Books

Food Security in the Middle East

Zahra Babar 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

Mehran Kamrava, 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.

Migrant Labor in the Persian Gulf

Mehran Kamrava 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

Mehran Kamrava, 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.

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The Political Economy of the Persian Gulf

Mehran Kamrava, 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.

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The Gulf Monarchies and Climate Change: Abu Dhabi and Qatar in an Era of Natural Unsustainability

Mari Luomi, The Gulf Monarchies and Climate Change: Abu Dhabi and Qatar in an Era of Natural Unsustainability (Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2012).

In this book, Mari Luomi reveals how Abu Dhabi and Qatar have responded to these new natural re-source-related pressures, particularly climate change, and how their responses are inextricably linked with elite legitimacy strategies and the "natural unsustainability" of their political economies. Read more from Oxford University Press.

The International Politics of the Persian Gulf

Mehran Kamrava, ed., The International Politics of the Persian Gulf (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2011). 

This volume presents a comprehensive, detailed, and accessible account of the international politics of the region. Focusing on the key factors that give the Persian Gulf its strategic significance, contributors look at the influence of vast deposits of oil and natural gas on international politics, the impact of the competing centers of power of Iran and Saudi Arabia, the nature of relationships among countries within the Persian Gulf, and the evolving interaction between Islam and politics. Read more from Syracuse University Press.

Innovation in Islam: Traditions and Contributions

Mehran Kamrava, ed., Innovation in Islam: Traditions and Contributions (Berkley, CA: University of California Press, 2011).

Focusing on the ways and means through which the teachings of Islam have been produced and perpetuated over time, the contributors investigate such areas as the arts and letters, jurisprudence, personal status, hermeneutics and epistemology, and Muslims’ perceptions of the self in the modern world. Innovation in Islam illuminates a debate that extends beyond semantics into everyday politics and society—and one that has ramifications around the world. Read more from University of California Press.

Iran Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the Islamic Republic

Mehran Kamrava and Manochehr Dorraj, Iran Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the Islamic Republic, 2 vols (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2008).

Heir to a long history and a great culture and civilization, Iran embodies a rich, complex, and diverse mosaic that defines its national identity. Diversity is also the operative word that describes Iranian landscapes and geography, its multiple ethnic groups and their varied cultures and traditions, as well as the uneven and vastly different levels of economic and industrial development, conflicting political tendencies, and different and often contradictory social and cultural outlooks. The 1978-1979 revolution transformed the society and culture in fundamental ways and redefined social life. It created new institutions of governance and Islamicized the culture, education and the legal system in an attempt to create a new society that would usher in the reign of piety and virtue. Yet, Islamization had to come to terms with pre-Islamic and illustrious Persian history and culture, as well as the realities of an interdependent, postmodern, globalized world in which, as a developing country, Iran resides in the periphery. Within this framework, the dynamics and complexity of social life in the Islamic Republic unfold. This encyclopedia is the source for up-to-date, authoritative information on a full range of critical topics of interest. Read more at Greenwood Pubilshing Group.

Iran's Intellectual Revolution

Mehran Kamrava, Iran's Intellectual Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).

Since its revolution in 1979, Iran has been viewed as the bastion of radical Islam and a sponsor of terrorism. The focus on its volatile internal politics and its foreign relations has, according to Kamrava, distracted attention from more subtle transformations which have been taking place there in the intervening years. With the death of Ayatollah Khomeini a more relaxed political environment opened up in Iran, which encouraged intellectual and political debate between learned elites and religious reformers. What emerged from these interactions were three competing ideologies which Kamrava categorises as conservative, reformist and secular. As the book aptly demonstrates, these developments, which amount to an intellectual revolution, will have profound and far-reaching consequences for the future of the Islamic republic, its people and very probably for countries beyond its borders. This thought-provoking account of the Iranian intellectual and cultural scene will confound stereotypical views of Iran and its mullahs. Read more at Cambridge University Press.