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



American Anthropologist (Volume 122, Issue 2)

Researchers’ Vulnerability: The Politics of Research in Official Clinical Settings in Turkey

By: Başak Can

Abstract: Not available


American Journal of Political Science (Volume 64, Issue 3)

Can Terrorism Abroad Influence Migration Attitudes at Home

By: Tobias Böhmelt, Vincenzo Bove, Enzo Nussio

Abstract: This article demonstrates that public opinion on migration “at home” is systematically driven by terrorism in other countries. Although there is little substantive evidence linking refugees or migrants to most recent terror attacks in Europe, news about terrorist attacks can trigger more negative views of immigrants. However, the spatial dynamics of this process are neglected in existing research. We argue that feelings of imminent danger and a more salient perception of migration threats do not stop at national borders. The empirical results based on spatial econometrics and data on all terrorist attacks in Europe for the post‐9/11 period support these claims. The effect of terrorism on migration concern is strongly present within a country but also diffuses across states in Europe. This finding improves our understanding of public opinion on migration, as well as the spillover effects of terrorism, and it highlights crucial lessons for scholars interested in the security implications of population movements.

Repression Technology: Internet Accessibility and State Violence

By: Anita R. Gohdes

Abstract: This article offers a first subnational analysis of the relationship between states’ dynamic control of Internet access and their use of violent repression. I argue that where governments provide Internet access, surveillance of digital information exchange can provide intelligence that enables the use of more targeted forms of repression, in particular in areas not fully controlled by the regime. Increasing restrictions on Internet accessibility can impede opposition organization, but they limit access to information on precise targets, resulting in an increase in untargeted repression. I present new data on killings in the Syrian conflict that distinguish between targeted and untargeted events, using supervised text classification. I find that higher levels of Internet accessibility are associated with increases in targeted repression, whereas areas with limited access experience more indiscriminate campaigns of violence. The results offer important implications on how governments incorporate the selective access to communication technology into their strategies of coercion.

American Political Science Review (Volume 114, Issue 3)

Political Secularism and Muslim Integration in the West: Assessing the Effects of the French Headscarf Ban

By: Aala Abdelgadir, Vasiliki Fouka

Abstract: In response to rising immigration flows and the fear of Islamic radicalization, several Western countries have enacted policies to restrict religious expression and emphasize secularism and Western values. Despite intense public debate, there is little systematic evidence on how such policies influence the behavior of the religious minorities they target. In this paper, we use rich quantitative and qualitative data to evaluate the effects of the 2004 French headscarf ban on the socioeconomic integration of French Muslim women. We find that the law reduces the secondary educational attainment of Muslim girls and affects their trajectory in the labor market and family composition in the long run. We provide evidence that the ban operates through increased perceptions of discrimination and that it strengthens both national and religious identities.

#No2Sectarianism: Experimental Approaches to Reducing Sectarian Hate Speech Online

By: Alexandra A. Siegel, Vivienne Badaan

Abstract: We use an experiment across the Arab Twittersphere and a nationally representative survey experiment in Lebanon to evaluate what types of counter-speech interventions are most effective in reducing sectarian hate speech online. We explore whether and to what extent messages priming common national identity or common religious identity, with and without elite endorsements, decrease the use of hostile anti-outgroup language. We find that elite-endorsed messages that prime common religious identity are the most consistently effective in reducing the spread of sectarian hate speech. Our results provide suggestive evidence that religious elites may play an important role as social referents—alerting individuals to social norms of acceptable behavior. By randomly assigning counter-speech treatments to actual producers of online hate speech and experimentally evaluating the effectiveness of these messages on a representative sample of citizens that might be incidentally exposed to such language, this work offers insights for researchers and policymakers on avenues for combating harmful rhetoric on and offline.


British Journal of Political Science (Volume 50, Issue 3)

What is Islamophobia? Disentangling Citizens’ Feelings Toward Ethnicity, Religion and Religiosity Using a Survey Experiment

By: Marc Helbling, Richard Traunmüller

Abstract: What citizens think about Muslim immigrants has important implications for some of the most pressing challenges facing Western democracies. To advance contemporary understanding of what ‘Islamophobia’ really is – for example, whether it is a dislike based on immigrants’ ethnic background, religious identity or specific religious behaviors – this study fielded a representative online survey experiment in the UK in summer 2015. The results suggest that Muslim immigrants are not per se viewed more negatively than Christian immigrants. Instead, the study finds evidence that citizens’ uneasiness with Muslim immigration is first and foremost the result of a rejection of fundamentalist forms of religiosity. This suggests that common explanations, which are based on simple dichotomies between liberal supporters and conservative critics of immigration, need to be re-evaluated. While the politically left and culturally liberal have more positive attitudes toward immigrants than right-leaning individuals and conservatives, they are also far more critical of religious groups. The study concludes that a large part of the current political controversy over Muslim immigration is related to this double opposition: it is less about immigrants versus natives or even Muslim versus Christians than about political liberalism versus religious fundamentalism.

Launching Revolution: Social Media and the Egyptian Uprising’s First Movers

By: Killian Clarke, Korhan Kocak

Abstract: Drawing on evidence from the 2011 Egyptian uprising, this article demonstrates how the use of two social media platforms – Facebook and Twitter – contributed to a discrete mobilizational outcome: the staging of a successful first protest in a revolutionary cascade, referred to here as ‘first-mover mobilization’. Specifically, it argues that these two platforms facilitated the staging of a large, nationwide and seemingly leaderless protest on 25 January 2011, which signaled to hesitant but sympathetic Egyptians that a revolution might be in the making. It draws on qualitative and quantitative evidence, including interviews, social media data and surveys, to analyze three mechanisms that linked these platforms to the success of the January 25 protest: (1) protester recruitment, (2) protest planning and coordination, and (3) live updating about protest logistics. The article not only contributes to debates about the role of the Internet in the Arab Spring and other recent waves of mobilization, but also demonstrates how scholarship on the Internet in politics might move toward making more discrete, empirically grounded causal claims.


Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (Volume 40, Issue 2)

States of Exception and Their Targets: Racialized Groups, Activists, and the Civilian Population

By: Vanessa Codaccioni

Abstract: The article deals with the history of state exception in France since the Algerian War. From this point of view, what is happening in France falls into two overlapping genealogies of exception: a colonial genealogy of exceptionalist logics, in which Algeria plays a central part; and a more metropolitan genealogy of political repression that could be traced back to the monarchy. The author thus divides her remarks into three sections. First, she addresses the double genealogy of exception in France; second, the discriminatory character of the exception; and last, the normalization of exception.

Reading Agamben from Algiers: The Racial Metonymy of Permanent Exception

By: Sarah Ghabrial

Abstract: This essay addresses the question of how colonial histories might be “written back” into genealogies of exception. Its central premise is that exception insinuates itself into and finally supplants the norm from margins (symbolic, racial, and cartographic) to centers, and so this path and its archival traces must be charted in this direction. In the first half of this essay, this question is directed through discussion of Giorgio Agamben’s work on exception. The second half proposes colonial legal history, and more specifically the French-colonial period in Algeria, as terrain in which these questions could be fruitfully pursued. This discussion is primarily based on the example of the so-called Native Repressive Tribunals (1902–31), institutions of exception designed specifically for the swift trial and easy detention of Algerian Muslims. I argue that the creation of the TRIs is particularly emblematic of the racial logics through which exception is normalized and its lifespan extended in perpetuity.

Terrorism Prosecutions, Material Support, and Islamophobia

By: Wadie E. Said

Abstract: With Islamophobia rife and the government list of foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) telling us who is a threat, marginalized populations are being targeted and can expect a hostile and negative prosecutorial outcome. The large majority of terrorism prosecutions center on material support charges, which by their very structure concentrate on FTOs that are largely Islamist in ideology. Attaching a terrorist taint to a population based on its religious affiliation generates a kind of self-perpetuating law enforcement bias and prosecutorial outcome. Such police state tactics and assumptions only assure the adverse results of insisting that an exceptional status applies to those accused of terrorist activity or support for it. That, in the government’s eyes, those individuals stem from one of the major monotheistic faiths in large part, seems to be a foregone conclusion that continues to affect the law’s development in largely negative ways.

Current Legacies of Colonial Violence and Racialization in Tunisia

By: Benoît Challand

Abstract: The article argues that the social life of racialization in Tunisia can be traced back to colonial norms and that one cannot speak of racialization in isolation of class differentials, elements that arose historically with the spread of the tandem colonialism-capitalism in North Africa. From a direct form of racialized violence leaving Muslim Tunisians on the low end of the colonial social ladder of worth, salaries, and the right to life, one moved to a more symbolic form of violence, with the south of the country quasi-racialized as less valuable than the urban coastal areas around Tunis and the Sahel in contemporary Tunisia. In a polity that reached independence more than six decades ago, one can witness the perpetuation of a north-south divide that dates back to the colonial times; but a historical reading of racialized brutality can help us recognize a distinct tradition of activism, in particular trade union activism around the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) and protests in the southern part of the country, such as the one that led to the ousting of dictator Ben Ali in 2011. Through a discussion of diachronic forms of racialization, the article suggests that Giorgio Agamben’s focus on juridical issues of exception is partly misleading, for many forms of exception arise outside of the realm of emergency.

The Lex Mercatoria Maritima: An Abridgement of the Jurisprudential Principles of the Early Islamic Maritime Qirad

By: Hassan S. Khalilieh

Abstract: This essay demonstrates how maritime qirad, as conducted in the Muslim world prior to the emergence of the Italian communes, influenced the lex mercatoria maritima. It contends that the medieval Latin accomendatio (commenda) likely owes its inception to the qirad/mudaraba institution, already prevalent in pre-Islamic Arabia, contrary to the commonly believed theory that it is rooted to the Byzantine chreokoinonia, comprised by article III:17 of the Nomos Rhodion Nautikos. On the eve of the European Commercial Revolution, through trade between the Christian north and the Islamic south, qirad practices and techniques were further developed from the pre-Islamic period and incorporated into Islamic legal digests, as well as transformed by non-Muslim merchants’ guilds and societies. Legal principles and practices governing maritime qirad appear to have been uniform and universally accepted by jurists across the Islamic Mediterranean and beyond, as evinced by the early tenth-century CE treatise Kitab Akriyat al-Sufun, as well as earlier jurisprudential queries.

1927: How Seismology Received Islamic Theology

By: Samera Esmeir

Abstract: At the turn of the sixteenth century, Egyptian polymath Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti compiled a study about earthquakes he titled Kashf al-salsala ‘an wasf al-zalzala (Revealing the Chain of Echoes/Meaning in the Description of Earthquakes; shortened to Zalzala). Arguing that they constituted divine signs, al-Suyuti chronicled 130 earthquakes that occurred in the Muslim world. Curiously, Zalzala reemerged more than three centuries later in the modern world of colonial expansions. In the aftermath of the 1927 earthquake in Palestine, American seismologist and Stanford professor Bailey Willis would make use of Zalzala for his authoritative “Earthquakes in the Holy Land.” The chronological sections of Zalzala would become indispensable for future seismological scholarship. This article tracks Zalzala’s journey into seismology. Seismology’s reception of Zalzala was possible by splitting it into two parts (theological and factual), receiving the factual and bracketing the theological, and by converting Zalzala from a chronology of horrors to a catalog of normal quakes of a unified seismic earth. This splitting was at odds with Zalzala’s own structure, which joined the two dimensions. Consequently, signs of divinity persisted in seismic factuality, engendering a seismological-theological hybrid. This hybrid tells of the enduring difficulty seismology faces in transforming the earthquake-disaster into a seismological object. It also tells of the persistence of wonder and the enduring relevance of ethical reflection.

Specters and Circulation of Meaning: Edebiyat-ı Cedide on Modern Literary Language

By: Monica Katiboğlu

Abstract: As an innovative literary movement marked by intensified transaction with European languages and literatures, Edebiyat-ı Cedide (“New Literature,” 1896–1901) has been conceptualized in terms of European influence. Yet paradigms of influence neglect to account for the ways in which Edebiyat-ı Cedide authors come to terms with the asymmetrical relations of power between languages as they articulate their own vision of a modern Ottoman language comparable to European languages in an earlier moment of global modernization. I argue that Edebiyat-ı Cedide’s engagement with language exposes the ways in which they deal not only with the specter of the European linguistic other as a referent of superiority, but also with the specter of Arabic and Persian as intimate linguistic others. Within the broader context of Ottoman linguistic modernization of the nineteenth century, I examine the ways in which Edebiyat-ı Cedide forges a comparable language and the tensions involved therein.

A New Shahrazad: The Travel Writings of Mahmooda Rizvia between India and Iraq during World War II

By: Andrew Amstutz

Abstract: In 1945, Mahmooda Rizvia, a prominent Urdu author from Sindh, published a travel account of her journey across the Arabian Sea from British India to Iraq during World War II. In her travel account, Rizvia conceptualized the declining British Empire as a dynamic space for Muslim renewal that connected India to the Middle East. Moreover, she fashioned a singular autobiographical persona as an Urdu literary pioneer and woman traveler in the Muslim lands of the British Empire. In her writings, Rizvia focused on her distinctive observations of the ocean, the history of the Ottoman Empire, and her home province of Sindh’s location as a historical nexus between South Asia and the Middle East. In contrast to the expectations of modesty and de-emphasis on the self in many Muslim women’s autobiographical narratives in the colonial era, Rizvia fashioned a pious, yet unapologetically self-promotional, autobiographical persona. In conversation with recent scholarship on Muslim cosmopolitanism, women’s autobiographical writing, and travel literature, this article points to the development of an influential project of Muslim cosmopolitanism in late colonial Sindh that blurred the lines between British imperialism, pan-Islamic ambitions, and nationalism during the closing days of World War II.

Novel Anxieties: An Ottoman Counter-discourse on Time and Space

By: Beyza Lorenz

Abstract: Building on recent scholarship on postcolonial theory and the history of the modern Middle East, this article analyzes the viewpoints of late nineteenth-century Ottoman novelists on the modernization projects of the Tanzimat and post-Tanzimat periods. It argues that the Ottoman novelists Ahmet Midhat, Fatma Aliye, and Recaizade Mahmut Ekrem developed a counter-discourse against rapid modernization projects in Istanbul. Through a depiction of everyday life experiences related to the latest inventions of modern technology, Ottoman novelists thematize individual anxieties on a range of topics, which included a criticism of productivity, changing gender roles for men and women, and the new order of time and space. Keeping in mind that drastic changes in technology introduced distinctive modes of experiencing time and space in the nineteenth century, this article suggests that criticism by Ottoman intellectuals can be better understood within the context of the reaction to shifting time-space schemes and the proliferation of new technologies across the globe.

Critical Studies on Terrorism (Volume 13, Issue 3)

Good radicals? Trajectories of pro-Kurdish political and militant mobilisation to the wars in Syria, Turkey and Iraq

By: Nerina Weiss

Abstract: This article explores the interrelation of volunteering, violence and ideology by studying the pro-Kurdish political and militant mobilisation to the wars in Syria, Turkey and Iraq. Focusing especially on the trajectories, motives and reflections of foreign volunteers in different Kurdish militant groups, I argue that ideology is neither a precondition nor a necessary reason for mobilisation to an armed group. In many cases, it is the other way around, as mobilisation to violence is often the source of ideological conviction.

The role of religion in Islamist radicalisation processes

By: Jeppe Fuglsang Larsen

Abstract: This article attempts to bridge the gap between social and religious explanations for Islamist radicalisation in the West by understanding the role of religion through the under-utilised perspective of sociology of religious emotions and Wiktorowicz’s concept of cognitive openness. The article draws on interviews with 23 different actors with first-hand knowledge of Islamist radicalisation, and analyses five in-depth interviews with former so-called radicals, four of whom were converts to Islam. The analysis thus has a special focus on the narratives and experiences of converts to radical Islamist worldviews. The radicalisation process of the formers was characterised by an interplay between context specific experiences and individual religiosity. There are social causes for seeking religion as it can provide an emotional meaningfulness in a state of cognitive openness connected to personal family social background, which can stretch over a long period. However, the interviews also show that religiosity affects the social: the religious emotions within radical Islamist groups create a tight-knit community of self-perceived righteous believers, tied to an emotional experience of empowerment that amplifies their radicalisation. The article concludes that the primary role of religion is to structure and direct the emotions from which so-called radical Islamists think and act within religious frameworks.

Medico-political metaphors of counter-terrorism: The case of Turkey

By: Tuncer Beyribey

Abstract: Medico-political metaphors can be defined as the organic imagining of a society (re)creating a normative distinction between identity and difference and mobilising specific types of political answers in which threats are constructed through organic language. Accordingly, society is made to resemble a body, thus creating a sense of unity, integrity and finitude, while terrorism is made to resemble a “pathology” that “infects”, weakens and ultimately destroys the healthy social body. In this narrative, “terrorists” are rendered as abnormal and external, and thus terrorism is depoliticised. It is fictionalised as a “technical” issue necessitating expert intervention, in a manner resembling the doctor-patient relationship. To date, there has been little research on the interaction between this organic understanding of society and the Turkish experience of counter-terrorism practices. Therefore, taking as its context the Syrian civil war, this article aims to analyse how medico-political metaphors in the counter-terrorism discourse of the Turkish government function as boundary-producing practices. The article critically assesses how medico-political metaphors in terrorism discourse (re)constitute a power relationship through abnormalisation, externalisation and depoliticisation, and thus contribute to Critical Terrorism Studies by highlighting how policy makers use medico-political metaphors to constitute a reality about terrorism in order to mobilise certain political responses.

A Critical Perspective on Terrorism: Case Study of Jundallah and Jeish ul-Adl in Iran

By: Fatemeh Shayan

Abstract: An extensive body of traditional terrorism research exists where the focus is on Iran as a terrorist state and a terrorism sponsor. This article explores an alternative terrorism narrative by examining the non-state actors, Jundallah and Jeish ul-Adl. The deficiency of information in the literature is addressed by applying the first and second-order critique approach of Richard Jackson’s knowledge, power and politics theoretical framework in contrast with the traditional terrorism studies approach. A first-order critique seeks to destabilise the accepted knowledge that Iran is both a terrorist state and a terrorism sponsor. This provides the grounds to study other aspects of “knowing” in relation to the second-order critique, where a critical ground outside the discourse suggests that Iranian officials have declared that the non-state terrorist actors of Jundallah and Jeish ul-Adl constitute a threat to Iran’s political stability. The outcome of the analyses here bridges the gap between the new aspect of terrorism, the non-state actors, and critical terrorism studies in order to contest the traditional discussion of terrorism in Iran. The rationale behind new terrorism varies and necessitates that new meanings and strategies be adopted in relation to Iran.

Democratization (Volume 27, Issue 5)

Peacemaking referendums: the use of direct democracy in peace processes

By: Katherine Collin

Abstract: The use of referendums to forge, ratify and enact peace agreements is on the rise. In growing numbers, peacemakers have organized referendums in order to aid peace talks and ameliorate post-settlement peacebuilding. Despite this increasingly common practice, there is little consensus on whether referendums help or hurt peace. Such votes can be uniquely powerful tools for addressing sovereignty incompatibilities driving armed conflict. However, dangerous outcomes include mass violence, intensified polarization, and the undermining peace agreement implementation. Based on 31 case studies and elite interviews conducted in Colombia, Cyprus, East Timor, Indonesia, and South Sudan, this article elaborates an analytical framework for the uses of referendums in peace processes and identifies specific benefits and risks associated with differing types. I argue that referendums can improve peacemaking and conditions for implementing negotiated settlements when they are well-designed and well-implemented.

The role of digital media in the 2011 Egyptian revolution

By: Shingo Hamanaka

Abstract: The Egyptian uprising in January 2011, widely known as the 25 January Revolution, was initially claimed to have been caused by the internet. However, the relationship between social media and participation in the anti-regime demonstrations is contested and opaque. This article explores this relationship through both a theoretical and empirical approach. More concretely, by using two survey data sets, we examine a hypothesis derived from a diffusion model of information and social movement theory. The two key findings are: (1) vanguards of the demonstrations were more active on social media than followers during the revolution, and (2) active bloggers tended to participate in demonstrations against the Mubarak regime. These findings contradict previous findings of social media’s limited effect and indicate that social media diminishes the collective action problem in anti-government protests. They also indicate that the concept of political opportunity structure is useful for understanding the revolution.

Hopes and disappointments: regime change and support for democracy after the Arab Uprisings

By: M. Tahir Kilavuz, Nathanael Gratias Sumaktoyo

Abstract: What happened to citizens’ support for democracy after the Arab Uprisings? Did the support increase, stay the same, or actually decrease after all the protests, regime changes, and reforms? Which theories of citizens’ political attitudes best explain these dynamics? Analysing two waves of the Arab Barometer surveys and employing an item-response method that offers methodological improvements compared to previous studies, this article finds that support for democracy actually decreased in countries that successfully overthrew their dictators during the Uprisings. Following the arguments that emphasize the rational evaluations of citizens, it argues that in countries that had an experience with a freer political system, such as Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen, challenges of democratization and the poor political and economic performances of the governments left citizens disappointed. Despite the hopes that people had at the onset of the Uprisings, the disappointments generated by the unmet expectations eventually led to a decline in support for democracy.

Autocracy login: internet censorship and civil society in the digital age

By: Chun-Chih Chang, Thung-Hong Lin

Abstract: This study discusses whether the internet contributes to the rise of civil society or provides the state with a means to suppress civil society. By examining cross-sectional time-series data of 153 countries from 1995 to 2018, this study demonstrates that internet censorship is a reactive strategy used by autocracies to suppress civil society. Although rapid internet diffusion might undermine internet censorship in autocracies, since the Arab Spring, the use of censorship as a political reaction to technological diffusion and contentious politics worldwide has damaged the development of civil society. The autocratic reactive approach contributes to our understanding of information and communication technology, civil society, and authoritarianism. A more nuanced illustration of internet politics delivers a warning of technological threats to civil society.

European Journal of International Relations (Volume 26, Issue 2)

Roles, identity, and security: foreign policy contestation in monarchical Kuwait

By: Sean Yom

Abstract: The 2011–2012 Arab Spring posed an existential threat to the Gulf Cooperation Council’s six monarchies. A major response was the 2012 GCC Internal Security Pact, an innovative project to enhance cross-border repression of domestic opposition and thus bolster collective security. Yet despite its historic weakness, ongoing domestic unrest, and initial enthusiasm for the agreement, Kuwait’s monarchy did not ultimately ratify the accord. Building on theories of foreign policy roles and identity, this article presents an ideational explanation for this puzzle. The Security Pact failed because it sparked identity contestation. For many Kuwaitis, the prospect of the Sabah monarchy imposing this scheme for greater repression was incompatible with the regime’s historical role of tolerating domestic pluralism and protecting Kuwait from foreign pressures. This role conception of a tolerant protector flowed from historical understandings and collective memory and was cognitively tied to a national self-conception of “Kuwaiti-ness.” The mobilizational scope and symbolic power of this popular opposition convinced the regime to acquiesce, despite possessing the strategic incentive and resources to impose the treaty by force. The Kuwaiti case therefore exemplifies how domestic contestation over regime identities and roles can constrain foreign policy behavior, even in authoritarian states facing severe crises of insecurity.

European Journal of Political Research (Volume 59, Issue 3)

Terrorist attacks and Europeans’ attitudes towards immigrants: An experimental approach

By: Mónica Ferrín Moreno Mancosu Teresa M. Cappiali

Abstract: Over the past several years an increasing number of terrorist attacks committed in the name of Islam and targeting civilians have taken place in many Western democracies, calling for more research on the impact of these exogenous events on citizens’ attitudes towards immigrants. Using a quasi‐experimental design, this study examines the short‐term effect of the Paris attacks of the night of 13 November 2015 on the attitudes towards European Union (EU) and non‐EU immigrants across 28 EU countries. Employing Eurobarometer 84.3 survey data collected in 28 European countries between 7 and 17 November 2015, the design allows the testing of individual attitudes before and after the Paris attacks and the spillover effects of this event in all European countries. It is found that the Paris attacks had a significant negative effect on attitudes towards immigrants, especially among educated and left‐wing individuals. Moreover, the negative effect was stronger in countries where the national political‐ideological climate was more positive towards immigrants. These findings are explained by theorising that first emotional reactions to the attack are the results of coping mechanisms whereby individuals are confronted with disconfirmation/confirmation of their previous beliefs: individuals who experience stronger stereotype disconfirmation are the most negatively affected by the terrorist attack. Overall, the study holds important implications for understanding the short‐term impact of terrorist attacks on public attitudes towards immigrants.

Government and Opposition (Volume 55, Issue 3)

Analysing Payoff Salience in Coalition Allocation: Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Committee Chairs

By: Matt Evans

Abstract: Research during the past six decades has found that parties joining coalition governments receive payoffs, in the form of government posts, in proportion to their coalition share. These findings, however, do not indicate which coalition partners receive payoffs that will most enable them to influence their preferred policies. This article joins recent qualitative analyses of coalition allocation and examines payoffs in terms of the salience of positions relative to the policy goals of the parties receiving them. The single-country study of eight Israeli governments from 1992 to 2015 integrates quantitative and qualitative analyses of coalition payoffs. This article contributes to coalition allocation research by expanding the scope of coalition payoffs to include junior ministers and committee chairs, and by distinguishing payoff outcomes for different party families. The results show an edge for formateur parties in obtaining policy-salient ministerial payoffs and an advantage to non-formateurs for policy-salient deputy (junior) minister positions.

Journal of Economic Cooperation and Development (Volume 41, Issue 2)

Tax Tilting and Tax Smoothing: Evidence from South Africa and Turkey

By: Mesut Karakas, Taner Turan

Abstract: This paper examines the existence of tax smoothing hypothesis in two emerging economies: South Africa and Turkey. To test the tax smoothing hypothesis, we use the relationship between the budget surpluses and government expenditures. Before testing the hypothesis, we determine and filter the effect of tax tilting. Due to importance of seigniorage revenues in emerging economies, we add these revenues to tax receipts in order to cope with inflationary taxation. The results of our study show that tax tilting is common both in South African and Turkish fiscal policies. More importantly, our overall findings lend evidence against the existence of tax smoothing in South Africa and Turkey.

Model of Optimal Zakat Allocation by Using Data Envelopment Analysis Approach

By: Vita Sarasi, Ina Primiana, Yunizar

Abstract: An optimization model of allocation of zakat fund and recipients is developed based on the Data Envelopment Analysis – Resource Allocation Model (DEA-RAM). The quantitative method plays an important role in optimal allocation of zakat delivery programs performed by some zakat institutions; that is by reallocation of initial setting of the zakat fund and beneficiaries’ numbers. It raises the needs of improvements in their recent strategies on the programs by the institutions. Zakat institutions, even the government as regulator, should have a clear focus on the povertyempowerment-based programs in providing needed capitals for poverty empowerment. They are expected to create certain conditions in order to prevent excessive of fund allocation for the charity-based delivery programs.

Availability of General Control Procedures of the Security of Accounting Information System (AIS): Evidence from Yemen 

By: Yahya Maresh Hamid Hazaa, Jogdand D. A

Abstract: Accounting information system AIS is the most important tool on which the institutions rely so as to conduct their business. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the availability of general control procedures GCP in order to protect the security of AIS. The main objective of this study is to determine the extent of the availability of GCP of AIS security in commercial banks in Yemen. A descriptive analytical approach is used. Data is collected through a questionnaire distributed to the principals and specialists in departments of finance, information technology IT, and internal auditor in the head offices of commercial banks. Out of the distributed questionnaire, only 78 are valid and suitable for the analysis. The study finds that there is an availability of GCP depending on organizational control, security, and protection procedures in maintaining AIS. It also encourages the management of commercial banks to pay attention to a high-level of GCP in their AIS.

Tourism Revenue and Economic Growth Relation in Turkey: Evidence of Symmetrical, Asymmetrical and the Rolling Window Regressions 

By: Emirhan Yenişehirlioğlu, İzzet Taşar, Tayfur Bayat

Abstract: Tourism industry is one of the important determinants of economic growth in the Turkish economy. Tourism industry also comes into prominence as one of the key factors in economic growth due to its foreign currency inflow effect and its multiplier effect being higher compared to other industries. Previous studies show that increase in tourism revenues has a direct positive contribution to economic growth in developed and developing countries. In this study we investigated the 1995-2017 period, tourism income by the method parameter estimates relationship between economic growth in Turkey’s economy. Autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) regression models, and bootstrap rolling window causality parameter tests were used in the empirical analysis. As a result of the empirical analysis, positive contribution to economic growth from the positive component of tourism income in symmetrical regression and asymmetric regression, asymmetric regression was found to be a negative contribution to economic growth from the negative component of tourism income. According to rolling window regression from tourism income to economic growth there is a positive effect between 2010-2015 and negative effect between 2016-2017.

Redevelopment Of The Matching Model: Decortications And Application On The Tunisian Labor Market

By: Monem Abidi

Abstract: The article proposes to build a new platform that traces more robust legibility between skilled and unskilled unemployment on the labor market, by dissecting the factors that influence the decision-making process regarding firms and employment people. This article reviews the matching model, thus specifying a new formulation, focusing on the hiring probabilities and taking into account the depreciation of diplomas. This demarcation makes it possible to compare the probabilities of hiring and leaving unemployment of these two categories according to different parameters such as the tension on the labor market and the unemployment rate of graduates. Since then, we have been synthesizing the joint behavior of unemployed people and companies. This modeling allows a better understanding of the probability of exit from unemployment, determination of wages, utilities and equilibrium. The calibration, of the decomposition that we have constructed from data relating to the Tunisian economy, allows us to understand the interactions between the different social partners in terms of tension on the labor market, as well as to weigh the impact of government profit transfer policy

Oil prices and Islamic banks performance in the OIC countries: Evidence from the Dynamic GMM approaches

By: Sutan Emir Hidayat, Muhammad Rizky Prima Sakti

Abstract: This study uses an extensive data set consisting of 81 Islamic banks from Muslim countries with historical yearly data (2006 to 2015) and examines the extent to which the oil production can affecting the performance of Islamic banks in those countries. Using the Dynamic GMM model as a baseline results, we find that only 4.2% to 4.8% of the Islamic banks profitability react directly to the change in oil prices. However, we observe that 46% to 60% of the Islamic banks profitability react indirectly to the change in oil prices through the macroeconomic factors. The results pass several robustness tests.

Journal of Institutional Economics (Volume 16, Issue 4)

Digital protectionism and national planning in the age of the internet: the case of Iran

By: Altug Yalcintas, Naseraddin Alizadeh

Abstract: What do regulations in the developing world tell us about the internet economy? In this paper, we argue that the ways in which developing nation states adjust to and legislate the internet depends upon whether they possess a national planning strategy for international data traffic. Focusing our attention on the global trade of intangible goods in Iran, we aim to demonstrate that digital protectionism causes, to varying degrees, suppression, censorship, and the violation of freedom of speech and other civil rights on the internet. Our results show that digital protectionism generated an emergence of domestic start-ups, with companies, such as Facenema and Soroush, operating in the Iranian market in the absence of global rivals such as Facebook and WhatsApp. Yet, digital protectionism and sanction-induced barriers have triggered social problems, besides the emergence of parastatals, securing the economy to an inefficient social and economic path towards digital development.

Journal of the American Oriental Society (Volume 140, Issue 3)

An Unrecognized Prophetic Ostracon from Ḥorvat ʿUza

By: Moise Isaac

Abstract: The uncertainty concerning the genre of the Ḥorvatʿ’Uza ostracon 1 is problematized through the lens of linguistic anthropology. Although a denotative approach to the linguistic forms in this Hebrew ostracon is well attested, less attention has been paid to the indexical meaning of specific stylistic features and their semiotic register implications. Several linguistic-ideological concepts are drawn upon to examine how the act of inscription and specialized linguistic forms align the discursive genre of the ostracon with prophecy. I seek to determine what salient discourse forms in the ostracon index the employment of habitual utterance styles of prophecy that construct context, genre, and social identity.

Infidel or Paganus? The Polysemy of kafara in the Quran

By: Juan Cole

Abstract: This article explores the meaning of the root k-f-r in the Quran, questioning the practice of translating the noun kāfir as “infidel.” It argues for a distinction between the idiomatic phrasal verb kafara bi-, which does mean to reject or disbelieve, and the simple intransitive verb kafara and its deverbal nouns, which are used in the Quran in a large number of different ways. This polysemy is explored through contextual readings of Quran passages. It is argued that the noun kāfir, unlike the verb kafara, is used only with regard to adherents of traditional polytheism and is not deployed in an unmodified way with regard to Jews and Christians. The possible influence on the Arabic kafara of Greek and Latin conceptions is also broached.

A Fresh Analysis of the Origin and Diachronic Development of “Dialectal Tanwīn” in Arabic

By: Phillip W. Stokes

Abstract: Scholars of Arabic dialects have long noted the occurrence of a morpheme in a widespread number of dialects, realized -ən or -an, frequently suffixed to morphologically indefinite nouns, especially when followed by an adjective. Separately, another morpheme, realized -un or -u, is attested with a slightly different distribution in the dialects of western Yemen. Traditionally, scholars have interpreted both morphemes as reflexes of an etymological case vowel + tanwīn (Blau 1981), traditionally labeled “dialectal tanwīn.” In this paper, I offer a new reconstruction of the origin and diachronic development of this morpheme. Throughout I integrate data and insights from comparative Semitics, as well as recently studied pre-Islamic epigraphic and textual materials, in order to break the familiar Classical Arabic / dialectal Arabic dichotomy and reframe the way in which historiography of features in the dialects is conducted.

Law & Development Review (Volume 13, Issue 2)

Legal Origin, Institutional Quality, and Islamic Finance Development: Does Shari’a Matter?

By: Rihab Grassa

Abstract: Previous studies on financial development have shown that differences in the legal origin explain differences in financial development. Using historical comparisons and cross-country regressions for 40 countries observed for the period from 2005 to 2018, our research assesses how different legal origins have affected the development of Islamic finance worldwide. More particularly, our research assesses empirically why and how the adoption of Shari’a, wholly or partially (combined with common or civil law), could explain the level of development of Islamic finance in different jurisdictions. Our primary results show that countries adopting a Shari’a legal system have a very well-developed Islamic financial system. Moreover, countries adopting a mixed legal system based on common law and Shari’a law have sufficient flexibility within their legal systems to make changes to their laws in response to the changing socioeconomic conditions, and this has helped the development of the Islamic financial industry. However, countries adopting a mixed legal system based on both civil law and Shari’a law appear less flexible in making changes to their old laws and this thwarted the development of the Islamic financial industry in these countries. Furthermore, we have found that the concentration of a Muslim population (the percentage of Muslim population) along with the level of income have both had a positive effect on the development of Islamic banking assets and on the development of Islamic banking as a whole.

Islamic Finance as a Vehicle to Promote Improved Intellectual Property Rights in the Gulf Cooperation Council

By: Nadia Naim

Abstract: The purpose of this article is to assess how Islamic finance can act as a vehicle to enhance the current intellectual property rights regime in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Islamic finance has developed within the constraints of sharia law and has been a growth sector for the GCC. This article will identify the main principles of Islamic finance that contribute to the success of Islamic finance, which can enhance intellectual property protection in the GCC. The main sharia-compliant areas to be considered are musharaka, mudaraba, murabaha, takaful, istisna, ijara, salam and sukuk. The article will outline the founding principles of Islamic finance, the governance of sharia boards, development of Islamic finance in the individual GCC states, different frameworks of sharia-compliant investment products and the impact of intellectual property rights on the varying Islamic finance investment tools. Furthermore, the article will discuss an integrated approach to intellectual property rights which learns lessons from the Islamic finance sector in relation to infrastructure, regulation and sharia compliance. The lessons learnt from Islamic finance will inform the overall framework of recommendations for an Islamic intellectual property model. The use of Islamic finance as a vehicle to promote better intellectual property rights in terms of defining a new intellectual property approach is novel. It is aimed at spearheading further research in this area, and it will form a part of the overall integrated approach proposals to intellectual property protection in the GCC and beyond.

Shari’a Law and Its Impact on the Development of Muslim and Non-Muslim Business Relations in the United Arab Emirates

By: Rehanna Nurmohamed

Abstract: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is situated near the Persian Gulf in the North Eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula. Established in 1971 by the late Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE forms a federation of seven Emirates consisting of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah (The Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah had officially joined the federation on the 11th of February 1972.), and Fujairah. Because of its diversity and cosmopolitan nature, the country has always been a crossroad and prime location for people and trade. As Islam and Islamic principles have influenced Gulf societies in the very core of its existence, the Islamic way of conduct in trade relations and dispute resolutions are an element of paramount significance. This Article explores the role of Shari’a Law and its impact on the economic development of Muslim and non-Muslim business relations in the UAE and in particular in the Emirate of Dubai. The law and development from an Islamic perspective introduces a new vision on the theories of law and development by addressing the influence of Shari’a Law in economic development. In international trade relations and dispute resolution mechanisms such as formal contract enforcements in the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) and the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) the plurality of laws leads to the adoption of Shari’a Law over the Civil and Common Law regimes.

Anti-Money Laundering Regulation and Practice of Islamic Banks in the United Arab Emirates: A Case Study

By: Ajay Kumar

Abstract: Banks are key institutions in the economic development of a country, but they are prone to money laundering (ML) as well. Such incidents could lead to sanctions and loss of reputation. To mitigate such risks, banks are required to follow Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations. Presently, there are no separate or specific AML regulatory requirements for Islamic banks (IBs). Apart from regulations, understanding practices also help explicate compliance to laws (spirit), by those who apply it. Since the AML practices of IBs have not been systematically analysed, we look at their practices (the United Arab Emirates) to understand whether they have adopted specific AML processes. Owing to the lack of literature on such practices, a survey was carried out using a standard questionnaire. The questionnaire was supplied to the AML/compliance departments, and the results are based on a sample size of three banks. The survey results show that the IBs adopt Know Your Customer (KYC) and Customer Due Diligence (CDD) to check laundering. Crucially, questions pertaining to the AML risk arising from the potential vested interest/s (theoretical) that the IBs themselves are likely to have in the venture remain unanswered.

Oriens (Volume 48, Issue 1-2)

Mereology in Kalām: A New Reading of the Proof from Accidents for Creation

By: Ayman Shihadeh

Abstract: The objective of this article is twofold. First, it investigates mereology in medieval Islamic theology, particularly the theologians’ claim that the whole is identical to its parts and accordingly that at least some attributes common to the parts must by extension be attributed of the whole. This claim was refuted by philosophers and, from the eleventh century onwards, an increasing number of theologians. Second, it offers a new interpretation of the standard theological proof from accidents for creation ex nihilo, to which this problem was central. A wide range of early, classical and later theological and philosophical sources are consulted.

Iʿtibārī Concepts in Suhrawardī: The Case of Substance

By: Jari Kaukua

Abstract: Shihāb al-Dīn al-Suhrawardī (d. 587/1191) famously criticised the central concepts of Avicennian metaphysics as merely mind-dependent (or iʿtibārī) notions. This paper aims to show that despite his critique, Suhrawardī held that these concepts are meaningful, indeed necessary for human cognition. By the same token, it is argued that their re-emergence in Suhrawardī’s ishrāqī metaphysics is not a matter of incoherence. Although the paper’s findings can be generalised to hold of all iʿtibārī concepts, mutatis mutandis, our focus is on the concept of substance, mainly because of the importance of the concept of ‘dusky substance’ in ishrāqī metaphysics.

Beyond Atoms and Accidents: Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī and the New Ontology of Postclassical Kalām

By: Bilal Ibrahim

Abstract: This article explores a novel approach to the analysis of the external world in postclassical Ashʿarite kalām. While discussions of physical reality and its fundamental constituents in the classical period of Islamic thought turned chiefly on the opposing views of kalām atomism and Aristotelian hylomorphism, in the postclassical period kalām thinkers in the Ashʿarite tradition forge a new frame of inquiry. Beginning most earnestly with the philosophical works of Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, a critical approach is developed addressing received views in ontology, including the relation of substance to accident, the status of Aristotelian form and matter, and part-to-whole relations. Drawing on Rāzī’s al-Mulakhkhaṣ and al-Mabāḥith, kalām thinkers develop several concepts to distinguish arbitrary or mind-dependent (iʿtibārī) composites (‘man-plus-stone’) from non-arbitrary composites (e.g., tree, paste, and house). Most notably, they adopt a substance-plus-accident ontology in opposition to the Aristotelian hylomorphism of falsafa. The mutakallimūn will conceive of composites as possessing ‘real unity’ (ḥaqīqa muttaḥida) while dispensing with the explanatory and causal role of Aristotelian substantial forms.

“From the One, Only One Proceeds”: The Post-Classical Reception of a Key Principle of Avicenna’s Metaphysics

By: Wahid M. Amin

Abstract: The separated intellects play a crucial but notoriously controversial role within the Neoplatonic systems of al-Fārābī and Avicenna. While both thinkers provide an array of proofs to support the existence of such immaterial substances, the most enduring of these is based on a metaphysical rule of Avicenna’s metaphysics known as the “rule of one” (qāʿidat al-wāḥid): that from the One, only one proceeds (lā yaṣdur ʿan l-wāḥid illā l-wāḥid). The following paper explores the various ways in which Avicenna defended this principle and traces their reception in the post-classical period, thereby showing how vigorously the question of emanation was debated among scholars of the later medieval period.

The Influence of the Avicennan Theory of Science on Philosophical Sufism: The Concept of the Divine Science in Qūnawī and Fanārī

By: Yusuf Daşdemir

Abstract: This article discusses the application of the Avicennan theory of demonstrative science on taṣawwuf, or the Divine Science (al-ʿilm al-ilāhī), by members of the Akbarian tradition, particularly Ibn ʿArabī’s (d. 1240) stepson and most influential disciple, Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Qūnawī (d. 1274), and his commentators, among whom the most prominent was Mullā Muḥammad b. Ḥamza al-Fanārī (d. 1431). It aims to find out what kind of relationship was developed between Avicennan logic and Sufism by the two members of the Akbarian school in the post-classical Islamic thought. It also seeks to show that the convergence between different currents of Islamic thought—Sufism and philosophy in this case—led to some adaptation problems and internal inconsistencies for these currents.

Ṣadrā’s Use of Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī’s al-Mabāḥith al-mashriqiyya in the Asfār

By: Cécile Bonmariage

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to show that, in several chapters of the Asfār, Ṣadrā’s use of Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī’s al-Mabāhith al-mashriqiyya is far more extensive than what a superficial reading, focusing only on explicit quotations, might indicate, and to explore what knowing this can bring to our reading of Ṣadrā’s text. It analyzes what Ṣadrā does with his source and examines a few examples to illustrate why it matters to know.

An Avicennian Engagement with and Appropriation of Mullā Ṣadrā Šīrāzī (d. 1045/1636): The Case of Mahdī Narāqī (d. 1209/1795)

By: Sajjad H. Rizvi

Abstract: Recent scholarship on Avicenna and Avicennism has tended to focus on the spread and dissemination of his ideas in the early centuries. However, the later readings and contestations of Avicennism especially from the Safavid period onwards have been broadly neglected. In this paper on the most important philosopher of eighteenth-century Iran, Mahdī Narāqī, I provide a case study of the enduring significance of Avicennism, but one which has been transformed by Mullā Ṣadrā’s critical reading of Avicenna. Narāqī demonstrates how Avicenna had been transformed and how the metaphysical debates between Avicennism and Mullā Ṣadrā had led to new synthetical positions.

Perspectives on Politics (Volume 18, Issue 2)

Informal Institutions and the Regulation of Smuggling in North Africa

By: Max Gallien

Abstract: Contemporary writing on North African borderlands invokes the idea of a general, unregulated porosity through which small-scale informal traders of food or textiles move alongside drug smugglers and terrorists. I challenge that conception, demonstrating that the vast majority of smuggling activity is in fact highly regulated through a dense network of informal institutions that determine the costs, quantity, and types of goods that can pass through certain nodes, typically segmenting licit from illicit goods.
While informal, the institutions regulating this trade are largely impersonal and contain third-party enforcement, hence providing a direct empirical challenge to common characterisations of informal institutions in political science. I argue that revisiting the characteristics associated with informal institutions, and understanding them as contingent on their political environment, can provide a new starting point for studying institutions, the politics of informality, state capacity, and the regulation of illegal economies.

Hard-to-Survey Populations and Respondent-Driven Sampling: Expanding the Political Science Toolbox

By: Rana B. Khoury

Abstract: Survey research can generate knowledge that is central to the study of collective action, public opinion, and political participation. Unfortunately, many populations—from undocumented migrants to right-wing activists and oligarchs—are hidden, lack sampling frames, or are otherwise hard to survey. An approach to hard-to-survey populations commonly taken by researchers in other disciplines is largely missing from the toolbox of political science methods: respondent-driven sampling (RDS). By leveraging relations of trust, RDS accesses hard-to-survey populations; it also promotes representativeness, systematizes data collection, and, notably, supports population inference. In approximating probability sampling, RDS makes strong assumptions. Yet if strengthened by an integrative multimethod research design, it can shed light on otherwise concealed—and critical—political preferences and behaviors among many populations of interest. Through describing one of the first applications of RDS in political science, this article provides empirically grounded guidance via a study of activist refugees from Syria. Refugees are prototypical hard-to-survey populations, and mobilized ones are even more so; yet the study demonstrates that RDS can provide a systematic and representative account of a vulnerable population engaged in major political phenomena.

Review of Middle East Economics and Finance (Volume 16, Issue 2)

Is the Elimination of Food Subsidies the Right Policy to Address Lebanon’s Public Finance Crisis?

By: Paul Makdissi, Mohamad Seif Edine

Abstract: In this paper, we use a positional dominance approach to assess the desirability of eliminating food subsidies in Lebanon. The analysis is based on aggregate information from the 2004 to 2005 National Survey of Households Living Conditions. We use this aggregate information on expenditure patterns to reconstruct rough estimates of s-concentration curves and efficiency-cost ratio sets. Evidences suggest that the Lebanese government should probably find other avenues to reduce the fiscal deficit.

Does Bank Profitability Stimulate Economic Growth in the Arab Region?

By: Omar Ghazy Aziz

Abstract: This study empirically investigates the impact of bank profitability, as a complementary measure of financial development, on growth in the Arab countries between 1985 and 2016. Using a generalized method of moments (GMM) estimation to test the impact of the bank profitability on growth, this study utilises two variables in the econometric model which are return on assets and return on equity. This study reveals that both variables of bank profitability are positive and significant. This confirms that the bank profitability, beside other financial development variables, has positive impact on the growth. This study points out some important implications based on this result.

Is there a Kuznets Curve in the Arab Region? An Empirical Investigation

By: Adham Sayed

Abstract: This paper presents an empirical study of the Kuznets curve in Arab countries using a dataset from 12 Arab countries over the period between 1990 and 2015. The analysis is carried out by employing a panel data method, mainly the fixed-effect and interactive fixed-effect models, which take into account the economic integration of countries, and the frequent political, financial and social shocks. Our results show that the Kuznets curve does not characterize economic development in the Arab region and that trade, urbanization and education positively impact income inequality.

World Politics (Volume 72, Issue 3)

Networks, Informal Governance, and Ethnic Violence in a Syrian City

By: Kevin Mazur

Abstract: In cross-national studies, ethnic exclusion is robustly associated with the onset of violent challenge to incumbent regimes. But significant variation remains at the subnational level—not all members of an excluded ethnic group join in challenge. This article accounts for intra-ethnic group variation in terms of the network properties of local communities, nested within ethnic groups, and the informal ties that regimes forge to some segments of the ethnically excluded population. Mobilization within an excluded ethnic group is most likely among local communities where members are densely linked to one another and lack network access to state-controlled resources. Drawing on a case study of the Syrian city of Homs in the 2011 uprising, this article demonstrates how the Syrian regime’s strategies of managing the Sunni population of Homs shaped patterns of challenge. On the one hand, the state’s toleration of spontaneous settlements on the city’s periphery helped to reproduce dense network ties. On the other hand, the regime’s informal bargains with customary leaders instrumentalized those ties to manage local populations. These bargains could not withstand the regime’s use of violence against challengers, which meant that these same local networks became crucial factors in impelling and sustaining costly antiregime mobilization.


[The articles below were recently added to the Peer-Reviewed Articles Review: Spring 2020 (Part 4). They have been included here for your convenience.]

Arab Media & Society (Issue 29)

Analyzing Journalist Perceptions of Democracy and State Corruption: The Case of Iraq

By: Haitham Numan

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to explore Iraqi journalists’ perceptions of state corruption and democracy in order to deepen the understanding of the journalist’s role in democratic participation. Survey interviews were conducted ona sample of Iraqi journalists, using the theory of participatory democracy to design the instrument. The results show, based on demographic variables, a variety of perceptions towards democratization among the examined journalists, who are members of the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate. We argue that journalists can be active contributors to empowering public participation in the democratization process, a concept which closely corresponds with participatory democracy theory.

The Development of British Public Diplomacy in the Arab World

By: Ahmed Al-Rawi

Abstract: This paper attempts to map the major changes and developments of British public diplomacy in the Arab world. I argue here that the BBC and the British Council have greatly assisted British public diplomacy efforts and can be regarded as effective because exerting influence in an indirect way can often be more effective than the direct advocacy approach followed by the British government during the colonial periods. In the beginning, the policy was focused on spreading propaganda, while today it is related to soft power and cultural diplomacy with the active use of social media. The paper concludes with a brief reference to social media use by British embassies in the region following the major Arab Spring events, indicating little audience engagement with them.

Journalism and Media Education in Times of Conflict: Three Cases from the Arab Region

By: Rasha Allam, Salma El Ghetany

Abstract: This paper examines the journalism and media education programs in three countries in the Arab region (Libya, Syria, Yemen) that have been or are still in the throes of civil wars and/or polarization along conflicting political ideologies and control of different geographical zones. Based on an online questionnaire distributed among academics affiliated with universities in these three states, results show that the three countries suffer from an extreme lack of proper journalism and media education programs. However, online and blended education can serve as a bridge for these countries to overcome their constraints and challenges, and develop new models for their journalism and media education programs.

Info-Deficiency in an Infodemic: The Gender Digital Gap, Arab Women and the COVID-19 Pandemic

By: Sahar Khamis, Eliza Campbell

Abstract: This commentary tackles the complex struggles faced by Arab women, including multiple layers of invisibility, marginalization and inequality,[1] all of which have significantly worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. This examination includes a special focus on how and why the “digital divide,” defined as the gap between the technological haves and have-nots, has been a major contributing factor to this accelerating inequality. [2] It proposes adopting an alternative ‘digital socialism’ model and a comprehensive, gender-centered leadership approach to address this situation.

Precedented History: Arab Media Coverage of the Israeli – UAE – Bahrain Normalization Agreement

By: Rasha Allam, Salma El Ghetany

Abstract: On September 16, 2020, U.S. president Donald Trump hosted the signing ceremony for the tripartite diplomatic normalization agreement, known as the Abraham Accords, between the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Israel at the White House. The UAE is the third Arab country to declare normalization with Israel after Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994). Bahrain is the fourth. They are, however, considered the first among the Gulf countries. The Israeli-UAE-Bahrain agreement triggered a multitude of controversies and garnered a great deal of media attention, both in the region and worldwide. News of signing the agreement between the UAE, Bahrain, and Israel dominated the global media. Coverage focused on the quadripartite statement released by the US, regarding UAE, Bahrain and Israel, and the resulting suspension of Israeli annexation plans in exchange for diplomatic, economic, and touristic relations with the UAE and Bahrain. This focus in print, and on visual, and electronic platforms reflects the importance of this bold step in moving peace forward and easing tensions in the region.

Journal of Arabic Literature (Volume 51, Issue 1-2)

Voice and Power: Ḥafṣah bint al-Ḥājj and the Poetics of Women in Al-Andalus

By: Majd Al-Mallah

Abstract: This paper examines the poetry of the Andalusī woman poet Ḥafṣah bint al-Ḥājj (d. 589/1191) in the context of a rich body of anecdotes surrounding that poetry as preserved in Nafḥ al-ṭīb, which al-Maqqarī (d. 1041/1632) wrote to preserve the cultural memory of al-Andalus. Known as the preeminent woman poet of Granada in the twelfth century, she lived most of her life under Almohad rule and had a connection to their court. Although literature surrounding Ḥafṣah is generally limited compared to major male poets, this paper will show that a close analysis of al-Maqqarī’s section on Ḥafṣah reveals the poet’s voice and agency. This paper argues that al-Maqqarī’s framing of Ḥafṣah in his landmark work elevates rather than marginalizes the poet and her status as a cultural figure in al-Andalus.

Politics of Paratextuality: The Glossary between Translation and the Translational

By: Dima Ayoub

Abstract: This article considers the role of the glossary and related paratextual forms, such as introductions and notes, against the backdrop of an expanding corpus of translated Arabic fiction and fiction written in English by Arab authors, arguing that these paratextual elements have become mainstays of the translation industry. Through an analysis of the glossary in particular, this article considers how paratexts disrupt the impasse between translatability and untranslatability. It further examines the glossary beyond its functionality, even utility as a taxonomomical force, and argues that paratexts are a technology wielded by a complex mediating network that produces literary effects and further, a technology that functions in process alongside translation.

Egyptian Movement Poetry

By: Elliott Colla

Abstract: Poetry has long had a central place in the repertoires of modern Egyptian protest movements, but just as social science accounts of these movements downplay the role of expressive arts (such as poetry), literary studies of colloquial Egyptian poetry have downplayed the performative dynamic of this poetry, as well as its role within social movements. This essay develops the concept of “movement poetry” within the Egyptian social movements, with a special focus on the protest cycle of 1968-1977. In so doing, it discusses the work of Abdel Rahman el-Abnoudi (ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Abnūdī), Ahmed Fouad Negm (Aḥmad Fuʾād Nijm), Samīr ʿAbd al-Bāqī, and others, and considers the conventions and repertoires that extend to Egyptian activists in the present.

“Zahra’s Uncle, or Where Are Men in Women’s War Stories?”

By: Michelle Hartman

Abstract: Scholarship in modern Arabic literary studies has treated the literature of the Lebanese Civil War, particularly novels written by women, in some depth. One of the most important texts used in both scholarship and teaching about this war is Ḥanān al-Shaykh’s Ḥikāyat Zahrah, translated as The Story of Zahra. This article focuses specifically on the one chapter in the novel narrated from the point of view of the protagonist’s uncle in order to explore how the English translation dramatically changes a number of elements in the original text. It uses insights from translation studies to show how significant changes to the novel in translation produce a text that serves particular ideological functions in English, consistent with a horizon of expectations that constructs Arab women as oppressed and passive victims of war. The article analyzes specific translation choices—most notably the extensive editing out of words, sentences, and passages—to demonstrate how the character of Zahrah’s uncle is changed in English and depicted as an unsavory and abusive man with little background, context, or history that would help the reader to better understand the character’s actions and motivations. It also shows how cutting out elements of the uncle’s story serves to depoliticize the text in English, divesting it of its local political context and changing its meaning and function as a novel about the Lebanese Civil War. The article is grounded in postcolonial, feminist translation studies, especially those dealing with Arabic fiction, to argue that the English-language novel The Story of Zahra functions within an ideological field that recycles stereotypes and tropes about Arab women. It will propose that the translation changes here depict Arab men against Arab women, rather than in relation to them, and subordinate the analysis of politics and communal relations to a more individual and individualized story of one exceptional woman.

Nāzik al-Malāʾikah and Edgar Allan Poe: Their Poetry and Related Poetics

By: Boutheina Khaldi

Abstract: This study argues that Nāzik al-Malāʾikah’s poetics—as indicated in her “Introduction” to her collection Shaẓāyā wa-ramād and her book Qaḍāyā al-shiʿr al-muʿāṣir—is in conversation with the famous American poet, critic, and short story writer Edgar Allan Poe’s poetics. This affinity has not been properly noted by critics, as their discussions have been limited to issues of form, content, or borrowings from Poe’s poems. This article argues that al-Malāʾikah’s elaborations on Poe are more profound than hitherto assumed since they articulate a different kind of formal poetics altogether. The chief characteristics of this poetics can be identified as sound/rhythm, concision, refrain (or repetition, with variation). While these innovative instances are foundational in her literary criticism, her poetry also conveys other venues of indebtedness and conversation.

Situating Rifāʿah al-Ṭahṭāwī within an Islamicate Context

By: Atoor Lawandow

Abstract: In this article, I read Rifāʿah al-Ṭahṭāwī (1801-1873) in an Islamicate, Ottoman context by comparing him to eighteenth and nineteenth-century authors who engaged Ibn Khaldūn’s ideas as transmitted by his Ottoman interpreters. Reading al-Ṭahṭāwī in light of Ibn Khaldūn’s political theories from the Muqaddimah, reveals that al-Ṭahṭāwī’s work constitutes a continuation of eighteenth-century intellectual history, as it shares the same conception of state, geography, and civilizational history found in Ottoman, Mughal, and Mamluk texts. Thus, taking into consideration his Ottoman context is important for helping us understand the intellectual development of Nahḍah authors, like al-Ṭahṭāwī.

Review of Middle East Economics and Finance (Volume 16, Issue 1)

Validity of the Expectations Hypothesis of the Term Structure of Interest Rates: The Case of Saudi Arabia

By: Nizar Harrathi, Hamed M. Alhoshan

Abstract: We examine and test the validity of the expectation hypothesis of the term structure (EHTS) of interest rates in Saudi Arabia using the traditional single equation approach, Campbell and Shiller methodology, Error Correction Model, and monthly data over the period June 1983 to December 2014. The results of the single equation approach indicate that the test of validity of the expectation hypothesis cannot be rejected for all maturities. We also find that the validity of the EHTS of interest rates is supported through the stationarity of the term spreads between short- and long-term interest rates. Moreover, the cointegration test reveals the existence of a cointegration relationship between short- and long-term interest with (1−1) cointegrating vector, suggesting the validity EHTS of interest rates. Policy implications based on the empirical results suggest that the transparency of monetary policy in Saudi Arabia and the effective role of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) in conducting monetary policy increase the predictive power of market participants of future movements of short-term interest rates.

Picking Winners: Identifying Leading Sectors for Egypt and Tunisia Using the Product Space Methodology

By: Amirah El-Haddad

Abstract: The structural transformation of countries moves them towards more sophisticated, higher-value products. Network analysis, using the Product Space Methodology (PSM), guides countries towards leading export sectors. The identification process rests on two pillars: (1) available opportunities, that is, products in the product space that the country does not yet export which are more sophisticated than its current exports; and (2) the stock of a country’s accumulated productive knowledge and the technical capabilities that, through spillovers, enable it to produce slightly more sophisticated products. The PSM points to a tradeoff between capabilities and complexity. It identifies very basic future products that match the two countries’ equally basic capabilities. Top products are simple animal products, cream and yogurt, modestly sophisticated plastics, metals and minerals such as salt and sulphur for Egypt; and slightly more sophisticated products such as containers and bobbins (plastics) and broom handles and wooden products for Tunisia, which is the more advanced of the two countries. A more interventionist approach steers the economy towards maximum sophistication, thus identifying highly complex manufactured metals, machinery, equipment, electronics and chemicals. Despite pushing for economic growth and diversification, these sectors push urban job creation and require high-skill workers, with the implication that low-skilled labour may be pushed into unemployment or into low-value informal jobs. A middle ground is a forward-looking strategy that takes sectors’ shares in world trade into account.