Journal Special Issues

Journals Special Issues

SOI Scientific Production

To cite this publication: Ayman Shabana, guest ed., "Science and Scientific Production in the Middle East," CIRS Special Issue of Sociology of Islam 8, no. 2 (2020).

Discussions concerning science and scientific production in the Middle East often trigger a comparison between a glorious past and a gloomy present. The past witnessed a thriving scientific culture within the Islamic civilization. In the present, however, science is usually entangled in a series of debates, ranging from the normative dimensions of modern science to the larger social and political circumstances shaping current realities, particularly in light of an incessant juxtaposition, competition or rivalry with an imagined West.

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To cite this publication: Zahra Babar, guest ed., "Citizenship," CIRS Special Issue of The Middle East Journal 73, no. 4 (Winter 2019).

Citizenship is a central feature of the modern nation-state. Neither scholars nor policymakers can provide us with a unified and agreed upon idea of what citizenship means in all places, at all times, and for all people. But, pared down to its most basic construct, citizenship is recognized as being that which establishes the fundamental rules of membership, participation, and belonging for the people who inhabit a particular territory. Citizenship creates the legal instruments and political boundaries that shape the relationship between individuals and the state to which they belong. In the absence of a universal definition of citizenship as a category, there are certainly still universally understood ideas, norms, and notions of what citizenship should be as an aspiration and an ideal. In sum, although citizenship exists and develops within its own local context, as a result of a particular historical trajectory, and based on local social and cultural practices, it is still often bound, even if just in the imagination, to the universal, lofty, and idealized form of itself.

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Nation building

To cite this publication: Mehran Kamrava, guest ed., "Nation-Building in Central Asia," CIRS Special Issue of The Muslim World 110, no. 1 (December 2019).

As separate political entities, the Central Asian republics were created in the early years of the Soviet Union, during the 1924–1925 “national delimitation” efforts of the new USSR. But it was only with the onset of formal independence in 1991 that processes of nation‐building in the former Soviet Union started in earnest, including in Central Asia. One of the key challenges the new national elites faced was which “model” of economic development and political organization to adopt: the Chinese model of gradual political reforms; the Russian approach of shock therapy, emblematic of the 1990s; the Turkish secular model; or, perhaps even the Kuwaiti model of authoritarian developmentalism. Most opted for a default hybrid of authoritarianism that featured some combination of elections mixed with a strong cult of personality. In the process, both deliberately and inadvertently, state elites shaped and influenced the emerging nations over which they ruled.

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Resource Curse

To cite this publication: Mehran Kamrava, guest ed., "The 'Resource Curse' in the Persian Gulf," CIRS Special Issue of Journal of Arabian Studies 8.S1 (September 2018).

The debate on whether resource abundance in general, and resource dependence in particular, is a curse or a blessing is an old one. Paradoxically, despite a proliferation of studies on rentierism in the last two decades or so, the specific notion of a “resource curse” has seldom been studied systematically in relation to the Persian Gulf. The articles in this special issue address this gap, looking specifically at the historical causes and genesis of the phenomenon and its consequences in a variety of areas, including human development, infrastructural growth, clientelism, state-building and institutional evolution, and societal and gender relations.

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To cite this publication: Elizabeth Wanucha and Zahra Babar, guest eds., "Family in the Arabian Peninsula," CIRS Special Issue of Hawwa 16, nos. 1–3 (November 2018).

Despite growing scholarly focus on the Persian Gulf region in recent years, the institution of the family, one of the central building blocks of the Gulf community, has received limited attention. In the six monarchies of the Gulf, as well as in Yemen and Iraq, the family has historically been recognized as the fundamental unit of society within which social, economic, and cultural development takes place. Studying the family in any context is a complex undertaking, as the family exists not in isolation as a conceptual island unto itself, but rather is deeply embedded in and profoundly affected by changes in its surrounding society and the broader political and economic realities that are continuously evolving around it. In addition, to carefully analyze changes in practices within the family, one must also look to the family-oriented policies that have been implemented by governments to date, and their influences on family identity and behavior. These and other similar issues inform the particular articles that comprise this special issue of Hawwa.

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To cite this publication: Mehran Kamrava, guest ed., "Leading the Faithful: Religious Authority in the Contemporary Middle East," CIRS Special Issue of Sociology of Islam 6, no. 2 (June 2018).

The post-2011 Middle East has witnessed an increasing politicization of religious authority across the Middle East and among almost all faith communities. Unfolding political and social developments, along with steadily shifting posture and functions of the state vis-à-vis the various religious communities has propelled religious leaders into the role of their communities’ political protectors as well as chief liaisons with state leaders and institutions. Particularly in times of instability and crisis for the community, or even during less chaotic periods of change and transition, the role of religious leaders becomes all the more instrumental in multiple ways. This special issue examines the nature, societal positions, and travails of the Middle East’s various religious communities in the aftermath of the 2011 Arab uprisings, focusing specifically on the role, composition, and functions of their leadership. 

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Journal of Arabian Studies: Art and Cultural Production in the GCC

To cite this publication: Suzi Mirgani, guest ed., "Art and Cultural Production in the GCC," CIRS Special Issue of Journal of Arabian Studies 7.S1 (September 2017).

In an effort to explore the evolution of the art and cultural scene in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, and to understand the complexities of these fields, the Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) at Georgetown University in Qatar undertook a two-year research initiative titled “Art and Cultural Production in the GCC.” Artists, cultural administrators, curators, critics, and academics were invited to Doha to attend two separate meetings in which they debated topics of relevance to the GCC’s cultural field. The research culminated in the publication of original studies in a special issue of the Journal of Arabian Studies (August 2017). This project builds on the available literature by contributing towards furthering knowledge on the prevailing issues around art and cultural production in the Gulf.

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The Muslim World: The State of Middle Eastern Youth

To cite this publication: Islam Hassan and Paul Dyer, guest eds., "The Muslim World: The State of Middle Eastern Youth," CIRS Special Issue of The Muslim World 107, no. 1 (January 2017).

This special issue of the Muslim World studies the state of Middle Eastern youth, focusing on the ways in which their experiences continue to shape their worldviews and their priorities. The contribution of this special issue to the burgeoning literature on Middle Eastern youth enhances our understanding of the lives of the young in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and examines Middle Eastern youth's novel methods of mobilization and its regeneration of a new consciousness. The papers in this special issue are the results of a multi-disciplinary research initiative launched by CIRS in collaboration with Silatech to explore the ways in which youth manage and respond to various socioeconomic and political constraints across the region. As many of the region’s youth are contending with the effects of social and economic exclusion, this project explores the ways in which youth manage and respond to various socioeconomic and political constraints across the region, as well as the potentials of policy to support youth.

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The Muslim World: The State and Innovation in the Gulf

To cite this publication: Dionysis Markakis, guest ed., "The State and Innovation in the Persian Gulf," CIRS Special Issue of The Muslim World 105, no. 1 (January 2015).

Over the last few decades, individual member-states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have engaged in an endeavor of unprecedented scale. Reliant on their abundant but ultimately finite hydrocarbon reserves, states such as Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have sought to diversify their economies, initiating transitions to more sustainable “knowledge-based” economies. Placing an emphasis on fostering higher education, entrepreneurship, research and design, information and communications technology, and similarly progressive sectors, the fundamental objective is to create indigenous, sustainable, and enduring economies. The articles in this special issue of The Muslim World journal emerged out of a two-year research initiative undertaken by the Center for International and Regional Studies of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Qatar. They explore what “knowledge” constitutes, its myriad relationships to the economic system, and the means by which “knowledge-based economies” have been pursued in the context of the Persian Gulf. Across the individual countries and the region as a whole, the authors examine the achievements and opportunities, challenges and failures, faced in this endeavor. 

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