Gateways to the World: Port Cities in the Persian Gulf

Mehran Kamrava, ed., Gateways to the World: Port Cities in the Persian Gulf (Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2016). 

The Persian Gulf region has become home to some of the world’s fastest growing, most impressive cities, many of them with global aspirations. Gateways to the World presents an in-depth, systematic, and multi-disciplinary approach to the study of these cities. It begins with a broader look at how the emergence and significance of cities along the Persian Gulf waterway should be contextualized. It then moves to historical examinations of the emergence of national borders and boundaries, how they became ‘port cities’ of various kinds, what are the semantics of studying them, and what the glittering skylines and cityscapes and their remaining traditional neighborhoods mean for the international political economy and for the identity of their residents. This book presents a comprehensive study of the nature and variety, the importance, and the domestic and international consequences of port cities along the Persian Gulf. Read more from Oxford University Press.

Bullets and Bulletins: Media and Politics in the Wake of the Arab Uprisings

Mohamed Zayani, and Suzi Mirgani, eds., Bullets and Bulletins: Media and Politics in the Wake of the Arab Uprisings (Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2016). 

Bullets and Bulletins takes a sobering and holistic look at the intersections between media and politics before, during, and in the reverberations of the Arab uprisings. It is a multi-disciplinary approach to the topic, with the research backed up by in-depth and rigorous case studies of the key countries of the Arab Spring. The uprisings were accompanied by profound changes in the roles of traditional and new media across the Middle East. What added significantly to the amplification of demands and grievances in the public spheres, streets and squares, was the dovetailing of an increasingly indignant population — ignited by the prospects of economic and political marginalisation — with high rates of media literacy, digital connectivity, and social media prowess. This combination of political activism and mediated communication turned popular street protests into battles over information, where authorities and activists wrestled with each other over media messages. Bullets and Bulletins offers original insights and analysis into the role of traditional and new media in what is undoubtedly a most critical period in contemporary Middle Eastern history. Read more from Oxford University Press.

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.

Critical Issues in Healthcare Policy and Politics in the Gulf Cooperation Council States

Ravinder Mamtani and Albert B. Lowenfels, eds., Critical issues in Healthcare Policy and Politics in the Gulf Cooperation Council States (Washington: Georgetown University Press, 2018). 

This is the first book to examine challenges in the healthcare sector in the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries (Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain). These countries experienced remarkably swift transformations from small fishing and pearling communities at the beginning of the twentieth century to wealthy petro-states today. Their healthcare systems, however, are only now beginning to catch up. Rapid changes to the population and lifestyles of the GCC states have completely changed—and challenged—the region's health profile and infrastructure. While major successes in combating infectious diseases and improving standards of primary healthcare are reflected in key health indicators, new trends have developed; increasingly "lifestyle" or "wealthy country" diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, have replaced the old maladies. To meet these emerging healthcare needs, GCC states require highly trained and skilled healthcare workers, an environment that supports local training, state-of-the-art diagnostic laboratories and hospitals, research production and dissemination, and knowledge acquisition. They face shortages in most if not all of these areas. This book provides a comprehensive study of the rapidly changing health profile of the region, the existing conditions of healthcare systems, and the challenges posed to healthcare management across the six states of the GCC. Read more from Georgetown University Press.

Arab Migrant Communities in the GCC

Zahra Babar, ​​ed., Arab Migrant Communities in the GCC (London: Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2017). 

Arab Migrant Communities in the GCC is a unique, original work of scholarship based on in-depth fieldwork shedding light on a topic both highly relevant and woefully understudied. It focuses on the earlier community of Arab immigrants within the GCC, who are among the politically most significant and sensitive of migrant groups in the region. Through its multi-disciplinary lenses of social history, cultural studies, economics, and political science, the book presents original data and provides analyses of the settlement and continued evolution of migrant Arab communities across the GCC, their work in and assimilation within host societies and labour markets, and their political, economic, social and cultural significance both to the GCC region and to their countries of origin. Read more from Oxford University Press

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.