Research Initiatives

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.

Migrant Labor in the Gulf

The Migrant Labor in the Persian Gulf research initiative examines the multiple causes, processes, and consequences of labor migration in this region from the disciplinary perspectives of sociology, anthropology, political science, and economics. The outcome of this project is the Migrant Labor in the Persian Gulf book that critically analyzes the effects of migration on native communities through original and empirically grounded research, identifying the types and functions of formal and informal binational and multinational networks emerging from and sustaining migration patterns. The authors of this edited volume also explore the role of recruitment agencies, as well as look at the values and behaviors of migrant workers both before and after they set off for the Persian Gulf.

The Nuclear Question in the Middle East

The Nuclear Question in the Middle East research initiative looks into nuclear proliferation concerns associated with ambitious goals to introduce nuclear power in the Gulf states, with an emphasis on the United Arab Emirates. The outcome of this research initiative is a uniquely comprehensive book of great originality, with contributions from some of the most renowned specialists of nuclear politics in the Middle East, tackling a contentious issue with informed scholarly insight.

The Political Economy of the Gulf

Under The Political Economy of the Gulf project, scholars examined topics such as the role of sovereign wealth funds; the rise and fall of the "Dubai model;" regional patterns of economic development; the political economy of rentierism; food security; knowledge based economies; Islamic banking; efforts at GCC monetary union; and other similar topics. The ultimate product of this research project is a book on The Political Economy of the Persian Gulf, published by Hurst/Columbia University Press.