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


British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (Volume 46, Issue 5 and Volume 47, Issue 1)

Civil and civic death in the new authoritarianisms: punishment of dissidents through juridical destruction, ethical ruin, and necropolitics in Turkey

By: Seçkin Sertdemir Özdemir, Esra Özyürek

Abstract: Since the Turkish government’s recent turn to authoritarianism, tens of thousands of public dissidents and government critics have been subjected to dismissals and revocation of civic rights via emergency decrees. The victims call this process ‘civil death’. We aim to understand the logic behind this form of punishment in Turkey by examining the differential genealogy of civil death in the work of Hannah Arendt, Bertrand Ogilvie, Giorgio Agamben, and Achille Mbembe. We demonstrate that a later form of civil death was used by totalitarian regimes in a process leading to the reduction of targeted individuals as ‘superfluous’ and as ‘living corpses’ in concentration camps. In these contexts, death became an instrument of biopolitical and necropolitical powers. We propose that although contemporary punishment of public dissidents in Turkey shares some similarities with these forms of civil death, it may more fittingly be identified as civic death. We argue that while civil death is based on the classical political right of the sovereign to ‘make die’ after first reducing targeted individuals to little more than living corpses, civic death is linked to the power of the sovereign to ‘let die’ through the exclusion of public dissidents from economic, social, and political life.

The genesis of the ‘Exceptional’ Republic: the permanency of the political crisis and the constitution of legal emergency power in Turkey

By: Zafer Yılmaz

Abstract: Almost half of the political life has been experienced under the state of emergency and state of siege policies in the Turkish Republic. In spite of such a striking number and continuity in the deployment of legal emergency powers, there are just a few legal and political studies examining the reasons for such permanency in governing practices. To fill this gap, this paper aims to discuss one of the most important sources of the ‘permanent’ political crisis in the country: the historical evolution of legal emergency power. In order to highlight how these policies have intensified the highly fragile citizenship regime by weakening the separation of power, repressing the use of political rights and increasing the discretionary power of both the executive and judiciary authorities, the paper sheds light on the emergence and production of a specific form of legality based on the idea of emergency and the principle of executive prerogative. In that context, it aims to provide a genealogical explanation of the evolution of the exceptional form of the nation-state, which is based on the way political society, representation, and legitimacy have been instituted and accompanying failure of the ruling classes in building hegemony in the country.

Now there is, now there is not: the disappearing silent revolution of AKP as re-entrenchment

By: Kumru Toktamis

Abstract: Based on a continuous and relational understanding of state-formation, as conceptualized by Charles Tilly, and inspired by Gramsci’s formulation of ‘war of position’, AKP regime in Turkey can be identified as a process of (re)-entrenchment. The AKP’s original claim to de-securitize the state–society relationship in Turkey has re-entrenched, re-aligned and re-institutionalized positions of power and democratic participation within the state to overcome the old-guard and establish its own hegemonic rule. The conspicuous disappearance of a booklet from 2013, i.e. the Silent Revolution, that was supposed to be the historical documentation of the AKP’s ambitious original claims from all AKP-related media effectively indicates its abandonment of these goals. This document reveals the contentious (re)entrenchments while the party ascended to power challenging deep-rooted security-oriented positions of the statist nationalism. This ascent to power was indeed a ‘war of position’ during which international opportunities created by the EU were effectively navigated and legislation and executive actions a) pertaining rule of law, human rights and freedoms, administrative accountability and transparency, b) economic and social reforms regarding vulnerable social groups, anti-corruption measures and labour relations, c) de-securitization and civilianization of government agencies and d) issues of Kurdish citizens were utilized as ‘trenches.’

The burden of Sisyphus: a sociological inventory of the Kurdish question in Turkey

By: Bülent Küçük

Abstract: This paper examines the contradictory transformation process the Kurdish movement has been experiencing over the last two decades and discusses its structural paradoxes and political shortcomings from a critical sociological perspective. Based on participant observation and interviews with activist researchers, the paper argues that the moral and ideological unity of the movement is challenged by ever-increasing social and mental divisions that are in turn prompted by forced displacement, rapid urbanization and diversified forms of social and symbolic inequalities within the Kurdish society. The fundamental division is between the emerging educated middle-class subjectivity, which has become the prime intellectual force leading the democratic political institutions, and the socially impoverished and radicalized urban youth, who have been active in contentious politics. This social division manifests within the dual organizational structures of the movement as twin and frequently contradictory dispositions. This schism also prevents the movement from building a much broader popular subjectivity to decolonize the social and political life.

The Alevi question and the limits of citizenship in Turkey

By: Cemil Boyraz

Abstract: The Alevi question in Turkey is not only about a manifestation of the demands for religious freedoms and pluralism but also an issue of citizenship at least for the last three decades. This article argues that as a result of the rise of the Alevi identity and collective capacity of the Alevis to formulate demands in the national and international public spheres, the issue has increasingly turned to a matter of struggle for the long-denied equal citizenship rights of the Alevis in Turkey. Expected failure of workshops process, namely Alevi Opening, during the second term of the Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP) period increasingly brought a sense of the disappointment among the Alevi organizations due to the fact that the issue was not managed with a perspective based on equal citizenship rights but with a discussion on the authenticity and originality of the Alevi demands. Enduring silence for the solution of the Alevi question in the last decade would lead Alevi organizations to the search for the extension of the self-creation of the survival mechanisms without the state support. This paper, within these considerations, is based on the demands of the Alevi society in Turkey and their struggle for the legal recognition, which increasingly challenged the Turkish form of secularism and citizenship regimes today.

Choosing second citizenship in troubled times: the Jewish minority in Turkey

By: Gabriela Anouck Côrte-Real Pinto, Isabel David

Abstract: This article explores the motivations behind the applications for Portuguese citizenship by Turkish Jews since 2015. Based on a qualitative research, the findings highlight that obtaining a second passport does not yet equate emigration. Rather, it constitutes an insurance policy aimed at alleviating growing ontological insecurity, stemming partly from their secular and westernized lifestyle and from their Jewish identity, which are endangered by perceived de-secularisation, growing anti-Semitism and authoritarian trends in Turkey.

The potentials and challenges of left populism in Turkey: the case of the peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP)

By: Muzaffer Kaya

Abstract: In spring 2015, Turkey witnessed the unexpected rise of the HDP, founded by the Kurdish Liberation Movement together with the Turkish radical left, against President Erdoğan’s authoritarian rule. In this article, I will employ contemporary literature on left populism to explain the HDP’s rise as an alternative left hegemonic project against the neoliberal authoritarianism that Erdoğan represents. After discussing the historical context from which the HDP emerged and grew, I will evaluate its discourse and strategies based on a conceptualization of left-wing populism. Lastly, I will discuss the challenges that the HDP confronted after the June 2015 elections and the differences between the Turkish and Western European contexts for a left-wing populist strategy.

The ‘rentier mentality’, 30 years on: evidence from survey data

By: Steffen Hertog

Abstract: The “rentier mentality” has been a key concept in rentier state theory since its development in the 1980s. It predicts that reliance on state patronage breaks the link between effort and reward, leads to low achievement orientation in economic life and makes citizens politically passive. Yet the rentier mentality hypothesis has hardly been empirically tested to date. This paper seeks to fill this gap through an analysis of a range of GCC survey data, including a previously unpublished survey of Saudi citizens’ labour attitudes. A key descriptive finding is that many GCC citizens do indeed evince rentier attitudes when it comes to concrete life choices – but at the same time, a disproportionate share of them claim to be generally in favour of hard work, competition, and a small state. When it comes to politics, levels of interest are unusually high, but are coupled with high levels of loyalty and confidence in government. These results mean that while some aspects of rentier mentality are indeed prevalent, other attitudinal predictions of rentier state theory do not hold up – potentially because rentier states have adapted since the 1980s and used a range of social engineering tools to instil pro-business and patriotic beliefs on an abstract, ideational level.

Can a rentier state evolve to a production state? An ‘institutional upgrading’ approach

By: Makio Yamada

Abstract: Can a rentier state evolve to a production state? This article attempts to answer this question by analysing how historically states evolved to production states and by comparing their experience with today’s Gulf states. Although the Gulf states show some productive traits today, their mode of production largely remains ‘production with rentier characteristics’, that is reliant on oil-driven advantages. Their further economic diversification requires improved governance capabilities that enable their government to enhance human capital. Production states around the world acquired such governance capabilities through ‘institutional upgrading’, a replacement of clientelistic institutions with meritocratic ones. While clientelistic institutions tend to persist, such institutions were significantly reduced in these states through the exit of vested-interest players from major fiscal and organizational spaces. The exit appears to occur when these vested-interest players accept pain-sharing to ensure their protection in the context of the revealed vulnerability of their patron regime and when alternative productive gains are offered to them in lieu of conventional distribution. Presently neither condition is in existence in the Gulf states, which continue to be characterized by their direct and extensive distributional regimes. Without a prospect for immediate governance improvement, a realistic reform possibility lies in agency under institutional constraints.

State religious authorities in rentier economies and the management of independent Islamism

By: Courtney Freer

Abstract: This paper aims to theorize the relationship between religion and rentierism. Existing literature on rentier states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) focuses on the means by which oil rents facilitate economic and political co-optation while failing to address co-optation of the religious sector, which is arguably as important for government maintenance of social and political legitimacy. In this paper, which focuses on the post-2011 era, we assess the existing literature on this topic in order to identify important gaps, before assessing the means and mechanisms, as well as the comparative efficacy, of religious control across the six states of the GCC. We then draw conclusions about the ways in which control of rentier-funded religious institutions reflects the degree of political control exerted by governments in these countries more broadly, as well as how levels of rentier wealth can dictate the level of control over religious life. Specifically, we identify a trend towards greater centralization of control of the religious sphere and of political life in Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with a tendency towards co-optation in Kuwait and Qatar.

‘Reform dissonance’ in the modern rentier state: how are divergent economic agendas affecting state-business relations in Saudi Arabia?

By: Faris Al-Sulayman

Abstract: Large fiscal deficits brought about by the decline in oil prices in late 2014 and long-standing challenges with youth unemployment have been two of the dominant underlying pressures driving economic policy in Saudi Arabia in recent years. In decades past, issues of unemployment were addressed through public sector hiring, but with increasingly limited resources, these old mechanisms are becoming less viable, giving way to a post-distributive policy environment. By exploring the dual pressures being exerted on the state by high levels of unemployment on the one hand and large fiscal deficits on the other, the resulting, seemingly contradictory policy outcomes are identified, examined, and contextualized in this paper. ‘Reform dissonance’ is the term used to describe the complex picture that emerges, where the private sector is confronted with a confusing policy landscape resulting from liberal and statist economic agendas being pursued simultaneously and in the absence of significant coordination. In particular, this chapter argues that this phenomenon of ‘reform dissonance’—contradictory policy outcomes resulting from the lack of coordination between different reform initiatives—is manifested in persisting public sector entitlements, the crowding-out effect by SOEs, and the persisting mismatch between the pace of human capital development and labour nationalization quotas.

Inherent contradictions in the Saudi rentier state: distributive capacity, youth employment preferences, and attitudes to education

By: Mark C. Thompson

Abstract: This paper endeavours to answer several key questions: Firstly, why do many young Saudis have a continued preference for public sector employment over private sector jobs despite the government’s promotion of the private sector as a key pillar of Saudi Vision 2030? Secondly, what are the reasons behind a widespread perception among Saudi undergraduates that the current education system, spanning elementary to high school, does not prepare school pupils for entry into tertiary education? Thirdly, why do young Saudis maintain that the education system frequently fails to prepare them for future jobs or, indeed, does not provide them with adequate opportunities to think about their future jobs? Primary data gathered for this paper demonstrate that there is still a marked preference for public sector employment among young Saudis due to a widespread belief that the public sector offers more ‘job security’. In addition, the paper finds that the failure of the education system to prepare young nationals for entry into the labour market is considered to be particularly true for private sector employment.

Sovereign risk: Gulf sovereign wealth funds as engines of growth and political resource

By: Karen E. Young

Abstract: The economic reform agenda moving across the Gulf Cooperation Council states precipitated by the end of a decade-long run of high oil prices, high population growth rates, and costly demands on the provision of generous state services and subsidies has had some unexpected consequences. The reformulation of state-society relations, especially with regard to ideas of how to create economic growth and how to model a future social contract, challenges the accepted literature and construct of rentierism. This essay focuses on one distinctive site of these shifting relations between rentier states and their citizens: the sovereign wealth fund (SWF). SWFs are based upon the shared rents from oil production, but as they have evolved they are also becoming transformative in new national development strategies. Some SWFs now veer from traditional practices of safeguarding wealth to more experimental and high-risk strategies that claim to be able to diversify national economies from oil dependency, while also promising high returns. The current moment of late rentierism heightens questions of ownership and of the state’s role as guardian or steward of society’s wealth. Using SWFs to examine state-society relations and rentierism across the Gulf, this article focuses on the Saudi case.

Climate action versus inaction: balancing the costs for Gulf energy exporters

By: Jim Krane

Abstract: Climate change poses a strategic dilemma for oil-exporting states of the Gulf. By sapping global demand for crude oil, climate action threatens the economic rents that underpin their governance and regime legitimacy. However, the Gulf states are also among the countries most exposed to physical risks of a warming climate and thus would benefit most from reducing ongoing accumulations of carbon in the atmosphere and associated adaptation costs. In other words, the political and economic risks of climate action run counter to the physical and environmental risks. These bifurcated interests differentiate the Gulf producers from oil exporters in more temperate regions, which would experience milder short-run damage—or even benefits—from a warming climate. A successful economic diversification strategy could address both physical and economic risks but would require structural changes in rentier governance.

Re-conceptualizing civil society in rentier states

By: Jessie Moritz

Abstract: Civil society is typically understood as weak or irrelevant in Gulf rentier states, the assumption being that rent-derived wealth allows the state to co-opt or repress associational life. However, for all these claims about the relationship between rents and civil society, rentier state theory relies on a number of assumptions regarding the nature of civil society itself, specifically that civil society is, by definition, independent of the state, formal and public in organization, and pro-democratic in orientation. This article examines where relaxation of these assumptions allows us to better understand the political activities of civil society groups in Gulf rentier states, even as co-optative and repressive governance tactics continue to limit space for political activity. Instead of focusing on traditional forms of civil society, we should instead search for those parts of Gulf society that fulfil the function of civil society in terms of societal entities that act collectively to pursue a political purpose (including both engagement with the state over policy matters and debates on moral and social societal norms).

Contemporary Arab Affairs
 (Volume 12, Issue 4)

Identity and Regional Conflicts in the Arabian Gulf

By: Baqer Al-Najjar

Abstract: This article discusses the complex issue of identity and citizenship in the Arab Gulf, while alluding to the wider context of societies and their challenges. It argues that despite the significant changes Gulf societies have undergone, identity still plays a determining role at both the individual and communal levels.

Is there a Conflict between Security and Democracy in Morocco?

By: Ahmed El Morabety

Abstract: This article explores the relationship between security and democracy in Morocco. It discusses the state’s behavior towards the popular uprisings, how it responds to the social movements demands, and how it manages the security unrests. Throughout, the discussion throws a light on the democratization process of the security sector, in particular, and on the trajectory of democratic transition in the kingdom, in general.

TV Exposure and North Sinai Youth’s Tribal Identity, National Identity, and Risk Perception

By: Alyaa Anter

Abstract: Based on social identity theory (SIT) and risk perception theory, this study examines the ways in which North Sinai youth’s tribal and national identities are affected by television (TV) exposure, risk perception, and TV bias perception. The findings from a survey of youth in North Sinai demonstrate a significant relationship between exposure to Egyptian TV and tribal identity. Moreover, TV bias perception predicts youth’s tribal identity and risk perception. The study concludes that TV exposure does not affect Sinai youth’s national identity and risk perception, but increases tribal identity.

Mobilization of Moroccan Women: The Dialectics of Conflict and Empowerment

By: Al Habib Estati Zeineldin, Saeed Chekak

Abstract: This article draws on the experience gained and the lessons learned during and after the Arab Spring protest movements that called for economic, social, and political change. It raises the issue of the role Moroccan women played in these movements. In attempting to address this issue, the article relies essentially on bibliographical information and data derived from studies and writings that dealt with the feminist struggle in Morocco as a whole. It suffers from the lack of openness to a sociological approach or a political viewpoint in Arab and foreign scientific productions concerned with the struggles of women in Arab or Maghreb countries. In parallel, the study uses ethnographic research discerningly, since accurate and sufficient information available on the local protest movements has not received the necessary follow-up and definition. The article first monitors the shift in the dynamics of women’s protests and focuses on the persistent manifestations within them; it also considers the motives that contribute to the growth of this dynamic while stressing the extent of women’s participation in the February 20 Movement and in rural areas. It then identifies the results and extensions of this participation in relation to the requirements of empowerment. Finally, it discusses the problem of development and democracy that prevent women from achieving the desired change in the short term.

The Dynamics of Egypt’s “Semi-opposition,” 2004–11

By: Mai Mogib Mosad

Abstract: This paper maps the basic opposition groups that influenced the Egyptian political system in the last years of Hosni Mubarak’s rule. It approaches the nature of the relationship between the system and the opposition through use of the concept of “semi-opposition.” An examination and evaluation of the opposition groups shows the extent to which the regime—in order to appear that it was opening the public sphere to the opposition—had channels of communication with the Muslim Brotherhood. The paper also shows the system’s relations with other groups, such as “Kifaya” and “April 6”; it then explains the reasons behind the success of the Muslim Brotherhood at seizing power after the ousting of President Mubarak.

The Frankfurt School at Egyptian Universities: Critical Observations

By: Haggag Ali

Abstract: The critical theory of the Frankfurt School reached Egypt in 1955, when the Arabic translation of Erich Fromm’s The Sane Society (New York, 1955) was published in Cairo. Later, Herbert Marcuse’s Soviet Marxism (1958) was translated into Arabic in Beirut in 1965, and with the rise of student protests in France, Germany, and the United States, much attention was given to Marcuse; almost all his writings were translated into Arabic between 1969 and 1973. This article explores the nature of individual “receptions” of the critical theory of the Frankfurt School at Egyptian universities. To this end, it briefly introduces the early generation of the Frankfurt School, as well as the reasons of interest in its fate in Egyptian universities. Though master’s theses and doctoral dissertations do not represent a university’s orientation to critical theory, and at best represent the perspective of their individual authors, this article shows that key individual theses and dissertations testify to an early rejection of the Frankfurt School and to the late adoption of it as a critical paradigm of the transformations in Egyptian society.

Fudging the Boundaries between Concept(s) of Race, Class, and Religion: The Two Cases of Donald Trump and Lothrop Stoddard

By: Mahmoud Haddad

Abstract: For some time in the past century, the issue of racism emphasized color or race. However, it included religion in many cases. This attitude, which has subsided for some time, is making a strong comeback in many countries, foremost among them the United States, the world’s principal superpower. This study comments on the current racial ideas and compares them with ideas of a similar nature that were prevalent in the early twentieth century. It focuses on comparing the thinking of US President Donald Trump today with that of Lothrop Stoddard, known for his interest in the Muslim world, around the time of World War I and immediately after it.

Geoeconomic Leverage of Natural Gas Resources in the Mediterranean: The Case of Israel

By: Ahmed Mahdi

Abstract: This article examines the claim that Israel’s natural gas exports from its Mediterranean gas fields will give geopolitical leverage to Tel Aviv over the importing countries. Using the geoeconomic tradition of Klaus Knorr and others who wrote about applying leverage using economic resources to gain geopolitical advantage, it is argued that certain criteria have to be satisfied for economic influence attempts, and that Israel’s gas exports do not satisfy these criteria. They include the importer’s supply vulnerability, the supplier’s demand vulnerability, and the salience of energy as an issue between both countries. Israeli gas exports to Egypt are used as a case study.

International Journal of Middle East Studies
 (Volume 52, Issue 1)

Beyond the Nation-State: A Network Analysis of Jewish Emigration from Northern Morocco to Israel

By: Aviad Moreno

Abstract: The post-1948 mass migration of Jews from Arab Muslim countries to Israel is widely seen by scholars as a direct result of decolonization and rising nationalism across the Middle East and North Africa, coupled with the emigration and immigration policies of regional powers. In this article I draw on local histories of northern Morocco to critique the existing literature. I apply new methods to reconceptualize that migratory experience as shaped by social and cultural processes, albeit ones that interacted with nationalist state policies. I provide a multilayered macro- and microanalysis of the process of Jewish emigration from northern Morocco and point to the transregional, interpersonal, communal, and institutional networks that jointly shaped the dynamic character and pace of migration to Israel (and to Europe and the Americas) among local Jews.

The Sounds of Nationalism: Music, Moroccanism, and the Making of Samy Elmaghribi

By: Christopher Silver

Abstract: Samy Elmaghribi was a mid-twentieth century Moroccan superstar. From his debut in 1948 through his professional zenith in 1956, the Jewish musician was a ubiquitous presence on radio and in concert. His popularity owed to his pioneering of modern Moroccan music and to his performance of Moroccan nationalism through song and on stage. Elmaghribi’s brand of anti-colonial nationalism, however, was not that of any particular political party. Instead, he espoused what might be termed, “Moroccanism,” a territorial nationalism that placed Sultan Mohamed ben Youssef at its center. Like Elmaghribi, it enjoyed widespread support. This study demonstrates that a focus on musical culture gives voice to mainstream forms of Moroccan nationalism that have received little scholarly attention to date. It also points to the active participation of Jews in postwar MENA societies. Finally, this article reconsiders the dynamics of decolonization through study of Elmaghribi’s career, which spanned colony and independent nation.

“it’s Too Much!”: Victims of Gender-Based Violence Encounter the Moroccan State

By: Katja Žvan Elliott

Abstract: By using the narrative approach and linking it to feminist research ethics and critical race methodology, this article seeks to understand how non-literacy and poverty hinder low-income women’s access to justice and how these women experience the Moroccan state. The state here acts as an oppressive and marginalizing entity in women’s lives, but also offers the potential for empowerment. This ethnographic study tells the stories of three victims of gender-based violence to demonstrate that the state needs to (1) set up an efficient and responsive infrastructure for those lacking know-how and money; (2) institute proper training of state agents for implementation of laws and to prevent them from acting on personal opinions and attitudes with regard to women’s rights; and (3) strengthen procedures so that state agents can respond expeditiously to the needs and grievances of citizens.

Emasculating Humor from Algeria’s Dark Decade, 1991–2002

By: Elizabeth M. Perego

Abstract: This paper explores shifting notions of Algerian masculinities during the Dark Decade (approximately 1991–2002) as articulated through humor. Both in the period leading up to and during conflict, Algerian cartoonists and joke tellers played with socially accepted norms concerning male behavior. In the armed struggle, however, comedy reflected how the terrifying and random violence that characterized the conflict may have disturbed local gender relations and definitions. The conflict prevented men from practicing masculinity in preestablished ways, most notably through the protection of self, family, and community. The present article contributes to the broader literature on gender during the armed struggle as well as in the Middle East and North Africa more widely, to argue that humor, a critically under-considered aspect of the cultural lives of Algerians and men across the region, provided civilians with space to navigate changes in gender issues brought about by the harrowing circumstances of the Dark Decade.

Palestinian Doctors Under the British Mandate: The Formation of a Profession

By: Liat Kozma, Yoni Furas

Abstract: During the final years of Ottoman rule and the three decades of British rule, Palestine witnessed the emergence of a community of professionally trained Palestinian Arab doctors. This study traces the evolution of the medical profession in Palestine against the background of the shifting cultural and symbolic capital of an expanding urban middle class and the educational possibilities that enabled this development. Palestinian Arab doctors are examined through a number of interconnected prisms: their activity in social, political, and professional regional networks, their modus operandi under British colonial rule, their response to Zionism and its accompanying influx of immigrant Jewish doctors, and their ability to mobilize collectively under a shared national vision.

A Transregional Persianate Library: The Production and Circulation of Tadhkiras of Persian Poets in the 18th and 19th Centuries

By: Kevin L. Schwartz

Abstract: The tadhkira (biographical anthology) represents one of the most prolific and prevalent categories of texts produced in Islamicate societies, yet few studies have sought to understand the larger processes that governed their production and circulation on a transregional basis. This article examines and maps the production, circulation, and citation networks of tadhkiras of Persian poets in the 18th and 19th centuries. It understands tadhkiras of Persian poets as a transregional library that served as a repository of accessible and circulating texts meant to be incorporated, reworked, and repackaged by a cadre of authors separated by space and time. By relying on a macroanalytical approach, quantifiable data, and digital mapping, this article highlights the overall construction of the transregional library itself, the impact of state disintegration and formation on its constitution, and the different ways authors on opposite ends of the Persianate world came to view this library by the end of the 19th century.

Iranian Studies
 (Volume 53, Issue 1-2)

Qalʿeh-ye Mehrab Khan: The First Leprosarium in Iran

By: Willem Floor

Abstract:  Before discussing the establishment and functioning of the first real leprosarium in Iran, a brief explanation is given of the pathology of leprosy, the various names are listed under which it was known in Persian, and the earliest archeological evidence of its occurrence is presented. Also, societal behavior in Imperial Iran towards lepers is highlighted, while reference is made to the earliest medical descriptions of leprosy in Persian. Little is known about the occurrence of leprosy in Iran over the centuries, as evidenced by the lack of knowledge about its prevalence among medical practitioners and institutions in Iran, even as late as the 1920s. Although segregated villages with lepers existed prior to 1926, it was only as of then that the Mehrab Khan village became the first true Iranian leprosarium, when regular institutional medical treatment was offered by American missionary physicians. The funding agencies, medical personnel and treatment, the living environment of lepers and their numbers in Mehrab Khan are discussed as well as how its population size and status changed over time, and how it was transformed into a structural component of public medical care. Finally and briefly, the establishment and functioning of two other Iranian leprosaria is discussed as well as the slow but sure disappearance of the disease in Iran.

Sanitized Modernity: Rural Public Health in Mid-Twentieth Century Khuzestan

By: Bryan Sitzes

Abstract: Existing histories of public health in Iran often center on elite or urban narratives. This paper shifts the focus to Iran’s villages by examining the twentieth century public health history of rural northern Khuzestan. It argues that Khuzestani villagers desired, rather than resisted, modern medical services. However, vertical decision-making and the prioritization given by public health planners to economic concerns over social well-being led to the uneven distribution of services and failure to fulfill the expectations of Khuzestan’s villagers. This paper uses memoirs, official reports, correspondence, and other records from the Development & Resources Corporation, along with reports from Iran’s Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health, to bring a richer picture of Iranian villagers’ twentieth century history into focus.

Iran–US Public Health Cooperative Organization (PHCO): Education, Healthcare, and Health Services in the Southwest of Iran (Fars), 1950–60

By: Soleyman Heidari

Abstract: Fars is among the largest provinces of Iran that received the most technical assistance from the American economic delegation in the 1950s. After settling in the province and during ten years of activity, the American delegation provided technical assistance in the fields of health engineering, health education, preventive medicine, nursing, medical services, and medical education. This paper explains how the technical assistance of US personnel contributed to the general health of the Fars province. The findings of this research show that after the formation of the Public Health Cooperative Organization (PHCO) in 1950, not only did most of the cities and villages of this province began to enjoy safe drinking water, but also public health improved. Additionally, the birth of children with disabilities and the spread of infectious diseases such as malaria and trachoma declined by means of preventive medicine centers and health education.

The Integration of Mental Health Care in Rural Iran

By: Alex Keivahn Smith

Abstract: Iran’s rural mental health care system emerged in a context that included experiments in health care prior to the 1979 Revolution and the establishment of a primary health care (PHC) system after the Revolution. Beginning in the 1980s, Iran integrated mental health care into the existing PHC system by treating mental illness much like a communicable disease. Iran advanced treatment options compatible with the existing system, added new training for existing care providers, and incorporated specialists. The integration of mental health care led to the rapid improvement of health outcomes. The integration also created the unintended consequence of privileging pharmaceutical treatments and overlooking mental illnesses affected by somatization.

The Journey of Infertility from Private Sphere to Public Domain: From Cosmetic Surgery to Disability

By: Soraya Tremayne

Abstract: This study explores the process by which the treatment of infertility, which has been in the hands of the private sector, has been taken over by the state as a matter of public health. It argues that this shift stems from the pro-natalist policies of the state to help increase the population. Infertility treatment, using assisted reproductive technologies and its legitimization by the Islamic jurists, is used as a lens through which to examine the state’s body politic. The frequent reversals of policies, since the late nineteenth century to the present, are shown to be directly linked with the nation-building goals of the state, expecting the citizens to readjust their reproductive behavior to meet the state’s policies.

Performing Trans in Post-Revolutionary Iran: Gender Transitions in Islamic Law, Theatre, and Film

By: Emily O’Dell

Abstract: In the wake of a string of sensationalist documentaries about transsexuality in Iran, Iranian theatre and film artists began crafting groundbreaking trans performances to educate audiences and depict characters living non-heteronormative lives without the translating influence of queer theory or identity politics. Investigating transsexual bodies as assembled by jurists in Iranian Shiʿa jurisprudence and by artists on stage and screen reveals the ways in which the transsexual body is constructed in Islamic legal discourse and represented in narrative and bodily form in the public imaginary in Iran. Representations of transsexuality in theatre and film highlight the role of the arts as a vehicle for social change, communal recognition, and self-cognition. In particular, performances of female-to-male gender transitions in theatre and film have expanded the boundaries of how gender presentation is translated onto Iranian stages, into Tehran coffeehouses, and onto global screens. These trans performances usher Iranian spectators into new forms of viewership and artistic consumption in their attempt to creatively represent transsexual bodies and narratives to increase tolerance towards transsexuals; further, they have ignited a conversation among artists and activists about the assemblage of transsexual bodies in artistic productions and the most effective narrative and emotional forms of catharsis to inspire change.

Middle East Law and Governance
 (Volume 11, Issue 3)

Sectarian Games: Sovereign Power, War Machines and Regional Order in the Middle East

By: Simon Mabon

Abstract: Amidst violent contestation across the Middle East leaving regimes facing – or fearing – popular protests, the regulation of political life became increasingly important. Across the past century, the development of political projects has been driven by regime efforts to maintain power, constructing regime-society relations in such a way to ensure their survival. As a consequence, security is not given; rather, it reflects the concerns of elites and embeds their concerns within society, using a range of domestic, regional and geopolitical strategies to meet their needs. These strategies play on a range of different fears and currents to locate regime interests within broader concerns. A key part of such efforts involves the cultivation and suppression of particular identities, often resulting in contestation and uncertainty within and between states. Drawing on the ideas of Giorgio Agamben, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, the article argues that the regulation of sect-based identities – and difference – has been a key part of governance strategies in divided societies across the Middle East, albeit varying across time and space.

The Radical Nation-State and Contemporary Extremism

By: Masaki Nagata

Abstract: In recent years Muslim extremist groups have sought to establish a contemporary Islamic caliphate. Such groups have not historically sought to establish such a territory; this form of sovereignty did not exist in the Prophet’s time, and is quite unlike the traditional Islamic model or that practiced by the Prophet in Medina. Moreover, this ideal state incorporates elements of the modern, sovereign nation-state. It is ironic that, although such groups criticize Western systems and laws, their concept of ‘the state’ derives from the very European ideology that they so violently oppose. This paper examines how notions of modern statehood have influenced the ideologies of state and law espoused by contemporary extremist groups.

The ‘Islamic’ Deployed: The Study of Islam in Four Registers

By: Anver M. Emon

Abstract: This Fieldnote challenges scholars of Islam and Muslims to consider how the production of knowledge on Islam and Muslims has long been, and continues to be, intimately associated with projects of governance, whether by the modern state or premodern regime. The present is simply a particularly robust historical period during which, wherever one might stand on the political spectrum, the study of Islam is undertaken in the shadow of the state—a disaggregated project of law and justice, border control, national security, and regulation. This Fieldnote recasts Islam and Muslim in an adjectival sense—‘Islamic’ and ‘Muslim’—in order to highlight their variability in relation to the purposes for which they are deployed. To better understand the dynamics by which the ‘Islamic’ is deployed for purposes of state projects, this Fieldnote outlines four registers of analysis—time, space, scale, and rhetoric—to inspire new research on the production of knowledge in the academic study of Islam and Muslims today.

Middle East Quarterly
 (Volume 27, Issue 1)

Why Russia Wants Lebanon

By: Grigory Melamedov

Abstract: Not available

Packaging the Jew in Egypt’s Mass Media

By: Sariel Birnbaum

Abstract: Not available

American Islamism Flourishes under Trump

By: Sam Westrop

Abstract: Not available

Persian Cultural Nostalgia as Political Dissent

By: Sarah Katz

Abstract: Not available

Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture
 (Volume 24, Issue 3 & 4)

Germany and Israel: Changing Dynamics of a Complex Relationship

By: Alexandra Senfft

Abstract: Not available

Germany’s Choice: Balanced Injustice or Bias Toward International Law

By: Nabeel Kassis

Abstract: Not available

The Holocaust and the Nakba: Memory, National Identity and Jewish-Arab Partnership

By: Alon Confino

Abstract: Not available

Germany, Israel, Palestine: An Edgy Triangular Relationship

By: Raif Hussein

Abstract: Not available

Putting the Controversy About BDS in Germany into Perspective

By: Muriel Asseburg

Abstract: Not available

Israel – Germany – Palestine

By: Moshe Zuckermann

Abstract: Not available

The Role of German Political Foundations in Israel and the Palestinian Territory

By: Katharina Konarek

Abstract: Not available

A Personal Perspective on Germany’s Role toward a Resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

By: Bernard Sabella

Abstract: Not available

Israeli-German-Palestinian Peacebuilding in an Age of Ignorance and Apathy

By: Julia Chaitin

Abstract: Not available

Israel-Germany-Palestine: A “Two-Sided Triangle?”

By: Mohammed Abu-Zaid

Abstract: Not available

The EU: A Lesson for Israelis and Palestinians?

By: Elie Barnavi

Abstract: Not available

The (West) German Perspective on Israel: A History of Projection

By: Marianne Zepp

Abstract: Not available

MEPP Mediation in the 21st Century

By: Dalal Iriqat

Abstract: Not available

An Israeli’s Thoughts About Germans and Palestinians

By: Hillel Schenker

Abstract: Not available

Pragmatic and Ideological Aspects of GDR Policies in the Middle East

By: Angelika Timm

Abstract: Not available

Reconciliation in the Middle of Conflict: An Approach to the Israeli-PalestinianConflict

By: Martin Leiner, Iyad Muhsen Sulieman AlDajani

Abstract: Not available

The Impact of German Youth Tours on Attitudes Toward the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

By: Yoni Ayalon, Izhak Schnell

Abstract: Not available

What About Israel? – The Pivotal Question of the German Political Periphery

By: Tobias Grießbach

Abstract: Not available

The Israeli “Diaspora” in Germany: One of a Kind

By: Dani Kranz

Abstract: Not available

The Palestinian Diaspora in Germany

By: Nora Jasmin Ragab, Katharina Koch

Abstract: Not available

Working Through the Triangle: Political Education Against Anti-Semitism Through the Prism of Israel, Palestine, and Germany

By: Amina Nolte

Abstract: Not available

Generation and Narration in Research and Experience: Impressions from the Trilateral Research Project “1967 and After”

By: Regina F. Bendix

Abstract: Not available

So Far Yet So Close – Israel/Palestine in the Photo Album

By: Felix x Felix Koltermann

Abstract: Not available