The Impossibility of Palestine

Mehran Kamrava, The Impossibility of Palestine (New Haven CT: Yale University Press, 2016). 

The “two-state solution” is the official policy of Israel, the United States, the United Nations, and the Palestinian Authority alike. However, international relations scholar Mehran Kamrava argues that Israel’s “state-building” process has never risen above the level of municipal governance, and its goal has never been Palestinian independence. He explains that a coherent Palestinian state has already been rendered an impossibility, and to move forward, Palestine must redefine its present predicament and future aspirations. Based on detailed fieldwork, exhaustive scholarship, and an in-depth examination of historical sources, this controversial work will be widely read and debated by all sides. Read more from Yale University Press.

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

Suzi Mirgani, guest ed., "Art and Cultural Production in the GCC," CIRS Special Issue of Journal of Arabian Studies 7, no. 1 (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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"Media and Politics in the Wake of the Arab Uprisings," CIRS Arabic Summary Report no. 14 (Doha, Qatar: Center for International and Regional Studies, 2017).

لا شكّ أنّ العديد من الأحداث التي جرت إبّان الانتفاضات العربية رُتّبت بحيث تنال عناية الإعلام القصوى، غير أنّها أظهرت أكثر بكثير من مجرد مشهديّة إعلامية. فهي انتهكت حدود الأعراف المدنيّة والسياسيّة التي تثبّتت عبر الزمن، وأتاحت أن تشعر بها أوساط أخرى كانت محرومة سابقاً، سواء داخل السلك الأكاديمي أو الإعلامي، أو في غيرها من أوساط الفضاء العام. اقتبس الأكاديميون الإقليميون والعالميون لفترة طويلة جداً سرديّة تؤكّد على مرونة الاستبداد العربي، وعلى رسوخ أوضاع العديد من الأنظمة العربية، وعلى دوام هذا الحال في المستقبل المنظور. وسلّطت أدبيّاتهم الضوء على سكونية الأمر الواقع الذي تسيطر الأنظمة العربية الحالية بموجبه على المواطنين، بدءاً من مراقبة الأفراد في الشوارع وحتى الإملاءات القادمة من أروقة السلطة. لكن العالم العربي، ومنذ 2010 ، شهد طفرة مكثفة في الاهتمام المحلي والإقليمي والدولي، الذي يتسم بطابع فضولي وتطفّلي، والموجّه إلى تحليل كل جوانب وحالات الوجود اليومي للجماهير العربية. وبغض النظر عن أن المبالغة والرومانسية الزائدة باتت معياراً لتعليقات الإعجاب بالانتفاضات العربية، فإنّ هذا الاهتمام العالمي فتح آفاق أشكال جديدة من الدراسات والتحليلات النقدية الحديثة والمثيرة التي تتناول بلداناً كانت يوماً ممالك صمت في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا.

Art and Cultural Production in the GCC

"Art and Cultural Production in the GCC," CIRS Summary Report no. 18 (Doha, Qatar: Center for International and Regional Studies, 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 (September 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 2016-2017 CIRS Annual Report contains information about all the activities, research initiatives, publications, lectures, and events that CIRS organized throughout the year. Highlights include the publication of five new CIRS books, as well as the initiation of new research initiatives and grant awards.

The Great Game in West Asia

"The Great Game in West Asia," CIRS Summary Report no. 17 (Doha, Qatar: Center for International and Regional Studies, 2017).

The Great Game in West Asia examines the strategic competition between Iran and Turkey for power and influence in the South Caucasus. These neighboring Middle East powers have vied for supremacy and influence throughout the region and especially in their immediate vicinity, while contending with ethnic heterogeneity both within their own territories and across their borders. Turkey has long conceived of itself as not just a bridge between Asia and Europe but in more substantive terms as a central player in regional and global affairs. If somewhat more modest in its public statements, Iran’s parallel ambitions for strategic centrality and influence have only been masked by its own inarticulate foreign policy agendas and the repeated missteps of its revolutionary leaders. But both have sought to deepen their regional influence and power, and in the South Caucasus each has achieved a modicum of success. In fact, as the contributions to this volume demonstrate, as much of the world’s attention has been diverted to conflicts and flashpoints near and far, a new great game has been unravelling between Iran and Turkey in the South Caucasus.

Transitional Justice in the Middle East and North Africa

"Transitional Justice in the Middle East and North Africa," CIRS Summary Report no. 16 (Doha, Qatar: Center for International and Regional Studies, 2017).

Following the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, many had high hopes not only for democratization but also for transitional justice to address the myriad abuses that had taken place in the region, both during the uprisings and for decades prior to them. Despite these hopes, most of the transitions in the region have stalled, along with the possibility of transitional justice. This volume is the first to look at this process and brings together leading experts in the fields of human rights and transitional justice, and in the history, politics and justice systems of countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Bahrain and Morocco. While these countries have diverse histories, political institutions, and experiences with accountability, most have experienced non-transition, stalled transition, or political manipulation of transitional justice measures, highlighting the limits of such mechanisms. These studies should inform reflection not only on the role of transitional justice in the region, but also on challenges to its operation more generally.

The Muslim World: The State of Middle Eastern Youth

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.

CIRS Newsletter No. 21

CIRS Newsletter 21 was published in Fall 2016. This newsletter highlights all activities including the latest research initiatives, publications, faculty research, as well as conference participation and exhibitions.

Youth in the Middle East

"Youth in the Middle East," CIRS Summary Report no. 15 (Doha, Qatar: Center for International and Regional Studies, 2016).

While some of MENA’s recent macro-economic and political developments have created further obstacles for the region’s youth, young peoples’ responses to these constraints have differed remarkably. As such, the process by which we expand our understanding of young people should be informed by a wider perspective: the aspirations of youth and their senses of identity as well as the economic and political contexts that confront them. How individuals manage the challenges they face, and how youth mobilize collectively to deal with those overarching constraints faced in the region, are likely influenced by diverse factors related to their gendered, national, urban, tribal, cultural, and religious differences. To explore the underlying causes and consequences of these complexities, CIRS launched a multi-disciplinary research initiative in collaboration with Silatech, a Doha-based and youth-oriented social initiative organization. As many of the region’s youth are contending with the effects of social and economic exclusion, this research 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 various aspects of youth’s lives. Additionally, this research initiative examines the ways in which Middle Eastern youth collectively regenerate a new consciousness and forge novel methods of mobilization. The original research papers produced as part of this initiative will be published as a special issue of The Muslim World in 2017.