Books

Fragile Politics: Weak States in the Greater Middle East

Kamrava, Mehran, ed. Fragile Politics: Weak States in the Greater Middle East. Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2016.

The 2011 Arab uprisings precipitated the relatively quick collapse of a number of Middle Eastern states once perceived as invincible. The Tunisian and Egyptian states succumbed to revolutionary upheavals early on, followed by that of Qadhafi’s Libya. Yemen’s President Saleh was also eventually forced to give up power. A bloody civil war continues to rage in Syria. These uprisings highlighted weaknesses in the capacity and legitimacy of states across the Arab Middle East. This book provides a comprehensive study of state weakness—or of ‘weak states’—across the Greater Middle East. Read more from Oxford University Press.

Networked Publics and Digital Contention: The Politics of Everyday Life in Tunisia

Zayani, MohamedNetworked Publics and Digital Contention: The Politics of Everyday Life in Tunisia. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

How is the adoption of digital media in the Arab world affecting the relationship between the state and its subjects? What new forms of online engagement and strategies of resistance have emerged from the aspirations of digitally empowered citizens? This book tells the compelling story of the concurrent evolution of technology and society in the Middle East. It brings into focus the intricate relationship between Internet development, youth activism, cyber resistance, and political participation. Taking Tunisia - the birthplace of the Arab uprisings - as a case study, it offers an ethnographically nuanced and theoretically grounded analysis of the digital culture of contention that developed in an authoritarian context. It broadens the focus from narrow debates about the role that social media played in the Arab uprisings toward a fresh understanding of how changes in media affect existing power relations. Read more from Oxford University Press.

The 2016 ICA Best Book Award

The 2016 Toyin Falola Africa Book Award

The 2017 ASA Award

The 2017 Sue DeWine Distinguished Scholarly Book Award

Sectarian Politics in the Persian Gulf

Potter, Lawrence G., ed. Sectarian Politics in the Persian Gulf. Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2014.

Long a taboo topic, as well as one that has alarmed outside powers, sectarian conflict in the Middle East is on the rise. The contributors to this book examine sectarian politics in the Persian Gulf, including the GCC states, Yemen, Iran and Iraq, and consider the origins and con- sequences of sectarianism broadly construed, as it affects ethnic, tribal and religious groups. They also present a theoretical and comparative framework for understanding sectarianism, as well as country-specific chapters based on recent research in the area. Key issues that are scrutinised include the nature of sectarianism, how identity moves from a passive to an active state, and the mechanisms that trigger conflict. The strategies of governments such as rentier economies and the 'invention' of partisan national histories that encourage or manage sectarian differences are also highlighted, as is the role of outside powers in fostering sectarian strife. The volume also seeks to clarify whether movements such as the Islamic revival or the Arab Spring obscure the continued salience of religious and ethnic cleavages. Read more at Oxford University Press.

Beyond the Arab Spring: The Evolving Ruling Bargain in the Middle East

Kamrava, Mehran, ed. Beyond the Arab Spring: The Evolving Ruling Bargain in the Middle East. Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2014.

The Arab Spring occurred within the context of the unravelling of the dominant "ruling bargain" that emerged across the Middle East in the 1950s. This is being replaced by a new and inchoate system that redefines sources of authority and legitimacy through various devices (such as constitutions), experiences, and processes (mass protests, civil wars, and elections), by reassessing the roles, functions, and at times the structures of institutions (political parties and organisations, the armed forces, the executive); and by the initiative of key personalities and actors (agency). Read more from Oxford University Press.

Food Security in the Middle East

Babar, Zahra, and Suzi Mirgani, eds. Food Security in the Middle East. Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2014.

This volume comprises original, empirically-grounded chapters that collectively offer the most comprehensive study available to date on food security in the Middle East. Some of the major themes examined include the ascent and decline of various food regimes, urban agriculture, overseas agricultural land purchases, national food self-sufficiency strategies, distribution networks and food consumption patterns, and nutrition transitions and healthcare. Read more at Oxford University Press.

The Modern Middle East: A Political History Since The First World War

Kamrava, Mehran. The Modern Middle East: A Political History since the First World War. 3rd ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013.

This book examines the political history of the contemporary Middle East. Although it focuses primarily on the period since the demise of the Ottoman Empire, shortly after World War I, it includes some discussion of pre-Ottoman and Ottoman histories to better clarify the background and the context in which modern Middle Eastern political history has taken shape. The book uses a broad conception of the “Middle East” as a geographic area that extends from Iran in the east to Turkey, Iraq, the Arabian peninsula, the Levant (Lebanon and Syria), and North Africa, including the Maghreb, in the west. Maghreb is the Arabic word for “Occident” and has historically been used to describe areas west of Egypt. In modern times, it has come to refer to Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. Libya is also sometimes included as part of the Maghreb, but it is more commonly grouped with Egypt as belonging to North Africa. This completely revised and updated edition of Mehran Kamrava’s classic treatise on the making of the contemporary Middle East remains essential reading for students and general readers who want to gain a better understanding of this diverse region. Read more from University of California Press.

Qatar: Small State, Big Politics

Kamrava, Mehran. Qatar: Small State, Big Politics. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013.

The Persian Gulf state of Qatar has fewer than 2 million inhabitants, virtually no potable water, and has been an independent nation only since 1971. Yet its enormous oil and gas wealth has permitted the ruling al Thani family to exert a disproportionately large influence on regional and even international politics. Qatar is, as Mehran Kamrava explains in this knowledgeable and incisive account of the emirate, a "tiny giant." Read more from Cornell University Press. 

Migrant Labor in the Persian Gulf

Kamrava, Mehran, and Zahra Babar, eds. Migrant Labor in the Persian Gulf. Columbia University Press/Hurst, 2012.

In some countries of the Persian Gulf as much as 85 to 90 per cent of the population is made-up of expatriate workers. Unsurprisingly, all of the concerned states spend inordinate amounts of their political energies managing the armies of migrant laborers employed in their countries, and there are equally fundamental social, cultural, and economic consequences involved as well. Empirically rich and theoretically informed, this book presents a comprehensive examination of the conditions, priorities, and networks of migrant workers in the Persian Gulf. Read more from Hurst Publishers. 

The Nuclear Question in the Middle East

Kamrava, Mehran, ed. The Nuclear Question in the Middle East. Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2012. 

This is the first book of its kind to combine thematic and theoretical discussions regarding nuclear weapons and nuclear energy with case studies from across the region. This is a uniquely comprehensive book of great originality, with contributions from some of the most renowned specialists of nuclear politics in the Middle East, tackling a contentious issue with informed scholarly insight. Read more at Oxford University Press. 

The Political Economy of the Persian Gulf

Kamrava, Mehran, ed. The Political Economy of the Persian Gulf. Oxford University Press/Hurst. 2012.

Change occurs rapidly in the Persian Gulf. While some states have capitalised on the fast-paced nature of globalised fiscal transactions and have become important markets for foreign investment, others have fallen victim to such speculations. The "Dubai Model" of economic diversification is being re-evaluated as the GCC states continue to seek the best means of organizing their economies and competing within the global order. Read more from Oxford University Press.