In 1912, Yahya Dawlatabadi composed two poems, the form of which diverged greatly from the canonical rules of tradition. Both poems were based on syllabic meters. Critics and historians of modern Persian literature have given these poems little consideration, and discussed them merely from the point of view of metrics. When compared to the great modernist endeavors in the poetry of the time, these pieces were judged severely, or altogether disavowed. This paper aims to show that, beyond mere metrical audacity, Yahya ’Dawlatabadi’s syllabic poems were in fact innovative. As the article argues, they were born out of the same quest for fresh poetic forms that induced contemporaneous modernists to create new, individualized poetic patterns.
The New Frontier Meets the White Revolution: The Peace Corps in Iran, 1962‒76
By: Jasamin Rostam-Kolayi
Abstract: The Peace Corps brought an estimated 1,800 Americans to Iran from 1962 to 1976, coinciding with the unfolding of Mohammad-Reza Shah Pahlavi’s Enqelab-e Sefid, or White Revolution. This article surveys Peace Corps Iran’s fourteen-year history by dividing it into three distinct moments defined by changing social and political conditions in Iran and shifting US‒Iranian relations. Initially, the Peace Corps Iran experiment built on earlier American foreign assistance programs, while coinciding with the roll-out of the White Revolution. Second, during its heyday in the mid-1960s, the Peace Corps inevitably became entangled with the White Revolution’s unfolding, both experiencing a phase of expansion and apparent success. Finally, as Iranian social and political conditions moved toward instability by the 1970s, Peace Corps Iran also seemed to have lost its direction and purpose, which ultimately led to a vote by volunteers to terminate the program. Based on accounts by US Peace Corps volunteers and the Iranians with whom they worked, the Peace Corps Agency, and the US State Department, this article argues that, ultimately, the Peace Corps Iran experience left a more lasting legacy on individuals than institutions.
Rationalizing the Irrational: Reza Attaran’s Popularity, Stardom, and the Recent Cycle of Iranian Absurd Films
By: Babak Tabarraee
Abstract: Reza Attaran is one of the most successful stars of the Iranian popular cinema. This article explores the social circumstances, performative components, and political consequences of Attaran’s popularity and stardom, and the evolution of comedy and satire in the Iranian media after the 1979 Revolution. Analyzing the contextual elements and media texts over the last twenty-five years, the article argues that Attaran actively reflects a complex interaction between the social, political, and artistic demands of each period, best represented through his contribution to the television sketch comedies in the 1990s, and the lowbrow comedies and highbrow absurd films in the 2010s. The trajectory of Attaran’s stardom demonstrates the mechanism by which he serves the maintenance of the status quo.
Israel Studies (Volume 23, Issue 2)
Happy Mimouna: On a Mechanism for Marginalizing Moroccan Israelis
By: André Levy
Abstract: The article focuses on the ways in which the Mimouna, a distinct Maghrebi Jewish spring holiday, is framed by the Israeli mainstream as a non-serious event, and its practices as primitive. Yet, while manifesting excluding practices and utterances towards it, the holiday is also endorsed by most Jewish Israelis. It asserts that this duality results from a single and unified socio-political mechanism employed by mainstream Israelis to marginalize Israelis of Moroccan descent: a mechanism of exclusion-by-inclusion. The article begins by tracing the early versions of it in Zionists’ reports on the Mimouna in the beginning of the twentieth-century Morocco, moves quickly to Morocco under colonial regime, and ends by demonstrating these practices in present-day Israel.
From a Whisper to a Scream: The Politicization of The Ethiopian Community in Israel
By: Alon Burstein, Liora Norwich
Abstract: The article explores the political mobilization of the Ethiopian minority of Israel. Utilizing the 2015 Ethiopian protests as illustrative of larger political trends undergone by the minority, we utilize the tools of social movement theory to unpack the two-month long protest wave. Specifically, we address why the protests occurred, how they developed, and where and when they emerged, by exploring the grievances framing the protests, the collective’s mobilizing infrastructure, and processes of local and international diffusion and emulation. The results highlight the ongoing and emerging trends and developments within the Ethiopian minority, situating the events within a larger process of politicization.
A Comparison of Talk about Arabs by Iraqi and Polish Women Who Immigrated to Israel in the 1950s
By: Aziza Khazzoom
Abstract: How does growing up in an Arab country affect Israeli Jewish attitudes toward Arabs? Recent work has gone in two directions, with some arguing that Mizrahim are more hostile toward Arabs and others arguing the opposite. I compare descriptions of Arabs that emerged in life stories of upper-middle-class-origin Polish and Iraqi women who immigrated to Israel in the 1950s. While there are many similarities in the two groups’ stances, about a third of the Poles express a visceral dislike of Arab culture, and a sense that too much Middle Eastern culture will turn Israel into an isolated backwater. This level of distaste is not replicated in degree or substance in any of the Iraqi interviews. Rather, the majority of Iraqis referenced Arabness as part of a desired cosmopolitanism. These Iraqi expressions are sometimes subtle, and appear consequential only in relation to the Poles’ statements, demonstrating the importance of a comparison to understand how ethnicity affects attitudes toward Arabs.
Palestinian Women Citizens of Israel Working in Agriculture – A Retrospective Concerning Ibtisam Ibrahim’s 1993 Article “The Cucumber Pickers”
By: Tal Meler
Abstract: The article assesses the work experiences of Palestinian women citizens of Israel (PWCI) who work in agriculture. Nearly a quarter of a century has gone by since the publication of Ibtisam Ibrahim’s article, “The Cucumber Pickers,” in the Hebrew-language periodical Noga (1993) that shed light on the topic for the first time. Since then, numerous studies have addressed the employment status of PWCI, their low rate of employment, the conundrum of their absence from the Israeli work force, and the external and internal obstacles that replicate their low employment rate. Integration of educated women in the employment market was examined as well. The results confirmed that the voices and work experiences of women employed in agriculture largely remain silenced. Data were gathered in Arabic-language, semi-structured, in-depth interviews with women performing agricultural work through contractors. The interviews show that the agricultural sphere is a legal anomaly in which the formal labor laws of the State of Israel are not fully enforced. Furthermore, patriarchy apparently filters down to the work force, weaving an intricate pattern of connections and commitments and intensifying women’s dependence on their families and society and their marginality therein. The study sheds light on the multiple nature of this marginality (gender, class, and nationality), as well as the women’s stagnation in employment and social status over the past two decades.
The Memory of the Holocaust and Israel’s Attitude Toward War Trauma, 1948–1973: The Collective vs. the Individual
By: Irit Keynan
Abstract: Immediately after the Holocaust, while most of the survivors were waiting in the Displaced Persons Camps for a resolution of their status, the Zionist movement’s leadership together with the survivors’ leadership made an unconscious choice of addressing the Shoah as a collective catastrophe, which overrides individual calamity. This view led the new-born state to adopt almost solely the narrative and conceptualization of the Holocaust, disregarding individuals’ suffering and emphasizing elements of national heroism, active resistance to collective danger, and the exclusive role of the nascent Jewish state in assuring a secure life for the Jewish collective. It was not until the 1980s that individual memories and narratives trickled into public consciousness through literature, film, and the media. Around the same period, a parallel process occurred concerning national attitudes toward war trauma. The earliest public acknowledgement of Combat Stress Reaction and war trauma emerged in Israel only after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, shortly before the psychiatric community in the West acknowledged Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The article argues that there is a clear connection between the two processes, and that the primacy of securing the collective over rehabilitating the individual significantly affected both the memory of the Holocaust and the attitudes toward war trauma for many years. Focusing the Holocaust memory on the narrow aspect of persistent danger to the Jewish collective has significantly limited empathy toward war trauma casualties, as the two issues are based on similar social beliefs.
Beyond the Local Discourse: Re-thinking the Israeli-Jewish “Hitler-wave”
By: Noga Stiassny
Abstract: Hitlerwelle, Führerboom, Hitlernostalgie in the German language; in Hebrew there is the famous La’Hit-Ler (Hitler-Schlager) coined by Israeli poet David Avidan, or what Professor Moshe Zuckermann has just recently called Hitleriada (a combination between Hitler and Olympiad):1 all phrases share the wish to describe the great interest that people often (re-)find in the figure of the Nazi Führer. And this interest usually emerges in waves. During the 1990s, Israeli art showed an obsessive preoccupation with the figure of Hitler that lasted around a decade and is considered to be a turning point with respect to the ways the Holocaust is represented among Israeli-Jewish artists. By focusing on the work of Israeli artist Boaz Arad, Marcel Marcel (2000), which ended this decade, in comparison to the work of German artist Rudolf Herz, ZUGZWANG (1995), this essay wishes to re-think the recruiting of the image of Hitler in Israeli art, in order to introduce the advantages of transnationalism and a comparative approach to the local art discourse with respect to Holocaust related imagery.
Cultural Zionism and Binationalism Among American Liberal Protestants
By: Walker Robins
Abstract: The article examines the influence of cultural Zionism, as represented by Ahad Ha’am and Judah Magnes, on three leading American liberal Protestants in the Mandate era—Harry Emerson Fosdick, William Ernest Hocking, and John Haynes Holmes. While all three claimed to support cultural Zionism, each interpreted and appropriated it in different ways. Fosdick favored it as a functional moral alternative to political Zionism—he came to equate it with Judah Magnes’s binational solution to the Palestine question. Hocking had real ideological affinities with cultural Zionism but likewise came to prioritize its political implications. For both Fosdick and Hocking, the failure of Zionists to embrace binationalism meant the failure of Zionism. While Holmes shared their affinity for Magnes and binationalism, he did not equate cultural Zionism with binationalism, and so remained supportive of Zionism and Israel even as binationalism failed to win support.
Beyond Allozionism: Exceptionalizing and De-Exceptionalizing the Zionist Project
By: Johannes Becke
Abstract: Based on Zygmunt Bauman’s understanding of Allosemitism, this article introduces the concept of Allozionism, a form of exceptionalism which assumes that Zionism and the State of Israel are fundamentally different from all other nationalist movements and nation-states. Instead of tracing exceptionalist claims about the Zionist project back to its attributes or the politics of affinity and resentment, this approach investigates the epistemic function of Allozionism, understood here as Allosemitism in postcolonial times: While European Allosemitism projected its anxieties about the problematic distinction between believer/non-believer and nation/non-nation on the Jewish people, global Allozionism projects its ambivalences about the indigenous/colonial distinction on the Zionist project as a puzzling case of colonization in the name of indigeneity. In order to overcome Allozionist exceptionalism, de-exceptionalizing the Zionist project implies the recognition of its cultural and political ambivalence, including colonial, anti-colonial, and post-colonial elements—both before and after 1967.
North American Jewish NGOs and Strategies Used in Fighting BDS and the Boycott of Israeli Academia
By: Reut Cohen, Eli Avraham
Abstract: Since the establishment of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement in 2005, organizations and institutions around the world have been trying to promote a boycott of Israeli academia. Against the BDS movement stand activists, Israeli diplomats, academics and Jewish organizations. Using the image repair theory and the multi-step model for altering image, this study sets out to analyze strategies used by seven NGOs in their fight against the BDS movement to boycott Israeli academia. Our analysis of articles, visuals, editorials and initiatives published in these NGO’s websites shows the use of three kinds of strategies: (1) Source strategies (presenting the BDS promoters as anti-Semitic, questioning their goals and exposing their desire to destroy Israel); (2) Message strategies (proving that the claims against Israel are false, presenting facts that contradict the claims, and expanding Israel’s positive image); and (3) Specific target audience strategies (presenting Israel to Western audiences as a democratic country and illustrating that Israel and the West have the same values).
Journal of Democracy (Volume 29, Issue 3)
Islam and Democracy in Tunisia
By: Rached Ghannouchi
Abstract: On the occasion of Tunisia’s historic May 2018 democratic local and municipal elections, political theorist and Ennahdha party president Rached Ghannouchi argues that the solution to extremism is more (not less) freedom and democracy. Ghannouchi makes a case for the full compatibility of Islam and democracy, emphasizing Islam’s lack of hierarchy, support for pluralism, and opposition to compulsion in religion. He also appeals for the inclusion of religion and religious actors and institutions in democratic efforts.
Journal of Development Studies (Volume 54, Issues 6-8)
Effects of Insurance on Child Labour: Ex-Ante and Ex-Post Behavioural Changes
By: Markus Frölich, Andreas Landmann
Abstract: In this paper we analyse possible effects of insurance on child labour. First, we develop a theoretical model that separates effects of insurance with and without a shock taking place. We then empirically test the hypotheses derived from the model by analysing the extension of a health insurance product in urban Hyderabad in Pakistan. Consistent with the theoretical model we develop in this paper, the reduction in child labour caused by the extension is largely due to an ex-ante feeling of protection as opposed to an ex-post shock-mitigation effect.
Is School the Best Route to Skills? Returns to Vocational School and Vocational Skills in Egypt
By: Caroline Krafft
Abstract: This paper tests the assumption that formal education is the best route to job skills. The returns to formal vocational secondary schooling are compared to the returns to acquiring skills outside the education system, such as undertaking an apprenticeship, for male wage workers in Egypt. A unique longitudinal dataset with information on schooling and skills allows for causal inference about returns by comparing siblings. For recent cohorts, the estimated returns to formal vocational secondary education are the same as attaining no formal education. However, the returns to skills obtained outside of formal education are substantial.
Female Autonomy, Social Norms and Intimate Partner Violence against Women in Turkey
By: Okan Yilmaz
Abstract: The theoretical literature asserts that intimate partner violence against women stems from inequalities within the relationship, and it strengthens both male power and control, and female subordination. Using Structural Equation Modelling, this paper addresses the two-way relationship between intimate partner violence and female autonomy in Turkey. Consistent with the theory, we find that (1) violence has a significant and negative effect on female autonomy; and (2) the incidence of violence decreases with the level of female autonomy. We also find that intimate partner violence is an increasing function of the strength of men’s commitment to social norms upholding traditional gender roles.
Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies(Volume 14, Issue 2)
Intersex Bodies in Premodern Islamic Discourse: Complicating the Binary
By: Indira Falk Gesink
Abstract: Not available
“In My Eyes He Was a Man”: Poor and Working-Class Boy Soldiers in the Iran-Iraq War
By: Shaherzad R. Ahmadi
Abstract: Not available
“Let’s Take a Leap”: Decolonizing Modernity, Double Critique, and Sexuality in Mohamed Leftah’s Le Dernier Combat du Captain Niʿmat
By: Ghada Mourad
Abstract: Not available
Digitizing Women’s and Gender History
By: Nova Robinson
Abstract: Not available
The Gender and Sexuality of Armenia: A Debut Conference
By: Tamar Shirinian
Abstract: Not available
I Am My Own Guardian: Reflections on Resistance Art
By: Saffaa Hassanein
Abstract: Not available
Making Mr. Gay Syria in Istanbul
By: Ayşe Toprak
Abstract: Not available
Wonder Woman: Goddess of Fictional and Actual Wars
By: Salam Al-Mahadin
Abstract: Not available
The Egyptian General Directorate for Protecting Public Morality: Purveyors and Guardians of Penetrating Masculinity
By: Dalia Abd El-Hameed
Abstract: Not available
Pembe Caretta: LGBT Rights Claiming in Antalya, Turkey
By: Bihter Tomen
Abstract: Not available
In Loving Memory: Reflections on Rula Quawas
By: Diya Abdo, Nadia Yaqub
Abstract: Not available
Journal of Palestine Studies (Volume 47, Issue 3)
To Exist Is to Resist: Palestine and the Question of Queer Theory
By: C. Heike Schotten
Abstract: This article provides an outline of the project of queer theory and the ways that this project has (and has not) engaged with the question of Palestine. Ultimately, the author argues that queer theory and Palestinian liberation share, albeit perhaps unwittingly, a defining resistance to elimination and an enduring commitment to unsettlement. As such, queer politics is and can surely become decolonial praxis, just as decolonization has a clear affinity with dissident queer resistance.
Decolonial Queering: The Politics of Being Queer in Palestine
By: Walaa Alqaisiya
Abstract: This article analyzes the work of Palestine’s most established queer rights organization, al-Qaws for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society, to reveal the political power of being queer in Palestine. It argues that an open, feminist, queer space such as al-Qaws is a productive site to think and practice decolonization. Relying on the author’s direct involvement with the group, the article traces the development of queer Palestinian thought to provide a critique of queer politics in Palestine: it recounts how since the establishment of the organization in 2001, al-Qaws activists have increasingly transcended exclusivist gay identifications and rejected singling out sexuality as a discrete site of oppression disconnected from Zionist settler colonialism. The discussion covers Israeli pinkwashing and its counter, Palestinian pinkwatching; it deconstructs pinkwashing narratives, rejects the myth of the colonial savior, and reveals how discourses of sexual progress reproduce Zionist colonialism. It also documents al-Qaws’s challenge to normalizing development discourse.
Other Scenes of Speaking: Listening to Palestinian Anticolonial-Queer Critique
By: Mikki Stelder
Abstract: Palestinian Queers for BDS first called on the international LGBTQI community to be in solidarity with Palestinians and support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign in 2010. PQBDS argued that Israel was using gay rights and gay lives to pinkwash state-sanctioned violence against Palestinians. Since then, much has been said and written about Israel’s pinkwashing campaign and the violence it endorses and engenders. But much remains unsaid about Palestinian anticolonial-queer modes of engagement that persist despite Israel’s settler-colonial project. With specific attention to the 2012 Jadaliyya debate between Jasbir Puar and Maya Mikdashi, on the one hand, and Haneen Maikey and Heike Schotten, on the other, this article discusses various activist and scholarly responses to Israel’s pinkwashing campaign, and particularly how these responses elide Palestinian anticolonial-queer activism in different ways. Ultimately, this article asks: What becomes (in)audible as a Palestinian anticolonial-queer critique?
Middle East Critique (Volume 27, Issue 3)
Toward an Alternative ‘Time of the Revolution’? Beyond State Contestation in the struggle for a new Syrian Everyday
By: Estella Carpi, Andrea Glioti
Abstract: The convoluted relationship between the state and citizens in conflict-ridden Syria often has been reduced to a binary of dissent and consent. Challenging these simplistic categorizations, this article analyzes how state mechanisms resonate in the everyday lives of Syrians since the beginning of the crisis. Drawing on ethnographic insights from Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Syrian Kurds in northeastern Syria, this article shows how state, society and political opposition function as relational processes. Then, it identifies the limitations of contemporary strategies of everyday political contestation through the theory of Syrian intellectual ‘Omar ‘Aziz’s “time of the revolution.”
‘You Exile them in their Own Countries’: The Everyday Politics of Reclaiming the Disappeared in Libya
By: Amina Zarrugh
Abstract: Located in Libya’s capital city of Tripoli, Abu Salim Prison has become suspended in Libya’s national collective memory as the site of a contested prison killing in 1996. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the prison hosted many prisoners of conscience, namely individuals who forcibly had been disappeared because security personnel suspected them of opposing the regime of Mu`ammar al-Qaddafii. Drawing on interviews with their family members, I trace how Libyan families contested the state’s violence and forced disappearance through everyday behaviors, such as inquiring about their relatives’ whereabouts and visiting Abu Salim Prison. The article contributes to an ongoing discussion within sociology, anthropology, and area studies about the significance of small-scale acts of resistance as forms of political action. Disappearance not only pulled people apart, but also brought them together, often around the same spaces that were intended to disenfranchise them.
Rethinking Palestinian Political Factions
By: Perla Issa
Abstract: This article questions a dominant understanding of Palestinian political factions in the refugee camps of Lebanon, which defines them as bounded structures defined by their respective ideologies. By examining the everyday practices of Palestinian refugees vis-à-vis factions, the article demonstrates that Palestinians approached factions through personal encounters with family members, friends or neighbours, rather than on ideological bases. It highlights two main points: Firstly, the central role trust plays in building political relations, particularly when constant war, displacement and discrimination define the quotidian existence of Palestinian refugees. Secondly, it brings to light how Palestinians negotiate their personal engagement with the factions, while publicly opposing them.
The Everyday as Survival among Ex-Gaza Refugees in Jordan
By: Michael Vicente Pérez
Abstract: This article examines the role of repetition in the making of everyday life among ex-Gaza refugees in Jordan. It argues that the quotidian struggles of stateless ex-Gazans challenge theories of the everyday that align repetition with domination and creativity with resistance. I suggest that the ability to repeat ordinary activities in work and at home possesses its own form of agential effort: survival. Concerned with the existential struggles of stateless refugees, I argue that the mundane repetitive practices of everyday life in a precarious situation can enable various opportunities for subjective stability and the promise of a better life in an unstable world.
Lebanese Football: Imagining a Defiant and United Lebanon?
By: Jamil Mouawad
Abstract: The growing literature on sports in Lebanon tends to portray football as often implicated in the production of sectarian belonging and national disintegration. This article lays out key features of the complex politicization of sports in Lebanon vis-à-vis the discourse of national unity. It shows how the ruling elite uses sports to reaffirm its position as custodian of the hegemonic discourse of national unity that revolves around religious communities living together. It further demonstrates how normal citizens through everyday practices, and when not under the dominion of the elites, tend to “imagine from below” a country that is not only powerful and defiant but also able to compete with the very countries that reputedly interfere in its domestic politics.
Sectarian Non-Entrepreneurs: The Experience of Everyday Sectarianism in Bahrain and Kuwait
By: Thomas Fibiger
Abstract: In light of the increasing relevance of sectarianism in recent years, not least in the wake of the Arab revolts since 2011, this article investigates “everyday sectarianism” in Kuwait and Bahrain. It employs the notion of sectarian non-entrepreneurs to address and study how ordinary people live, understand and reproduce sectarian dichotomies, imaginaries and narratives in their everyday lives. The article thereby challenges and broadens a more conventional idea of sectarian entrepreneurs that places key community leaders as the central agents in producing sectarianism. By engaging with people’s everyday experiences, it shows the relevance of the “ everyday” as a theoretical concept apt to investigate political and cultural dynamics in the Middle East.
Middle East Law and Governance (Volume 10, Issue 2)
More of the Same: Discursive Reactions of Members of Knesset to the 2011 ‘Social Protest’ in Israel
By: Amit Avigur-Eshel
Abstract: The 2011 “Social Protest” in Israel was motivated by discontent with the outcomes of neo-liberal economic policies. Moreover, during rallies protest leaders used explicit counter-neo-liberal ideas and discourse. Nonetheless, this article shows that Members of Knesset (the Israeli parliament) used neo-liberal ideas and discourse more following the protest than they had done before its outbreak. Relying on recent theoretical developments emphasizing the importance of ideas and discourse in social and political analysis, I account for Members of Knesset’s ideas and discourse through analyzing explanation clauses accompanying private member bills. The article concludes by suggesting that the protest may have turned neo-liberal ideas from a means used by economic experts to promote economic liberalization to a means used by politicians to demonstrate their democratic responsiveness to citizens’ economic demands.
Tackling Concentrated Animal Agriculture in the Middle East through Standards of Investment, Export Credits, and Trade
By: Charlotte E. Blattner
Abstract: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar are the main investors in farm animal production outside their territory, prompting a mass-adoption of concentrated animal feeding operations in investment-importing states like Iran and Pakistan. Global actors like the International Finance Corporation and the Food and Agriculture Organization espouse the Middle Eastern states’ investment strategy by generously supporting it with direct payments and feed. Because intensified animal agricultural production systems are known to cause environmental pollution, threaten public health and food security, and pose a moral hazard for animals, this article makes use of existing cross-border relationships to the Middle East to counter the growing agricultural trend towards intensification. Specifically, the article examines whether and how international investment standards, export credit standards, bilateral investment treaties, and bilateral free trade agreements can be used to encourage responsible investment and trade flows that factor in the interests of animals.
Site of Resistance or Apparatus of Acquiescence? Tactics at the Bakery
By: José Ciro Martínez
Abstract: This article explores the importance and impact of a set of actions through which bakers manipulate laws and regulations that seek to organize and regulate how they do business. It builds on eighteen months of fieldwork conducted in Jordan, twelve of which were spent working in three different bakeries in the capital, Amman. Moving away from the idea that public policies are simply imposed, the article looks in detail at the social relations through which they are enacted. By honing in on the bakery, and examining arrangements between bakery owners, workers, consumers and ministerial employees, it illuminates modes of political agency that escape conventional binaries of domination/resistance, state/society and legality/illegality. I argue against seeing these practices as easily categorized forms of resistance or frivolous acts of corruption. Nor are they simply reinforcements of hegemonic control. Instead, “ tactics” at the bakery subvert the order of things to serve other ends. Foregrounding them in this analysis seeks not only to challenge views of power relations as strictly binary but to elucidate some of the ways in which citizens inhabit and engage with the neoliberal and authoritarian logics that pervade everyday life in Jordan.
Public Support for Democratic Reform in post-Mubarak Egypt
By: Fait Muedini, Bryan Dettrey
Abstract: This article investigates support for democracy after the overthrow of Egypt’s long-time President Hosni Mubarak. It specifically examines concerns prompting the protests and support for several democratic reforms in Egyptian governance. The results suggest corruption slightly outweighed the lack of democracy as a primary concern of Egyptians over the last few years. Specific democratic reforms such as a fair judicial system and the ability to criticize government receive significant support. Less support is found for equal rights for women and considerably less support for civilian control of the military. The article concludes with a discussion of how little support for providing civilian control over the military may represent an obstacle to a democratic transition. Democratic consolidations are more likely to be successful if democracy is “the only game in town”.1 The role of the military in the ouster of Mubarak and now Mursi suggests the military has significant influence on Egyptian governance, with little support for altering this institutional arrangement.
Reading John Stuart Mill in Turkey in 2017
By: Ayşe Kadıoğlu
Abstract: Academic freedom has eroded and continues to erode in an unprecedented magnitude in Turkey especially since the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016. During this time, thousands of academics were purged from their positions including Academics for Peace who signed a petition calling for an end to the atrocities against Kurdish citizens and a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the south-eastern provinces of Turkey. Such authoritarian backsliding was accompanied by a discourse that blurred the distinction between opinion and truth. Academics were increasingly ostracized and viewed as non-members of what came to be referred as New Turkey. A discourse of rejection replaced criticism and an unprecedented dissonance emerged between the current academic debate on free speech as well as academic freedom and the tragic reality faced by academics in Turkey making it impossible for them to continue their vocational existence.
New Left Review (Issue 111)
By: Kareem Rabie
Abstract: From Arafat’s pharaonic tomb and Dubai-style luxury apartments to sweltering refugee camps and landless, beleaguered villages: greater Ramallah as synecdoche for post-Oslo Palestine—and triumph for Israel’s fragmentation strategy.
Political Science Quarterly (Volume 133, Issue 2)
Humanitarianism, State Sovereignty, and Authoritarian Regime Maintenance in the Syrian War
By: Reinoud Leenders, Kholoud Mansour
Abstract: Reinoud Leenders and Kholoud Mansour discuss the war in Syria. They argue that since 2011 the Syrian regime has used UN-led humanitarian assistance to bolster its claims on state sovereignty and to support its wider efforts of authoritarian regime maintenance.
Politics & Society (Volume 46, Issue 2)
Islam and the Spirits of Capitalism: Competing Articulations of the Islamic Economy
By: Aisalkyn Botoeva
Abstract: Why has the Islamic economy, as a model of socioeconomic development, gained traction as a viable option? The existing literature suggests that the Islamic economy has been popularized by a combination of factors, including anticolonial movements, a global renewal of religiosity, and the activities of new social strata who merge piety with capitalist orientations. These approaches, however, tend to homogenize social actors, subsuming them under the overarching label of Islamism. In contrast, this article employs the lens of “intra-hegemonic struggles” to identify three competing orientations of Islamism and their manifestation in the economy. Drawing on eighteen months of fieldwork in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, it argues that this contestation motivates diverse segments of the society to create and engage in the Islamic economy, rather than any single state-driven or identity-based movement. The article synthesizes three otherwise isolated bodies of work: the political sociology of articulation, new theories of Islamism, and the concept of imaginaries from economic sociology.
PS: Political Science & Politics (Volume 51, Issue 3)
Survey Research in the Arab World: Challenges and Opportunities
By: Lindsay J. Benstead
Abstract: Survey research has expanded in the Arab world since the 1980s. The Arab Spring marked a watershed when surveying became possible in Tunisia and Libya, and researchers added additional questions needed to answer theoretical and policy questions. Almost every Arab country now is included in the Arab Barometer or World Values Survey. Yet, some scholars express the view that the Arab survey context is more challenging than that of other regions or that respondents will not answer honestly, due to authoritarianism. I argue that this position reflects biases that assume “Arab exceptionalism” more than fair and objective assessments of data quality. Based on cross-national data analysis, I found evidence of systematically missing data in all regions and political regimes globally. These challenges and the increasing openness of some Arab countries to survey research should spur studies on the data-collection process in the Middle East and beyond.
Review of Middle East Economics and Finance(Volume 14, Issue 2)
Google Trends and Structural Exchange Rate Models for Turkish Lira–US Dollar Exchange Rate
By: Levent Bulut, Can Dogan
Abstract: In this paper, we use Google Trends data to proxy macro fundamentals that are related to two conventional structural determination of exchange rate models: purchasing power parity model and the monetary exchange rate determination model. We assess forecasting performance of Google Trends based models against random walk null on Turkish Lira–US Dollar exchange rate for the period of January 2004 to August 2015. We offer a three-step methodology for query selection for macro fundamentals in Turkey and the United States. In out-of-sample forecasting, results show better performance against no-change random walk predictions for specifications both when we use Google Trends data as the only exchange rate predictor or augment it with exchange rate fundamentals. We also find that Google Trends data has limited predictive power when used in year-on-year growth rate format.
Much Ado about the Egyptian Pound: Exchange Rate Misalignment and the Path Towards Equilibrium
By: Diaa Noureldin
Abstract: This paper estimates Egypt’s equilibrium real exchange rate and exchange rate misalignment based on economic fundamentals over the period 2001Q3–2017Q3. Focusing on the more recent period, we find that the Egyptian pound was undervalued by about 22.3 percent in 2017Q1 due to overshooting its equilibrium value after floating the currency in 2016Q4. The currency undervaluation then declined to 18.5 percent in 2017Q3 driven by an increase in the real effective exchange rate due to a surge in domestic inflation. With regard to the determinants of the equilibrium real exchange rate, we find the productivity differential (vis-à-vis Egypt’s trade partners) and trade openness to be the most significant factors. We also provide projections for the equilibrium real exchange rate and exchange rate misalignment until 2020Q4, which reveal that the exchange rate undervaluation will be dissipating fast due to high inflation. If the nominal exchange rate stabilizes at its level in 2017Q3 (17.73 pounds per US dollar), the currency will be overvalued by 13.1 percent in 2020Q4. Given the uncertainty surrounding the projections, a forecast combination approach is also presented. Finally, the paper highlights the implications of the empirical findings for the conduct of monetary policy in Egypt.
SDG-Specific Country Groups: Subregional Analysis of the Arab Region
By: Aljaž Kunčič
Abstract: This paper examines a classification system for grouping the Arab countries together based on characteristics most relevant to sustainable development goals (SDGs). It analyzes SDGs in Arab countries with cluster analysis, identifies the most appropriate decomposition of the region for each of the SDGs separately and describes the characteristics of the unique SDG performance groups. The results show that countries move often from a better to a worse group or vice versa, implying that different and SDG-specific subregional groups should be used for work on each individual SDG. Examining the overlap of cluster memberships by countries through a network perspective further identifies the most tightly knit country groups. The implications of findings are relevant for informative monitoring of SDGs on the subregional level, as well as policy recommendation sharing for and between similar countries, and enhancing peer learning capacity.
Uncovered Interest Rate Parity: The Turkish Evidence
By: Pelin Öge Güney
Abstract: This paper presents an empirical investigation of the uncovered interest parity (UIP) between the Turkish Lira (TRY)/US dollar (USD) and Turkish Lira/Euro (EUR). Our results do not provide evidence supporting the UIP hypothesis for either case. Moreover, the estimates imply causality from the TRY/USD exchange rate return to the interest rate differential. Accordingly, the Turkish Central Bank (CBRT) may respond by increasing the domestic interest rate to a depreciation of the TRY against the US dollar. By taking this type of action, it can be concluded that the CBRT tried to control capital movements. This result supports (McCallum, Bennett T. 1994. “A Reconsideration of the Uncovered Interest Parity Relationship.” Journal of Monetary Economics 33, no. 1: 105–132.)’s argument, which advances the behavior of the monetary policy as a reason for the failure of the UIP condition.