Research Initiatives

The Evolution of Gulf Global Cities

This research initiative examines dynamics of urban configurations in the Gulf region (the GCC, Yemen, Iraq and Iran) to understand the city as a political, cultural and social space. By engaging with urban sociologists, social geographers, political scientists, city planners, and architects, this multi-disciplinary research project links macro-level knowledge of urbanization and modernization projects in the Gulf, with the micro-level understanding of everyday spaces of living and human interaction.

Transitional Justice in the Middle East

This multi-disciplinary project examines unfolding experiences of transitional justice across the Middle East in the post-uprising era. Transitional justice has received significant scholarly attention in many other parts of the world, focusing on authoritarian regimes moving toward democracy. While there has been limited academic exploration of transitional justice in relation to the Middle East, recent events in the region have reinvigorated interest in the topic. CIRS launched a multi-disciplinary research initiative on “Transitional Justice in the Middle East.” This project examines unfolding experiences of transitional justice across the Middle East in the post-uprising era.

The State and Innovation in the Gulf

CIRS has undertaken a multi-year research initiative titled “The State and Innovation in the Gulf.” Our goal is to explore questions related to the topic of innovation in the Gulf region through empirically-grounded, theoretically informed research proposals. 

Arab Migrant Communities in the GCC

The Arab migrant communities present in the Gulf have been a neglected area and merit further scholarly discussion and focus. In line with this,CIRS launched a multi-disciplinary research initiative entitled "Arab Migrant Communities in the GCC" that explores questions related to the topic.

Media and Politics

The Politics and the Media in the Post-Arab Spring Middle East research project explores the role of traditional and new media across the Middle East before, during, and after the events of the Arab Spring.

Weak States in the Greater Middle East

The Weak States in the Greater Middle East project offers a critical analysis ‎of current definitions and terminology of weak and fragile states, scrutinizing the political ‎implications of the prevailing discourse within the setting of the broader Middle East. This project examines the causes and consequences of the "fragility" of states from Afghanistan and Pakistan in the east to Sudan and Libya in the west.

Social Change in Post-Khomeini Iran

The Social Change in Post-Khomeini Iran research initiative examines some of the most important topics within contemporary Iran, focusing on its social, cultural, economic, and political domains. Through this multi-disciplinary, empirically-based research initiative, our goal is to present a comprehensive study of contemporary Iranian society.

The Evolving Ruling Bargain in the Middle East

The Evolving Ruling Bargain in the Middle East project will scrutinize the ways in which domestic political arrangements in the Middle East are evolving, and how the authoritarian bargains are being challenged. CIRS will probe some of the existing analytical assumptions and develop new understanding of the drivers of change in the Middle East.

Sectarian Politics in the Gulf

This project brings together a renowned group of scholars to examine the issues of religious, communal, and ethnic identities in the Gulf, and how these impose themselves on both the domestic and international politics of the Gulf.

The central aim of this study is to examine the dynamic ways in which evolving sectarian identities and politics in the Gulf region intersect. Encompassing Iran and the states of the Arabian Peninsula, the research project includes topics that focus on how sectarian issues play out in the realms of domestic politics within Gulf states, as well as those that address sectarianism’s impact on inter-state relations within the region.

Food Security and Food Sovereignty In the Middle East

The Food Security and Food Sovereignty in the Middle East research initiative is comprised of original, empirically-grounded investigations 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.