Faculty Publications - Center for Contemporary Arab Studies | Georgetown University

Faculty Publications

Monograph Publications from CCAS Core Faculty

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Photo of the Cover of New Political Economy

Narrating Crisis, Constructing Policy: Economic Ideas and Institutional Change in Syria

Prof. Daniel Neep recently published his research on incremental institutional change in post-independence Syria for the journal New Political Economy

Image of the cover of the book Tunisia's National Intelligence: Why "Rogue Elephants" Fail to Reform

Tunisia’s National Intelligence: Why “Rogue Elephants” Fail to Reform

Noureddine Jebnoun

New Academia Publishing, 2017

Drawing on extensive fieldwork and original data, Noureddine Jebnoun examines the political and security evolution of Tunisia’s national intelligence in the post-independence era. It investigates the sophistication of the intelligence complex under Bin ʿAlī, and its central role in entrenching his authoritarian rule. The increased politicization of intelligence services contributed to the consolidation of power and the abuse of Tunisian citizens while the wide-range of illegal activities by Tunisia’s intelligence services contributed to the establishment of a police security state. However, through their opacity, repression, and lack of professionalism, these services served to weaken the state. The post-uprising era created a dilemma for intelligence organs in adjusting to the new socio-political context. The absence of an appropriate political vision for the role of intelligence within a nascent democracy, insecurity in the country, and the legacy of authoritarianism are hindering any effort at reform. The transition from state-centric security to a human-security approach is likely a major impediment to such reform. Rather than reform that entails democratic control and oversight of the intelligence sector, the country’s secret apparatus experienced a mending process seeking mainly to improve its operational capabilities driven by the discourse of technicalities.

Image of the cover of the book ANATOMY OF AUTHORITARIANISM IN THE ARAB REPUBLICS

ANATOMY OF AUTHORITARIANISM IN THE ARAB REPUBLICS

Joseph Sassoon

Cambridge University Press, 2016

By examining the system of authoritarianism in eight Arab republics, Joseph Sassoon portrays life under these regimes and explores the mechanisms underpinning their resilience. How did the leadership in these countries create such enduring systems? What was the economic system that prolonged the regimes’ longevity, but simultaneously led to their collapse? Why did these seemingly stable regimes begin to falter? This book seeks to answer these questions by utilizing the Iraqi archives and memoirs of those who were embedded in these republics: political leaders, ministers, generals, security agency chiefs, party members, and business people. Taking a thematic approach, the book begins in 1952 with the Egyptian Revolution and ends with the Arab uprisings of 2011. It seeks to deepen our understanding of the authoritarianism and coercive systems that prevailed in these countries and the difficult process of transition from authoritarianism that began after 2011.

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PALESTINE AND THE PALESTINIANS IN THE 21ST CENTURY

Rochelle A. Davis & Mimi Kirk, Eds.

Indiana University Press, 2013

Palestine and the Palestinians in the 21st Century (Indiana University Press, 2013) is a volume edited by CCAS Associate Professor Rochelle Davis and former CCAS editor Mimi Kirk, and written by leading scholars on various dimensions of the ongoing conflict in Palestine. Recent developments in Palestinian political, economic, and social life have resulted in greater insecurity and diminishing confidence in Israel’s willingness to abide by political agreements or the Palestinian leadership’s ability to forge consensus. This volume examines the legacies of the past century, conditions of life in the present, and the possibilities and constraints on prospects for peace and self-determination in the future. These historically grounded essays by leading scholars engage the issues that continue to shape Palestinian society, such as economic development, access to resources, religious transformation, and political movements.

Image of SADDAM HUSSEIN'S BA'TH PARTY: INSIDE AN AUTHORITARIAN REGIME cover

SADDAM HUSSEIN’S BA’TH PARTY: INSIDE AN AUTHORITARIAN REGIME

Joseph Sassoon

Cambridge University Press, 2012

The Ba’th Party came to power in 1968 and remained for thirty-five years, until the 2003 U.S. invasion. Under the leadership of Saddam Hussein, who became president of Iraq in 1979, a powerful authoritarian regime was created based on a system of violence and an extraordinary surveillance network, as well as reward schemes and incentives for supporters of the party. The true horrors of this regime have been exposed for the first time through a massive archive of government documents captured by the United States after the fall of Saddam Hussein. It is these documents that form the basis of this extraordinarily revealing book and that have been translated and analyzed by Joseph Sassoon, an Iraqi-born scholar and seasoned commentator on the Middle East. They uncover the secrets of the innermost workings of Hussein’s Revolutionary Command Council, how the party was structured, how it operated via its network of informers, and how the system of rewards functioned. Saddam Hussein’s authority was dominant. His decision was final, whether arbitrating the promotion of a junior official or the death of a rival or a member of the family. As this gripping portrayal of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq demonstrates, the regime was every bit as authoritarian and brutal as Stalin’s Soviet Union or Mao’s China and some of the regimes in the Arab world who are witnessing upheavals.

Image of the cover of the publication ANATOMY OF AUTHORITARIANISM IN THE ARAB REPUBLICS

OCCUPYING SYRIA UNDER THE FRENCH MANDATE

Daniel Neep

Cambridge University Press, 2012

What role does military force play during a colonial occupation? The answer seems obvious: coercion crushes local resistance, quashes political dissent, and consolidates the dominance of the occupying power. However, as this discerning and theoretically rigorous study suggests, violence can have much more ambiguous consequences. Set in Syria during the French Mandate from 1920 to 1946, the book explores a turbulent period in which conflict between armed Syrian insurgents and French military forces not only determined the strategic objectives of the colonial state, but also transformed how the colonial state organised, controlled, and understood Syrian society, geography, and population. In addition to the coercive techniques of airpower, collective punishment, and colonial policing, the book shows how civilian technologies such as urban planning and engineering were also commandeered in the effort to undermine rebel advances. In this way, colonial violence had a lasting effect in Syria, shaping a peculiar form of social order that endured well after the French occupation. As the conclusion surmises, the interplay between violence, spatial colonisation, and pacification continues to resonate with recent developments in the region.

Image of the cover of the book GENDERED PARADOXES: EDUCATING JORDANIAN WOMEN IN NATION, FAITH, AND PROGRESS

GENDERED PARADOXES: EDUCATING JORDANIAN WOMEN IN NATION, FAITH, AND PROGRESS

Fida J. Adely

University of Chicago, 2012

In Gendered Paradoxes: Educating Jordanian Women in Nation, Faith, and Progress, Fida Adely takes readers into the halls of a Jordanian public school—the al-Khatwa High School for Girls—to examine how the young women there are facing the great social and economic challenges of today’s Jordan. The demographic picture in Jordan—with highly educated women largely remaining outside the formal job market for most of their adult lives—prompted the World Bank in 2005 to label the country a “gendered paradox,” but Adely argues that this assessment is a fallacy. Showing that the important place of education in Jordan should not be calculated soley through an employment lens, she raises fundamental questions about what constitutes development, progress, and empowerment, not just for the girls of al-Khatwa High School but for women throughout the Middle East.

To read an interview of Dr. Adely about her book, see this article in the CCAS Featured Stories Archive.

Image of the cover of PALESTINIAN VILLAGE HISTORIES

PALESTINIAN VILLAGE HISTORIES

Rochelle Davis

Stanford University Press, 2011

Throughout modern-day Israel, over four hundred villages were depopulated in the 1947-1949 war. With houses mostly destroyed, mosques and churches put to other uses, and cemeteries plowed under, Palestinian communities were left geographically dispossessed. Palestinians have since carried their village names, memories, and possessions with them into the diaspora, transforming their lost past into local histories in the form of “village memorial books.” Numbering more than 100 volumes in print, these books recount family histories, cultural traditions, and the details of village life, revealing a Palestinian history through the eyes of Palestinians.

Through a close examination of these books and other commemorative activities, Rochelle Davis’s Palestinian Village Histories reveals how history is written, recorded, and contested, as well as the roles that Palestinian conceptions of their past play in contemporary life. Moving beyond the grand narratives of twentieth century political struggles, this book analyzes individual and collective historical accounts of everyday life in pre-1948 Palestinian villages as composed today from the perspectives of these long-term refugees.

Image of the cover of APOSTLES OF MODERNITY: SAINT-SIMONIANS AND THE CIVILIZING MISSION IN ALGERIA

APOSTLES OF MODERNITY: SAINT-SIMONIANS AND THE CIVILIZING MISSION IN ALGERIA

Osama Abi-Mershed

Stanford University, 2010

Between 1830 and 1870, French army officers serving in the colonial offices of Arab affairs profoundly altered the course of political decision-making in Algeria. Guided by the modernizing ideologies of the Saint-Simonian school in their development and implementation of colonial policy, the officers articulated a new doctrine and framework for governing the Muslim and European populations of Algeria.

In Apostles of Modernity: Saint-Simonians and the Civilizing Mission in Algeria, Abi-Mershed shows the evolution of this civilizing mission in Algeria, and illustrates how these 40 years were decisive in shaping the principal ideological tenents in French colonization of the region. The book offers a re-thinking of French colonial history, and reveals not only what the rise of Europe implied for the cultural identities of non-elite Middle Easterners and North Africans, but also what dynamics were involved in the imposition or local adoptions of European cultural norms and how the colonial encounter impacted the cultural identities of the colonizers themselves.

Image of Uploaded ToWOMEN, FAMILY, AND GENDER IN ISLAMIC LAW cover

WOMEN, FAMILY, AND GENDER IN ISLAMIC LAW

Judith E. Tucker

Cambridge University Press, 2008

In what ways has Islamic law discriminated against women and privileged men? What rights and power have been accorded to Muslim women, and how have they used the legal system to enhance their social and economic position? In an analysis of Islamic law through the prism of gender, Judith E. Tucker tackles these complex questions relating to the position of women in Islamic society, and to the ways in which the legal system shaped the family, property rights, space, and sexuality from classical and medieval times to the present. Hers is a nuanced approach, which negotiates broadly between the history of doctrine and of practice and the interplay between the two. Working with concepts drawn from feminist legal theory and by using particular cases to illustrate her arguments, the author systematically addresses questions of discrimination and expectation—what did men expect of their womenfolk?—and of how the language of the law contributed to that discrimination, infecting the system and all those who participated in it. The author is a fluent communicator, effectively guiding the reader through the historical roots and intellectual contours of the Islamic legal system, and explicating the impact of these traditions on Islamic law as it is practiced in the modern world.

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