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, Connecticut: 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.

Reflecting on the Life and Work of Mahmoud Darwish

Munir Ghannam and Amira El-Zein, "Reflecting on the Life and Work of Mahmoud Darwish," CIRS Brief no. 3, October 22, 2008.

American Public Diplomacy After the Bush Presidency

Cynthia Schneider, "American Public Diplomacy After the Bush Presidency," CIRS Brief no. 2, October 19, 2008.

Fixing the Kingdom: Political Evolution and Socio-Economic Challenges in Bahrain

Steven Wright, "Fixing the Kingdom: Political Evolution and Socio-Economic Challenges in Bahrain," CIRS Occasional Paper no. 3 (Doha, Qatar: Center for International and Regional Studies, 2008, 2010).

Bahrain has entered into a more ‘progressive’ phase of its history under King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. Various parliamentary and legislative restructuring, in addition to discernable changes within civil society, have taken place. Yet genuine socio-economic challenges remain on the horizon, which may pose risks to the political order. The reforms were drive by a recognition that far reaching political and economic changes were needed in order to combat the risk of a return to the widespread riots that Bahrain was plagued with during the late 1990s. The focus of this study is to show that internal power politics within Bahrain’s ruling elite largely explain the manner in which the reforms have been implemented in the initial years of King Hamad’s reign. A key aspect of this was a desire by the King to enhance his autonomy vis-à-vis the Prime Minister through a populist mandate. This study also surveys key social and political developments in Bahrain and illustrates some of the important challenges which remain within the Kingdom.

Conservation in Qatar: Impacts of Increasing Industrialization

Renee Richer, "Conservation in Qatar: Impacts of Increasing Industrialization," CIRS Occasional Paper no. 2 (Doha, Qatar: Center for International and Regional Studies, 2008, 2009).

Industrial development in the State of Qatar is taking place at an unprecedented rate. Such development is putting the environment at the risk, threatening ecosystem services and biological diversity. While Qatar is currently developing the legislation, regulatory bodies, and management agencies for successful ecosystem management and conservation efforts, the full implementation of these protective measures has yet to be achieved. This is in part due to a lack of scientific expertise and trained personnel as well as the early stage of environmental development in the country. While strides have been taken by the State of Qatar, the question remains whether they can be implemented in a timely fashion to ensure that current and future development projects support the country’s goal of sustainable development. 

America, the Middle East, and the Gulf: An Arab View of Challenges Facing the Next U.S. Administration

Rami Khouri, "America, the Middle East, and the Gulf: An Arab View of Challenges Facing the Next U.S. Administration," CIRS Brief no. 1, August 24, 2008.

CIRS Newsletter No. 03

The third issue of the CIRS Newsletter was published in June 2008. In this issue, CIRS reports on its MUN 2008 and Global Media and War conferences, and a lecture by Dr. John Esposito. In addition, it highlights the work of  SFS-Qatar professors Ganesh Seshan and Ibrahim Oweiss.

CIRS Newsletter No. 02

The second issue of the CIRS Newsletter, published in March 2008, contains summaries of lectures by Drs. Seikaly, Wasserman, Sonbol and Laude, as well as reports on CIRS' panels on the Environment and on America and the Middle East.

CIRS Annual Reports 2007-2008

CIRS published its 2007-2008 Annual Report documenting all its activities and achievements over the past academic year. The Report includes summaries and full listings of all conferences, events, publications, and research initiatives undertaken as part of CIRS efforts to promote cross-cultural understanding and dialogue, encourage in-depth scholarship, and provide the forum for thought-provoking public lectures and events.

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.