Live with ASI is a new monthly broadcast program that showcases recently published content from the Arab Studies Institute’s numerous branches. This content includes articles, reviews, pedagogical resources, podcasts, and more. Also featured in the broadcast are brand new interviews and discussions with various authors and contributors. In this episode, hosts Bassam Haddad and MK Smith discuss developments throughout the region, and themes such as the recent US elections, culture, and pedagogy.

All of the materials mentioned in the broadcast are listed here, categorized by their themes. Also listed are additional recent materials we highly recommend. Pieces that are relevant to multiple themes are listed under each applicable theme below.


The revered Iranian musician Mohammed Reza Shajarian passed away in October. In commemoration of this towering figure in contemporary Iran, Niam Siamdoust and Rob Simms each published pieces on Jadaliyya reflecting on Shajarian’s cultural significance and legacy that has made him into the much-cherished Iranian icon.

Sharif Elmusa reflects on the work of mahjar poet Iliyat Abu Madi in a piece titled “Step Gently: The Political Imagination of Iliya Abu Madi.” Focusing on the poet’s political imaginary, Elmusa describes the overarching philosophy and vision that guided Abu Madi’s poetic explorations.

Additionally listed are a book review on Egyptian pop culture, as well as a translation by Kevin Smith of two poems by Iraqi poet Saadi Youssef.

Beyond Old/New Media Segment

Jadaliyya Co-Editor Adel Iskandar joined Live with ASI again on this month’s episode for his recurring live segment, “Beyond New/Old Media,” where he spoke with co-hosts Bassam Haddad and MK Smith regarding observations and developments in media analysis and the Middle East.

Feature: Arab Studies Journal Vol. XXVIII, No. 2, Fall 2020 Issue

This issue of the Arab Studies Journal offers historical, conceptual, and comparative insights on how techniques of inclusion and exclusion shape possibilities for belonging, collective life, political solidarity, and social contestation. It includes content addressing topics such as ideological deportations in interwar Egypt, spaces of social contestation in Dubai, the Druze community in Israel, among others.

Ziad Abu-Rish and Owain Lawson unpack the themes covered in the new issue of ASJ.

On air this episode: an interview with Co-Editors of the Arab Studies Journal, Ziad Abu-Rish and Owain Lawson, by Bassam Haddad.

Arabic Segment

Jadaliyya Co-Editor Sinan Antoon joined the show live to speak about Jadaliyya‘s Arabic content production and to invite audience members to submit content to the Arabic section.

Feature: Roundtable on State Islam after the Arab Uprisings

Since the Arab Uprisings of 2011, the region has seen a resurgence of autocracy which uses distinctly modernist arguments to justify itself and has co-opted state-dependent Islamic institutions and major scholars in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and elsewhere in order to provide an “Islamic” justification for this autocratic backlash.

To facilitate informed discussion on this theme, Jadaliyya’s Critical Currents in Islam Page Editors invited Nathan Brown, Walaa Quisay, David Warren, and Muhmmad Amasha, scholars whose work focuses on religion, authoritarianism, and the politics of the ulama, to partake in a roundtable discussion. In this fruitful conversation, the participants addressed questions on topics ranging from scholarly independence and the complex interdependence between state institutions, domestic and international legitimacy and the thought and personalities of major figures.

Abdullah Al-Arian discusses nuances of political Islam’s development over the last decade.

On air this episode: a live interview with associate professor of History at Georgetown University in Qatar and Co-Editor of Jadaliyya’s Critical Currents in Islam Page Abdullah Al-Arian.


Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad hosted a five-part series of livestream discussions titled, The 2020 Election and What Not, as part of the Schar Conversations Podcast conducted with the Schar School for Policy and Government at George Mason University.

The series featured renowned experts regarding rifts in US politics and the Democratic Party, the party system and statehood in Puerto Rico, and what the prospects for a messy transition of power could mean.

Noura Erakat breaks down what a Biden presidency could mean for Palestinians.

On air this episode: a live in-studio interview with human rights attorney and Jadaliyya Co-Editor Noura Erakat regarding her piece in the Washington PostBiden may offer some key opportunities for Palestinians and their allies.


On our New Texts Out Now page, or NEWTONs for short, authors and publishers provide insight into their work and discuss a variety of issues related to their published texts. These are all the NEWTONs discussed in the show. Note that some NEWTONs will be listed again under other themes.

“The Middle East in 1958: Reimagining A Revolutionary Year,” edited by Jeffery Karam, presents a dialogue between several scholars and practitioners specializing in different aspects of the postcolonial moment in 1958 and its connections to broader revolutionary struggles, both failed and successful, across the Middle East.

Dylan Baun discusses the main themes as well as historical events dealt with in his book, “Winning Lebanon,”, such as the 1958 war, as well as its connection to the 2019 revolution in Lebanon and its relevance for the current day.

Carly Beckerman’s “Unexpected State: British Politics and the Creation of Israel” details four case studies of British policy in Palestine and asks why and how elite political battles in London inadvertently laid the foundations for the establishment of the State of Israel.

Grad Student Corner

Cat Haseman points graduate students to helpful resources and content.

In this recurring segment, ASI Social Media Coordinator Cat Haseman points graduate students to an invaluable ASI resource: NEWTONS. Cat recommends reading over a NEWTON before cracking open a new book as a way to familiarize yourself with the author’s scholarly motivations and with the book’s main argument.

Another helpful resource for students is Jadaliyya’s media roundups, in which Jadaliyya’s page Editors periodically pull together the most pertinent articles on a given topic or region. Cat uses roundups to stay up to date on key events of the week or to orient herself when beginning a new research assignment about a specific topic. Here is a list of the media roundups released in November 2020:


One of our Scholars in Context pieces highlights Turkey scholar Nihat Celik, whose work has focused on contemporary Turkish foreign policy and diplomatic history. Currently, he’s working on a book on foreign policy decision-making processes in the Ottoman Empire.

The other Scholars in Context piece highlights Dilşa Deniz, whose research focuses on Kurdish Alevism and Dersim, and their connections to ethno-religious, gender, and socio-political identity constructions. Her work involves the ethno-religious aspect of Turkish politics and, as such, it correlates with a number of different fields.

Parts 3 and 4 of this summer’s Peer-Reviewed Articles Review are now available. Part 3 features several pieces from Iran, Iran and the Caucasus, and Iranian Studies Journals. Part 4 of the Summer Review, features pieces from a variety of political science-focused journals, including Democratization, Perspectives on Politics, and American Political Science Review, in addition to content related to Arabic digital media and Arabic literature.

Omnia El Shakry’s new edited book, “Understanding and Teaching the Modern Middle East,” is an essential resource for any educator teaching the Arab world and the Middle East. This book addresses the challenges that teachers face in the classroom, provides teachers with historical context, and discusses a variety of sources for teaching.

NOW AVAILABLE: A Critical Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa (Stanford University Press)

Since its founding in 2015, ASI’s Political Economy Project (PEP) has worked to provide opportunities and training for students and emerging researchers both from the region and beyond. To these ends, a new book titled “A Critical Political Economy of the Middle East & North Africa,” edited by Jadaliyya Co-Editors Bassam Haddad, Joel Beinin and Sherene Seikaly, is now available for pre-order from Stanford University Press.

This book offers a critical engagement with the political economy of the Middle East and North Africa. These cutting-edge essays demonstrate how critical political economy can illuminate both historical and contemporary dynamics of the region and contribute to wider political economy debates from the vantage point of the Middle East.

Spotlight: Roundtable on Engineers, Technopolitics, and the Environment

 Environment Page Co-Editors Danya Al-Saleh and Mohammed Rafi Arefi organized a seven-piece roundtable that calls for renewed attention to the particular role of engineers and engineering in technopolitical and environmental projects within and beyond the ‘Middle East. This roundtable features a group of seven diverse scholars whose research varies across histories, geographies, and engineered forms, spanning from water and sanitation infrastructures to dams and floating power plants. Across these diverse contexts, engineers are key actors that take part in designing, manipulating, and managing the environment.

Writing on expertise, power, and environment, three scholars consider the following questions: Who are the engineers in your research and how are they positioned vis-à-vis power structures and institutions, such as states, universities, colonial regimes, and corporations?

Focusing on engineers and methodology, two pieces take on these questions: How have you navigated the epistemological and ontological frictions and possibilities between engineering and the critical social sciences?

Concentrating on technopolitics and infrastructure, two scholars answer: What do you think a focus on engineers and engineering can contribute to contemporary scholarship and struggles over infrastructure and the environment?


Hesham Shafick reviewed Elizabeth Frazer and Kimberly Hutchings new book titled “Violence and Political Theory.” Shafick lauds the book as much more than an analytical account of political theory on violence. He commends Frazer and Hutchings’ deconstruction critique of the very field of theory itself as well as their advocacy for nonviolent politics.

In a piece published on Jadaliyya, Mohammad Reza Niknejad (a member of the Teachers Union in Iran) and Behnam Zoghi Roudsari recount the specific erosion of public education in Iran, arguing that privatization has occurred due to localized shortcomings in development planning, and not centralized decision-making by right wing policy makers wielding a neoliberal agenda.

Idriss Jebari wrote a two-part series about Moroccan thinker and historian Abdallah Laroui. After a couple decades of retirement, Laroui has returned to the center stage of Moroccan intellectual thought–and this time his work has particularly resonated with younger Moroccans. The first article investigates Laroui’s apparent intellectual shift from revolutionary romanticism to reformist pragmatism while the second article explores Laruoui’s connection to youth.

Also listed here is a two part series from Jadaliyya on Kurdology and the peace process in Turkey, as well as an article by Jadaliyya Co-Editor Mouin Rabbani reflecting on the 1917 Balfour Declaration.

Jacob Bessen speaks with John T. Chalcraft.

On air this episode: an excerpt from an interview with Professor of Middle East History and Politics at the London School of Economics John T. Chalcraft, by Jacob Bessen. The full interview will be available soon at Status/الوضع.