ASMEA Research Grants Recipients

ASMEA’s first research grants program took place in 2008-09 and supported the scholarly work of Association members in the fields of Middle Eastern studies, African studies, and their related fields.

2008-2009 Award Recipients

Dr. Wayne Bowen, Department Chair and Professor of History at Southeast Missouri State University, received an award to support comparative research on the Spanish and Ottoman Empires in the Western Mediterranean, 1714-1914.  This research will compare and contrast the experiences of Spain and the Ottomans in theWestern Mediterranean, and examine the ways both attempted to reverse imperial decline, through reforms, military action and diplomacy.

Dr. Jeffrey R. Macris, Military Professor at U.S. Naval Academy History Department and Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies, received an award to research the Persian Gulf during World War II.  The scope of the project includes researching what military activity took place in the Gulf, the superpowers’ strategic objectives in the theater, their shaping of the region during that time, and the long-term consequences of that involvement.

Ms. Defne Jones, PhD student in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies (Turkish Studies) and Political Science at Indiana University, received an award to conduct field work on the growth of Islamic extremism in Turkey, including examining Turkey’s relations with Iran, the Palestinian territories, and other Islamic countries in an effort to determine the trajectory of a country that is argued by some to be the only “Islamic democracy” in the region.

Dr. Donovan Chau, Assistant Professor of Political Science at California State University, San Bernardino, received an award to support research for a book under contract with Praeger Security International examining Kenya’s strategic significance in East Africa and to the United States. The book will describe and discuss the history and geography of Kenya, Kenya’s role in regional security, and U.S.-Kenya relations.

Dr. Michael Decker, Assistant Professor of History at University of South Florida, received an award to support a project focusing on medieval history and relations between the Roman Empire and the Islamic world. The project will examine through text and archaeology the major communities of Jews, Christians, polytheists and Zoroastrians from the century before the arrival of the armies of Islam until the overthrow of the first-Islamic dynasty in 750 AD.

Dr. Ofira Seliktar, Professor of Political Science, Gratz College and Adjunct at Temple University, received an award to write a systematic evaluation of perceptions of Iran’s rationality in the American foreign policy discourse. By providing a rigorous framework for analyzing American perceptions of regime rationality in Iran, the project aims to provide an insight into ways in which the concepts of rationality in the Second Nuclear Age are shaped.

Dr. Franck Salameh, Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Boston College, received an award to assist with the publication of an upcoming book–Language Memory and Identity in the Middle East: The Case for Lebanon–which proposes a new reading of modern Middle Eastern history and suggests alternate solutions for the region’s problems. The book is an attempt to rehabilitate and bring back to the fore of Middle East Studies this issue of language as a key factor in shaping the region, with a special focus on Lebanon, a “Christian homeland,” which traditionally acted as the region’s template for change, and a barometer gauging its problems and charting its progress.