[The Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI) brings you the eighth 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.]
American Journal of Political Science (Volume 63, Issue 2)
By: Yonatan Lupu, Geoffrey P. R. Wallace
Abstract: Under what conditions are individuals more likely to approve of human rights abuses by their governments? While various theoretical expectations have been offered about public approval of repression, many of them have not been directly tested. We analyze the effects of differing opposition tactics, differing government tactics, and legal constraints on approval of repression through a series of survey experiments in India, Israel, and Argentina. Our results indicate that violent action by opposition groups consistently increases support for government repression. In the context of contentious politics, we find that the effects of international law vary by national context. While our respondents in India were less likely to approve of their government when told the government violated international law, the same information likely increased approval of the government in our Israel experiment. The findings provide insights into the microfoundations of existing theories and suggest areas for theory refinement.
American Political Science Review (Volume 113, Issue 2)
By: Dominik Hangartner, Elias Dinas, Moritz Marbach, Konstantinos Matakos, Dimitrios Xefteris
Abstract: Although Europe has experienced unprecedented numbers of refugee arrivals in recent years, there exists almost no causal evidence regarding the impact of the refugee crisis on natives’ attitudes, policy preferences, and political engagement. We exploit a natural experiment in the Aegean Sea, where Greek islands close to the Turkish coast experienced a sudden and massive increase in refugee arrivals, while similar islands slightly farther away did not. Leveraging a targeted survey of 2,070 island residents and distance to Turkey as an instrument, we find that direct exposure to refugee arrivals induces sizable and lasting increases in natives’ hostility toward refugees, immigrants, and Muslim minorities; support for restrictive asylum and immigration policies; and political engagement to effect such exclusionary policies. Since refugees only passed through these islands, our findings challenge both standard economic and cultural explanations of anti-immigrant sentiment and show that mere exposure suffices in generating lasting increases in hostility.
Anthropology & Education Quarterly (Volume 50, Issue 1)
By: Amina Tawasil
Abstract: The Iranian howzevi (seminarian) have been key to the Islamic regime’s development. This paper takes as its critical focus the branding of the howzevi as the unenlightened for their support of the regime. I take de Certeau’s reading as poaching to look at how life scripts or ideologies failed to work through women’s bodies. Drawing on fifteen months of fieldwork, I describe how they unsettled ideologies in their reading of de Maupassant’s “Clair de Lune.”
Arab Studies Quarterly (Volume 41, Issue 2)
By: Karam AbuSehly
Abstract: The article aims at reading Bahaa Taher’s Wāḥat al-Ghuūb (Sunset Oasis) through Ernst Bloch’s notion of the simultaneity of the nonsimultaneous (Gleichzeitigkeit des Ungleichzeitigen), which foregrounds the existence of a multilayered temporality in the now, together with its inherent contradictions. By deploying the hermeneutical capacity of the simultaneity of the nonsimultaneous, the article shows how Taher highlights the condition of a nation in crisis, through its social and cultural strata that are out of sync. The simultaneity of the nonsimultaneous is, therefore, the underlying logic of the content as well as a form of expression. By analyzing the multilayered temporality, the article argues that Bahaa Taher introduces a multivoiced dialectic, that brings all contradictions to consciousness without mastering and controlling them under a grand narrative.
By: Gregory J. Shibley
Abstract: Philip K. Hitti was the first scholar to study Arab-American immigration to the United States. Highly influential during the twentieth century, his ideas have lost much of their appeal to current interpreters of the early diaspora of Arab-Americans called Syrians at the time. This article revisits Hitti’s thought, focusing on the issues of Palestine and Arab identity. Using primary source material from Hitti’s archived papers, plus multiple secondary sources, I argue that Hitti maintained consistency, both in his advocacy of the general Arab stance opposing a Jewish homeland in Palestine, and in his construction of Arab identity as different from Syrian identity. On Palestine, Hitti clashed with Albert Einstein, in public discourse and in an acerbic private exchange of correspondence. On Arab identity, Hitti held firm to a strict interpretation, distinguishing Syrians, conceptualized as Christian, from Arabs, conceptualized as Islamic.
By: Maurice Jr. Labelle
Abstract: This article examines the role that empathy played during the US intervention in the Lebanese civil war of 1958, also known as Operation Blue Bat. Through deep readings of public texts, it explores how a minority of Americans empathized with Lebanese opponents of President Camille Chamoun. After the arrival of US forces, Lebanese anti-Chamounists made their voices heard and feeling felt in the USA via global information providers, enacting cultural interventions. Lebanese dissent was headline news, engendering empathetic processes that reoriented US ways of feeling, thinking, and acting. By using empathy as a point of entry into historical intercultural relations, this article unearths how genuine transnational understandings were socially formed during a moment of conflict. Ultimately, it argues that a focus on empathy gives foreign relations scholars an avenue that eschews nefarious Orientalist binaries and their powers in the process.
British Journal of Political Science (Volume 49, Issue 2)
By: Benjamin T. Jones, Eleonora Mattiacci
Abstract: Can rebel organizations in a civil conflict use social media to garner international support? This article argues that the use of social media is a unique form of public diplomacy through which rebels project a favorable image to gain that support. It analyzes the Libyan civil war, during which rebels invested considerable resources in diplomatic efforts to gain US support. The study entails collecting original data, and finds that rebel public diplomacy via Twitter increases co-operation with the rebels when their message (1) clarifies the type of regime they intend to create and (2) emphasizes the atrocities perpetrated by the government. Providing rebels with an important tool of image projection, social media can affect dynamics in an ever more connected international arena.
Comparative Studies in Society and History (Volume 61, Issue 2)
By: Marlene Schäfers
Abstract: This article investigates how middle-aged to elderly Kurdish women in Turkey engage with large collections of Kurdish music recordings in their possession. Framing them as archives, women mobilize these collections as central elements in a larger, ongoing Kurdish project of historical critique, which seeks to resist hegemonic state narratives that have long denied and marginalized Kurdish voices. While recognizing the critical intervention such archives make, the article contends that, to be heard as “history” with a legitimate claim to authority, subaltern voices often have to rely on the very hegemonic forms, genres, and discourses they set out to challenge. This means that subaltern projects of historical critique walk a fine line between critique and complicity, an insight that nuances narratives that would approach subaltern voices predominantly from a perspective of resistance. At the same time, this article argues that a more complete picture of subaltern archives requires us to attend to the voices they contain not just as metaphors for resistance or political representation but also as acoustic objects that have social effects because of the way they sound. By outlining the affective qualities that voice recordings held for the Kurdish women who archived them, the article shows how their collections participated in carving out specific, gendered subject positions as well as forging a broader Kurdish sociality. Paying attention to history’s “acoustic register” (Hunt 2008), this suggests, promises to open up perspectives on subaltern historiography that go beyond binary frameworks of resistance and domination, critique and complicity.
Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East(Volume 39, Issue 1)
Introduction: The Global Middle East in the Age of Speed From Joyriding to Jamming, and from Racing to Raiding
By: Simon Jackson
Abstract: This essay introduces a special section dedicated to examining the history and culture of automobility, considering a quartet of essays on Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya and Algeria, and Syria. Jumping off from the work of Palestinian artist Jumana Manna to examine the motor vehicle as a multifaceted and ambiguous site of social experience and analytical possibility, the essay then sets the four essays that compose the section into the extant literature.
By: On Barak
Abstract: Anwar Sadat’s “open door” policy involved the forceful promotion of an American-inspired car society. This essay traces the development of Egypt’s motorscape by recounting the first eight decades of automobility in Egypt. Focusing on the 1970s, it suggests that the increasing number of vehicles on the road and consequent congestion were the result, and apparently also the driving force, of politics at every level: from class and gender to geopolitics. In particular, the adoption of the car during the infitah was informed by a discourse of demographic and urban crisis that it was meant to solve yet actually aggravated. Contrasting the private car to the public bus—and stressing zahma, population control, and regulation of sexuality—brought to the fore gendered aspects of automobility and especially sexual harassment rather than issues such as energy efficiency, traffic accidents, and environmental pollution, which would describe the car as the more dangerous vehicle. This contextualization helped neutralize the immoral connotations cars carried over from the prerevolutionary era. Against this background, Egypt’s motorscape was partitioned into public and private, dangerous and safe, humiliating and respectable, in a way that made the bus stand for all the former connotations and the car for all the latter.
By: Pascal Menoret
Abstract: What can we learn from Riyadh? What does this massive desert capital teach us about cities that other, better-studied places don’t? This article examines the making of one of the most salient characteristics of Riyadh: its carscape. In 2000, 93 percent of all daily trips in Riyadh were done by private car, 5 percent were done by taxi, and 2 percent were done by collective transit, which means that private or hired cars were used in 98 percent of all 5 million daily trips in the city. The city looks today like a geometric, far-flung suburb crisscrossed by large highways and spotted with bouquets of high rises. Instead of developing around one central core in a contiguous manner, Riyadh grew around the massive usage of cars. Why and how did the suburbanization of Riyadh happen? How did Saudi automobility become the overwhelming social and political structure it is now?
From Camel to Truck?: Automobiles and the Pastoralist Nomadism of Syrian Tribes during the French Mandate (1920–46)
By: Mehdi Sakatni
Abstract: A conventional view of nomadic tribes is that motorization—the passage from animal to automobile transportation—brought about the transformation and eventually the obliteration of the nomadic pastoralist lifestyle in the long twentieth century. But through the example of nomadic tribes in French mandate Syria, this essay shows that creative appropriation of the automobile actually helped nomadic groups to strengthen their position and to defend their economic and political interests. Automobiles allowed tribal chiefs to experience enhanced mobility, facilitating a faster connection between the bulk of the tribe and the towns. Nomads could thereby reliably sell their livestock and products more easily. Motorcars also presented nomads with a new weapon with which to challenge the technical hegemony commonly associated with colonial power. Consequently, it forced mandate authorities to adapt and transform their own ways of policing and controlling the steppe to counter the pioneering use of cars by armed Bedouins. Last, it enabled tribal chiefs to gain social prestige and, therefore, to assert themselves as ruling elites in the soon-to-be-born independent state. Overall, the Syrian nomads should be seen as pioneers of automobile culture at the start of the global Fordist period, rather than as its victims.
Critical Review (Volume 31, Issue 1)
By: Mohammad Fadel
Abstract: The ideals that gave rise to Daesh are not so much those of pre-modern Sunni Islam, including Salafism, as they are the ideals that post-colonial Arab states have propagated since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. In contravention to long-established ideals of Islamic law, post-colonial Arab states have attempted to legitimate their own despotisms through a formal commitment to a certain kind of Islamic normativity. Inasmuch as Islam provides a ready political discourse to resist despotism, it is unsurprising that pan-Arab “Islamist” movements have made resistance to despotism their central concern. Daesh, however, rejects the anti-despotic politics of modern pan-Arab and “Islamist” political movements and instead offers a despotic and apocalyptic religious conception of the political that is as far from the Sunni mainstream as the political despotisms of the post-colonial Arab states. In this respect, there is a deep synergy between Daesh and the despotisms of the modern Arab state, both of which portray themselves as the only alternative to the murderous tyranny of the other. The only long-term solution to Daesh, therefore, is reform of the despotisms of the post-colonial Arab states.
By: Steffen Hertog
Abstract: Graeme Wood’s The Way of the Strangers gets as close as is humanly possible to an ethnography of recruiters and sympathizers of the Islamic State. Contrary to much writing on radical Islamism, Wood convincingly shows that the Islamic State’s ideas—rooted in a literalist reading of ancient Islamic sources—are central in motivating many of the movement’s followers. His accounts of individual adherents also suggests, however, that ideas are not the only factor, as certain personality traits influence who is attracted to radical Islamist movements.
By: Mark Juergensmeyer
Abstract: Social science seldom takes religion seriously. Graeme Wood shows the folly of this neglect in The Way of the Strangers, his portrayal of the apocalyptic religious ideas held by some of the most ardent ISIS followers. The actions and devotion of members of the Islamic State cannot be understood without grasping what Wood is telling us. Still, a central question remains: Do these religious ideas inevitably lead to violence? Here the jury is still out, since a focus solely on religion, without the socio-political context, can give a skewed perspective on the motives of this violent politico-religious movement.
By: J. Judd Owen
Abstract: Graeme Wood’s The Way of the Strangers suggests that many scholars have denied or downplayed the Islamic State’s own account of its emphatically religious foundation. This tendency is heir to the Enlightenment strategy of defanging illiberal religion by claiming that only religions conforming to liberal principles are genuinely religious—raising anew questions that arose at the dawn of liberalism, in the wake of the Wars of Religion.
By: Graeme Wood
Abstract: My critics and I agree that ideology is understudied, though I think it is the most important factor while they reserve a lesser role for it. Hertog’s analysis of personality traits is suggestive and valuable, though it illuminates a path that leads to the Islamic State’s ideology (but also to other, perhaps less dangerous places) rather than to its violence. Owen correctly identifies the challenge the Islamic State – and other forms of revivalist religion – pose for Lockean toleration. Fadel’s swerve toward an “ideology” of Arab despotism is a diversion. Juergensmeyer rightly notes parallel forms of violence in other traditions, and his analysis of the role of social conditions is partly shared by ISIS supporters themselves.
Critical Studies on Terrorism (Volume 12, Issue 2)
Terrorist violence and the enrollment of psychology in predicting Muslim extremism: critical terrorism studies meets critical algorithm studies
By: Flagg Miller
Abstract: Discourse on terrorist violence has long facilitated an especially liberal form of securitisation. Originally evoked in reference to anarchists and communists, a rational consideration of terrorist violence, inaugurated by the concept, asks for deferred judgement about the nature of, or reasons behind, violence related to terror on the premise that state and international legal norms governing the legitimate use of violence fail to circumscribe the proper capacities of the state to regulate and explain terrorism. Where sovereign powers along with their military and civilian instruments of coercion are deemed unable to regulate violence effectively, analysts of terrorist violence and their readership are invited to consider and cultivate new sensibilities. Beginning in the 1980s, studies by psychologists found renewed urgency among a growing cadre of interdisciplinary terror experts who found religion, Islam especially, a key variable of analysis. I situate their contributions in a longer history of secular and racialising discourse about terrorist violence. Central to this history are practices of reading, translating, interpreting and archiving texts. Evidence for the argument is based on the analysis of an algorithm that allegedly predicts the likelihood of terrorist strikes by counting words spoken by al-Qaʿida leaders and correlating their frequency with over 30 psychological categories.
Pursuing the allure of combat: an ethnography of violence amongst Iraqi Shi’I combatants fighting ISIS
By: Younes Saramifar
Abstract: The social sciences speak of violence through its meaning, performances, manifestations and representations; however, the inner workings of violence are less explored. In order to suggest a different mode of seeing violence, I explore the inner workings of violence through the pleasures of and fun among Shi’i volunteer combatants. I apply Walter Benjamin’s motion of pure means to explain how violence becomes self-referential and non-representational via combat-zone ethnography amongst Iraqi Shi’i militants who fought against ISIS in Iraq. I address the fine line between pleasure and fun in order to highlight the inner workings of violence during combat and to encourage a fresh bottom-up anthropological perspective in assessing the parameters of the persistence and resilience of volunteer combatants. My approach advocates moving beyond recruitment and ideological interpolation by questioning the allure of combat through an ontological framework that includes combatants’ perspectives and narratives.
Blurring European and Islamic values or brightening the good – bad Muslim dichotomy? A critical analysis of French Muslim victims of Jihadi terror online on twitter and in Le Monde newspaper
By: Joseph Downing
Abstract: Victimhood remains under analysed in the Critical Terrorism Studies literature, including the abilities of Muslim victims of terror attacks to blurring social boundaries and possibly de-securitise Muslims in Europe. This is of specific importance in France, which has not only suffered the most terror incidents in Europe in the past five years but also is a country where Muslims have been securitised for decades. This paper uses a mixed methods approach to analyse twitter data for the #jesuisahmed hashtag used to commemorate the Muslim police officer killed in the Charlie Hebdo attacks, and the le monde online memorials created in the wake of the Paris and Nice terror attacks. This analysis demonstrates French Muslim victimhood attacks blur Muslim social boundaries, influences the way that terror events are constructed and also present opportunities for the de-securitisation of Muslims in France. Muslim victimhood does this through three key themes – Muslims being situated as defenders of European values on twitter, Muslim biographies demonstrating “banality” in the le monde online memories and visual nuances of group identity through victim photos included in the le monde memorial. However, these narratives also can re-enforce a problematic good/bad Muslim dichotomy.
Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict (Volume 12, Issue 2)
By: Victor Asal, Lindsay Heger, Douglas M. Stinnett
Abstract: Why do some organizations representing ethnic minorities receive outside diplomatic support from intergovernmental organizations (IGOs)? This article analyses ethnopolitical organizations in the Middle East from 1980 to 2004. The analysis explores two different possible answers. First, IGOs are guided by normative principles and are inclined to support ethnopolitical organizations that have democratic characteristics. Second, IGOs are guided by practical concerns, and choose to support those organizations that have the most influence. Although the analysis finds evidence for both the normative and strategic views, the variables associated with the strategic view have a larger substantive effect on the probability of support.
Government and Opposition (Volume 54, Issue 2)
Global Shifts and the Limits of the EU’s Transformative Power in the European Periphery: Comparative Perspectives from Hungary and Turkey
By: Ziya Öniş, Mustafa Kutlay
Abstract: This article highlights the weakening of the EU’s transformative capacity in the broader European periphery in a rapidly shifting global order, with reference to Hungary and Turkey. Although Hungary is an ‘insider’ and Turkey a relative ‘outsider’, their recent experiences display strikingly similar patterns, raising important concerns about the EU’s leverage. Under the influence of strong nationalist-populist leaders backed by powerful majorities, both countries have been moving in an increasingly illiberal direction, away from well-established EU norms. The article proposes an analytical framework based on a combination of push and pull factors that are driven by changing global political economy dynamics, which explains the EU’s declining appeal in its periphery, not only in reference to the internal dynamics of European integration and its multiple crises, but also the appeal of illiberal versions of strategic capitalism employed by rising powers, which serve as reference points for the elites of several states in diverse geographic settings.
International Affairs (Volume 95, Issue 2)
By: Simon Cottee
Abstract: Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), a small twin-island republic in the Caribbean, has one of the highest rates of foreign fighter radicalization in the western hemisphere. According to official estimates, around 130 Trinidadian nationals migrated to ISIS-controlled territory in Syria and Iraq between 2013 and 2016. This article seeks to make sense of these migrations, placing them in the broader historical and social context in which they occurred. Drawing on a range of quantitative and qualitative primary source material, the article finds, contrary to expectation, that the archetypal adult ISIS traveller from T&T is not a marginalized, youthful and mostly male city dweller who radicalized outside of a mosque, but is in fact as likely to be female, in his or her mid-30s, married, have children, attend a mosque, live in a rural area, and have suffered neither the pains of economic hardship nor the ill effects of marginalization from the wider society because of his or her Muslim identity. As well as emphasizing the intersection between the local and the global in jihadist foreign traveller mobilization, the article also demonstrates the importance of personal connections in the migrations of Trinidadians to Syria and Iraq, lending further support to research on the centrality of social networks in facilitating radicalization and foreign fighter mobilization.
By: Erika Weinthal; Jeannie Sowers
Abstract: State and non-state actors across many protracted conflicts and prolonged occupations in the Middle East and North Africa have systematically targeted civilian infrastructures. We use the cases of the West Bank and Gaza, characterized by more than five decades of occupation and periods of intermittent violent conflict, to analyse how the targeting of water, energy, and agricultural infrastructures has created humanitarian crises and undermined civilian livelihoods. Our analysis draws upon an original database tracking the targeting of environmental and civilian infrastructures and on interviews with humanitarian organizations, government officials and civil society actors. The analysis shows how the targeting of infrastructure has differed in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In the West Bank, damage to essential infrastructure and restrictions on infrastructure development are forms of slow violence that accumulate over time, carried out by both state authorities and settlers. In the Gaza Strip, recurrent violent conflict between Israel and Hamas has produced extensive destruction across all types of infrastructure, while the internationally-sanctioned blockade has hindered effective reconstruction. In both cases agriculture is the most frequently targeted sector, undermining livelihoods and connections to land, while damage to water and energy systems has limited economic activity and rendered civilian life increasingly precarious.
By: Hassan Ahmadian; Payam Mohseni
Abstract: Iran has been a critical player in the Syrian war since 2011, crafting a complex foreign policy and military strategy to preserve its Syrian ally. What have been the drivers of Iranian decision-making in this conflict? And how has Iranian strategy evolved over the course of the war? This article argues that the logic of deterrence has been fundamental not just for shaping the contours of Iran–Syria relations since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, but also for determining the overall trajectory of Iranian strategy in the Syrian war. The authors outline Iran’s decision-making calculus and divide the country’s strategy on Syria after the Arab Spring into four primary phases: 1) a ‘Basij’ strategy to establish local militias in Syria; 2) a regionalization strategy to incorporate transnational fighters and militias in the war effort; 3) an internationalization strategy to incorporate Russia and balance the United States; and 4) a post-ISIS deterrence strategy to balance against the United States, Turkey and Israel. Iran’s Syria strategy progressively escalated in response to the possible defeat of its ally and the deterioration of its forward deterrence capacities against the United States and Israel. Today, the potential for direct inter-state conflict is rising as proxy warfare declines and Iran attempts to maintain the credibility of its forward deterrence.
International Political Science Review (Volume 40, Issue 2)
By: Anna Lührmann
Abstract: Between 2007 and 2014 the United Nations (UN) assisted more than one-third of all national elections worldwide. Its experts routinely provide substantial technical advice on election management, logistical support such as the procurement of ballot papers and financial assistance. However, it remains doubtful if, and under which conditions, such assistance contributes to free and fair elections or has a positive long-term impact on democratization. This study assesses the impact of UN electoral assistance (UNEA) in Sudan, Nigeria and Libya. It finds that such assistance contributed to election quality in the presence of regime elites prioritizing electoral credibility in Nigeria (2011) and Libya (2012). In Nigeria, it seems plausible that UNEA had a medium-term impact on democratization. However, if regime elites undermine electoral freedom and fairness – as in Sudan (2010) – such positive effects are unlikely. Furthermore, in such contexts, the involvement of the UN may legitimize authoritarian practices.
International Politics (Volume 56, Issues 2 & 3)
By: Kelly Staples
Abstract: This article demonstrates the ambiguity of solidarity as articulated in the European Union’s 2015 relocation schemes for persons in need of international protection. These schemes are shown in turn to reflect the wider limits to solidarity when it comes to the location of people in need of protection. The article also argues that in International Relations theory, the present limits to solidarity are still often either reified or denied, which limits in turn our ability to understand the ethics of global problems and interventions. The final section of the article sketches out a via media which collapses—rather than bridges—the ‘real’ and the ‘ideal’ and which might better serve our understanding of the ethics of difficult problems like the refugee ‘problem’.
By: Jenny H. Peterson
Abstract: Tracing the development of modern understandings of the ‘politics of protection,’ this paper examines the paradoxical reality of the use of violence by states to build peace, protect civilians and provide humanitarian assistance. It presents the mechanisms through which a dominant liberal-realist ideology based on securitized and militarized options have come to dominate global understandings of how to protect civilian populations at risk and thus shaped public and political imagination over what is possible and moral in the realm of protection. However, the imaginative dominance of these ideologically based modes of protection can and are being challenged through processes of ‘aesthetic imaginative acts.’ These acts are a form of counterpower that create fissures in the liberal-realist narrative and in turn enable populations to reconfigure political imagination to include alternative, empathetic responses to humanitarian crises. Analysis of one modality of ‘aesthetic imaginative acts’ in one case, namely musical recordings by Canadian artists in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, will be analyzed in relation to how they challenge the dominant liberal-realist imagination and facilitate a broader, nonviolent or empathetic imagination regarding protection.
By: Katharina Luise Meissner
Abstract: The European Union’s (EU) use of interregionalism in its foreign policy is longstanding. This also translated into trade negotiations with regional organizations: the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Yet, the EU waived interregionalism in favor of bilateralism in negotiations with ASEAN and CAN, while it maintained interregionalism toward the GCC. Why is this so? Investigating the EU’s strategic interests in these regions, the article argues that geoeconomics drove the negotiations with ASEAN and CAN, while political interests in counterbalancing the USA and China motivated the negotiations with the GCC. Thus, in the first two cases, the EU sacrificed interregionalism for an ambitious trade agreement, whereas with the GCC it maintained interregionalism although this prevented the conclusion of an eventual agreement. Leveraging interviews with EU officials, this article provides a nuanced perspective on strategic interests in interregionalism.
International Studies Review (Volume 21, Issue 1)
By: Nicola Nymalm; Johannes Plagemann
Abstract: Existing research on exceptionalism in foreign policy suggests a number of confrontational features making it a threat to peaceful international relations. Largely based on US and European cases, and hardly ever taking a comparative approach, this literature overlooks a variety of exceptionalisms in non-Western countries, including so called “rising powers” such as China and India. A comparison between exceptionalist foreign policy discourses of the United States, China, India, and Turkey shows that exceptionalism is neither exclusive to the United States, nor a “new” phenomenon within rising powers, nor necessarily confrontational, unilateralist, or exemptionalist. As a prerequisite for comparative work, we establish two features common to all exceptionalist foreign policy discourses. In essence, such discourses are informed by supposedly universal values derived from a particular civilization heritage or political history. In order to systematize different versions of exceptionalism, we then propose four ideal types, each of which reflects exceptionalism’s common trait of a claim to moral superiority and uniqueness but diverges across other important dimensions, with implications for its potentially offensive character. The article concludes by formulating a research agenda for future comparative work on exceptionalist foreign policy discourses and their repercussions for great power relations and global politics.
Journal of Development Studies (Volume 55, Issue 5)
By: Fatma Romeh M. Ali
Abstract: This paper examines the impact of parental income on child labour. The empirical literature has found conflicting results regarding whether poverty leads parents to send their children to work. Most of this literature, however, treats child labourers as a single homogeneous group, ignoring differences among working children in work intensity, hazard exposure, and type of employer. This paper argues that accounting for the heterogeneity in child’s working conditions may explain the conflicting results in the literature. Specifically, the existence of this heterogeneity may reflect heterogeneity in parents’ perceptions about the returns to child’s work, and hence in parental reasons to send their children to work. To test this hypothesis, I estimate the effects of parental income on child labour for various working conditions, using data from the 2010 Egypt National Child Labour Survey. This dataset provides rich information on the working conditions of child labourers. The findings show that the effect of parental income on child labour is minimal among children who work in non-hazardous jobs, jobs that are not highly physical, or in family businesses. In contrast, higher parental income does decrease the likelihood of child labour in market work, jobs that are physical and hazardous jobs.
Journal of Economic Literature (Volume 57, Issue 1)
Review Essay on Why Muslim Integration Fails in Christian-Heritage Societies by Claire Adida, David Laitin and Marie-Anne Valfort
By: Thierry Verdier
Abstract: This paper reviews the book Why Muslim Integration Fails in Christian-Heritage Societies by Claire Adida, David Laitin and Marie-Anne Valfort (hereafter, ALV), providing an analytical perspective on the issues related to minority discrimination and integration in a host society. Building upon the sociological and recent economic approaches to cultural integration, we highlight the different mechanisms behind the existence of a discriminatory equilibrium between a majority group and a minority group in a given social context. The paper then discusses the specific case of the Muslim minority groups in the French context and outlines the strengths and limitations of the research approach expanded by ALV. We finally consider the policy proposals provided by ALV, assessing their viability, as well as the dynamic political economy constraints they might face in a Christian-heritage society.
Journal of Islamic Studies (Volume 30, Issue 2)
By: Nabil Matar
Abstract: By the time Joseph Morgan died (ca. 1750), he had lived longer in, and written more about, North Africa than any other Briton. This paper examines his first published work after his return to England ca. 1720: a translation of the life of the Prophet Muḥammad which appeared in London in 1723 and 1725. While there had been previous biographies of the Prophet in English, Morgan’s was the first that was completely based on an account by a Muslim Andalusian author, Mohamed Rabadan, who had written it in the first decade of the seventeenth century. It was partly based on the work of the thirteenth-century muḥaddith, Abū al-Ḥasan Aḥmad al-Bakrī and infused with Sufi imagery. This biography presented a highly positive view of the Prophet, the like of which had not existed before in any European language.
By: Ayelet Zoran-Rosen
Abstract: This article traces the establishment of a network of educational institutions, and the accompanying consolidation of a class of learned men, with varying levels of Islamic education, in sixteenth-century Bosnia. It explores the ways in which these developments affected Bosnia’s integration into the imperial Ottoman education network. Analysis of the creation of this local network and its effects is done through prosopographical study of two sample groups of Ottoman scholars: first, scholars who studied or worked in Sarajevo in the sixteenth century; and, second, Ottoman scholars who originated from Bosnia. The samples were created using sixteenth-century biographical dictionaries. By following these scholars’ careers and highlighting their recurring characteristics, this article lays out the rise of Bosnia, especially Sarajevo, in the broader Ottoman scholarly network throughout the sixteenth century. It explains the implications that this rise had on the Ottoman education system in general, and on Muslim life in Sarajevo in particular, and argues that this process was essential for Bosnia’s successful and long-lasting integration into the Ottoman Empire. It also locates the establishment of a Muslim education system and the creation of a learned elite in sixteenth-century Bosnia in the context of the larger process of the Sunnitization of Ottoman society.
Salafism’s Historical Continuity: The Reception of ‘Modernist’ Salafis by ‘Purist’ Salafis in Jordan
By: Joas Wagemakers
Abstract: Academics do not agree on the historical continuity between ‘modernist’ Salafis from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and today’s ‘purist’ ones. Interestingly, little attention has been paid to how the latter deal with this issue. This article seeks partly to fill this gap by analysing the reception of ‘modernist’ Salafis in the work of Jordanian ‘purist’ Salafis. It first provides background information on the history of ‘purist’ Salafism in Jordan, with a specific focus on the Syrian-Jordanian scholar Muḥammad Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Albānī (1914–1999). It then moves on to analyse the perception of ‘modernist’ Salafi scholars by al-Albānī and the politically quietist branch of ‘purist’ Salafism in Jordan. Next, it deals with the political branch of the ‘purist’ Salafis in the Kingdom and the way they have perceived ‘modernist’ Salafis. Finally, in the conclusion I link the topic of this article to the debate about the historical continuity between ‘modernist’ and ‘purist’ Salafis.
Journal of Near Eastern Studies (Volume 78, Issue 1)
By: Gianni Marchesi
Abstract: Not available
By: Michael Zellmann-Rohrer
Abstract: Not available
By: Sona Davtyan
Abstract: Not available
Curious Characters, Invented Scripts, and … Charlatans? “Pseudo-Scripts” in the Mesopotamian Magic Bowls
By: Daniel James Waller
Abstract: Not available
Journal of the American Oriental Society (Volume 139, Issue 1)
By: Lara Harb
Abstract: Notable examples of macaronics, the insertion of foreign vocabulary into poetry, are attributed to the well-known eighth-century poet, Abū Nuwās, who experimented with mixing Persian in his Arabic poetry but whose motivation remains unclear. This article looks at a selection of his and other macaronic verses ranging from the seventh to tenth centuries and argues that Persian was inserted deliberately as a marker of a Persian identity, standing for the “foreign Other.” Far from being a sign of a pro-Persian shuʿūbī sentiment, the employment of Persian only reinforces the established hierarchy of the two identities in that period. By the tenth century, however, this hierarchy is cleverly flipped on its head in a macaronic poem by the popular Iraqi poet, Ibn al-Ḥajjāj While many of the examples are comic and even obscene in character, this article shows that the employment of Persian in Arabic poetry was a deliberate practice with serious and meaningful implications.
By: Geoffrey Khan
Abstract: Arabic legal documents from early Islamic Egypt are attested in Arabic papyrus collections. These exhibit a formulaic structure that is clearly distinct from those of the Byzantine Greek tradition of legal documents, which continued to be written in the first Islamic century. The Islamic Arabic documents reflect a legal formulaic tradition that had its origins in the Ḥijāz of Arabia. This article examines the background of this Ḥijāzī tradition, with particular focus on the opening formula and the witness clauses. Parallel features are identified in Ancient South Arabian legal texts and in texts of a legal nature from Northern Arabia.
By: Tarsee Li
Abstract: The present study consists of a description of the functions of the personal pronoun attested in the Christian Palestinian Aramaic Gospels. Inferences are drawn from the way the pronoun is employed in the translation of various Greek grammatical expressions and from comparing the instances of some Aramaic expressions that can occur with or without the pronoun.
Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient (Volume 62, Issue 2-3)
Muslim-style Mausolea across Mongol Eurasia: Religious Syncretism, Architectural Mobility and Cultural Transformation
By: Sheila Blair
Abstract: The first Mongol khans were buried in hidden graves, but later Mongols adopted the Muslim practice of building aboveground domed tombs. This essay examines three domed mausolea typical of the Muslim lands erected in the early to mid-14th century in different Mongol khanates—that built for the Ilkhan Öljeitü at Sultaniyya, a second for the Chaghadaid Buyan Quli Khan outside Bukhara, and a third anonymous tomb at Guyuan, Hebei, in the Yuan territories of north China—to show how different Mongol patrons interpreted the same form and funerary traditions associated with it.
By: Peter Jackson
Abstract: This paper compares the process of Islamization in the three westernmost Mongol states: the Chaghadaid Khanate in Central Asia; the Ilkhanate in Iran and Iraq; and the Jochid ulus (the Golden Horde) in the Pontic-Caspian steppes and the Volga region. It explores in greater depth the hallmarks of conversion, the agents of, and the motives for, Islamization and the limitations of its effects on royal policy. In particular, it highlights the tension between Islamic notions and the concept of religious pluralism that was central to the corpus of Mongol law (Yasa) established by Chinggis Khan.
The Maritime and Continental Networks of Kīsh Merchants under Mongol Rule: The Role of the Indian Ocean, Fārs and Iraq
By: Yasuhiro Yokkaichi
Abstract: Based on a variety of literary and archaeological sources, notably the tariff lists produced in Rasulid Yemen, this study reconstructs the trade routes of the Kīsh merchants, demonstrating that the Persian Gulf route—between South and West India (Coromandel, Malabar, and Gujarat) and Iraq via the Persian Gulf—and the Red Sea route—between South and West India and Egypt via the Red Sea—were closely connected in the Mongol period. This not only manifests aspects of the proto-globalization in Mongol Eurasia but also argues against the supposed economic decline of post-1258 Baghdad and the economic centrality of Cairo in the post-Abbasid Muslim world.
By: Michal Biran
Abstract: The destruction of the Baghdadi libraries has been a powerful image connected to the Mongol conquest of 1258, often claimed to have precipitated the decline of Muslim civilization. This study, however, challenges this claim by reconstructing the state of libraries in Ilkhanid Baghdad, revealing a thriving intellectual community. Based on a close reading in Arabic biographical dictionaries and analysis of samāʿ and book lists, it elucidates the functions of libraries in Ilkhanid Baghdad, identifies channels of knowledge transmission, and offers a glimpse of the libraries’ holdings. Finally, it analyzes the Mongols’ role in invigorating local scholarship and the impact their rule had on Baghdad’s intellectual life.
Middle East Critique (Volume 28, Issue 2)
ResurReaction: Competing Visions of Turkey’s (proto) Ottoman Past in Magnificent Century and Resurrection Ertuğrul
By: Josh Carney
Abstract: The Turkish TV dramas Magnificent Century and Resurrection Ertuğrul share a number of traits: Both reprise the country’s Ottoman (or proto-Ottoman) past by focusing their story on a heroic figure; both raised the ire of critics for their lack of historicity; and both have been highly successful, ruling ratings on the same competitive Wednesday night prime time slot, with Resurrection coming in to take Century’s place after that show left the air. Despite these similarities, the projects represent quite different takes on the Ottoman past and the issue of history’s role in the Turkish present. While Century arguably partakes in what Svetlana Boym calls reflective nostalgia, Resurrection is a highly restorative project. In this article, I detail the differences between these projects and explain their success in light of the shifting political environment in Turkey. I begin with a characterization of Century and the ‘problem’ it posed for a conservative government that was deeply invested in an idealized Ottoman past. I next turn to Resurrection, which I see as a government reaction to Century, and explain that it succeeds where other imitators failed due to the careful choice of a hero with a relatively blank historical slate. Finally, I argue that Resurrection practices a different attitude toward history than does Century, heralding for a government that not only seeks to glorify and idolize the past, but also to claim ownership of it.
By: Christa Salamandra
Abstract: Syria serves as a leading producer of the musalsal [dramatic miniseries], a key Arabic-language mass cultural form. With its dark realism and biting humor, Syrian drama has become a primary mode of sociopolitical commentary for both producers and audiences, given the restrictions on journalistic and academic expression and the absence of participatory politics in most Arab polities. Drama creators deploy a range of temporal strategies to comment on social and political conditions. A reflexive, intertextual chronopolitics runs through serials produced before and during the Syrian conflict that began in 2011. The question ‘what went wrong?’ preoccupies musalsal makers, and their works frequently foreground their belief that Syrian society is ‘going backwards.’ For example, in historical genres of television serials, idealized images harken back to perceived golden ages of cosmopolitanism, throwing the contemporary condition into bitter relief. Makers of dramas set in the present invert this technique, locating the sources of contemporary ills in past mistakes and historical injustices, revealed in flashback, dialogue, and voiceover. Through a technique of narrative allochrony, drama creators also highlight their understanding of modernity’s lapses, depicting select practices, mores, and attitudes as out of sync with what they see as contemporary values. These dramatic depictions of the past and present all point to a failed national project and a derailed modernity. Their creators seek to counter what they deem as a flawed political and social evolution, one that they believe has led to deterioration in the region and a devastating war in Syria.
By: Gianluca P. Parolin
Abstract: Egyptian Ramadan TV series have explored the relationship between law and television in a number of iterations over the past few years. In 2017, the most watched production (115 million views on YouTube), Kalabsh, went one step further by examining the interaction between television broadcasting and social media in affecting the course of justice. Even though its events revolve around the framing and wrongful incrimination of a ‘good’ police officer, the dynamics suggest a not-so-subtle reference to the January 25, 2011 uprising. It portrayed social media actors as naïve agitators, outsmarted and used by those same dark networks of business and politics that they intend to expose and ultimately to unseat. This representation strengthens the counter-revolution’s narrative of the January 25 uprising as the making of some ‘Facebook kids’ [ʿiyāl bitūʿ il-face]. With Kalabsh, Egyptian TV series recalibrate the representation of the role of television broadcasting in affecting the course of justice and thus produce a new narrative that includes social media. This representation challenges as ‘optimistic’ the reading of the ‘democratic’ nature of social media by showing how its actors are even more prone to falling prey to mystifications and networks of corruption. The centrality of television broadcasting in affecting the course of justice clearly recedes in Kalabsh, but television broadcasting itself seems to regain some reputation.
By: Nour Halabi
Abstract: This article analyzes how Syrian television drama is not only an important field of cultural expression and a site of contestation but also reveals the many socioeconomic spatial tensions underlying the 2011 Revolution and its aftermath. The latter aspect is demonstrated through a visual and textual analysis of two television serials that depict the ‘ashwa’iyat,
By: Esha Momeni
Abstract: Most of Iran’s urban population experienced the war with Iraq (1980–1988) through the burden of privation and the fear of possible airstrikes. Thus, state-produced media on national television became the main apparatus through which they connected their daily lives to the national conflict. Ravayat-e Fath [The Narrative of Triumph] was one docudrama, comprised of five seasons that the state produced at different intervals between 1984 and 1987. Although Ravayat-e Fath has been presented and received as a journalistic work, it enters the realm of fiction to fulfill its objective: To recruit soldiers. Through a collage of mythical stories, epic narratives, dramatic cinematography, mourning songs accompanied by reports from war fronts, and live interviews with soldiers, the series tells a story of a promised triumph through martyrdom. Through studying Ravayat-e Fath, the most important state-supported television production of the Iran-Iraq war era, this article investigates the ways in which war propaganda in general, and the concept of martyrdom in particular, generated tools like shaming to control the population during and after the war.
By: Walter Armbrust
Abstract: Al-Gama’a [The Society], a 28-part television biopic of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna, was broadcast in the fall of 2010, just before the January 25, 2011 Revolution. The writer of the series, Wahid Hamid, was an important screenwriter for both television and the cinema and a figure known for his affinity with the state’s security apparatus. Al-Gama’a functioned as a rhetorical capstone for decades of anti-Brotherhood state discourse. It also powerfully anticipated the anti-Brotherhood apologetics used to rationalize the Rab‘a massacre of 2013, which effectively ended the revolution and cemented the coup by ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi against Muhammad Morsy. The series enacted a historical narrative that was almost completely absent from Egypt’s formal educational curriculum, thereby furthering a political agenda of dehumanizing Islamists and effectively excommunicating them from the national community. Hence in 2013, a thousand Egyptians were slaughtered in a day, and yet many of their fellow citizens saw the event as destiny rather than as a crime against humanity.
Middle East Report
By: Jacob Mundy
Abstract: Not available
By: Omar Dewachi
Abstract: Omar Dewachi traces the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria in war-related wounds—which US military doctors labelled Iraqibacter—to the biological legacy of decades of sanctions, war and intervention in Iraq, and how antibiotic resistance is increasingly being found in other militarized intervention zones in the region.
By: Lisa Bhungalia, Jeannette Greven, Tahani Mustafa
Abstract: Lisa Bhungalia Jeannette Greven and Tahani Mustafa argue that the Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign against the Palestinians—which gives Israel free reign to violently dispossess Palestinians while simultaneously withdrawing US aid for food, schools and hospitals—has both worsened Palestinian lives and has had the unintended consequence of weakening some levers of influence the United States holds over Palestinians.
By: Hiba Bou Akar
Abstract: In a wide-ranging interview, Hiba Bou Akar shows how urban planning is being used to turn some neighborhoods and urban peripheries in the Middle East into militarized frontier zones between competing political, military and sectarian organizations guided by the dystopian logic of a war yet to come.
By: Sami Tayeb
Abstract: Sami Tayeb examines how a multitude of privately financed urban development projects in the Israeli-Occupied West Bank are creating a form of colonization that parallels that of Israel. Unlike Israel’s settler-colonial urbanism, however, this form of urban colonization is driven by global, and particularly neoliberal, capitalism, as it consumes Palestine’s remaining agrarian land at an unprecedented rate.
By: Sarah E. Parkinson
Abstract: Sarah Parkinson describes the growing popularity of extreme research—scholarly research conducted in crises zones amongst conflict-affected populations in the Middle East and North Africa—and shows how this research is a mode of intervention that can impose serious harm on individuals, communities, local partner universities and even humanitarian program staff.
By: Rafeef Ziadah
Abstract: Rafeef Ziadah investigates the rise of humanitarian logistics hubs such as Dubai International Humanitarian City, which, although ostensibly humanitarian, have become a key mechanism of intervention and increasingly a central element in the projection of power for the Gulf regimes such as the United Arab Emirates.
By: Ron Smith
Abstract: Not available
By: Catherine Besteman
Abstract: Catherine Besteman analyzes the new form of global intervention that is taking shape in the rise of militarized borders, interdictions at sea, detention centers, indefinite custody and the generalized criminalization of mobility around the world. The Global North—the United States, Canada, the European Union (EU), Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, the Gulf states and East Asia—is investing in militarized border regimes that reach far beyond particular territories to manage the movement of people from the Global South.
Oriens (Volume 47, Issue 1-2)
By: Kamran I. Karimullah
Abstract: In this article, I discuss the legacy of Faḫr al-Dīn al-Rāzī’s commentary on Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine in Islamic medical commentary after 1100. I argue that Faḫr al-Dīn’s legacy lies in the exegetical practices, the method of verification (taḥqīq) he introduced into Islamic medical scholarship through his commentary on the Canon. I first argue that the features that characterise the method of verification in works such as Faḫr al-Dīn’s commentary on Avicenna’s Pointers and Reminders are present in the commentary on the Canon, even if Faḫr al-Dīn’s introduction to the latter work does not allude to these practices in the way that the introductions to his later works do. Based on an analysis of Galen’s prescription about exegetical best-practice in his Hippocratic commentaries and Muḥammad ibn Zakarīyā al-Rāzī’s (d. ca. 925) introduction to Doubts on Galen, I argue next that Faḫr al-Dīn’s introduction of the verification method into the Islamic medical discourse was a watershed moment in the tradition. I use Ibn al-Quff’s (d. 1286) commentary on the Hippocratic Aphorisms to show how these methods were imitated by later medical commentators. This final section illustrates the enormous exegetical interest that the Canon of Medicine attracted, suggesting other promising trajectories for research into Faḫr al-Dīn’s medical legacy.
Oxford Development Studies (Volume 47, Issue 2)
By: David Kucera, Xiao Jiang
Abstract: The paper uses the World Input-Output Database to address patterns of structural transformation in BRIC countries, Indonesia, South Korea, Mexico and Turkey. Sectoral drivers of aggregate labour productivity growth, and the relative importance of within-sector versus employment reallocation effects on aggregate labour productivity growth, are evaluated using growth accounting decomposition methods. Decomposition results are used to assess how patterns of structural transformation relate to macroeconomic performance in terms of aggregate labour productivity, output and employment growth. Together with the construction of ‘Hirschman compliance indices’, decomposition results are also used to shed light on the balanced versus unbalanced growth debates. The paper goes on to assess the extent of complementarities between manufacturing and information and communications technology-intensive advanced services through intermediate inputs, comparing the eight emerging countries with G7 countries over time.
Studies in Conflict &Terrorism (Volume 42, Issues 3 – 5)
By: Tricia Bacon, Elizabeth Grimm Arsenault
Abstract: Employing counterfactuals to assess individual and systemic explanations for the split between Al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), this article concludes that individual leaders factor greatly into terrorist alliance outcomes. Osama bin Laden was instrumental in keeping Al Qaeda and ISIS allied as he prioritized unity and handled internal disputes more deftly than his successor, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri. Although a troubled alliance, strategic differences between Al Qaeda and ISIS were not sufficient to cause the split. Rather, the capabilities of Al Qaeda’s leader determined the group’s ability to prevent alliance ruptures.
An Ethnographic Study on the Indonesian Immigrant Community and its Islamic Radicalization in South Korea
By: Minwoo Yun, Eunyoung Kim
Abstract: Contrary to popular belief, South Korea is not immune from the growth of Islamic radicalism. Although no serious terrorist attack has yet occurred within the country, some worrisome incidents have been reported. Recently, an Indonesian man was arrested on the grounds that he publicly supported the Al Nusra Front, a known Al Qaeda–affiliated terrorist organization, and even attempted to depart for Syria to join the organization. The current study is a response to such an incident. It investigates whether such an incident is an isolated exception or a harbinger of the Islamic radicalization process within South Korea, particularly within the Muslim immigrant community. The current study focuses primarily on the Indonesian immigrant community within South Korea but also investigates other Muslim communities when needed, as Muslim immigrant communities are often intermingled and share similar features. The study found some worrisome developments of Islamic radicalization within the Indonesian immigrant community in particular and the Muslim immigrant community in general. Using the enculturation stress model, the current study explains that such Islamic radicalization is a pathway of the collective response to cultural adaptation stress that most Indonesian and other Muslim immigrants face within South Korea. To conduct the study, ethnographic qualitative interviews were used. Indonesian immigrants, their Korean spouses, civilian activists, civilian aid workers, government officials, police officers, immigrant agency officials, and security officials were contacted and interviewed. Each interview lasted between approximately one and four hours. The limitations of the study are also discussed.
By: Victor Asal, Daniel Gustafson, Peter Krause
Abstract: Given that minority ethno-political organizations are generally weaker than states yet seek to change their policies or remove the ruling regime from power, why would negotiation occur? States prefer to ignore or repress such organizations, which typically have little to offer in return amidst negotiations that can legitimize them while delegitimizing the state. When a challenging organization establishes governing structures and controls movement in part of a state’s territory, however, it can easily inflict significant economic and political costs on the state while also possessing a valuable asset to exchange for concessions. An organization with territorial control cannot be ignored, while the state will have a strong incentive to negotiate before the state loses more face, the group gains more legitimacy, neighboring states are more likely to invade, and the international community is more likely to formally recognize any facts on the ground as a new status quo. Our analysis of 118 organizations in the Middle East and North Africa from 1980–2004 reveals that territorial control is the most important determinant of intrastate negotiation. In regards to existing scholarship, this suggests that a certain type of successful violence works—not all violence and not only nonviolence—while certain types of strong organizations—those that control territory—are more likely to reach negotiations with the state than weak ones.
By: Miron Lakomy
Abstract: This article argues that video games have become a valid and increasingly significant means of jihadist digital propaganda. “Gaming jihad” has recently shown interesting alterations, mostly due to actions undertaken by the so called Islamic State and its cyber-partisans, which have discovered new ways of using this flexible and immersive medium. Similar to more conventional forms of its online propaganda, which have been imitated by other Islamist terrorist groups for years, the “Caliphate’s” exploitation of electronic entertainment software may be a forerunner for the increased interest of other violent extremist organizations in this medium.
By: Laura Huey, Rachel Inch, Hillary Peladeau
Abstract: This article investigates the social media content of women who are affiliated with the Islamic State. Throughout one year, ninety-three Twitter accounts were tracked to explore the patterns of engagement by pro–Islamic State women online and examine how these patterns illuminate the roles that pro–Islamic State women occupy on social media networks. The study reveals that women who associate with the Islamic State mostly preserve the traditional gendered role of support in the online realm. However, support is not their exclusive role and some women are active in the organization, using Twitter to recruit, promote, and even commit terrorist violence.
By: Michael H. Creswell
Abstract: For America’s foes in Afghanistan and the Middle East, triumph on the battlefield is less important than winning the battle of perceptions. In response, the United States has turned to Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy (SC-PD) to engage key audiences in ways that advance U.S. interests and to win the political-ideological contest for domestic and international legitimacy. But are these strategies effective? While winning hearts and minds is politically important, SC-PD—even at its best—is much less effective than other well-crafted and mutually supportive policies and strategies. Moreover, there are structural obstacles that greatly limit the effectiveness of SC-PD.
What Does the “Terrorist” Label Really Do? Measuring and Explaining the Effects of the “Terrorist” and “Islamist” Categories
By: Stephane J. Baele, Olivier C. Sterck, Thibaut Slingeneyer, Gregoire P. Lits
Abstract: Many scholars and practitioners claim that labeling groups or individuals as “terrorists” does not simply describe them but also shapes public attitudes, due to the label’s important normative and political charge. Yet is there such a “terrorist label effect”? In view of surprisingly scant evidence, the present article evaluates whether or not the terrorist label—as well as the “Islamist” one—really impacts both the audience’s perception of the security environment and its security policy preferences, and if yes, how and why. To do so, the article implements a randomized-controlled vignette experiment where participants (N = 481) first read one out of three press articles, each depicting a street shooting in the exact same way but labeling the author of the violence with a different category (“terrorist”/“shooter”/“Islamist”). Participants were then asked to report on both their perceptions and their policy preferences. This design reveals very strong effects of both the “terrorist” and “Islamist” categories on each dimension. These effects are analyzed through the lenses of social and cognitive psychology, in a way that interrogates the use of the terrorist category in society, the conflation of Islamism with terrorism, and the press and policymakers’ lexical choices when reporting on political violence.
Terrorism and Political Violence (Volume 31, Issues 2 & 3)
By: Mehmet Alper Sozer, Kamil Yilmaz
Abstract: As of today, a highly mobilized Kurdish diaspora and its most prominent representative, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has become so influential in the European political arena that it might tip the balance of the European Union’s policies on Turkey in its favor. Since too much attention has been given to the PKK’s activities in Germany, the organization’s actions in Britain remain understudied, despite the fact that Britain has been a vital place in Kurdish politics and political lobbying activities. Drawing on fieldwork findings, this article attempts to explore both the evolution and the political activities of the PKK in Britain across three different timeframes, from 1984 until the present time. Our findings suggest that in Britain, the PKK has departed in recent years from its conventional terrorist activities and transformed into a lobbying power that is likely to gain full legitimacy (i.e., being de-listed from terrorist organization lists) in the near future.
By: Carol K. Winkler, Kareem El Damanhoury, Aaron Dicker, Anthony F. Lemieux
Abstract: Daesh’s ability to successfully recruit foreign fighters from more than one hundred countries worldwide raises the importance of understanding the group’s strategic media campaign. Recognizing that visual images, in particular, often increase viewers’ attention, recall, and emotional response, this study of Daesh’s official magazine, Dabiq, moves beyond earlier studies primarily focused on the magazine’s textual content to analyze the group’s visual communication strategy. This study’s content analysis of the 1,144 images appearing in the magazine’s first twelve issues reveals how Dabiq has relied extensively on a historic American media trope, the about to die image, to bolster image recirculation over time. This essay examines both the form and content of Dabiq’s use of three about to die image types as they have evolved across the twelve issues. Rather than seek to win the “hearts and minds” of the Muslim public, Dabiq’s use of about to die images transforms the online medium into terrorism in ways that have lasting implications for the global culture.
By: Sam Jackson
Abstract: Political extremism suffers from a definitional deficiency. This article proposes an analytical definition of the term, which avoids using extremism in a pejorative way. This definition also avoids exclusive focus on violence. This definition encourages the analyst to explicitly make the case for defining an action or an actor as extremist by comparing the action or actor to its political context. The article then explores several dimensions of an extremist political identity that can help observers understand extremist behavior and goals. It uses this conceptual framework to consider three examples of political extremism. Finally, the article concludes with some limitations and strengths of this definition of political extremism.
By: Ismail Onat
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to identify correlates of terrorism in space. It examines whether places with terrorist incidents show similar patterns with respect to the physical features across landscape, and tests the spatial influence of various features of environment on the incidence of terrorism. Drawing on the locations of violent terrorist offenses committed between 2008 and 2012, the study in Istanbul applies the Risk Terrain Modeling framework to terrorism. It uses data on police incidents and infrastructure (e.g., government buildings or parks). The analysis employs GIS techniques and an event count model, and combines all risky layers in a composite map to understand where the risk is higher. The study suggests a concentration of 1153 violent terrorist incidents relative to key physical factors by identifying seventeen potential risk factors, eight of which were significantly correlated in the model. Regardless of terrorists’ intent, the significantly associated establishments increase the risk in the surrounding areas where these features are located. The coexistence of leisure places such as bakeries, religious facilities, or eateries results in higher risks. While the environmental backcloth may constitute a risk for terrorism, its components may also help forecast the locations of terrorist incidents in the future.
By: Stephen Tankel
Abstract: Why did the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra (JN)—two groups that shared similar ideological preferences and were both initially part of the Al Qaeda network—take different paths in the Syrian conflict? Part of the answer lies in the fact that JN is primarily a Syrian organization, whereas Iraqis lead ISIS. A jihadist group’s relationship to its country of origin and domicile (the two are not always the same) helps to explain that organization’s ideological preferences and alliance behavior. Yet no method of categorization based on jihadist-state relations exists. I fill this gap by theorizing an explanatory typology based on a jihadist group’s relationship with its country of origin and/or domicile. This typology consists of two tiers. The first classifies jihadist organizations based on whether they are nationally homogeneous or heterogeneous, and whether they are based in their country of origin, exile, or multiple locations. The second tier categorizes groups based on the nature of their engagement—collaborative, belligerent, or neutral—with a state. This new typology enables the generation of multiple hypotheses and has practical implications given that most U.S. counterterrorism efforts require cooperation from partner nations.
By: Mark Youngman
Abstract: In October 2007, veteran Chechen field commander Dokka Umarov proclaimed the formation of the Caucasus Emirate (IK), formalising the victory of the North Caucasus insurgency’s Islamist wing over its nationalist-separatists. During Umarov’s time as leader, the North Caucasus experienced sustained violence and the IK claimed responsibility for multiple terrorist attacks in and beyond the region. However, despite the importance of ideology in understanding insurgent behaviour, the IK’s ideology and Umarov’s role in shaping it remain understudied. Using Social Movement Theory’s concept of framing to analyse Umarov’s communiqués throughout his lengthy tenure (June 2006–September 2013), this article identifies three distinct phases in Umarov’s ideological positioning of the insurgency: nationalist-jihadist (June 2006–October 2007); Khattabist (October 2007–late 2010); and partially hybridised (late 2010–September 2013). The article contributes to debates over typologies of jihadist actors by highlighting the difficulties in applying them to the North Caucasus and provides a clearer understanding of the IK’s ideological transformation and the limits to its engagement with external actors. The article also illustrates that weakness was a key factor in explaining that transformation and identifies several avenues for research that could further enhance our understanding of the IK’s ideology and the role it plays.
Interpreting text and image relations in violent extremist discourse: A mixed methods approach for big data analytics
By: Kay L. O’Halloran, Sabine Tan, Peter Wignell, John A. Bateman, Duc-Son Pham, Michele Grossman, Andrew Vande Moere
Abstract: This article presents a mixed methods approach for analysing text and image relations in violent extremist discourse. The approach involves integrating multimodal discourse analysis with data mining and information visualisation, resulting in theoretically informed empirical techniques for automated analysis of text and image relations in large datasets. The approach is illustrated by a study which aims to analyse how violent extremist groups use language and images to legitimise their views, incite violence, and influence recruits in online propaganda materials, and how the images from these materials are re-used in different media platforms in ways that support and resist violent extremism. The approach developed in this article contributes to what promises to be one of the key areas of research in the coming decades: namely the interdisciplinary study of big (digital) datasets of human discourse, and the implications of this for terrorism analysis and research.
By: Jeff Gruenewald, Brent R. Klein, Joshua D. Freilich, Steven Chermak
Abstract: While the number of American jihadi terrorist attacks remains relatively rare, terrorist plots thwarted by law enforcement have increased since September 11, 2001. Although these law enforcement blocks of would-be terrorists are considered counterterrorism triumphs by the FBI, human rights and civil liberty watch groups have conversely suggested that those who plan for attacks alongside government informants and undercover agents may be unique and essentially dissimilar from terrorists. Underlying this debate is the empirical question of how planned yet unsuccessful attacks and their plotters compare to successful terrorist homicides and their perpetrators. The current study addresses this question by comparatively examining jihadi terrorist homicides and unsuccessful plots occurring in part or wholly on U.S. soil between 1990 and 2014. Data for this study come from the U.S. Extremist Crime Database (ECDB), an open-source database with information on terrorism and extremist crimes. Based on these data, descriptive statistics are provided for several incident, offender, and target variables across three jihadi terrorist violence categories, including homicides, plots with specified targets, and plots with non-specific targets. We find several important differences across categories of terrorist violence, suggesting that unsuccessful plotters and their intended crimes vary from their more successful terrorist counterparts.
Creating the national/border security nexus: Counter-terrorist operations and monitoring Middle Eastern and North African visitors to the UK in the 1970s–1980s
By: Evan Smith
Abstract: This article looks at an earlier episode in the history of the UK border security apparatus by examining how the immigration control system was used in the 1970s and 1980s to detect potential terrorists from the Middle East and North Africa. Using recently opened archival records, it shows that the UK government introduced a strict system of visa checks, interviews, and other measures to nearly all Middle Eastern and North African visitors to the UK to prevent the entry of suspected terrorist personnel. By using these highly arbitrary measures, it became the modus operandi of the UK authorities to treat all Middle Eastern and North Africans as potential terrorists until convinced otherwise.
The American Journal of Economics and Sociology (Volume 78, Issue 2)
By: Asad Zaman
Abstract: According to the standard narrative, economics is an objective and scientific study of universal laws applicable to economic affairs of modern societies. After a brief introduction, the second section of the article presents a counter‐narrative that disputes this claim, and provides an alternative point of view that situates modern economics within its European historical, political, and social context. We briefly discuss why the conventional methodology of modern economics makes false claims to objectivity and universality. The third section provides an alternative methodology that is based on the recognition that human behavior is inherently and unavoidably normative, and any study of human beings and societies must take this into account. The fourth section of the article brings out the norms concealed within the foundations of modern economics, since the avowed methodology does not permit explicit and open expression of these norms. The fifth section describes Islamic views that describe the normative ideals for our personal and social lives. In particular, Islam aims at the development of the potential for excellence that every human being is born with. It does not aim at accumulation of wealth and material possessions. Nor does it aim at achievement of happiness through the maximization of pleasure achieved by consumption. The sixth section describes the transformational strategies required for spiritual progress in different dimensions of our human existence. The seventh section describes some of the institutional structures required in the economic realm to assist in the achievement of the transformation towards the normative ideals. The final section explains how we should use our unique and precious lives to aim for higher goals than mere consumption of goods and acquisition of wealth.
The European Journal of International Relations (Volume 25, Issue 1)
International misrecognition: The politics of humour and national identity in Israel’s public diplomacy
By: Rebecca Adler-Nissen
Abstract: Recognition, or the lack of it, is a central concern in International Relations. However, how states cope with international misrecognition has so far not been thoroughly explored in International Relations scholarship. To address this, the article presents a theoretical framework for understanding international misrecognition by drawing on discursive and psychoanalytical theories of collective identity formation and humour studies. The article conceptualises international misrecognition as a gap between the dominant narrative of a national Self and the way in which this national Self is reflected in the ‘mirror’ of the international Other. We argue that humour offers an important way of coping with misrecognition by ridiculing and thereby downplaying international criticism. The significance for international relations is illustrated through an analysis of the public diplomacy campaign ‘Presenting Israel’, which, through parodying video clips, mobilised ordinary Israeli citizens to engage in peer-to-peer public diplomacy when travelling abroad. Public diplomacy campaigns are commonly seen by scholars and practitioners as attempts to improve the nation’s image and smoothen or normalise international Self–Other relations. However, after analysing the discursive and visual components of the campaign — which parodied how European media portrayed Israel as primitive, violent and exotic — this article observes that in the context of international misrecognition, such coping attempts can actually contribute to further international estrangement.
By: Markus Kornprobst
Abstract: This article addresses the communicative processes through which leaders succeed or fail to generate public support for going to war. In order to answer this question, I rely on the framing literature’s insight that cultural congruence helps make frames resonate with an audience. Yet, my argument examines this phenomenon in greater depth. There is more to cultural congruence than selecting commonplaces such as analogies and metaphors from a repertoire that the audience widely shares. Culturally congruent framing also features a genre and more general themes that are taken out of such a repertoire. My empirical analysis of Tony Blair’s communicative moves to sway the British public to fight over Kosovo and Iraq provides empirical evidence for this framework. This study makes two important contributions. First, it highlights that public contestations about going to war criss-cross the overly neat categories proposed by most scholars interested in this phenomenon. Second, in identifying different dimensions of framing, this article deepens our understandings of cultural congruence.
Weapons of mass participation: Social media, violence entrepreneurs, and the politics of crowdfunding for war
By: Nicole Sunday Grove
Abstract: Since 2012, North American and European civilians have regularly engaged in combat operations against the Islamic State in the globalized and decentralized battlefields of Iraq and Syria. This article focuses on two aspects of this phenomenon. First, I argue that these combatants represent a different kind of fighter from both private military contractors and battlefield laborers profiled in the private security literature insofar as capital is a means rather than an end in the innovation of violence. I refer to these fighters as violence entrepreneurs. The relevance and limits of Schmitt’s writings on enmity and his theory of the partisan are examined in the context of these contemporary networks of security, mobility, and killing. My second argument centers on how online platforms for the distribution of small-scale donations to these fighters and their self-crafted missions facilitate hyper-mediated forms of patronage, where individual donors are both producers and consumers of security in ways that further distort distinctions between civilians and combatants. The imagined communities that support these combatants, both morally and financially, through the banal networks of Facebook and peer-to-peer funding platforms like GoFundMe suggest a radical deviation from conventional organizational structures and capacities for waging combat. Crowdfunding congeals these new geopolitical networks in the authorizing of individuals to determine their own singular forms of enmity, mutating the conditions of possibility for the sovereign decision.
By: Catherine Charrett
Abstract: Why and how do political leaders and bureaucrats miss opportunities or make mistakes? This article explores the pressures to conform and to perform that direct securitising decisions and practices. It begins with the assertion that the European Union missed an opportunity to engage with Hamas after the movement’s participation and success in transparent and democratically legitimated elections, and instead promoted a politics of increased securitisation. The securitisation of Hamas worked against the European Union’s own stated aims of state-building and democratisation, and increased the resistance image of Hamas. This article investigates the rituals that shaped this decision, arguing that punitive and conforming dynamics implicated the knowing of the event. Performance studies and anthropology observe how rituals let participants know how to behave in a given situation, and they performatively constitute a social reality through the appearance of normalcy or harmony. Hamas was reproduced as threat through the European Union’s compulsion to repeat a policy of conditionality, which was performative of Hamas’s ability to respond diplomatically to its own securitisation. First, at a discursive level, rituals simplify or reduce the complexity of an event by allowing participants to respond to new issues through existing regimes of intelligibility. Second, at a practice level, rituals impose an imperative to perform within the workplace, which limits the possibility for dissent or for challenging hierarchy within the institution. This investigation relies on elite interviews with senior Hamas representatives conducted in Gaza, and interviews with European Union representatives who were involved in monitoring the elections and enacting a response to Hamas’s success.
Introducing Sufism to International Relations Theory: A preliminary inquiry into epistemological, ontological, and methodological pathways
By: Deepshikha Shahi
Abstract: One of the most commonly treaded pathways to address the widely recognized Eurocentric biases in International Relations has been the initiation of intellectual efforts toward the incorporation of non-Western world views. However, the greater assimilation of knowledge produced by non-Western scholars from local philosophical-experiential vantage points — that is, the integration of Chinese, Indian, or Brazilian outlooks expressed under the rubric “non-Western International Relations” — cannot make International Relations less Eurocentric or more “Global” if the following slippery grounds are overlooked: (1) if non-Western International Relations theories employ non-Western philosophical resources for generating a derivative discourse of Western/Eurocentric International Relations theories, thereby failing to transcend the conjectural boundaries of Western/Eurocentric International Relations; and (2) if non-Western International Relations theories manufacture an exceptionalist discourse that is specifically applicable to the narrow experiential realities of a native time–space zone, thereby failing to offer an alternative universalist explanation that grants a broad-spectrum relevance to Western/Eurocentric International Relations. In the light of these realizations, the present article aims to explore if “Sufism” — as a non-Western intellectual resource — is capable of offering a fertile ground for crafting a non-derivative and non-exceptionalist Global International Relations theory. In order to do this, the article employs the insights gained from the poetry of a 13th-century Sufi scholar, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī. The article draws the conclusion that Sufism, as an established philosophy with a grand temporal-spatial global spread, upholds a “threefold attribute” — namely, epistemological monism, ontological immaterialism, and methodological eclecticism — which gives it a unique foundational status to formulate a non-Eurocentric Global International Relations theory.
Third World Quarterly (Volume 40, Issues 3 & 5)
By: Marianne Kneuer, Thomas Demmelhuber, Raphael Peresson, Tobias Zumbrägel
Abstract: The evidence of regional authoritarian clustering across different world regions goes together with the finding that after the end of the bipolar world regional patterns of interaction became more important. Especially in the 2000s a process of revitalisation of regional organisations and even the creation of new regional organisations took place. Interestingly, these newly founded organisations consist predominantly of authoritarian regimes. Due to the emergence and resilience of authoritarianism in the world, the question arises: To what extent do regional organisations (ROs) play a role in this phenomenon? We argue that authoritarian protagonists which we call authoritarian gravity centres (AGCs) constitute a force of attraction for countries in geopolitical proximity – and use ROs as a transmission belt and a learning room for disseminating autocratic elements. In a cross-regional comparison, based on extensive field work, we provide empirical analysis on two AGCs (Saudi Arabia and Venezuela) within their respective ROs Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA-TCP) and tackle the questions of why and how autocracies decide to move forward multilaterally within the RO.
By: Maria-Louise Clausen
Abstract: The Saudi-led military intervention into Yemen began on 26 March 2015, and it has largely been supported by the international community despite resulting in the world’s largest current humanitarian disaster. The paper explores the emergence of the failed state concept, particularly as it has impacted the norm of sovereignty. It shows how being defined as a failed state can undermine the norm of sovereignty. This article argues that Saudi Arabia has utilised the failed state concept to legitimise its military intervention into Yemen by framing the intervention as necessary to establish a strong executive power and protect the Yemeni people.
By: Özge Zihnioğlu
Abstract: Despite growing critical literature on external funding, the link between EU funding to Turkish civil society organisations (CSOs) and their depoliticisation remains understudied. This article fills this gap. This article explores EU funds in Turkey and shows the incentives it creates for a depoliticised civil society. Drawing on an original set of interviews with 45 CSOs, this article analyses how Turkish CSOs interact with EU funding and how this support impacts on Turkish civil society. This article argues that EU funding’s short-term, activity-based, measurable outcome and visibility-oriented structure contributed to the depoliticisation of those CSOs benefited from EU funds.
The ICC indictment against Al-Bashir and its repercussions for peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in Darfur
By: Allard Duursma & Tanja R. Müller
Abstract: The impact of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on peace processes has received much scholarly attention. We argue, based on the ICC arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, that ICC indictments against government officials not only can be detrimental to the prospects for peace, but can also negatively affect everyday practices of peacekeepers and humanitarian workers. We draw on a combination of quantitative and qualitative data in order to develop our argument. We interrogate some measurable consequences of the indictment in relation to the work of the United Nations – African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) as well as humanitarian actors in Darfur. We do so using a data set compiled to support the work of UNAMID. We also draw on interviews with UN and UNAMID staff, aid workers, and representatives of the conflict parties. Our analysis shows that the indictment of President al-Bashir was perceived by the Sudanese government as the continuation of a confrontational approach pursued by the international community. We further show that the indictment accelerated patterns of obstruction and intimidation of peacekeeping actors, other third-party actors, and local staff associated with these. This complicated the everyday activities of peacekeepers and humanitarian efforts.
By: Aneta Brockhill, Karl Cordell
Abstract: This paper considers the ramifications of the fact that a majority of (Jewish) Israeli citizens no longer considers the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territory of the West Bank to be an ‘occupation’. Informed by qualitative research conducted in Israel and the occupied territory of the West Bank, the paper argues the case for understanding of this process of social legitimation as being rooted in complex structures of cultural processes and practices grounded in ideological and religious beliefs. Identifying Zionism as an ethno-national ideology, located within the wider ethno-national impulse of nineteenth century Europe, the paper further investigates a number of cultural processes that have led to the domestic justification and rationalisation of occupation in the Israeli public consciousness and consequently, the legitimisation of continued occupation. These cultural practices are inherently highly political, constituting a long-term strategy aimed at maintaining the occupation. The paper argues that this strategy is articulated not only by cultural practices of ethnonationalism and identity politics, but ultimately by various acts and facets of violence.
Washington Quarterly (Volume 42, Issue 1)
By: Patrick Porter
Abstract: Not available
[The articles below were recently added to the Peer-Reviewed Articles Review: Winter 2018/2019 (Part 4). They have been included here for your convenience.]
American Anthropologist (Volume 121, Issue 1)
By: Shaundel Sanchez
Abstract: Muslim American women who live or have lived in the United Arab Emirates (re)produce figurative US border walls by self‐ and group‐policing choices in marriage partners. The research presented in this article concentrates on a group of Muslim women who came together through the Tablighi Jama’at (Preaching Party), their relationship with Sharjah royal family members, and their shared history of living in a neighborhood built for them in the UAE. Since 9/11, a shift has occurred in how these Muslims choose marriage partners. Before, a potential partner’s religiosity was paramount; since 9/11, however, the power of a potential husband’s passport (i.e., how easily he can travel visa‐free) has taken precedence. This change, I argue, can be traced to restrictions imposed by the US “War on Terror.” After 9/11, Muslims became disproportionately surveilled and stereotyped. The women I study have internalized post‐9/11 security regime practices and prevent certain non‐US persons from getting citizenship through marriage. By discriminating against men without “powerful” passports, these women seamlessly perform their national, religious, and gendered identities.
Iran and the Caucasus (Volume 23, Issue 1)
By: Roberto Dan
Abstract: This article describes an interesting archaeological site located in the Van region, Turkey, called Garibin Tepe or Alaköy fortress. It is located not far from the important Ayanis fortress, an Urartian site that dates to the 7th century B.C. Illegal excavations have brought to light remnants of unique andesite sculptures and diagnostic pottery, which allow it to be dated with certainty to Urartian times. The site stood on the main road which joined the capital of Urartu, Van fortress, with the Muradiye plain and the Ararat valley.
By: Pauline Niechciał
Abstract: The article reflects on the idea of both calendric time and its material supports used by the Zoroastrians of Iran in reference to the identity of the group. The qualitative analysis of the data collected during the fieldwork among the Zoroastrian community has shown that a distinctive time-reckoning system plays the role of an important marker that strengthens the community’s Zoroastrian identity in the face of Muslim domination. In the post-Revolutionary Iran, the calendar is one of the key pillars of the Zoroastrians’ collective self-awareness—both as an idea of a specific time-reckoning system designating ritual activities, and as a material subject that acts as a medium to promote specific values and ideas.
By: Emine Dağtekin, Semra Hillez
Abstract: Southeast Anatolia in Turkey is a region where important centres of early Christianity could be found. In Gaziantep, which was named “Little Bukhara” during the reign of Egyptian Mamluks, many Armenian churches have been documented. However, most of them have been destroyed or used for different purposes. The paper is dedicated to the study of three Armenian churches in Gaziantep where Armenians lived until the early 20th century. The history, the plan and frontal structures, ornaments of these churches are presented for the first time.
By: Matteo De Chiara
Abstract: Swāt valley, located in the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KPK) province of the northern part of Pakistan, was known since the antiquity with the names of Uḍḍyāna (‘the garden’) and Suvāstu (‘the place of fine dwellings’). The Yusufuzai Pashtuns, whose penetration in the valley begun towards the 16th century, little by little replaced the probably autochthon Dardic populations who are actually confined in the northern mountainous part of the district, i.e. the Tehsils of Bahrain and Kalam. This article focuses on hydronymy and presents the first results of the toponymic project of the Swāt valley, held with the support of the Italian archaeological mission, working in Swāt since 1956 and continuing its researches under the direction of Luca Olivieri and the auspices of the ISMEO of Rome. As it is known, hydronymy is one of the most conservative branches of the toponymy: in the Swāt context, nearly all stream names are of Indo-Aryan (Dardic) origin, except names derived from the denomination of the Pashtun villages: this confirms all data provided by the archaeological excavations. This article will also provide some specific etymologies, aimed at showing the frontier position of Swāt at the border between Iranian and Indo-Aryan languages and cultures.
By: Hrach Martirosyan
Abstract: This paper aims to present seven Armenian personal names of Iranian origin from the Armenian historical provinces of Siwnik‘ and Arc‘ax: Dadi/Dadoy, Kohazat, Marhan, Mrhapet, Niw-dast, Niw-Xosrov, and *Oyz/Uz. These names are scantily attested in literature (almost all of them being hapaxes) and are, therefore, little known to scholarship.
By: Soroush Akbarzadeh
Abstract: The article presents an analysis of the place-names with the formants -(v)īγ/-(w)yq/ and – vīǰ, attested in the South Caspian and the north-western provinces of Iran.
By: Peter Nicolaus, Serkan Yuce
Abstract: Yezidi communities throughout the world are struggling with their collective identity; each at a varying and somewhat differing stage of self-discovery. While the present paper does seek to elaborate upon this journey for the Yezidis in Transcaucasia, Germany, Canada, and the USA, its main focus remains the analysis of the political developments in the Yezidi heartland of Northern Iraq. This is so that the reader may have a fuller picture of the catalysts spurring this Yezidi reimagining. On the one hand, you have the traditional Yezidi leadership caught within a complex series of client-patron relationships with Kurdish leaders: ethnic identification is leveraged for promises of influence and power. While, on the other hand, newly minted Yezidi military commanders, as well as grassroot figures and Yezidi NGOs, are trying to establish themselves as heads of a Yezidi community that is undeniably distinct from their Kurdish neighbours. This paper will further show that the withdrawal of the Kurdish Peshmerga in the face of the ISIS attack in 2014, the half-hearted responses of the regional Kurdish and Federal Iraqi governments, all coupled with the stalled return of Yezidi refugees contributed to a growing Yezidi movement to cement their identity, as well as satiate a growing urgency to define themselves as a distinct ethnoreligious entity.
By: Hamid Ahmadi
Abstract: Taking Iran-Tajikistan cultural relations as its case study, this article tends to say that despite the important role of culture and civilization in foreign policy, politics and the political factors also have a vital place in shaping the relations between states in global and regional levels. Moreover, as the author argues, political factors play even more important role and are able to somehow overshadow the common cultural and civilizational ties. The destiny of Iran-Tajikistan cultural cooperation, especially the efforts in reviving the ancestral Arabo-Persian alphabet to replace the Russian (Cyrillic) one, explains how politics in general and political differences in particular, brought those enthusiastic and cherished efforts into a stalemate if not a deadlock.
Journal of Palestine Studies (Volume 48, Issue 2)
By: Anna Kensicki
Abstract: Much has been written about how information communication technologies (ICTs) detract from nations’ planning and development norms, but there remains insufficient theoretical examination of the way ICTs may drive extranormative national aims. This paper examines such a case by disentangling the complicated relationships between telecommunications, city planning, and economic development in one modern settler-colonial context. The author explores how planning and development norms are adulterated in Palestine-Israel to further a select set of interests, in the service of an evolving national project. Palestinian and Israeli demographics and telecommunications infrastructure on both sides of the Green Line are examined, revealing the role of these technologies in facilitating population dispersal, economic exploitation, and political control at various stages of settler colonialism.
By: Leandros Fischer
Abstract: Germany’s complex relationship to the issue of Palestine is often explained in terms of the country’s past and its consequent affinity for Israel as the perceived homeland of Holocaust survivors. German policy decisions in the last two decades, including the sale of nuclear-capable submarines to Israel, seem to confirm this view. That notwithstanding, argues this article, Germany’s Middle East policy and popular German perceptions of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis must be placed in a more contemporary historical context of evolving political priorities. The article contends that the current political class’ zealous identification with Israel is a qualitatively new phenomenon in Germany largely unrelated to moral considerations pertaining to the Nazi era. In addition to examining how this identification plays out more broadly in society, the article also attempts to locate possible fissures that could give rise to changes in official policy.
Middle Eastern Literatures (Volume 21, Issue 2-3)
By: Khaled Al-Masri
Abstract: I analyze Iraqi author Hassan Blasim’s “The Nightmares of Carlos Fuentes” and “The Dung Beetle,” two short stories that are centrally concerned with the border crossing experiences of Iraqi immigrants and refugees residing in Europe. In both stories, Blasim’s protagonists try to suppress past trauma and forge new identities rooted solely in the present. And yet their trauma resurfaces in the space of dreams and in the narrative itself, manifesting itself as literary madness. I employ the term “contamination” to describe how the experience of border crossing leaves its mark, altering the body, mind, identity, and narrative of the border crosser. Intentionally referencing the racism, xenophobia, and religious bigotry that inform the myth of national purity and its perceived defilement by border crossers, “contamination” is inherent to the creation of so-called “diaspora spaces,” where multiple subjectivities intersect and, however contentiously, co-exist.
By: Huda Fakhreddine
Abstract: Salīm Barakāt is a Syrian-Kurdish poet and novelist, who first appeared on the Arabic poetic scene in the early 1970s. Although he experimented in his early work with a mixed form of verse and prose, he ultimately took up prose as matter for poetry, positing a distinct definition of the “poetic” rooted in an interrogation of the Arabic language and a close attentiveness to and violent playfulness with its grammar and syntax. This paper is a close reading of a poem titled “Istiṭrād fī siyāq mukhtazal” (Digression in an Abridged Context) from his 1996 collection T̩aysh al-yāqūt (The Recklessness of Sapphire). Language in this poem is penetrated, disrupted, occupied and overcome as the poem progresses towards its final Kurdish “shot,” towards the echo within one tongue of another tongue that has been repressed. Thus, Barakāt superimposes the linguistic onto the ethnic, sublimating the tension of Arab and Kurd into an invasive linguistic intervention. By that, he also disrupts the relationship between language and voice and urges us through his language play to hear, in Arabic, a different voice.
By: Hussein A. Alhawamdeh
Abstract: This paper analyzes the significance of appropriating three plays by William Shakespeare—Macbeth (1606), Romeo and Juliet (1597), and Othello (1604)—in Samar Attar’s Lina: A Portrait of a Damascene Girl. The Syrian novelist, Attar, finds in Shakespeare powerful sites for the expression of exile, rejection of sentimental love, and resistance of patriarchy in Arab societies. Attar’s reading of Shakespeare is both constructive and deconstructive. Her novel shows simultaneously identification with and challenges to the British Bard. The main female protagonist, Lina, renounces Shakespeare’s dramatization of the concept of love in Romeo and Juliet and Othello, which requires the female submission to the authority of the male lover. In Macbeth, Attar identifies with its concepts of exile and homeland when one’s country becomes polluted by political conspiracies and chaos. Lina, in Attar’s novel, is a new Arab Desdemona/Juliet, who is subversive and revolutionary to the atrocities of gender marginalization.
By: Nagihan Gür
Abstract: I shed light on the writing processes of the Ottoman literary narrative that the Scottish Ottomanist Elias John Wilkinson Gibb (1857–1901) created from 1882 until his early death in 1901. I discuss the Young Ottoman reformist Namık Kemal’s (1840–1888) influence on Gibb and the extent to which Namık Kemal’s criticism of Ottoman poetry is reflected in Gibb’s work. Gibb was familiar with Namık Kemal’s works through various channels and was profoundly affected by his views and criticism of Ottoman literature. Through some of the primary sources found in the Gibb Collection and the E. G. Browne Papers at the Cambridge University Library, I reveal the writing processes of the literary narrative that Gibb put forward in “Ottoman Literature,” Ottoman Poems, and A History of Ottoman Poetry. Furthermore, I elucidate Gibb’s understanding of Ottoman poetry by analyzing his marginalia, translations, and his personal communications. Based on my research, I argue that Gibb’s critical attitude was shaped by the literary culture nurtured by Young Ottoman intellectuals as well as their criticism of classical Ottoman literature.
By: Ali Ahmad Hussein
Abstract: This article argues that the pre-Islamic poet ʿIlbāʾ b. Arqam al-Yashkurī used humor in his poem Aṣmaʿiyya no. 55 in order to mitigate the wrath of King al-Nuʿmān III (580–602 AD). He did so in order to seek mercy for the killing of a ram that the king had ordered should not be harmed. This article presents an analysis of the poem’s content and structure with reference to the anecdote that relates the story of ʿIlbāʾs offence. It explains why certain elements in the poem should be read as humorous and related to an ʿAbbāsid-era comic poem by Abū Dulāma (d. 161/778). As the poem is highly challenging lexically, an annotated edition of the Arabic text as well as a full English translation will be provided.
Review of African Political Economy (Volume 45, Issue 158)
By: Heba Khalil, Brian Dill
Abstract: This article explores the reproduction of Egypt’s post-revolutionary political economy under the military regime. Through an examination of tax and fiscal policy, the authors argue that a strategic wedding of seemingly contradictory state types allows the current regime to create a hybrid they call ‘statist neoliberalism’. The article argues that this hybrid form is not accidental, but is an intentional project that allows the state to sustain neoliberal reforms, whilst maintaining its long-standing control over society and the economy.
The Economic Journal (Volume 128, Issue 616)
By: Stelios Michalopoulos, Alireza Naghavi, Giovanni Prarolo
Abstract: This study explores the historical determinants of the spread of Islam. Motivated by a plethora of historical accounts stressing the role of trade for the adoption of Islam, we construct detailed data on pre‐Islamic trade routes to determine this empirical regularity. Our analysis establishes that proximity to the pre‐600 CE trade network is a robust predictor of today’s Muslim adherence across countries and ethnic groups in the Old World. We also show that Islam spread successfully in regions ecologically similar to the birthplace of the religion, the Arabian Peninsula, and discuss various mechanisms that may give rise to the observed pattern.