Archives for 2011

A History of the Middle East

The Franco-Lebanese economic historian Georges Corm’s synoptic work, Histoire du Moyen-Orient (Paris, 2007), now translated into English, offers what the author calls a “profane history of the Middle East.” The “profane,” for Corm, is identical to the “strictly political,” which the author understands broadly to include the “geographic and li...    read more 

The End of Modern History in the Middle East

The eminent doyen of Middle East Studies Bernard Lewis who recently turned 95 has been writing history books since before World War II and, of late, has been serving as the chairman of the recently founded Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA). Already by 1950, he was a leading authority on the Arab world, and after 9/11, the vice p...    read more 

Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It

In this follow-up to Robert Pape’s Dying to Win,[1] Pape and Feldman reaffirm Pape’s “occupation theory” explanation for suicide attacks: that the root cause of “suicide terrorism,” as Pape and Feldman dub it, is foreign occupation by democratic powers. (Pape and Feldman believe that it is critical that the occupier be a democratic power, which c...    read more 

Poetry and Politics in Contemporary Bedouin Society

This anthology of modern and recent Bedouin poetry, recorded and translated into English by the authors, provides unique and timely insights into the social and political motivations behind the composition of the traditional Nabati oral poem. By reflecting the current worldviews of today’s Bedouin in southern Jordan and the Sinai, it presents an excellent ...    read more 

The ANC’s Early Years: Nation, Class and Place in South Africa Before 1940

Peter Limb’s The ANC’s Early Years traces the organization’s history prior to 1940, using biographies and other writings on early figures and fitting them into the framework that theorists on nationalism have developed. Although Limb claims his book has no central hypothesis (492), his essential aim is to show that the present-day African National Con...    read more 

National Minority, Regional Majority: Palestinian Arabs versus Jews in Israel

One of the core narratives that continue to fuel the Israeli Palestinian conflict is the Nakba, the Arabic phrase for catastrophe. The Nakba is much more than just the physical creation of the modern state of Israel in 1948, which Palestinians decree as the cataclysmic disaster, but rather the Palestinian process of refusing to accept that a Jewish sovereign...    read more 

Common Ground: Islam, Christianity, and Religious Pluralism

Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations argues that conflicts between specific civilizations are predicated on religion and culture. Whether or not his thesis is correct, religion is an important element within these various societies. During the recent era, the so-called battle between Islam and Christianity has, at times, reached horrifying extr...    read more 

The Kingdom: Saudi Arabia and the Challenge of the 21st Century

Drawing from articles that appeared on the now-defunct SaudiDebate.com website in 2006 and 2007, journalist Mark Huband and PhD student Joshua Craze have assembled a poignant portrayal of Saudi politics and society. While it may not have been their intention, Huband and Craze have demonstrated just how important the Internet is to researchers seeking to gai...    read more 

Engaging the Middle East

University of Michigan professor, and Islam expert, Juan Cole argues that theUnited States should reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, treat Muslims with dignity, and pursue realistic security policies in the Middle East. Highly critical of the Bush administration, and full of dire warnings for President Obama, he states that the U.S. has a chance to engag...    read more