[The Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI) brings you the tenth 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.]

Acta Politica (Volume 54, Issue 4)

Group identity, group networks, and political participation: Moroccan and Turkish immigrants in the Netherlands

By: Maria Kranendonk, Floris Vermeulen

Abstract: This article examines how social identification and group networks, and their interactions, affect Moroccan and Turkish immigrants’ political participation in the Netherlands. It uses the data generated by Roex et al. (Salafisme in Nederland. IMES Report Series, Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies (IMES), Amsterdam, 2010) and conducts logistic regression analyses. It conceptualizes how social identifications, networks, and their interactions relate to voting, other institutionalized political participation, and noninstitutionalized political participation separately. Our main finding is that immigrants’ origin-country identification affects voting turnout negatively, but other forms of political participation positively, for those who are more embedded in origin-country friend networks, and who visit the mosque more frequently. A difference between the two immigrant groups appears when we consider religious identification and networks. Religious identification has mostly positive effects on the political participation of Moroccan immigrants who are also embedded in religious networks, while it has solely negative effects among Turkish immigrants who are more embedded in religious networks.


American Anthropologist (Volume 121, Issue 3)

In War and Peace: Shifting Narratives of Violence in Kurdish Istanbul

By: Onur Günay

Abstract: In this article, I draw on two years of ethnographic research to explore the multiple and contradictory ways Kurdish working‐class men in Istanbul imagine, narrate, and conceptualize violence. How Kurdish workers remember and publicly speak of violence, self‐defense, and retribution has notably changed in the context of the resurgence of the war between the Turkish state and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). I came to understand this storytelling of violence, omnipresent in all the social infrastructures of male Kurdish life in Istanbul, as a form of communicative labor through which a distinct historical consciousness and shared understandings of violence are created, networks for survival and dignity engendered, and moral selves crafted. These narratives refuse interpretation of the ongoing Kurdish struggle as mere terrorism or victimhood and instead recuperate Kurdish agency and counterviolence. In these narratives, “defense of the community” not only asserts peoples’ right to exist but also charges just violence with moral significance, turning those who protect their community against state violence into aspirational figures.

Dehumanization in War and Peace: Encounters with Lebanon’s Ex‐Militia Fighters

By: Sami Hermez

Abstract: Between 2006 and 2009, I attended various peacebuilding and antiwar events in Lebanon, from dialogue sessions and workshops to lectures and demonstrations. One refrain at these events was that war should be avoided because it was dehumanizing or, in a slightly different form, that it results in a loss of humanity. Alongside these gatherings, I conducted interviews and ethnographic fieldwork with former militia fighters from Lebanon’s war (1975–1990). Together, these encounters led me to question notions of dehumanization in discourses of war and peace. Did war dehumanize? Did dehumanization lead to war? Did perpetrators lose their humanity through acts of killing? Did their actions stem from the dehumanization of the other? This article explores these questions and interrogates the notion of humanity. I argue that in allowing the notion of humanity to shape our politics, and in centering the loss of humanity in discourses of war and peace, both war and peace are invariably depoliticized.

American Ethnologist (Volume 46, Issue 4)

Regulating the family through religion: Secularism, Islam, and the politics of the family in contemporary Turkey

By: Hikmet Kocamaner

Abstract: Under Turkey’s neoconservative government, the Directorate of Religious Affairs deploys state‐employed religious functionaries to provide Sunni Muslim citizens with advice and guidance on family life. By inculcating government‐sanctioned sensibilities and dispositions related to kinship, these Islamic authorities have become instrumental to extending state power into the domestic lives of the religious majority. This particular entwinement of religion with state power is no aberration. Indeed, the Turkish case reveals a contradiction that lies at the heart of secular governance: the continuing involvement of religion in the politics of the family despite the assumed separation of religion and politics. Secular states may appropriate religious discourses and authority in regulating intimacy and the family while aligning these with biopolitical rationalities, as well as with secular laws and expertise. [secularism, kinship, family, intimacy, governmentality, the state, expertise, Islam, Turkey]

Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (Issue 382)

Observations on the Stratigraphic Attribution of the Early Bronze Age Pillared Building in Area D at Tel ʿErani, Israel

By: Marcin Czarnowicz, Eliot Braun

Abstract: Tel ʿErani is a large Early Bronze Age site within the municipal bounds of modern Qiryat Gat, Israel, at the northeastern edge of the Negev, adjacent to the Judean Shephelah (piedmont). It includes a high mound and several lower terraces, ca. 25 ha in area. The site gained notoriety when an imported potsherd bearing an Egyptian royal symbol (a serekh) incised with the hieroglyph of an early ruler, Narmer, was found in Excavation Area D. Large-scale exposure there in the 1950s and 1960s, under the direction of Shmuel Yeivin, unearthed a rather lengthy and complicated stratigraphic sequence that has prompted numerous attempts at correlating its Early Bronze Age strata with Dynasty 0 and the early 1st Dynasty in Egypt. Yeivin’s cursorily published results illustrate only partial and rudimentary plans of the Early Bronze Age strata in Area D, most of which lack elevations. One exceptionally large building boasting seven substantial mudbrick pillars has attracted researchers’ attention, as it likely had a public function. This essay, based on Yeivin’s original, unpublished plans that include elevations, as well as information derived from recent excavations in Area D, offers a detailed reconstruction of the plan of that building, which suggests its likely chrono-stratigraphic ascription to late phases of the Early Bronze I. It further notes its importance for understanding the relationship between Egypt and the southern Levant in this late prehistoric period, and especially the place of Tel ʿErani as one of a growing number of sites in the southern Levant known to yield definitive evidence for the onset of its earliest complex, hierarchical societies in the first centuries of the 4th millennium b.c.e.

Reconsidering Coastal Archaeological Sites in Late Bronze Age Cyprus: Tochni-Lakkia and the South-Central Coastscape

By: Georgia M. Andreou, Artemis Georgiou, Thomas M. Urban, Kevin D. Fisher, Sturt W. Manning, David A. Sewell

Abstract: The Cypriot Late Bronze Age (referred to as Late Cypriot and LBA, 1680/1650–1100 b.c.e.) has attracted particular attention due to textual and material evidence that suggests engagement with the international maritime trade networks of the eastern Mediterranean. A longstanding scholarly preoccupation with interregional trade has encouraged the development of theoretical models that aim to reconstruct the economy of the island and generally view Late Cypriot coastal sites as gateway communities channeling copper to the eastern Mediterranean. Studies have also highlighted the local and regional significance of these communities and have shed light on their complex economic networks. In this paper, we use data from coastal Tochni-Lakkia, an actively eroding site located near two major Late Bronze Age centers (Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios and the Maroni Complex) to add nuance to smaller-scale regional interaction networks along the south-central coast of the island. To do that, we engage evidence from trial excavations and archaeological and geophysical surveys at Tochni-Lakkia in the form of a preliminary report with theoretical approaches that highlight the potential for and role of regional maritime networks and the concept of coastscape.

Wood Economy in Early Roman Period Jerusalem

By: Helena Roth, Yuval Gadot, Dafna Langgut

Abstract: In this study we present the identification of several Early Roman (63 b.c.e.–70 c.e.) charred wood assemblages, collected from the “Lower City” of Jerusalem. The results outline elements in Jerusalem’s nearby woody vegetation, characterized by a mosaic of native Mediterranean maquis-forest species and olive orchards, and possibly pine and cypress stands. The arboreal surrounding of Jerusalem supplied the city with pruned olive branches and other types of agricultural refuse to serve as firewood. Local conifers (pines and cypress) as well as imported conifers (cedar of Lebanon), were used for construction purposes. The results further highlight important issues such as social status and importation of wood. The occurrence of prestigious imported tree species within the charcoal assemblage of the Lower City (e.g., cedar, boxwood) indicates the presence of wealthy residences, standing in contrast to prior assumptions that suggest a low social status for the inhabitants within this area.

The Metal Assemblage from Early Iron Age IIA Khirbet Qeiyafa and Its Implications for the Inception of Iron Production and Use

By: Alla Rabinovich, Naama Yahalom-Mack, Yosef Garfinkel, Saar Ganor, Michael G. Hasel

Abstract: A large metal assemblage was uncovered at the late 11th–early 10th century b.c.e. fortified town of Khirbet Qeiyafa. At this early date, iron was already used rather extensively for utilitarian purposes at the site, though bronze was not yet restricted to decorative use. The metal assemblage from Khirbet Qeiyafa, therefore, provides a rare glimpse into the transition from bronze to iron at the beginning of Iron Age II. This article presents the typology and spatial distribution of the finds, followed by a discussion of their possible cultural and social implications.

The Pottery of Tel Esur, a Rural Canaanite Late Bronze Age Site on the Via Maris

By: Golan Shalvi, Shay Bar, Shlomo Shoval, Ayelet Gilboa

Abstract: Tel Esur is identifiable with D-f-tj (Djefty), mentioned by Thutmose III in his description of his march to Megiddo through the ʿAruna Pass. Recent excavations provide the first unequivocal indication that the site was inhabited during the Late Bronze Age as a farm/hamlet, perhaps also a waystation. The main architectural feature is a large partially-excavated structure, whose contents—mainly pottery—were well preserved by a destruction level. We propose that the destruction assemblage dates around the mid-14th century b.c.e. and that the structure was built around 1400 b.c.e., thus somewhat later than Thutmose III’s famed first campaign. Since pottery of this period is known primarily from large/central sites, Tel Esur offers an exceptional glimpse into a 14th century b.c.e. assemblage from the rural Canaanite domain. Currently, it is also the only small site excavated along the ʿAruna Pass between Megiddo and the Sharon, inter alia offering insights about this stretch of the Via Maris during the Late Bronze Age. This is the first synthesis of Tel Esur during this period. We focus on typo-chronology, and on the main characteristics of the ceramic assemblage, including unique phenomena such as storage in Cypriot-Style pithoi and Egyptianizing pottery in a rural setting.

‘A Mid-6th-Century B.C.E. Deposit from Gordion in Central Anatolia: Evidence for Feasting and the Persian Destruction

By: Elspeth R. M. Dusinberre, Kathleen M. Lynch, Mary M. Voigt

Abstract: A coherent deposit of dumped debris, excavated at Gordion in 1950 and the 1990s, was apparently formed during the cleanup following the Achaemenid Persian attack on the city, ca. 540 b.c.e. It offers a first glimpse of life at Gordion during the mid-6th century (end of the Middle Phrygian period, Yassıhöyük Stratigraphic Sequence 5A). Greek imports provide a relatively firm date for the deposit and allow a chronologically specific snapshot of locally produced fine, household, and coarse wares. Vessels made of traditional Phrygian black-polished ware were used primarily for drinking. Lydian influence at the site is seen in the large number of burnished gray stemmed vessels, although the size of Gordion’s stemmed dishes and the way in which they were used apparently differ from the Lydian capital, Sardis. Bowls come in a variety of wares, shapes, and sizes, while large jars and jugs are primarily gray-slipped household wares, with some imports. Puzzling is a large terracotta object with pseudomorph appliqués suggesting metal attachments, which may have been a niche for a household cult. This initial presentation of the pottery from the mid-6th-century dump provides insight into multiple concerns and behaviors of Gordion’s inhabitants just before the Achaemenid Persian Empire.

A Persian Period Bulla from Tel Qedesh, Israel, and Its Implications for Relations between Tyre and Nippur

By: Baruch Brandl, Xiaoli Ouyang, Andrea M. Berlin, Sharon C. Herbert, Anastasia Shapiro

Abstract: In the 1999 season of excavation at Tel Qedesh, in northern Israel, a small, perfectly intact stamped bulla dating to the Persian period was found. The bulla originally sealed a papyrus document. Thanks to its excellent preservation, it is possible to identify a series of key aspects of the object: the motif and type of seal used to stamp it, the way the bulla was created, and even the way in which the original document was folded and tied. These details allow us to identify the probable origin and date of the seal and contextualize its associated bulla within the site of Qedesh. This evidence, in conjunction with information from the late 5th century b.c.e. Murašû archive in Nippur, allows us to suggest that the seal’s user may have been a person with Tyrian ties—perhaps a member of the Tyrian diaspora—who acquired his seal in Nippur and traveled to Qedesh where he used it to seal a document.

The Idrimi Statue Inscription in its Late Bronze Age Scribal Context

By: Kathryn McConaughy Medill

Abstract: The Idrimi Statue Inscription from Alalakh (modern Tell Atchana) has added immeasurably to our understanding of Late Bronze Age Syria since it was published by Sidney Smith in 1949. However, it is notorious for its non-standard Akkadian grammar and paleography. While recent studies have explained individual problems in the inscription, a systematic framework for the verbal system has been lacking. Following a suggestion from Manfred Dietrich and Oswald Loretz (1981), I examine three types of non-standard verb forms in the inscription and argue that these are best understood as reflexes of a scribal code similar (but not identical) to the Canaano-Akkadian code of the Taanach and Amarna Letters. These non-standard verb forms are limited to the first part of the inscription while standard Akkadian verbs appear in the second part of the inscription, suggesting that the scribe was switching between orthographic codes in order to achieve his rhetorical goals. I end by considering some of the questions raised by the inclusion of the Idrimi inscription’s code in the orthographic and linguistic repertoire of Syro-Palestinian scribes.

Urban Built Environments in Early 1st Millennium b.c.e. Syro-Anatolia: Results of the Tayinat Archaeological Project, 2004–2016

By: James F. Osborne, Timothy P. Harrison, Stephen Batiuk, Lynn Welton, J. P. Dessel, Elif Denel, Özge Demirci

Abstract: The archaeological site of Tell Tayinat in the province of Hatay in southern Turkey was the principal regional center in the Amuq Plain and North Orontes Valley during the Early Bronze and Iron Ages. This paper focuses on the latest known period of occupation at Tayinat, which during the Iron Age was the Syro-Anatolian city of Kunulua. In 2004, following a 67-year hiatus, the University of Toronto’s Tayinat Archaeological Project (TAP) resumed excavations at the site. Here we present the preliminary results of TAP’s investigations of the Iron Age II and III settlement, including the topography of the 1st millennium settlement, super- and sub-structural remains associated with Building II (a temple first discovered in the 1930s), a second, newly discovered temple (Building XVI), part of a large Assyrian-style courtyard building, and the remains of additional monumental architecture on the Iron Age citadel. The terminal phases of these structures date to the Iron Age III period, or the late 8th and 7th century occupation of Kunulua following the Assyrian conquest in 738 b.c.e., and collectively point to the transformation of Kunulua’s royal citadel into a Neo-Assyrian provincial administrative center, a pattern witnessed at contemporary sites elsewhere in southeastern Anatolia and northern Syria.


Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (Volume 82, Issue 3)

Two genitive constructions of Old Babylonian

By: Ilya Arkhipov, Sergey Loesov

Abstract: The paper shows that there is a pattern in the distribution of synthetic (šēp šarrim “the king’s foot”) vs. analytical (kaspum ša awīlim “the boss’s money”) genitive constructions in Old Babylonian. The choice depends on the lexical feature of head nouns known as (in)alienability. Old Babylonian kinship and body part terms, as well as some other substantives, are “inalienable”, which means they take only the synthetic construction. All other Old Babylonian nouns are “alienable”, which means they admit both the synthetic and the analytical construction (kasap tamkārī and kaspum ša tamkārī “the merchants’ money”). In the latter case, there is no general rule to predict the choice, yet in certain cases the two constructions display a non-random frequency distribution.

Paradosis and monotheism: a late antique approach to the meaning of islām in the Quran

By: Juan Cole

Abstract: Both the Muslim exegetical tradition and most Western scholarship have posited that the term islām in the Quran means “submission”, i.e. to God, and that it refers to the religion brought by the prophet Muhammad. This paper argues that neither of these assertions is correct. Rather, the abstract noun islām as used in the Quran means “tradition”. It is underlain by the Aramaic mashlmānūtā, which in turn was the term generally used to translate the Greek paradosis. That the Greek usage had a direct impact on Arabic is also considered. The wide range of meanings given paradosis by Greek and Syriac authors is surveyed. A close reading of Quran verses in which the word islām appears shows that it refers to the prophetic tradition of monotheism rather than the surrender of an individual to God. It is synonymous with the Logos of Abraham, in which all the monotheistic religions participate.

Revisiting a Nahḍa origin story: Majmaʿ al-Tahdhīb and the Protestant community in 1840s Beirut

By: Anthony Edwards

Abstract: This article is a comprehensive evaluation of the first learned society of the Nahḍa (Renaissance) in Beirut. I argue that Majmaʿ al-Tahdhīb (the Refinement Council, est. 1846) was not a learned society but an ad hoc seminary formed to train converts for itinerant preaching and to build camaraderie among the nascent Protestant confession. In order to unearth the mission of Majmaʿ al-Tahdhīb and amplify the voices of its members – twelve Syrians and two Americans – this essay reconstructs their biographies and the condition of the Protestant community until 1846. This case study explicates the personal and professional entanglements of these fourteen men in terms of social connections, educational opportunities, economic needs, and religious convictions. It contextualizes the early years of several prominent Nahḍa figures by highlighting the material and spiritual aspects of their lives in 1840s Beirut.

Non-Iranian historical lands in Pahlavi literature

By: Domenico Agostini

Abstract: Although Zoroastrian Pahlavi literature preserves few geographical and ethnographic descriptions of non-Iranian historical regions, the popular book Ayādgār ī Jāmāspīg devotes several chapters to an extensive account of the landscape, social customs and religious practices of India, China, Arabia, Barbary, Ceylon (or the region of Slavs), Mazandarān and Turkestan. These descriptions share many similarities with the accounts of Muslim geographers between the ninth and twelfth centuries ce, though they also contain many Late Sasanian elements. In providing an English translation of these passages, this article aims to identify the inhabitants of these regions as well as to provide a more precise chronology of the chapters. It argues that Zoroastrian authors in the first centuries of the Islamic era, taking as a model the new Islamic science of geography, wrote or reworked these chapters with the intention of redefining and mapping the new world around them.

Re-examining Foresti’s Supplementum Chronicarum and the “Ethiopian” embassy to Europe of 1306

By: Verena Krebs

Abstract: A widely reported story in the historiography on medieval Ethiopia relates how, in the year 1306, an “Ethiopian” embassy visited the court of Pope Clement V in Avignon and offered military aid in the fight against Islam to Latin Christianity. This article re-examines the source – Jacopo Filippo Foresti’s Supplementum Chronicarum – thought to document an episode of one of the earliest European–African Christian contacts. It investigates Foresti’s own sources, their historiographical transmission history, and the feasibility of relating it to the socio-political entity of Solomonic Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa in the early fourteenth century, concluding that Foresti’s information was based on Latin Christian texts, such as the Legenda Aurea and the myth of Prester John, only. The ‘Ethiopian’ embassy of 1306 is thus not borne out by sources and should be dismissed in scholarship, resetting the timeline of official Ethiopian–Latin Christian contacts in the late medieval period.


Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (Volume 39, Issue 3)

Dialectic of Ijtihad: Reforming Family Law in Contemporary Lebanon

By: Jean-Michel Landry

Abstract: In recent years, the problem of gender-based custody allocation has sparked intense mobilization across the Middle East. In Lebanon, Sunni and Shi‘i citizens led two parallel campaigns to modify the sharia-derived norms enforced in custody disputes. Their efforts produced perplexing results: while Sunnis extended the duration of maternal custody, the Shi‘a failed to bring about even a modicum of change to judiciary practice. This essay argues that understanding this difference in outcomes requires shifting the analytical focus away from religious doctrines and codification issues and toward the political apparatuses in which Islamic jurisprudences are embedded. Drawing on ethnographic research, Landry asks how the secular state helps construct the religious laws applied in its family courts. In pursuing this question, he shows that under current conditions, judges’ practice of ijtihad (scripture-based reasoning) often hinders legal change instead of facilitating it.

Drivers across the Desert: Infrastructure and Sikh Migrants in the Indo-Iranian Borderlands, 1919–31

By: Mikiya Koyagi

Abstract: This article examines the making and unmaking of an infrastructural system in the Indo-Iranian borderlands, an area that is often overlooked in an area studies paradigm. In particular, it focuses on the infrastructural network that developed following World War I with the Iranian border town of Dozdab/Zahedan as a nodal point. The article explores two interrelated issues. First, it looks at the role of British strategic interests in shaping infrastructural development, which significantly influenced the direction and kind of movement promoted in the borderlands. Second, through the case of the rise and decline of Sikh migrant communities in eastern Iran, it examines how the borderlands came into being in the absence of strong state authorities. It argues that the prosperity of Sikh migrants depended on the new infrastructural system, which in turn depended on the precarious codependency between the Iranian state, the British authorities, and Sikh drivers and traders. During the 1920s, despite the British and Iranian ambivalence toward border crossers, Sikhs thrived while participating in global networks of Indian anticolonialists. Albeit temporarily, they managed to invite the interventions of competing state authorities as they saw fit, illustrating how erratic narratives marked the emergence of territorialized nation-states in the borderlands.

Dhow Itineraries: The Making of a Shadow Economy in the Western Indian Ocean

By: Nidhi Mahajan

Abstract: Ever since 9/11, dhows, or Indian Ocean sailing vessels, have been viewed as inherently threatening to national and international security, as government authorities suspect that they are used to smuggle weapons and militants. Most recently, dhows that transport charcoal from Somalia to the United Arab Emirates have been implicated in funding al-Shabaab, a militant group. Rather than taking a presentist view, this article argues that these security concerns have emerged from a deep-rooted anxiety over mobility in the Indian Ocean, as dhow networks challenge state sovereignty. Dhows, once habituated to a world of layered sovereignty, have now been forced to contend with the boundaries of centralized sovereign states. Moreover, government and international law and policy such as economic liberalization in India have made the dhow trade more precarious, and pushed it into a shadow economy that ultimately converges with financing for al-Shabaab, even as this economy sustains seafaring populations in the midst of economic precarity. Tracing dhow itineraries in tandem with shifting regulations across South Asia and East Africa, the article charts an alternate course of Indian Ocean history, one in which dhow networks navigate multiple regulatory regimes and global shifts by operating in a shadow economy at the margins of states.

The Researcher as a National Security Threat: Interrogative Surveillance, Agency, and Entanglement in Iran and the United States

By: Narges Bajoghli

Abstract: Based on ethnographic research in Iran among the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its Basij militia, this article explores the process of gaining access to these militarized groups in order to conduct long-term research. Specifically, what does it mean to build rapport and gain trust within a highly securitized space such as this? What happens when the researcher is a potential “national security” threat in both Iran and the United States? How is national security enacted in everyday interactions in the field? Given that anthropologists have tended to have an affinity with the group and community they work with, this article explores the implications of research among a group of men in charge of surveillance, intelligence gathering, and citizen suppression in the country. The article argues that in the midst of national security rhetoric, interrogative surveillance is a strategic tool that makes space for engagement.

“What Is Your Evidence?”: A Salafi Therapy in Contemporary Egypt

By: Ana Vinea

Abstract: This article examines the notion of evidence (dalil) as it circulates in a revivalist religious therapy in contemporary Egypt to address current transformations of Islamic epistemologies, especially in relation to modern science. It focuses on Quranic healing, a Salafi-oriented therapy of spirit (jinn) exorcism that has become increasingly popular, visible, and debated in the public sphere beginning with the 1980s. By tracing the semantics and pragmatics of Quranic healing’s evidentiary regime, the article shows that evidence is situated and crosses two domains of knowledge, bringing together a Salafi episteme that foregrounds unmediated induction from the Quran and sunna and forms of reasoning and practice, such as empiricism and experimentation, that pertain to modern science. In this manner, evidence functions like a hinge notion that hierarchically links the religious and scientific domains, giving precedence to the former over the latter. The article argues that the centrality of evidence in this novel Salafi therapy is indicative of an epistemology that unites Islam and science under a wider theory of knowledge as transparent, egalitarian, and public. This analysis suggests new ways of understanding Salafism beyond common depictions as critical of nontextual sources and intolerant of modern formations.

Correspondence, Constructivism, and Representation: Variant Approaches to Astronomical Knowledge in Islamic Legal Texts

By: Junaid Quadri

Abstract: Taking the complexity and diversity of Islamic law (fiqh) as a point of departure, this article examines a series of positions advanced by Muslim jurists on the relationship between law and astronomy. Focusing primarily on the question of the appropriateness of relying on astronomical calculations to determine the months of the hijri calendar, it considers three epistemological stances modeled by these positions: correspondence, constructivism, and representation. Taken together, these interventions constitute a minoritarian strain within the fiqh literature that exploited the practices, structures, and methods of reasoning of the Hanafi and Shafi‘i legal schools (madhhabs) to argue in favor of the employment of astronomical calculations for ritual purposes. Though these were anomalous positions at variance from the dominant evidentiary regime that privileged perception over calculation, the view from the margins they afford provide a helpful window onto the nature of legal reasoning in Sunni Islam, revealing the importance of not only proximate social triggers to change, but also the relevance of more enduring features of madhhab reasoning—the school’s role as a historical repository of jurists’ opinions, the propensity to recruit the authority and argumentation of preceding departures, and the expectation to proceed with the majority regime in mind.

Miraculous Evidence: Scientific Wonders and Religious Reasons 

By: Yunus Doğan Telliel

Abstract: Since the end of the nineteenth century, Muslims have pursued the idea that the Quran foreshadows new scientific discoveries. Linked to claims that the Quran’s divine truth is continually substantiated, rather than disproved, by new scientific discoveries, certain verses are presented as Quranic miracles—evidence of its transcendent source. Drawing on ethnographic research with Turkish Muslims engaged in scientific exegesis, this article examines the evidentiary inquiry underlying the Quran’s “scientific miracles” along two lines: first, it considers how these efforts, while invoking traditional understandings of the miraculous (i.e., arresting one in awed suspense), shift focus away from the Quran’s stylistic and textual properties (requiring mastery of Arabic) and toward its signifying, universally accessible natural phenomena. Second, as the idea of scientific miracles befits apologetics typically used to defend the Quran against non-Muslims’ criticisms, it asks why these efforts are directed primarily toward Muslims themselves. The article argues that the power of scientific miracles lies not only in the appeal of a universal language of evidence, but also in its use as a tool of “inner conversion,” which helps enable a modern refiguring of Muslim faith, from imitation (taqlid) to substantiation with evidence (tahqiq).


Critical Studies on Terrorism (Volume 12, Issue 4)

Beyond necessity: Hezbollah and the intersection of state-sponsored terrorism with organised crime

By: Daniel Odin Shaw

Abstract: The world is arguably experiencing a resurgence of state-sponsored terrorism. Meanwhile, the crime-terror nexus is seen as a continued threat to global security and stability. However, there has been little attention paid to the use of organised crime by state-sponsored terror groups. This is because existing literature views the use of criminal fundraising as an alternative to state-sponsorship. Despite this, there are numerous examples of state-sponsored organisations which nevertheless engage in organised crime. This paper addresses this puzzle by comparing two competing theoretical approaches on the crime-terror nexus. Current literature tends to either focus on responses to economic necessity at the group level or on the broader structure of opportunities and constraints. A congruence analysis will be conducted using the case of Hezbollah to test these approaches to the specific issue of state-sponsorship and crime. The main finding is that approaches rooted in opportunity structures have significantly more explanatory power than those focused on group level motivation and necessity. This paper also finds a more complex role for state-sponsors with some states actively enabling crime. This suggests the need for an understanding of terror and crime which focuses on the internationalised political context as well as internal group dynamics.

Terrorist learning in context – the case of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb

By: Carolin Goerzig

Abstract: It is astonishing how many researchers adopt a counterterrorism agenda and suggest researching terrorist learning in order to shape security countermeasures. Posing different questions would lead to different answers. One such question would be, “What makes terrorist learning different?” Terrorist groups operate clandestinely, which means the environment in which they learn is different. This paper investigates the context in which Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has learned. Thus, a qualitative case study analysis of the influence of meso- and macro-level factors on AQIM’s tactical and strategic patterns between 1999 and 2013 will shed light on terrorist learning. Meso-level influences are conceptualised as cooperation and ultimate merging with Al Qaeda, and macro-level influences as government action. The result is puzzling: AQIM has learned tactically from Al Qaeda and strategically from counterterrorism. This is puzzling because scholars commonly question whether it is possible to learn under pressure. Nevertheless, AQIM’s learning has been more profound when faced with pressure than when cooperating voluntarily. The sustainable answer to the question of the political implication thereof is not how to boost counterterrorism measures but how to redefine them. If what is different about terrorist learning is above all the context, we need to question the context.

Performing PREVENT: anti-extremist theatre-in-education in the service of UK counter-terrorism, a Freirean analysis

By: Shelley Piasecka

Abstract: This article reveals a new trend in UK counter-terrorism: the emergence of anti-extremist Theatre-in-Education (TIE) to deliver counter-terrorism projects in schools and colleges. Using Paulo Freire’s vision of critical and dialogic pedagogy, I offer an analysis of anti-extremist TIE against a backdrop of PREVENT, the UK counter-terrorism strategy. The September 11 attack, the London Transport bombings and the more recent attacks in Europe and the UK have contributed to a strengthening of counter-terrorism measures in all spheres of public life. In 2015, the UK government introduced a statutory duty for education providers to prevent young people from being drawn into terrorism. This is known as the PREVENT Duty. The implementation of the duty has not been without controversy, with commentators noting a disproportionate focus on Islamist forms of terrorism. My study has shown that the guiding principle of TIE to enact social change is threatened in this climate, whilst maintaining the possibility of engaging young people in meaningful dialogue about terrorism and violent extremism.


Democratization (Volume 26, Issues 6 & 7)

The puzzle of populism in Iran’s electoral politics

By: Alireza Raisi

Abstract: The article examines the impact of an unsettled electoral market and evolving political predispositions on the rise and fall of populism in Iran. The article argues that the absence of a polarized electoral contest between reformists and conservatives paved the way for the victory of the populist candidate in the 2005 presidential election in Iran, while the deep economic recession resulting from conservative administration policies created a long-term political experience which influenced voters and led to the victory of the pragmatist candidate in the 2013 and 2017 elections. Quantitative analysis indicates that in the 2005 election, the struggle between conservatives and reformists did not impact the competition between candidates, and consequently depoliticized attitudes, for example distributive demands, ideology, and anti-ruling elite sentiment gained significance, whereas polarization between conservatives and a coalition of reformists and pragmatists enhanced the role of partisanship and triggered the fall of populism in the 2013 election.

Divisions within post-2011 Tunisia’s secular civil society

By: Ragnar Weilandt

Abstract: Popular and academic discourses frame civil society as a key factor that prevented Tunisia from following the unfortunate path of other “Arab Spring” states. But while such discourses tend to portray it as a monolithic political force, Tunisian civil society comprises a diverse range of different types of actors with different backgrounds, interests, views and approaches towards activism. Drawing upon interviews with Tunisian activists, this article maps a range of tensions within Tunisian secular civil society along these lines and sets out to explain their origins. Notably, it identifies a generational division between those activists that started to engage in the late 2000s or during and after the 2011 ouster of Ben Ali and those who were already active before. This division is based on a range of factors, including a sense of entitlement to the leadership of post-2011 Tunisian civil society on both sides, a lack of mutual respect for and trust in each other as well as differences regarding practices and priorities of civil society engagement.

To govern, or not to govern? Opportunity and post-coup military behaviour in Egypt 2011–2014

By: Justin A. Hoyle

Abstract: This article examines Egyptian military behaviour in 2011 and 2013 to address the question of why officers remain in power following some successful coups, and allow for a transition to civilian rule after others. My evidence suggests that in post-1970 cases where international factors fail to exert sufficient pressure, outcome variation is influenced by levels of corporate opportunity, defined here as the ease with which the army can use control of the state to expand its corporate interests. Drawing on the existing literature, I posit consensus against military rule, high popular support for democracy, strong civil society, the presence of a strong opposition party, and low levels of cohesion among officers as factors which constrain opportunity. Prior research suggests that when the level of opportunity is high, controlling the state becomes a high-risk/low-reward endeavour, making it likely that officers will allow for a transition to civilian rule. My study contributes to the existing scholarship by using original data gathered through interviews with Egyptian officers, as well as other experts on the Egyptian military, to argue that low consensus against military rule, low support for democracy, and high organizational cohesion are jointly sufficient to produce governing intervention.

Is there difference in democracy promotion? A comparison of German and US democracy assistance in transitional Tunisia

By: Leonie Holthaus

Abstract: Since the 1990s, comparative scholars and constructivists have recognized the universally liberal character of democracy promotion and yet continued the analysis of difference in this area. Mainly in studies of German and US democracy promotion, constructivists have demonstrated the recurring and difference-generating impact of ideational factors. In this article, I hence assume the likeliness of difference and address the question of how we can analyse and explain those differences through a comparison of German and US democracy assistance in transitional Tunisia. I conceive of Germany and the US as a dissimilar pair and adopt a broad perspective to uncover differences at the diplomatic level and between and within the respective approaches to democracy assistance in Tunisia. Theoretically, I argue that national role conceptions hardly impact democracy assistance in a clear manner, and that roles are renegotiated in the process. I rather focus on liberal and reform liberal conceptions of democracy, which shape perceptions of the local context, and democracy assistance agencies different organizational cultures, which impact civil society support. Finally, I account for transnational dialogue and coordination as a factor mitigating differences in democracy promotion.


Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict (Volume 12, Issue 3)

Friends in high places: state support for violent and non-violent ethnopolitical organizations

By: Victor Asal, R. William Ayres, Yuichi Kubota

Abstract: States seek to influence or alter political outcomes in other states by supporting non-governmental groups located within their rivals or enemies. While a dyadic-relation model explains much of state support for non-governmental ethnopolitical organizations, its static view fails to capture the changing nature of their relationships. By bringing violent and non-violent organizations into the same analysis, and examining data across different international systemic periods, we add new empirical evidence to previous studies, arguing that the external support for resistance is influenced by a specific context in the post-Cold War period as well as the behaviour and characteristics of the organizations vying for support. Analysing the Middle East Minorities at Risk Organizational Behavior (ME-MAROB) dataset, we find that violent organizations are more likely to obtain external support than those organizations adhering to the principles of non-violence in both the Cold War and the post-Cold War periods. However, organizational popularity, capability, and kinship with the state sponsor encourage state support only after the end of the Cold War. This suggests that the shift in the international system caused by the collapse in bipolarity encouraged state actors to reconsider their behaviour in supporting ethnopolitical organizations inside other states.

Explaining insurgency progression in Iraq, 2003–2011

By: Michelle Black

Abstract: Many have attempted to answer the questions of “what went wrong in Iraq” arguing that insurgency developed because there was a lack of security. However, on the ground observations and empirical data collection are proving this to not necessarily be the case. This paper tackles what went wrong in Iraq and explains why we saw violence escalate into an insurgency during postwar reconstruction. This paper argues that individuals have certain expectations within a postwar environment, and those unmet expectations will lead certain individuals to join an insurgency. The argument of this paper empirically tests and supports the theoretical framework of relative deprivation, providing a clear explanation of what “actually” led people down a path towards insurgency. Finally, the empirical contribution of this paper is the presentation of primary data demonstrating that it was, in fact, a lack of services, followed by a lack of security, that motivated individuals towards insurgency.


European Journal of International Relations (Volume 25, Issue 3)

Metaphorical incarnations of the “other” and Iranian International Relations discourses

By: Heidarali Masoudi

Abstract: Iranian International Relations academics have impacted both the official and public discourses on foreign policy issues, and vice versa. More specifically, how the “other” is constructed in Iranian International Relations discourses has an important role in determining how Iran acts in world politics. Assuming that International Relations discourses in Iran are inextricably intertwined with the construction of the “other,” this article aims to investigate how Iranian International Relations scholars use metaphors as linguistic tools for the representation of the “other.” Specifically, this article analyzes the metaphorical construction of the “other” in Iranian International Relations academic texts. Applying metaphor analysis, instances of the “other” have been selected and analyzed. The hypothesis was that there are two different categories of metaphors representing the “other”: first, there are context-oriented metaphorical incarnations that attempt to construct Iran’s “relationship” with others in foreign arenas, considering internal and external opportunities and limitations; and, second, there are essentialist metaphorical incarnations of particular actors, such as the US, Israel and Arab states as the “other.” The analysis shows that body and religion can be regarded as nodal points around which context-oriented and essentialist International Relations metaphorical discourses, respectively, have been articulated. The context-oriented discourse is inspired by realist insights into home-grown Iranian International Relations while the essentialist discourse is influenced by official foreign policy rhetoric and Iranian historical culturalism.


Global Change Peace & Security (Volume 31, Issue 3)

China-Oman relations and the Indian Ocean security dilemma

By: Matteo Legrenzi, Fred H. Lawson

Abstract: Not available


International Affairs (Volume 95, Issue 5)

Regional maritime security in the eastern Mediterranean: expectations and reality

By: Aviad Rubin, Ehud Eiran

Abstract: Recent developments in the eastern Mediterranean, such as significant gas finds; disagreements over the demarcation of maritime boundaries; large-scale violence and political instability following the Arab Spring; mass migration via sea routes; Great Power dynamics in the region; and environmental hazards, make the political entities along the shores of the eastern Mediterranean part of a regional security complex and create strong incentives for regional coordination on maritime security. Material international relations theories predict that growing security challenges (realism) coupled with expected gains (liberalism) will facilitate regional cooperation. Yet, the political entities in the region rely mainly on unilateral actions, or limited quasi-alliances in response to these challenges. The article shows the puzzling gap between the theoretical expectation and practical outcome in the region and explains why regional cooperation in the maritime domain fails to occur. It argues that cooperation on a regional scale fails to take place due to three complementing reasons: 1) lack of shared ideational features like cultural traits, set of values and regime type; 2) enduring rivalries between political entities in the region (Israel–Palestine; Turkey–Greece–Cyprus) coupled with internal strife within other regional political entities (Libya; Syria); and unequal political standing and lack of sovereignty of some of the political entities in the region (Northern Cyprus; the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip).


International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (Volume 43, Issues 5 & 6)

Experiences of Urban Militarism: Spatial Stigma, Ruins and Everyday Life

By: Silvia Pasquetti

Abstract: A key question in urban sociology is how people interpret the urban environment. At a time when cities are increasingly militarized, this question is particularly important for understanding how militarism impacts urban life. However, urban sociologists have not addressed how people experience militarized environments. This article turns to this question by considering the case of Lydda‐Lod, an Israeli city that has been demographically and physically transformed by war, displacement and securitization. Drawing on Wacquant’s sociology of spatial stigma and adding insights from works on emotions in (post‐)conflict cities, I examine how poor Palestinians think and feel about the surveilled districts where they live within the city’s broader landscape of ruins. I show how the Israeli military, security and policing agencies have collectively produced spatial stigmatization of these districts. I discuss how Palestinians respond to this spatial stigma by attaching a sense of worthlessness to their districts. However, this reproduction of spatial stigma is punctuated by expressions of care for the built environment and by a desire to revalorize collective Palestinian life in the city. I conclude by discussing how a perspective on militarized cities focused on everyday responses to militarism and attentive to marginalities enriches urban sociology and urban studies more generally.

Embedded Enclaves: Cultural Mimicry and Urban Social Exclusion in Iran

By: Manata Hashemi

Abstract: This article argues that symbolic boundaries and their spatial manifestation into embedded enclaves have become new forms of urban social exclusion. Based on participant observation and interviews among lower‐ and middle‐/upper‐class residents in the city of Sari, Iran, the article analyzes how the poor’s physical circulations in the city and their performances of class and status have led to an elite backlash, as the latter find more refined markers of social separation in an effort to bolster their own exclusivity. Social distancing through the denigration of the poor and the construction of embedded enclaves brings to the fore the class tensions that are temporarily masked by the urban poor’s spatial practices and cultural mimicry. As an advanced form of codified status inequality, embedded enclaves rely on the poor’s citywide circulations and on increasing inter‐class interactions in order to communicate difference. Embedded—rather than cordoned off—in prominent areas of the city, such enclaves function as a reminder to the poor of all they cannot have. The upsurge of such establishments in the wake of Iran’s shifting economic environment represents an attempt to shore up social position and restore the status quo.

‘I am Burj Khalifa’: Entrepreneurial Urbanism, Toponymic Commodification and the Worlding of Dubai

By: Maral Sotoudehnia, Reuben Rose‐Redwood

Abstract: This study explores the cultural politics of renaming the world’s tallest building, the Burj Dubai/Khalifa, as a practice of entrepreneurial urbanism. The Burj offers a unique case study that brings urban scholarship on ‘worlding’ into conversation with emerging debates over the commodification of naming rights within critical toponymic studies. We draw upon archival materials and semi‐structured interviews to demonstrate in this article how the spatial politics enacted through the construction of the Burj and the tower’s subsequent name change have played a significant role in Dubai’s efforts to achieve ‘global city’ status. In doing so, we extend our understanding of the performative power of spatial inscription in reshaping the geographical imaginaries of ‘global’ urbanity.

Making Violence Public: Spatializing (Counter)publicness through the 1993 Sivas Arson Attack, Turkey

By: Eray Çaylı

Abstract: This article discusses the relationship between violence and public space in light of a collectively perpetrated and widely televised arson attack that took place in 1993 in Sivas, Turkey, and its recent on‐site commemorations. It draws on critical theoretical perspectives developed since the 1990s to consider conventional models of public space as entangled in violence, while also aiming to contribute to contemporary scholarship on contrarian responses to this entanglement. The tendency in this scholarship is to identify these responses as bottom‐up, unscripted, performative and direct and, therefore, as diametrically opposed to those identified as top‐down, scripted, rational and legislation‐facing. The multifarious initiatives and interventions involving contextually shifting priorities, positions and strategies that mark the case discussed in this article call this tendency into question. Unassimilable under such binary oppositions, these initiatives and interventions have not refrained from engaging conventional models of public space while also developing and mobilizing contrarian ones. This article ultimately argues that public space is not just where violence occurs but also where its semantic disambiguation is pursued; this pursuit, which involves various forms of socio‐political work, in turn defines and continually redefines the very distinction between conventional and contrarian imaginaries of public space.

Muslim Hoedowns, Tenuous Language and the Uncertain Lives of an Urban Majority

By: AbdouMaliq Simone

Abstract: Drawing upon diverse elements of Islamic thought, this essay examines the notions of gathering and footwork to think through the elaborations of a material sensibility embedded in the everyday navigations of contemporary urban life. From reflections on the surreptitious encounters of African Americans in various contexts of subjection, to zar practices in Amman and to popular orientations to megacomplex residencies in Jakarta, the essay attempts to address what it means to think and act collectively in urban contexts that fragment, track, evict and erase long‐relied‐upon forms of collaboration. How might we discover in the seeming contraction of urban sociality something else besides intensive individuation, and what kinds of vernaculars and rhythmic encounters, of bodies moving towards and away from each other, might turn the peripheral forms of the urban into sites of new generativity?


International Political Science Review (Volume 40, Issue 4)

Religion and foreign-policy views: Are religious people more altruistic and/or more militant?

By: Ivica Petrikova

Abstract: Religion shapes people’s identity and behaviour, and thus influences their foreign-policy views. Yet, existing research has thus far not explored this issue in depth or cross-nationally. This article contributes to filling this gap by examining the effects of religious belief, belonging, and behaviour on people’s foreign-policy views across a large sample of countries. Further, it investigates how these effects are influenced by religions’ social standing and countries’ income level. The study finds that religion significantly heightens followers’ militant internationalist views. Its effect on cooperative internationalist views is more ambiguous. Frequent religious attendance, self-identification as a religious person, and adherence to Islam tend to make people more altruistic in their foreign-policy views, while affiliation with Christianity and other religious faiths (Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) may have the opposite effect. Overall, religion has a stronger effect on foreign-policy views among adherents to majority religions and in poorer countries.

Revisiting the Islamist–Secular divide: Parties and voters in the Arab world

By: Eva Wegner, Francesco Cavatorta

Abstract: Electoral politics in the Arab world are either portrayed as clientelistic affairs void of content or as highly ideological clashes between Islamist and Secular Left forces. Although both arguments are intuitively appealing, the empirical evidence to date is limited. This article seeks to contribute to the debate by investigating the extent of programmatic voter support for Islamist and Secular Left parties in seven Arab countries with data from recent surveys by the Arab Barometer, Afrobarometer and World Values Survey. Ideological congruence between voters and parties exists but is limited to the Islamist–Secular core divide with regard to the role of religion in politics and gender values. In contrast, there are virtually no differences in economic attitudes between respondents and there is no evidence of class-based voting, with Islamist and Secular Left parties sharing the same voter base of better-off, more educated voters. Core results are robust across surveys.


International Politics (Volume 56, Issue 5)

Friends will be friends? External–domestic interactions in EU-Tunisia and EU-Morocco security cooperation after the uprisings

By: Federica Zardo, Francesco Cavatorta

Abstract: The article moves beyond the debate about the continuity and change in EU policy-making towards post-uprisings North Africa to explain the way in which the relationship evolved in the case of functional areas and notably security cooperation. Specifically, this article argues that persistence in the EU’s approach did not necessarily entail continuity in EU-Tunisia and EU-Morocco interactions on security. Rather, there have been changes in the continuity and continuity in the changes that took place. It is often assumed that the relationship is unidirectional and that target countries can simply choose either acquiescence or resistance. The post-uprising reality shows that domestic events in Tunisia and Morocco had an impact on how they approached the EU and how, in turn, the EU reacted to them. There is therefore what can be called a feedback loop that makes relationships more complex and ‘individualised’ than previously assumed.


Islamic Law and Society (Volume 26, Issue 4)

Underwriting the Empire: Nizamiye Courts, Tax Farming and the Public Debt Administration in Ottoman Syria

By: Nora Barakat

Abstract: This article investigates the role of the Ottoman Nizamiye Court of First Instance in conflicts over capital between public revenue agencies and tax farmers in the Syrian district of Homs at the turn of the twentieth century. The court’s records show that it adjudicated these conflicts in exclusive reference to codified law. However, I argue that the court’s formalist adjudication responded to political and economic circumstances defined by the global fiscal crises of the 1870s. In the aftermath of these crises, tax farmers took on new roles underwriting both Ottoman public debt and foreign investment through contracts with public revenue collection agencies like the Public Debt Administration. These agencies employed codified law to garner as much of tax farmers’ profits as possible. Tax farmers used the same law to contest these efforts and leverage their new economic influence to maintain control over regional markets and land. The court’s formalist rulings served the prerogatives of imperial sovereignty and solvency.

Filling Gaps in Legislation: The Use of Fiqh by Contemporary Courts in Morocco, Egypt, and Indonesia

By: Baudouin Dupret, Adil Bouhya, Monika Lindbekk, Ayang Utriza Yakin

Abstract: In most Muslim-majority countries, the legislators who drafted family law codes sought to produce a codified version of one of the many Islamic fiqh schools. Such is the case, from West to East, for Morocco, Egypt, and Indonesia. There are situations, however, in which the law remains silent. In such cases, judges must turn to fiqh in order to find appropriate provisions. It is up to judges to interpret the law and to locate the relevant rule. In this process, judges use new interpretive techniques and modes of reasoning. After addressing institutional and legal transformations in Morocco, Egypt, and Indonesia, this article focuses on the domain of family law. We examine cases that illustrate how judges seek a solution in the body of fiqh when asked to authenticate a marriage. In conclusion, we put forward an argument about how judges who are required to refer to fiqh deal with this matter within the context of positive, codified, and standardized law. We argue that the methodology and epistemology adopted by contemporary judges, the legal material on which they draw, and the means by which they refer to this material have fundamentally altered the nature of legal cognition and of law itself.


Journal of Democracy (Volume 30, Issue 4)

Sudan’s Uprising: The Fall of a Dictator

By: Mai Hassan, Ahmed Kodouda

Abstract: This article traces the reign and downfall of Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s longtime autocrat. Like other autocrats, al-Bashir attempted to prevent coups against his rule by crafting a personalistic regime that weakened important political actors and tied their fates to his own. But Sudan’s 2018–19 popular uprising, which resulted in al-Bashir’s ousting by his own security forces, suggests that, under pressure, personalistic regimes may quickly evolve in a way that strengthens alternative power centers. In Sudan, the renewed strength of the security forces continues to threaten the nascent democratization process ushered in by the popular uprising.

Can Egypt’s Democratic Hopes Be Revived?

By: Amr Hamzawy

Abstract: In today’s Egypt, commitment to democracy appears scarce among actors both within the regime and in civil society, and public-opinion polls further suggest that demands for democratic governance have been abandoned. An undemocratic political understanding and disenchantment with the concept of democracy seemingly prevail among a majority of the population. Rather than seeking a return to democratic government, Egyptians are once again hoping that an authoritarian regime will succeed in raising the standard of living. Only a few groups of activists are gradually articulating a peaceful democratic culture of resistance, found in universities and professional associations as well as on social media and in the underground music scene. Their efforts offer grounds for hope.


Journal of Developing Societies (Volume 35, Issue 3)

Rural Development in Iran: A Survey of Policies and Outcomes

By: Ali Shakoori

Abstract: This article examines secular changes in post-revolutionary rural Iran by focusing on rural social attitudes, social stratification, demography, morphology, and architecture. Offering a review of major rural reforms, it contends that although in the first two decades after the revolution, rural communities were primarily affected by state policies, they have been chiefly influenced by macro developments since then, nationally or globally. Rural change has been associated with the integration of the rural structure into the modern structure rather than adhering to the state-specific rural reforms and/or its ideological imperatives. The article concludes that such developments have resulted in greater access to modern amenities and paved the way for rural communities to adopt modern changes that were not necessarily on the government’s ideological agenda. Hence, the revolutionary objectives of an equal distribution of rural development benefits and combating rural poverty remain elusive.


Journal of Development Studies (Volume 55, Issue 9)

WASH and Nutrition Synergies: The Case of Tunisia

By: Laura Maratou-Kolias, Jose Cuesta

Abstract: This paper develops a simple econometric strategy to operationalise the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF’s) conceptual framework for nutrition. It estimates the extent to which child stunting correlates with investments in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) across population groups (poor and nonpoor) and residence (urban and rural). Moving away from estimating single intervention marginal returns, the empirical framework of intervention packages is tested in Tunisia, a country with notable but uneven progress in reducing stunting. A successful nutritional strategy will thereby require mapping the distinctive intervention packages by residence and socio-economic status, away from universal policies, that more strongly correlate with reduction in stunting.


Journal of Economic Cooperation and Development (Volume 40, Issue 3)

Tourist Arrivals to Muslim Countries: Pre- and Post-September 11

By: Gairuzazmi M. Ghani

Abstract: The incident that occurred on 11 September 2001 changed tourist arrival patterns directly afterwards, not only in the United States but also in the Middle East. In the longer run, the negative media portrayal of Islam and Muslim countries after the 9/11 incident also effected tourist travel patterns. This paper examines whether the 9/11 incident affected tourist arrival patterns in Muslim countries using the bilateral tourism flows gravity model. The result indicates that the Muslim country effect was only visible after 2001. Before the September 11 incident, the patterns of tourist arrival between a pair of Muslim and non-Muslim countries were similar.

Workers’ Remittances and Economic Growth in Palestine: Evidence from A Computable General Equilibrium Model

By: Hakeem A. Eltalla

Abstract: While few people would differ on the economic benefits of remittances to recipients in home economies, the level to which remittances add to economic growth and development is another question. Workers’ remittances are one of the largest sources of external financial flow to developing economies. This paper analyzes the impacts of workers’ remittances on the Palestinian economy using a computable general equilibrium model. A simulation of workers’ remittances increase is carried out using a 2015 Palestinian Social Accounting Matrix (SAM). The simulation results show that real GDP increases by 0.42 percent . The level of real private consumption increases by 4.95 percent. Import increases by 4.28 percent and export declines by 6.86 percent in real term. Net taxes increases by 2.29 percent, the trade deficit increases by 10.16 percent and absorption increases by 3.24 percent in real terms. In addition, the real exchange rate appreciated by 1.6 percent from the base line.

Endogenous Monetary Transmission in Islamic Financial Economics

By: Masudul Alam Choudhury, NirDukita Ratnawaty

Abstract: This paper is a continuation of the recent papers by Choudhury (2017), Choudhury (2015), and Choudhury and Hoque (2017) on the topic of endogenous nature of money (Choudhury, 1997) and monetary transmission as micro-money in Islamic financial economics. These papers have projected an Islamic economic theory of endogenous money that pursue the financing of projects in the real economy by bringing such project-specific spending to attain several much wanted goals of economic stability and performance. Among these is the 100 per cent circulation of bank-savings that banks otherwise hold back into the liquid form of spending. A 100 percent Reserve Requirement Monetary System is maintained in Islamic monetary transmission and circulation with appropriate methodology and policies. Consequently, debt reduces to zero; the market transformation by the diversification of projects, the portfolio diversification of financing instruments to mobilize monetary units as micromoney into projects, and the increase in stakeholding altogether make the real output level statistically elastic. Thereby, prices stabilize in the absence of all forms of interest rates. The end result is the generalized inter-causality among the endogenous inter-variable relations.


Journal of Palestine Studies (Volume 49, Issue 1)

The Secret Testimony to the Peel Commission (Part I): Underbelly of Empire

By: Laila Parsons

Abstract: The Peel Commission (1936–37) was the first British commission of inquiry to recommend the partition of Palestine into two states. The commissioners made their recommendation after listening to several weeks of testimony, delivered in both public and secret sessions. The transcripts of the public testimony were published soon afterward, but the secret testimony transcripts were only released by the United Kingdom’s National Archives in March 2017. Divided into two parts, this article closely examines the secret testimony. Part I discusses how the secret testimony deepens our understanding of key themes in Mandate history, including: the structural exclusion of the Palestinians from the Mandate state, the place of development projects in that structural exclusion, the different roles played by British anti-Semitism and anti-Arab racism, and the importance of the procedural aspects of committee work for understanding the mechanics of British governance. Part II extends this analysis by focusing on what the secret testimony reveals about how the Peel Commission came to recommend partition.

U.S. Security Coordination and the “Global War on Terror”

By: Jeannette Greven

Abstract: The U.S. Security Coordinator (USSC) mission in Jerusalem was created in 2005 to help implement security sector reform within the Palestinian Authority (PA). With a single-minded focus on “counterterrorism,” Washington considered the USSC an ancillary mechanism to support U.S. diplomatic and political efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Despite upending long-standing U.S. policy and cutting all other forms of aid to the Palestinians, the Trump administration has maintained the USSC in the run-up to the “Deal of the Century.” This article draws on original interviews with security personnel responsible for enacting USSC interventions. It uses their insights to highlight how the mission tethered Israeli political aims to its remit, and the distorting ramifications that have ensued for Palestine and the Palestinians. In uncovering the full parameters of Washington’s securitization policy, this history also points to the ways in which the PA has consequently been woven into the U.S.-led “global War on Terror.”

Postwar Nakba: A Microhistory of the Depopulation of Zakariyya, 1950

By: Dan Tsahor

Abstract: This study follows the events that caused the depopulation of the village of Zakariyya, south of the Jaffa-Jerusalem road, during the summer of 1950. Using documents from state and military archives, the article constructs the story of the villagers’ expulsion and explores the role of the little-known Transfer Committee in initiating and promoting postwar expulsions of Palestinians from the newly established State of Israel. A close reading of the actions of individual committee members over the course of events uncovers both the Transfer Committee’s modus operandi and the ostensible rationale for the postwar depopulation of the village. The article argues that by packing the committee with representatives of major Israeli power centers, Chair Yosef Weitz in effect laid the groundwork for the continuing expulsion of Palestinians from Israel after the establishment of the state.

Power, Politics, and Community: Resistance Dynamics in the Occupied Golan

By: Munir Fakher Eldin

Abstract: In 1967, Israel occupied the western section of Syria’s Golan Heights, expelling some 130,000 of its inhabitants and leaving a few thousand people scattered across five villages. Severed from Syria, this residual and mostly Druze community, known as the Jawlanis, has been subjected to systematic policies of ethno-religious identity reformulation and bureaucratic and economic control by the Israeli regime for half a century. This essay offers an account of the transformation of authority, class, and the politics of representation among what is now the near 25,000-strong Jawlani community, detailing the impact of Israeli occupation both politically and economically. During an initial decade and a half of direct military rule, Israel secured the community’s political docility by restoring traditional leaders to power; but following full-on annexation in 1981, new forces emerged from the popular resistance movement that developed in response. Those forces continue to compete for social influence and representation today.

The First Intifada (Part II): The Road to Oslo

By: Khalid Farraj

Abstract: In the second instalment of this testimonial series, Khalid Farraj recounts his experiences as an active member of the uprising in the waning days of the First Intifada, and as a student organizer at Birzeit University during what was arguably the university’s most contentious and significant student council elections. In the first instalment, published by the Journal of Palestine Studies in its autumn 2017 issue, Farraj described how the uprising was organized and how it fueled the hopes and dreams of an entire generation of Palestinians. Here, he recalls how the intifada wound down, evoking the new geopolitical context that formed the backdrop to the Oslo peace process; he also provides a granular account of the spring 1994 Birzeit student council elections and anecdotes from daily life that illuminate Oslo’s false promises of freedom and self-determination for the Palestinians. This first-person account was translated by Anny Gaul and adapted for publication in English by Maia Tabet. It originally appeared in issue 115 (Summer 2018) of Majallat al-Dirasat al-Filastiniyya, JPS’ Arabic-language sister journal.

The Right to Maim and Its Implications for Palestine Studies

By: Rana Barakat

Abstract: This review essay is an attempt to read Jasbir K. Puar’s The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability in Palestine studies. It argues that by revealing how settler power, colonial violence, and imperial havoc shape the mechanisms, structures, and systems that target resistance, The Right to Maim both contributes to and disrupts the field of Palestine studies. Exploring the implications of Puar’s thesis about maiming as a tool of settler colonial violence within imperial frameworks, the book both disrupts the field of American studies and contributes to areas of inquiry around the study of Zionist violence against Palestine and Palestinians. This essay investigates the lines of Puar’s argument in relation to Palestine and as a challenge to discrete conceptualizations of field studies.


Journal of Peace Research (Volume 56, Issues 5 & 6)

Do they know something we don’t? Diffusion of repression in authoritarian regimes

By: Roman-Gabriel Olar

Abstract: The use of repressive strategies by authoritarian regimes received a great deal of attention in the literature, but most explanations treat repression as the product of domestic events and factors. However, the similarity in repressive actions during the Arab Spring or the intense collaboration in dissident disappearances between the military regimes of Latin America indicate a transnational dimension of state repression and authoritarian interdependence that has gone largely understudied. The article develops a theory of diffusion of repression between autocracies between institutionally and experientially similar autocracies. It proposes that the high costs of repression and its uncertain effect on dissent determines autocracies to adjust their levels of repression based on information and knowledge obtained from their peers. Autocracies’ own experience with repression can offer suboptimal and incomplete information. Repression techniques and methods from other autocracies augment the decisionmaking regarding optimal levels of repression for political survival. Then, autocracies adjust their levels of repression based on observed levels of repression in their institutional and experiential peers. The results indicate that authoritarian regimes emulate and learn from regimes with which they share similar institutions. Surprisingly, regimes with similar dissent experience do not emulate and learn from each other. The results also indicate that regional conflict does not affect autocracies’ levels of repression.

Framing and fighting: The impact of conflict frames on political attitudes

By: Daphna Canetti, Ibrahim Khatib, Aviad Rubin, Carly Wayne

Abstract: How does the subjective conceptual framing of conflict impact the warring parties’ attitudes towards political compromise and negotiation? To assess strategies for conflict resolution, researchers frequently try to determine the defining dispute of a given conflict. However, involved parties often view the conflict through fundamentally distinct lenses. Currently, researchers do not possess a clear theoretical or methodological way to conceptualize the complexity of such competing frames and their effects on conflict resolution. This article addresses this gap. Using the Israeli–Palestinian conflict as a case study, we run a series of focus groups and three surveys among Jewish citizens of Israel, Palestinian citizens of Israel (PCIs), and Palestinians in the West Bank. Results reveal that three conflict frames are prominent – material, nationalist, and religious. However, the parties to the conflict differ in their dominant interpretation of the conflict. Jewish Israelis mostly frame the conflict as nationalist, whereas Palestinians, in both the West Bank and Israel, frame it as religious. Moreover, these frames impact conflict attitudes: a religious frame was associated with significantly less willingness to compromise in potential diplomatic negotiations among both Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel. Interestingly, differing frames had no significant impact on the political attitudes of West Bank Palestinians, suggesting that the daily realities of conflict there may be creating more static, militant attitudes among that population. These results challenge the efficacy of material solutions to the conflict and demonstrate the micro-foundations underpinning civilians’ conflict attitudes and their implications for successful conflict resolution.

Who follows whom? A coincidence analysis of military action, public opinion and threats

By: Tim Haesebrouck

Abstract: Does public opinion act as a constraint on military action, are ordinary citizens the easily manipulated targets of the public relations efforts of their governments, or does the general public react as assertively to threats as decisionmakers? This article examines the causal connection between military action, public opinion and threats. Empirically, it focuses on the pattern of EU member state participation in two recent military operations: the 2011 intervention in Libya and the operation against the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS). Three competing causal models on the relationship between threats, public opinion and military action were derived from the scholarly literature and tested with coincidence analysis. The results of the analysis show that public opinion acted as a constraint on executives during the Libya operation. However, there was no direct causal link between public opinion and military participation in the operation against IS, in which both military action and public support were an effect of threat. More generally, the results suggest that the context of the intervention is decisive for the relation between threat, military action and public support. More specifically, whether public opinion constitutes a constraint on military action or is an effect of threats to national interests depends on whether these threats are clear and tangible.

Risk tolerance during conflict: Evidence from Aleppo, Syria

By: Vera Mironova, Loubna Mrie, Sam Whitt

Abstract: When war breaks out, how important are risk preferences to explaining why some individuals stay in conflict zones while others take flight? We examine risk tolerance among rebel combatants and civilians in Aleppo, Syria using a variation of the Eckel-Grossman Choice Game. Field work in Syria was conducted in 2013–14 with a total of 232 participants to include both Syrian civilians and active rebel fighters in Aleppo and Idlib Province, as well as among Syrian refugees in neighboring Turkey. Compared to Syrians in other locations, people in rebel-held territory of Aleppo, both combatants and non-combatants, are significantly more risk tolerant. We consider possible explanations for elevated risk preferences in Aleppo based on self-selection, adaptive learning, a sense of self-efficacy to affect future outcomes, conflict-related grievances, and in-group solidarity. Our analysis suggests that self-selection based on access to resources and a strong sense of self-efficacy may explain higher propensity for risk-taking. Overall, our results speak to a plausible sorting mechanism during conflict where risk averse individuals select out of conflict, while highly risk tolerant individuals are more prone to discount the inherent dangers of remaining in conflict zones. Our results provide new micro-level explanation for why some societies become mired in conflict traps involving highly risk tolerant fighting communities.


Journal of the American Oriental Society (Volume 139, Issues 3 & 4)

Sargon in Samaria—Unusual Formulations in the Royal Inscriptions and Their Value for Historical Reconstruction

By: Shawn Zelig Aster

Abstract: How different were the claims of Assyrian royal inscriptions from actual Neo-Assyrian practice? This essay explores this question by examining two unusual claims made by Sargon II in relation to his rule of Samaria. The first claim, which appears both in the Khorsabad annals and in a Nimrud prism, should be translated “I again settled Samaria, more than (it had) previously (been settled).” Based on the historical reconstruction derived from archaeological data, I argue that this phrase refers to the movement of exiles into areas in the western part of the province of Samaria. These areas in the western part of the province, around the sites of Aphek, Hadid, and Gezer, experienced significant population increases in the Assyrian period. The second passage, in Sargon’s Great Display Inscription from Khorsabad, refers to Sargon’s treatment of non-deported Samaritans. It should be translated “I trained the remnant in their crafts.” The historical reality behind this claim is the shift in agricultural techniques and activities in Samaria as a result of the Assyrian conquest. The Assyrian domination of Samaria required the production of grain surpluses, which needed to be made available in the Aphek-Gezer region in the western part of the province of Samaria. In each of the claims from the royal inscriptions examined in this essay, we see that the royal inscriptions credit the king with activities performed by the provincial governor. They change the description of the activity to make it “fit for royalty.”

A Mongol Mahdi in Medieval Anatolia: Rebellion, Reform, and Divine Right in the Post-Mongol Islamic World (pp. 611-630)

By: Jonathan Brack

Abstract: The roots of the formation of a post-Mongol political theology that situated Muslim emperors and sultans at the center of an Islamic cosmos are found in the Ilkhanid court in late thirteenth- and early fourteenth-century Iran. This article investigates the case of the short-lived rebellion (1322–1323) of the Mongol governor of Rūm (Anatolia) and Mahdi-claimant Temürtash (d. 1327). It demonstrates how the discourse of religious reform was recruited to translate and support the claims of non-Chinggisid commanders to the transfer of God’s favor, thus opposing the Chinggisids’ heaven-derived exceptionalism. Exploring affinities with the Timurid appropriation of the mujaddid tradition a century later, the article argues that Temürtash’s rebellion signaled the early stages of the dispersion of a new political language that freed Muslim kingship from the restrictive genealogical and juridical Sunni models of authority.

Ibn al-Jawzī and the Cursing of Yazīd b. Muʿāwiya: A Debate on Rebellion and Legitimate Rulership

By: Han Hsien Liew

Abstract: This article examines how Muslim religious scholars find space within political and legal discourses to deal with thorny issues such as rebellion. It takes as its case study a treatise by Ibn al-Jawzī (d. 597/1201) regarding the permissibility to curse the second Umayyad caliph Yazīd b. Mu’āwiya. Although written to address the cursing of Yazīd, the treatise also speaks to questions regarding rulership and rebellion. Overall, the article argues that Ibn al-Jawzī adopted a juristically prudent approach to rebellion against an unjust and sinful ruler which synthesizes various elements of the Sunni caliphate discourse and the Islamic legal discourse on the treatment of rebels. This allowed him to shift the debate from one on the permissibility of rebellion to one on the question of legitimacy, thus enabling him to justify actions against Yazīd without overtly condoning the act of rebellion.

The Susa Funerary Texts: A New Edition and Re-Evaluation and the Question of Psychostasia in Ancient Mesopotamia (pp. 859-892)

By: Nathan Wasserman

Abstract: A group of seven short late Old Babylonian texts, written in Akkadian, found in the early twentieth century in a grave in Susa, form the focus of this paper. The texts, which have attracted much scholarly attention since their publication in 1916 by Jean-Vincent Scheil, have until now not been collated. They are presented here with improved readings, a new translation, and extensive commentary. The mention in two of the texts of an alleged chthonic “weigher” is philologically disproved: psychostasia, the weighing of souls, did not exist in ancient Mesopotamian religion. The suggestion of some scholars that these Old Babylonian Akkadian texts are witnesses to Elamite, or even Iranian, belief in the weighing of souls is methodically refuted. The nature of the seven so-called Susa Funerary Texts (SFT) is discussed, demonstrating their close contacts to two other well-known Mesopotamian genres—personal prayers and reports of oracular or prophetic visions. Finally, the question of their unusual find spot, viz., in a grave, is discussed and the possibility raised that this peculiar location is a result of the texts’ magical function.

Half-human and Monstrous Races in Zoroastrian Tradition

By: Domenico Agostini

Abstract: Legends and stories about fabulous races that dwelt in India or in Africa circulated in Iran probably since the Achaemenid times. Unfortunately, scholarship on this topic has neglected some late Iranian and, especially, Zoroastrian sources, such as Draxt ī āsūrīg (The Assyrian tree), the Bundahišn (Primal Creation), the Ayādgār ī Jāmāspīg (The memorial of Jāmāsp), and the New Persian epic Šāhnāme. This article examines the aforementioned sources and discusses their accounts of five fabulous races from an Iranian, and especially Zoroastrian, perspective and through a comparative approach to some similar neighboring traditions.

Jadal and Qiyās in the Fifth/Eleventh Century: Two Debates between al-Juwaynī and al-Shīrāzī

By: Sohaira Siddiqui

Abstract: In an exchange preserved in al-Subkī’s (d. 771/1370) Ṭabaqāt al-shāfʿiyya, the jurists al-Juwaynī (d. 478/1085) and al-Shīrāzī (d. 476/1083) debate equating prayer time to prayer direction in regard to the validity of prayer, and the adult virgin to the adult nonvirgin in regard to consent. While the dispute between the two scholars is on seemingly innocuous legal issues, it reveals that despite adherence to the same Shāfʿī legal school, the two hold contrasting positions on the specifics of analogical reasoning (qiyās). By examining the differences in their doctrines on qiyās and their approaches to dialectics (jadal), this article demonstrates that al-Juwaynī is more willing to use qiyās, especially its weaker forms, and make nontextual legal arguments, while al-Shīrāzī is more wary in his use of qiyās, leading him to reject its weaker forms and nontextual arguments. By tracing the differences in their qiyās doctrines through their works on jadal and exploring the differing dialectics used in the two debates, this article examines the connection between qiyās and jadal, intra-school jadal, and the various approaches to qiyās in the fifth/eleventh century.

Additions and Corrections to Wolf Leslau’s Comparative Dictionary of Ge’ez (1987–2017)

By: Leonid Kogan

Abstract: Thirty years after the appearance of Wolf Leslau’s Comparative Dictionary of Geʿez, the present study aims at correcting and updating some of the entries of this major tool of Semitic etymology. New data from Ugaritic, Akkadian, and especially Modern South Arabian are prominent among the additions (particularly the Soqotri lexical material acquired in the course of the many years of the author’s fieldwork on the island).

Two Themes in Maimonides’s Modifications to His Legal Works

By: Marc Herman

Abstract: The survival of the personal copy of Commentary on the Mishnah by Maimonides (1138–1204), which he revised throughout his life, provides an unparalleled window into the ways he continually reconsidered legal and conceptual questions. This manuscript covers five of the six orders of the Mishnah and contains countless corrections and emendations, the vast majority in the author’s own hand. This article argues that Maimonides’s intense interest in solving problems related to the enumeration of the commandments, which he addresses at length in Book of the Commandments and, to a lesser extent, Mishneh Torah, led him to make a number of emendations to his Commentary and to rethink other aspects of his work. That is, when writing Book of the Commandments and Mishneh Torah in the decade after completing his Commentary, Maimonides tackled, and sometimes even concocted, questions that he had no reason to consider in the latter work. This study traces two ways that Maimonides’s later works diverge from his earlier ones, in the meaning of Hebrew and Arabic technical terms and in increased attention to scripture in determing Jewish law, revealing a great medieval mind “in perpetual motion.”


Middle East Policy (Volume 26, Issue 3)

The United States‐Saudi Arabian Relationship

By: Thomas Lippman, Dana Stroul, Gerald Feierstein

Abstract: Not available


Middle East Quarterly (Volume 26, Issue 4)

Reshaping Regional Politics

By: Ilan Berman

Abstract: Not available

Tourism as a Stealth Weapon

By: Mordechai Chaziza

Abstract: Not available

Radicalizing in the Name of Islam

By: Johanna Markind

Abstract: Not available

The Great Saudi-Iranian Proxy Game

By: Buddhika Jayamaha, Kevin S. Petit, Jahara Matisek, William Reno, Matthew A. Rose, Molly Jahn

Abstract: Not available


Near Eastern Archaeology (Volume 82, Issue 3)

Exile and Return of the First Temple Vessels: Competing Postexilic Perspectives and Claims of Continuity

By: Debra Scoggins Ballentine

Abstract: Jerusalem’s destruction and the Babylonian exile were catalysts for the composition and redaction of much Judean literature. Authors wrestled with disruption of cultus and the uncertainty of returnees having to sort out their place—both physical spaces and abstract social places—back in Jerusalem and Judah. Stories about the temple vessels feature competing claims about their fate: that they were dismantled or left intact during the exile; that they were stored in a Babylonian temple or used as Babylonian wine goblets; that they were returned to Jerusalem with divine protection; and even that they were temporarily displaced once back in Jerusalem. These varied fates reflect competition between groups and individuals—both historical figures and literary characters—such as Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. Postexilic authors employed stories about the vessels to privilege particular forms of ritual, endorse select groups and ideologies, and undercut alternative positions.

Another Temple, Another Vessel: Josephus, the Arch of Titus, and Roman Triumphal Propaganda

By: Nathaniel DesRosiers

Abstract: In 71 CE, the year after the destruction of the second Jerusalem temple, the victorious emperor Vespasian and his son Titus, commander of the Judean campaign, celebrated their success with a victory triumph through the streets of Rome. Josephus provides a full account of the event in The Jewish War 7.123–58, lingering in particular on his description of the spoils of the Temple as they were paraded through the streets. He states: “The spoils were piled in heaps, but prominent above all were the spoils from the temple in Jerusalem, these included a golden table many talents in weight and a lampstand likewise made of gold” (JW 7.148).

Facing the Holy Ark, in Words and in Images

By: Steven D. Fraade

Abstract: The ark of the covenant was central to the plan of the Jerusalem Temple and the wilderness tabernacle before it, as the vessel was located in the structures’ holiest, innermost domain. Despite its importance, the ark of the covenant was invisible to virtually all Israelites. Even while the ark was being assembled, disassembled, and transported in the wilderness, the Levitical Kohathites were instructed to shield it from view, including their own (Num 4:5–20). One of the chief obligations of Aaron and his descendants was to deny access to anyone else, including the Levites, to the Holy of Holies, which housed the ark alone, or risk death (Num 18:1–7, 22–23).

When Is a Menorah Not Just a Menorah? Rethinking Menorah Graffiti in Jewish Mortuary Contexts

By: Karen B. Stern

Abstract: Hundreds of representations of menorahs have been uncovered from across the ancient world, throughout Egypt, Asia Minor, the Black Sea, Malta, North Africa, Europe, Arabia, Judaea, Palaestina, and Syria. Studied intently by historians, these depictions testify to the symbol’s historical importance, longevity, and myriad uses in antiquity.1 Many scholars have speculated that the menorahs evoke messianic ideas or those of resurrection; others argue that they signify divine presence or the cosmos at large. Recurring representations of menorahs in modern Jewish religious contexts, in all cases, have assured that the menorah remains the most recognizable of all the temple vessels to modern audiences.

Remembering the Destruction(s) of the Temple at the Museum of the Bible

By: Cavan Concannon

Abstract: Tucked away on the fifth floor of the Museum of the Bible (MOTB) in Washington, DC is a worn stone, weighing roughly a ton. Unlike most museum exhibits, this one invites visitors to touch its rough surface. The stone would be unremarkable but for what it was made to support: the terrace of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. The stone is on loan to the MOTB as part of an exhibit called “The People of the Land: History and Archaeology of Ancient Israel” by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). It once formed part of the Western Wall, the massive terrace that supported Herod the Great’s expansion of the Second Temple complex. As visitors touch this piece of the “temple,” they accept the MOTB’s invitation to a pilgrimage experience. As one evangelical news site put it, “It’s an opportunity to get a glimpse of the Holy Land without visiting the Middle East” (Stahl and Mitchell 2017).


Oriens (Volume 47, Issue 3-4)

Gundissalinus on the Angelic Creation of the Human Soul: A Peculiar Example of Philosophical Appropriation

By: Nicola Polloni

Abstract: In this paper I investigate Avicenna’s criticisms of the separateness of mathematical objects and of the view that they are principles for natural things. These two theses form the core of Plato’s view of mathematics; i.e., mathematical Platonism. Surprisingly, Avicenna does not consider his arguments against these theses as attacks on Plato. This is because his understanding of Plato’s philosophy of mathematics differs from both Plato’s original view and what Aristotle attributes to Plato.

Agency and Effect in the Astrology of Abū Maʿshar of Balkh (Albumasar)

By: Charles Burnett

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to show how the ninth-century astrologer, Abū Maʿshar Jaʿfar b. Muḥammad b. ʿUmar al-Balkhī, accounted for generation, corruption and change in the sublunary world. He sides with the philosophers against the astrologers and takes as his principal source the Peripatetic tradition. He shows that it is the movements of the heavenly bodies, rather than their elemental qualities, that are responsible for all elemental changes, and that these changes ‘result from,’ or follow naturally from, those movements rather than are caused by them.

Dashtakī (d. 1498) and Dawānī (d. 1502) on the Analysis of Existential Propositions

By: Khaled El-Rouayheb

Abstract: The present article is a reconstruction of a logical dispute concerning the analysis of existential propositions between the two rivals from Shiraz, Jalāl al-Dīn al-Dawānī (d. 1502) and Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Dashtakī (d. 1498), a dispute that continued to echo down to the nineteenth century, especially in Iran and the Indian subcontinent. The controversy was elicited by a passage from a discussion in the commentary by Qūshjī (d. 1474) on Ṭūsī’s Tajrīd in which Qūshjī had briefly suggested that perhaps the predicates “existent” (mawjūd) and “nonexistent” (maʿdūm) are unusual in not needing a copula to link them to the subject. Dashtakī thought that a copula is needed in both existential and non-existential predications, but that in existential predications the copula is simply the union of subject and predicate, whereas in non-existential predications there is an additional copula that signifies the existence or nonexistence of the predicate for the subject. Dawānī’s position was that existential and non-existential predications are exactly on a par and should both be analyzed into subject, copula and predicate.


Political Studies (Volume 67, Issue 4)

How Smallness Fosters Clientelism: A Case Study of Malta

By: Wouter Veenendaal

Abstract: While it has long been assumed that smaller communities are more prone to particularistic politics, the relationship between state size and clientelism remains strongly undertheorized. Departing from the assumption that face-to-face contacts, overlapping role relations, stronger monitoring mechanisms, and the enhanced power of single votes contribute to the emergence of patron–client linkages, this article provides an in-depth case study of clientelism in Malta, the smallest member state of the European Union. The analysis reveals not only that patron–client linkages are a ubiquitous feature of political life in Malta, but also that the smallness of Malta strongly affects the functioning of clientelism by eliminating the need for brokers and enhancing the power of clients versus patrons. In addition, clientelism is found to be related to several other characteristics of Maltese politics, among which the sharp polarization between parties, extremely high turnout rates, profound executive dominance, and the incidence of corruption scandals.


Politics & Society (Volume 47, Issue 3)

Mamluks, Property Rights, and Economic Development: Lessons from Medieval Egypt

By: Lisa Blaydes

Abstract: Secure property rights are considered a common institutional feature of rapidly growing economies. Although different property rights regimes have prevailed around the world over time, relatively little scholarship has empirically characterized the historical property rights of societies outside Western Europe. Using data from Egypt’s Mamluk Sultanate (1250–1517 CE), this article provides a detailed characterization of land tenure patterns and identifies changes to real property holdings associated with an institutional bargain between Egypt’s slave soldiers—the mamluks—and the sultan. Although agricultural land was a collective resource of the state, individual mamluks—state actors themselves—established religious endowments as a privatizing work-around to the impermissibility of transferring mamluk status to their sons. The article’s characterization of landholding patterns in medieval Egypt provides an empirical illustration of how Middle Eastern institutions differed from those in other world regions as well as an understanding for how and why regimes come under political stress as a result of their property rights institutions.


Third World Quarterly (Volume 40, Issues 9-11)

Between emergency and routine – securitisation of military security in Iran and Indonesia

By: Łukasz Fijałkowski, Jarosław Jarząbek

Abstract: The aim of this article is to explain the internal conditions of military security in a non-European context. It utilises securitisation as the theoretical perspective and investigates Iranian and Indonesian case studies to explore how the perception of internal threats and vulnerabilities determines the approaches to military security. It begins with a reiteration of securitisation theory assumptions, followed by clarifying the understanding of security in non-Western contexts. The case studies focus on the conditions which facilitate securitisation, including the nature of securitising actors, assumed concepts of security, and securitisation processes and their outcomes. The analysis indicates a necessity for several alterations in securitisation theory to realise its full potential. Civil–military relations in Asian states differ from those in the West, as both Iran and Indonesia show a high degree of military involvement in political affairs. Military security also becomes securitised as a result of internal political rivalries. The perception of threats is a tool in the struggle to extend the capabilities of security agencies or retain influences.

Explaining China’s popularity in the Middle East and Africa

By: Jörg Friedrichs

Abstract: China enjoys considerable popularity in the Middle East and Africa, not only among elites but also at street level. This article draws on international relations theories to explain this general pattern, as well as intra- and interregional variation. Every approach has something to contribute, but international political economy more so than realism. Constructivist theories are particularly useful in explaining China’s popularity in the Middle East and Africa.

Turkey in Somalia: challenging North/Western interventionism?

By: Chuck Thiessen, Alpaslan Özerdem

Abstract: Turkey’s humanitarian and development intervention in Somalia is unusually illuminating as a case study to investigate the relations between emerging and conventional interveners in conflict zones since, in this case, Turkey’s intervention carries adequate impetus to resist assimilation with conventional North/Western counterparts. Our starting point is the observation that Turkish and conventional humanitarian and development interveners have struggled to coordinate or cooperate in Somalia. This article investigates what this uncooperative and uncoordinated organisational behaviour means, and we root our investigation in 21 face-to-face interviews with officials working inside the Turkish and conventional intervention in Mogadishu and Nairobi to inquire about how they understand and theorise this discordant behaviour. We use a parsimonious analytical framework of trustworthiness that questions the ‘ability’ and ‘integrity’ of counterpart organisations to explore the intentions behind organisational behaviours. Our analysis of interview narratives evidences challenges to conventional methods of intervention by Turkish organisations and the protection of the same by North/Western organisations. Our concluding discussion interprets these findings in relation to consequences for the status quo hierarchy of global governance and its promotion of liberal intervention norms, and for the utilisation of securitised and remote-control intervention methodologies in conflict zones such as Somalia.

Understanding financial reporting fraud in Egypt: evidence from the audit field

By: Rasha Kassem

Abstract: This study expands our knowledge and understanding of financial reporting fraud in Egypt by drawing on the perceptions of experienced international and Big 4 auditors in that country. In particular, it explores (1) how common financial reporting fraud is in Egypt, (2) the perpetrators and victims of financial reporting fraud in Egypt and (3) how financial reporting fraud is committed and concealed in Egypt. The study sheds light on generic issues that could have implications for auditors and audit regulators. In addition, the study provides a detailed guide on how financial reporting fraud schemes are committed and concealed in Egypt, knowledge of which could help auditors design effective audit tests to assess fraud risk and help those charged with governance to design effective prevention and detection techniques. Egypt could be an attractive destination for international investors, therefore knowledge of the nature and victims of fraud in Egypt could help investors make informed decisions about where to invest their money. The results of this study could also help regulators in Egypt as well as World Trade Organizations determine where to focus their support and enforcement efforts.

Independence referendums and nationalist rhetoric: the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

By: Dylan O’Driscoll, Bahar Baser

Abstract: Using the case study of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and the 2017 independence referendum, this article examines the nexus between independence referendums, nationalism and political power. It argues that the referendum in the KRI was held due to internal political competition and growing rebellion from the population against the poor economic performance and political situation rather than because the time was right for independence referendum. Focusing on the poor political and financial dynamics, as well as the lack of regional and international support for Kurdish independence, the article argues that independence was not a realistic goal and was rather used as a distraction amid internal turmoil. The example of the referendum in the KRI poses questions about the democratic credibility of such referenda, as the population were voting for an unachievable result and the referendum itself became a tool of internal political competition.