Past Themes & Fellows

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Research Theme for 2020-2022

Politics in the Contemporary Middle East and North Africa

The Middle East and North Africa have experienced serious political upheaval since the beginning of the 21st century. These events have corresponded with specific developments such as the ever-accelerating penetration of the Internet and social media from the late 1990s, followed by the attacks of 9/11 and the American military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, which further destabilized both societies. Then followed the second oil price boom (2004-2014), the dramatic increases in commodity prices (fuel, wheat, steel, etc.) and the inability of governments to maintain public subsidies for basic foodstuffs and energy.  All this took place as the region continued to suffer from unaccountable governance, endemic corruption of the political elite and crony capitalism as well as the repression and brutalization of citizens and the lack of economic opportunities. This welter of factors ultimately led to an explosion of popular anger and mobilization, beginning in late 2010 and lasting until today.  Governments throughout the region have responded with more repression, and in some cases, as in Syria, with the wholesale destruction of much of the country and the displacement of half its citizens. The research focus of the Transregional Institute (TRI) during the academic years 2019-2021 will be on the developments mentioned above. TRI’s researchers will take into account the political history of the region and analyze these recent dynamics using different disciplinary approaches with the aim of providing a better understanding of these contemporary political, social and economic changes in the Middle East and North Africa.


Fariz Ismailzade

Fariz Ismailzade is a Visiting Fulbright Scholar at the Transregional Institute during the fall 2021. Since 2006, Dr. Ismailzade has been Executive Vice Rector of ADA University in Azerbaijan and editor of the quarterly journal Baku Dialogues. He serves as a board member of the State Examination Center and governmental working group on Education, Culture and Science for the reconstruction of Karabakh. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science from Western University in Baku, received a master’s degree in social and economic development from Washington University in St. Louis and an executive MBA in international business from the IB Business School before being awarded a DBA in international business from the Maastricht School of Management. At Princeton, he will be conducting research on the economic relations between the US and Azerbaijan. His publications include: “Liberated Karabakh” (2021, ADA University Press); “South Caucasus 2021: Oil, Democracy and Geopolitics” (Jamestown Foundation Press, 2012) and “Azerbaijan in Global Politics: Crafting Foreign Policy” (2009, ADA Press).

Elizabeth Perego

Elizabeth M. Perego, PhD is an historian of contemporary Algeria and its global and regional connections. Her scholarship examines the intersection of politics, culture, and gender in Algeria as well as the modern Maghrib more generally. She is currently completing a book project entitled, De-mock-ratiyya: Humor, History, Protest, and Conflict in Algeria, 1988 to 2005, which explores comedy as a site of identity formation and expression of political ideas at times of heightened crisis and censorship. She also looks forward to conducting new research into the transnational and transregional histories of African identities and feminism across the Sahara and Middle East. Dr. Perego received her Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in 2017 and was Assistant Professor of History at Shepherd University.

She joined the Institute for the Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa & Central Asia as a postdoctoral research associate in January 2020. 

Hugo Micheron

Hugo Micheron earned his PhD in Political Science from the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Paris in 2019. In September 2020 Dr. Micheron joined Princeton University as a postdoctoral research associate at the Institute for Transregional Studies. Here he will be pursuing research on the socio-political and socio-religious changes in the Levant and Iraq after the demise of the Islamic State (ISIS) and their implications for the Euro-Mediterranean region. Dr. Micheron’s PhD dissertation, titled “The Lands of Jihad: neighborhoods, prisons, and the Levant. A Political Sociology of West European Jihadism (1989–2019),” is the result of in-depth sociological surveys in French and Belgian neighborhoods affected by jihadist recruitment.  For this research, he also conducted 80 interviews with convicted “returnees” from ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Qaeda in Syria) who are incarcerated in French prisons. He engaged in discussions with jihadist leaders and foot soldiers both through one-on-one and collective interviews. The fieldwork in Europe was complemented by interviews in Iraq, north Lebanon and Turkey with local jihadists and their families as well as with Kurdish fighters and Syrian dissidents. Dr. Micheron’s doctoral research constitutes the largest qualitative and quantitative social science study on French-speaking jihadism. A revised version of the dissertation was published by Gallimard press in 2020 under the title Le jihadisme français, and an English translation and publication is presently underway. More recently, Dr. Micheron did research on a soon-to-be-published project titled “The Evolution of Online Discourses of French-speaking Islamist Communities after the fall of ISIS.” This is a quantitative study, based on historical data feeds and API from Twitter and Facebook, that explores the discursive evolution and mutual interactions between distinct online Islamist communities (jihadist, Salafist and the Muslim Brotherhood). Dr. Micheron has taught at Sciences Po and the ENS and will be teaching a course at Princeton on jihadism.

Christiana Parreira

Christiana Parreira, PhD is a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University’s Transregional Institute. Her research focuses on how local political institutions affect patterns of regime durability and change. Her dissertation (and book project), The Art of Not Governing: Local Politics in Postwar Lebanon, uses local electoral data, an original survey, participant-observation, and qualitative interviews to show how center-periphery ties have shaped governance outcomes in Lebanon. The dissertation demonstrates that Lebanon’s governing coalition has continually relied on municipal governments throughout the country’s history to selectively reward electoral loyalty and punish opposition, foreclosing opportunities for voters to hold incumbents accountable at the ballot box. Her other research examines how local institutions and actors affect welfare outcomes in the modern Middle East. Dr. Parreira received her PhD in political science from Stanford University in August 2020.



Asher Orkaby

Asher Orkaby, PhD is an associate research scholar at Princeton University’s Transregional Institute. He earned his PhD from Harvard University in International History and Middle Eastern Studies and is the author of Beyond the Arab Cold War: The International History of the Yemen Civil War, 1962-68 (Oxford University Press, 2017). Orkaby is also the author of a forthcoming book with Oxford University Press, What Everyone Needs to Know About Yemen. Over the course of the current conflict in Yemen, he has contributed regularly to Foreign AffairsThe National Interest, and many other policy publications and has commented on both English and Arabic media such as CSPAN, CGTN, Waqt News and Al-Hurra. His current research focuses on the history of chemical warfare in the Middle East. 

Research Theme for 2017-2019

The Political Economy of the Gulf and its Relations with East Asia

The persistently low oil prices since late 2014 have led a number of Gulf Cooperation Council countries to engage in major economic reform programs as well as serious belt tightening with respect to public expenditure. The aim of these programs is to permanently lower fiscal obligations and to diversify their economies away from a heavy dependence on oil and gas revenues. This is not the first time these countries have faced such constraints and in the past, they have failed at reducing their heavy dependence on oil rents. Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 is the most serious example of such a renewed reform effort and it is worthy of careful study. Among the policies that are associated with Vision 2030 are reductions in subsidies for oil, electricity and water, which signal a serious intent to carry through with real change and reform this time around. Combined with these reforms the GCC countries have increased engagement (e.g., FDI, cooperation among SOEs, student scholarship programs) with countries in East Asia, most notably China, which represent the most important future consumers of Middle Eastern energy resources. The economic models adopted by countries like China, and perhaps more importantly Singapore, have been noticed in the Gulf and there is a desire to reproduce some aspects of these. This has been especially the case in the smaller countries of the GCC, such as the United Arab Emirates, but now even Saudi Arabia wishes to follow suit. To what extent can Singapore's experience be replicated in the Gulf is a question worth exploring, too. The Transregional Studies Institute at Princeton will be focusing in the academic years 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 on such questions of political economy as well as on the commercial and political ties between the Gulf and the rest of Asia across the Indian Ocean.




Makio Yamada

Makio Yamada was a fellow at the TRI between January 2018 and January 2020. During his fellowship, he published two journal articles: “Can Saudi Arabia Move beyond ‘Production with Rentier Characteristics’?: Human Capital Development in the Transitional Oil Economy”[JHK1]  (Middle East Journal, 2018) and “Can a Rentier State Evolve to a Production State? An ‘Institutional Upgrading’ Approach”[JHK2]  (British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 2020). The latter is part of the special issue Revisiting Rentierism[JHK3] he co-edited with Steffen Hertog that is based on the TRI workshop “Changing State–Society Relations in Gulf Rentier States”[JHK4]  held in January 2019. He also worked on his book manuscript during the fellowship and taught the course “Political & Economic Development of the Middle East” (NES265/POL465) in the fall term of 2018 and 2019.

He also gave two talks at the Princeton University: “Oil and Politics: Does Oil Fuel Development or Dependence?” (March 2018) and “Saudi Arabia's Economic Diversification away from Oil: Why Is It so Difficult?” (November 2019). During the fellowship, he also presented at the Rahmania Annual Seminar (May 2018), the World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (July 2018), the Project on Middle East Political Science Workshop (September 2018), the Gulf Research Meeting (July 2019), the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting (August 2019), and the Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting (November 2019), and gave a talk entitled “The Political Economy of Economic Diversification in Saudi Arabia” at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Center for International Development (November 2019).



Ruben Elamiryan

Ruben Elamiryan is a Visiting Fulbright Scholar. The topic of the 11-month research is “Eastern Partnership Countries on the Cross-Roads of the Eurasian Geopolitics (USA, EU, Russia, China)”. He is an assistant professor attached to the Chair of Political Governance and Public Policy at Public Administration Academy of the Republic of Armenia and lecturer at Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) university. He holds a PhD in Political Science.

Areas of specialization: International Relations, Geopolitics, International Security, and Cyber security.

Publications List: 

Selected list of publications:

  1. Elamiryan R., Modernization of national interests of the Republic of Armenia in the process development of the Eurasian Union. Digest of academic publications “Kantegh”. Yerevan, 2013, 208–18;
  2. Margaryan M., Elamiryan R., Complementary cooperation as the basis to provide National security of the Republic of Armenia. Collection of materials of the 14th Junior International-Practical conference. Novosibirsk, Sibprint, 2013, 41–49;
  3. Margaryan M., Elamiryan R., Modernization of national interests in the context of providing information security of the Republic of Armenia. Academic journal "Investytsiyi: praktyka ta dosvid", N6, Kiev, Ukraine, 2013, 146–49;
  4. Elamiryan R., The problem of transformation of the national interests in the context of developing of the network society in the Republic of Armenia. Scientific journal “Public Administration”, N 2, Yerevan 2014, 157–66;
  5. Elamiryan R., Human security in context of globalization: information security aspect. Materials of the International scientific conference on the Problems of National security in terms of Globalization (interdisciplinary aspects), RAU Publications, Yerevan, 2015, 173–79;
  6. Elamiryan R., The role of Twitter in information warfare in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict/ 10th Anniversary annual international scientific conference of the Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) university, Conference proceedings, RAU Publication. Yerevan, 2015, 310–17.
  7. Elamiryan R., The perspectives of development of public diplomacy of the Eurasian Economic Union. Baikal University Press, Irkutsk, 2016, 42–51.
  8. Margaryan M., Elamiryan R., Responsibility to protect and the issue of international recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Materials of International scientific conference, Stepanakert, 2016, 132–38.
  9. Elamiryan R., Eurasian security: from Baku to Moscow and beyond, 09/05/2016,
  10. Elamiryan R., Armenia will play out pipeline to break the isolation, 28.09.2016,
  11. Margaryan M., Elamiryan R., Problems of globalization in the trajectory of development of the projects “Greater Middle East” and “Eurasian Union”. Moscow, Age of Globalization, №4, (20)/2016, 68–77.
  12. Elamiryan R., Network society as the key factor for effective functioning of the Eurasian Union, ACM international conference proceedings series, ACM Press, 2016, 83–92.
  13. Elamiryan R., Eastern Partnership countries on the cross-roads of the Eurasian integration processes, 2017,
  14. Elamiryan R., Eastern Partnership countries on the cross-roads of the Eurasian geopolitics: V4 experience in cooperation culture, Foreign Policy Review 2017, volume 10, 73–92.
  15. Elamiryan R., Strategic elite as the key actor to provide Information sovereignty of the Republic of Armenia/ International Scientific Forum Proceedings: The Problems of National Security in Terms of Globalization and Integration Processes (Interdisciplinary Aspects). RAU Publishing House, Yerevan, 2017, 218 –31.
  16. Elamiryan R., Margaryan M., Cyber security in the context of Armenia-NATO cooperation, Journal of Information Warfare, Volume 17, Issue 1, Winter 2018, 99–111.
  17. Elamiryan R., Bolgov R., Cybersecurity in NATO and CSTO: comparative analysis of Legal and Political Frameworks, Proceedings of 17th European Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security, 146–55.



Jessie Moritz

Jessie Moritz was awarded her PhD unconditionally from the Australian National University in March 2017, where she completed her dissertation on the impact of oil wealth on state-society relations and economic development in the Gulf since 2011. She is an advanced Arabic speaker and has travelled extensively in the region. In 2013 she was a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter and from 2013-2014 she joined the Gulf Studies Program at Qatar University as a Graduate Fellow. She has conducted interviews with over 140 citizens of Qatar, Bahrain and Oman, including members of royal families, ministers, elected and appointed representatives, development experts, entrepreneurs, prominent leaders in civil society, and youth activists involved in protests since 2011. In 2014, she was the joint editor of The Contemporary Middle East: Revolution or Reform? (Melbourne University Press).

As a postdoctoral research associate with the Institute for the Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, Jessie will examine Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and other economic reform programmes instituted in the GCC, their connection to East Asian development models – particularly the Singapore model – and the effectiveness of these efforts in alleviating the fiscal and political pressures created by reduced oil and gas rents since 2014.

Research Theme for 2016-2017

Religion and Political Violence in the Middle East

The high level of violence associated with movements like Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria and Libya, not to mention Boko Haram in Nigeria, raises important questions about how religious ideas and history are appropriated and used by political groups.  Some have argued that to situate these movements properly, one has to examine the religious nature and content of their ideologies and actions. Others have claimed that it is social, economic, political, and historical factors--as opposed to the properly religious—that provide the actual context for understanding self-declared jihadist actors.  The Transregional Institute would like to focus this year’s theme on the relationship between religion and violence, concentrating in particular on the history and ideologies of Jihadi-Salafi movements.



Anna Hager

As a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute for the Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, Anna Hager will look at Islamist and Salafi attitudes towards Coptic Egyptians in post-revolutionary Egypt (2011-2013). Egypt has always been a key center of Islamism, and has experienced various developments in this field. Following the revolution of January 25, 2011, Islamism in Egypt seemed to have experienced a new stage, when a number of Islamist and Salafi actors established political parties and tried to appear as pragmatic and inclusive political contenders. In this context, their previously intolerant attitude towards Coptic Egyptians, seemed to change, and raised questions about the possibilities of them considering Copts equal citizens. Through this research project, Anna Hager aims to further investigate a key outcome of her Ph.D. thesis: the pragmatic attitude of Islamist and Salafi actors towards Copts in the context of the video “The Innocence of Muslims,” which prevented violent backlashes against the Christian communities in Egypt.

Anna Hager earned her Ph.D. in the field of Arabic Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria, on the subject of (Arab) Christian-Muslim relations in the context of the video “The Innocence of Muslims” (produced by extremist Copts in the U.S.) in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories (September 2012). From September 2014 to May 2015 she received a grant from the Austrian Ministry of Science and Research to carry out research in Beirut, Cairo, Jerusalem and Amman.

Previously, she completed a Master’s degree in Islamic Studies at the University of Vienna, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Iranian Studies at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, in Paris, and a Bachelor’s degree at the Sorbonne University, in Paris. In addition to her native languages French and German, Anna Hager is proficient in Arabic, Persian and Dari, and spent a little time learning Urdu.

Areas: Modern Near East, Eastern Christianity, Islam, Islamism


Daniel Lav

Daniel Lav’s research centers on the doctrines and intellectual history of the modern Salafi school of Islam and its medieval forerunners. At the Institute for the Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia he will conduct an inquiry into the Salafi doctrine known as “allegiance and disavowal” (al-wala’ wa’l-bara’), understood by Salafis as the obligation to demonstrate allegiance to God and to other believers, and to disavow other objects of worship and unbelievers. Variously interpreted by different currents of Salafism, the doctrine, like other major tenets of Salafi theology, has clear roots in the writings of the medieval polymath Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328 C.E.), where it intersects with other central features of Ibn Taymiyya’s thought, such as his theory of divine love, his theology of faith, and his doctrine of monolatry (tawhid al-uluhiyya). Later, Wahhabi scholars further developed and concretized these themes in the context of conflict with local Arabian opponents, the Ottomans, and the Khedivate of Egypt. Finally, Lav will trace the doctrine as it has been elaborated in the modern Salafi movement, including both quietest and radical interpretations. In addition to providing an account of the intellectual history of this doctrine, the research aims to relate the topic to the contemporary literature on political theology and to describe how modern Salafis deploy the doctrine to contest such distinctive features of modernity as the nation state and the delineation of a secularized and autonomous sphere of politics.

Lav received his B.A. in French Literature at the University of Chicago, and wrote his M.A. and Ph.D. theses at the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His M.A. thesis, on Ibn Taymiyya’s theology of faith and its role in modern intra-Salafi disputes, was subsequently published in book form as Radical Islam and the Revival of Medieval Theology (Cambridge, 2012). His Ph.D. thesis traces the relation between Ibn Taymiyya’s theology and the modern doctrine of hakimiyya (theonomy), and drawing on a wide range of sources in Arabic and Urdu, reexamines such topics as the relation between Abu ‘l-A`la Mawdudi and Sayyid Qutb, ijtihad and taqlid in pre-modern jurisprudence, and the origins of Wahhabi doctrine. Lav is the recipient of a Yad HaNadiv Rothschild Fellowship, and over the course of his studies received the Nathan Rotenstreich scholarship, among other grants and awards. He is fluent or proficient in English, French, Arabic, and Hebrew, reads in Urdu, German, and Spanish, and has studied Farsi.

Areas: Salafism, Medieval Islamic Theology, Political Theology

Research Theme for 2013-2015

The Language of Politics and the Politics of Language

The relationship between language and politics in the Middle East is fraught and little studied. The Republic of Turkey adopted a language policy that irrevocably changed Turkish and then deployed this as an instrument for molding a new national identity. Similarly, Arab nationalism used Arabic for ideological purposes, adopting specific rhetorical registers, vocabularies and tropes that are now being abandoned with the rise of new regimes with an Islamist orientation. As with the nationalists, Islamists have deliberately used language to advance their ideas about society and their political agendas. In so doing, they shun certain usages and terms while privileging others. The Islamic Republic of Iran, for example, has developed a repertoire of slogans and terms for promoting its distinctive ideological worldview. The government of Saudi Arabia has also used particular registers of Islamic theology and law to specific ends. These, however, are nonetheless contested by Islamists and liberal-minded activists who seek greater accountability and transparency in governance. And the fraught process of constitutional drafting in Egypt provides another good illustration of the importance of language. The relationship between language and politics, at the state as well as the street level, is the theme that the Institute for Transregional Studies wishes to explore during the academic year 2013-2014.




Sadik J. Al-Azm

Born in Damascus, Syria 1934, and educated at the American University of Beirut, B.A. in Philosophy, 1957. Continued graduate studies in Modern European Philosophy at Yale University, Ph.D 1961. Taught philosophy at Yale, Hunter College in New York City, the American University of Beirut and Damascus University. Presently, Emeritus Professor of the History of Modern European Philosophy at Damascus University and often Visiting Professor of Contemporary Arab Social and Political Thought at various universities around the world: Princeton; Hamburg; Humbolt; Leipzig; Antwerp; Central European University, Budapest; Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan. Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, The Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington DC. Dr. Honoris Causa, Hamburg University; Erasmus Prize, the Netherlands; Leopold – Lucas – Prize, Tubingen University. Published, both in Arabic and English, on modern European philosophy and intervened, through books, articles and pamphlets, in the major social, political, religious and ideological debates raging in the Arab World since the early sixties to the present. Human Rights and Civil Society activist. Fellow, Käte Hamburger Kolleg: Law as Culture 2011-2012, Bonn University, Fellow Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, 2012-2013, Berlin. Visiting scholar, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, 2013-2014. President, Association of Free Syrian Writers and editor in chief of its journal Aurag.


Emmanuel Szurek

Emmanuel Szurek is a TRI post-doctoral fellow and is working on revising his doctoral dissertation (EHESS, Paris 2013) into a published book. Titled "Governing with Words: a Linguistic History of Nationalist Turkey," Szurek shows how the Turkish language is a political artifact that owes much of its alphabetical, lexical and grammatical shape to the comprehensive undertaking conducted during the Kemalist period under the label of "language revolution." The particular issues Szurek is interested in are the intellectual elaboration of this standardized and nationalized language by Turkish linguists and its imposition, through political means, on the citizens of the Republic of Turkey.


Amin Maalouf

Born in Beirut in 1949, Amin Maalouf has lived in France since 1976. After studying sociology and economics, Maalouf joined the Lebanese daily Al-Nahar, for which he travelled the world covering numerous events, from the fall of the Ethiopian monarchy to the last battle of Saigon. Forced to emigrate by the war in Lebanon, he settled in Paris, where he resumed journalism, and from where he started to travel again. He became editor of the international edition of Al-Nahar, then editor-in-chief of the weekly Jeune Afrique, before giving up all his posts to dedicate himself to literary writing.

His books, written in French, are translated into more than 40 languages. A selection of these includes: The Crusades through Arab Eyes; Leo Africanus; Samarkand; The Rock of Tanios (winner of the Prix Goncourt); Origins: a Memoir, among other works.

Maalouf has been awarded honorary doctorates from the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium), the American University of Beirut (Lebanon), the University of Tarragona Rovira i Virgili (Spain) and the University of Evora (Portugal). He is a member of the Académie française and will be a visiting fellow at Princeton Transregional Institute in Spring 2014.


Nadav Samin

Nadav Samin is a TRI Fellow and concurrently a Social Science Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow for Transregional Research (Inter-Asian Contexts and Connections). He received his PhD in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University in 2013. The focus of his work is the history of the Arabian Peninsula, and specifically the influence of oral culture on the genealogical politics of modern Saudi Arabia. His dissertation traced the process of genealogical documentation in central Arabia from the Wahhabi period to the present day. As a TRI Fellow, Nadav will begin work on his second project, a comparative history of Arabia’s coastal communities, with an emphasis on the history of Asian migration to the Hijaz, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. Nadav has authored several articles on Arabian history and culture, and has taught at Hunter College and New York University. He holds degrees from New York University and Johns Hopkins University.

Research Theme for 2011-2013

Contestation in the Contemporary Arab World

The recent uprisings in the Arab world, the so-called “Arab Spring,” represent a watershed in the history of this region and its peoples, from Morocco to the Gulf. The stability and endurance of the Arab state has been called into question, as has “Arab exceptionalism” in resisting political change and the democratic wave that swept many regions of the globe in the late twentieth century. The Institute of Transregional Study would like to sponsor research that explores these events in-depth and what they mean for the territorial states, governments, societies, national boundaries as well as the regional system.  Is the Arab system of states as rigid as has been claimed? Has Islamism given way to secular forms of politics? Can demographics, the so-called “youth bulge,” explain what we are witnessing? What has been the role of women? What is the role of social media and the information revolution in bringing this about? Has the rise in commodity prices also played a role? Are different types of regime affected differently by these developments (monarchies vs. republics; rentier states vs. production states)? What about the differences in the social makeup of these states? Are homogenous populations (e.g., Tunisia, Egypt) more able to effect change peacefully than those in which regional, sectarian or tribal cleavages are prominent (e.g., Syria, Yemen)? Successful fellows will be expected to tackle such questions. In the process, the Institute hopes that their research will contribute to a better understanding of these important events and offer ideas and frameworks for how to think about them as well as consider potential policy implications.




Aurélie Daher

Aurélie Daher received her PhD and Master’s degrees in Political Science from Sciences Po, Paris, in 2011, and a Master’s degree in Public Management from Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP Europe) in 2002. She has held a postdoctoral fellow position at the University of Oxford’s Department of Politics and International Relations (2010-2011). Her work focuses on Hezbollah, the Shiites, and Lebanese politics. For her post-doctoral research at Princeton, she intends to finish preparing a book on Lebanese politics dedicated to the phase beginning with the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in 2005 and until the seizure of power by Hezbollah in 2011 and its management of domestic and foreign policies. She will also be working on a research project studying more broadly the way Hezbollah has dealt since its creation with the Lebanese state and power.


Engseng Ho

Engseng Ho is Professor of Anthropology and Professor of History at Duke University. He was educated at Stanford University in Economics and Social Sciences, and at the University of Chicago in Anthropology. He was previously Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University and Senior Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. He is interested in the international and transcultural dimensions of Islamic societies, and their relations to western empires. He has conducted research in the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia. He is the author of The Graves of Tarim: Genealogy and Mobility across the Indian Ocean, published by the University of California Press in the California World History Library.


Ellis Goldberg

Ellis Goldberg is a professor of political science at the University of Washington where he teaches Middle East politics. Most of his work has been on the political economy of Egypt in the 20th century including two monographs, Tinker, Tailor and Textile Worker and Trade, Reputation and Child Labor. His articles have appeared in Comparative Studies in Society and History, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, and Political Theory. He has been a visiting faculty member at Princeton University, the American University in Cairo and a visiting research fellow at Harvard. He lived in Cairo during the first six months of 2011 where he attended most of the major demonstrations and rallies before and after the collapse of the Mubarak government. He is now working on two books. One is a study of political theory by influential Arab intellectuals and its relation to the revolutionary uprising of 2011. The other is a study of the origins of the concept of the rule of law in Egypt and its impact on the structure of the court system. In 2007 Goldberg was a Carnegie Scholar and in 2012 he is a Guggenheim Fellow.


Samer Traboulsi

Samer Traboulsi is Associate Professor of History of the Middle East and the Muslim World at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He received his PhD in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton in 2005. He is mainly interested in the formation and development of religious groups in the Muslim World and has published a book and a number of articles on the Isma‘ilis in Yemen, the rise of the Wahhabi movement, and the history of Saudi Arabia.

Research Theme for 2010-2011

The Resources of Contemporary Regimes in the Arab World

Recent scholarship on the politics in the Arab World has often focused on dissent and opposition to the state. In this literature, it is often taken for granted that the regimes in power lack legitimacy and that without their overwhelmingly coercive instruments of domination they would collapse and be replaced by more legitimate and representative groups. A robust view argues that in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, Islamists of one hue or another would assume power if given a chance. But can the endurance of Arab governments be explained through coercion alone? Are social movements the only legitimate political forces in the Arab world? What are the resources at the disposal of contemporary Arab regimes? The Institute would like to sponsor research that seeks to ascertain the balance of coercion, co-optation and legitimation in the Arab world, as well as to assess the political, economic and symbolic resources of contemporary states. Successful fellows will investigate the ways and methods these regimes coerce and co-opt their citizens as well as enjoin obedience and manufacture legitimacy for their rule.




Carol Hakim

Carol Hakim is an assistant-professor in History at the University of Minnesota where she has taught since 2005. Her research and teaching activities focus on nationalism, state-formation and state-society relations, and authoritarianism in the Arab world. Her forthcoming book on The Origins of the Lebanese National Idea 1840-1920 will be published shortly by University of California Press. At Princeton, she will be working on Secularism, Islam and Democracy in Egypt.


Nabil Mouline

Nabil Mouline earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Paris-Sorbonne in 2008 and a Ph.D. in political science from the Institute of Political Studies of Paris (Sciences Po) in 2010. He is the author of The Imaginary Caliphate of Ahmad al-Mansûr: Power and Diplomacy in Morocco in the 16th Century (Presses universitaires de France, 2009) and The Clerics of Islam: Religious Authority and Political Power in Saudi Arabia (18th-21th Centuries) (Presses universitaires de France, 2011, forthcoming). At Princeton Nabil Mouline will work on the construction of authority in Arab monarchies, especially in Saudi Arabia and Morocco, through rituals, symbols and images.


Aron Zysow

Aron Zysow received his A.B. (Classics), Ph.D. (Islamic Studies), and J.D. from Harvard. From 2000 to 2005 he served as Research Associate for the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School. Before that he taught Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle and Washington University in St. Louis and commercial law at Baruch College, City University of New York. His main academic interests are Islamic law, particularly legal theory, and theology. In addition to teaching several courses while at Princeton, Dr. Zysow will complete a book on the history of usul al-fiqh and its relationship to kalam. He is the author of "If Wishes Were… : Notes on Wishing (al-tamannī) in Islamic Texts,” in Classical Arabic Humanities in Their Own Terms: Festschrift for Wolhart Heinrichs, Leiden., 2008, and “Two Theories of the Obligation to Obey God’s Commands,” in The Law Applied: Contextualizing the Islamic Shari`a: A Volume in Honor of Frank E. Vogel, London, 2008. In addition, he has contributed articles to a number of reference works, including the Encylopaedia of Islam, 2nd edition, for which he wrote the entries Ra'y, Sadaka, Sarf, and Zakat among others. He recently completed a study of the Karramiyya sect.

Research Theme for 2008-2010

Youth Culture and Politics in the Arab and Muslim Worlds

It is often remarked that there has been a demographic explosion in the Arab and Muslim worlds and that at least 65% of the population of any given country in this region is under the age of 30. Yet little else is known about this segment of the population. What are the forms of sociability that dominate amongst its members? How do youth deal with the reality of political oppression, conservative mores and mobility closure? Boredom, humiliation, sexual segregation, football and violence, in its many forms, are features in the lives of Arab and Muslim youth. Whereas most do not have access to the Internet, a good number do, especially in the Gulf countries. This and other technologies, such as the cellular telephone and Bluetooth, render possible certain forms of communication, some transgressive, and entertainment as well as ideas of community that were previously unimaginable. In turn this has produced new social realities and categories (internet jihadis; Facebook exhibitionists, E-mail novelists, etc). We hope to examine these and other questions pertaining to the culture and politics of Arab and Muslim youth.




Roger Hardy

Roger Hardy has been a Middle East and Islamic affairs analyst with the BBC World Service for more than twenty years. Educated at Oxford, he worked in book publishing and then edited a review journal (Gazelle) and a monthly magazine (The Middle East), before joining the BBC in 1985. His radio series have included The Making of the Middle East, Islam: Faith and Power, Israel among the Nations, Europe’s Angry Young Muslims and, most recently, Jihad and the Petrodollar. He is the author of Arabia after the Storm, a study of the impact of the Kuwait war on the Arabian monarchies (Chatham House, 1991), and has contributed articles and reviews to the Economist, International Affairs, the New Statesman, Index on Censorship, and Middle East International. While in Princeton he completed a book entitled The Muslim Revolt: A journey Through Political Islam (Columbia University Press, 2010)


Pascal Ménoret

Pascal Ménoret earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of Paris-La Sorbonne, where he wrote a dissertation entitled “Thugs and Zealots: The Politicization of Saudi Youth 1965-2007”. He is the author of The Saudi Enigma: A History (London: ZedBooks, 2005). Between 2005 and 2007, he was a visiting researcher at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh. His current research focuses on youth issues in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world. While at Princeton he worked on a book project entitled “Youth, Politics and Violence in Saudi Arabia” and completed a book entitled L'Arabie: Des routes de l'encens a l'ere du petrole (Gallimard, 2010).


Michael Crawford

Michael Crawford is a retired senior UK foreign service officer and an expert on the history and politics of Arabia and the Middle East more generally. He has published on 19th-century Arabian history and spent the fall 2009 semester at Princeton where he completed a book manuscript on the history of the first Saudi state (1744-1818). In addition, he presented a paper on his research at a conference in November 2009 and gave a public lecture as well as made himself available to students and faculty of the university.


Thomas Hegghammer

Thomas Hegghammer completed his PhD in political science at Sciences-Po in Paris in 2007, having previously studied Oriental Studies and Modern Middle Eastern Studies at Oxford. He has worked as a research fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) since 2001. Thomas Hegghammer studies various aspects of violent Islamism, with a particular focus on jihadism in Saudi Arabia, developments in jihadi ideology and the history of the foreign fighters phenomenon. At Princeton, he turned his dissertation into the book Jihad in Saudi Arabia: Violence and Pan-Islamism since 1979 (Cambridge University Press, 2010), began work on a new book about the jihadi ideologue Abdallah Azzam, and wrote several papers. After his Transregional Institute fellowship, he was a fellow at Harvard Kennedy School (2008-2009) and a member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (2009-2010).


Majid Mohammadi

Majid Mohammadi built a career in Iran as a teacher, researcher, writer, and journalist before beginning his academic career in the U.S. He has published books in Persian and English, as well as numerous articles on topics as diverse as constitutional law in Iran, the philosophy of religion, sociology, and economics. At Princeton he worked on a project entitled “From Revolutionary Islamism to Military Islamism: the Development of Islamism in Iranian Society, 1977-2007.”  This work explores the variety of Islamic ideologies that have arisen in Iran and the religious, cultural, and political roots that sustain them. It will be published as a book by I.B. Tauris in London under the title Political Islam in Post-revolutionary Iran: Shi`i Ideologies in Islamist Discourse.


Christopher Boucek

Christopher Boucek completed his PhD at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies in 2006. Prior to this, Dr Boucek was a security editor with Jane’s Information Group and was an analyst at the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, DC for nearly four years. He has published widely in academic and professional publications on a number of issues related to political and security developments in the Middle East and Central Asia, and has worked with a political risk consultancy in London. He is also a Lecturer in Public & International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School. While at Princeton, Dr. Boucek will research issues related to terrorism, security, and regime stability in energy producing countries in the Middle East and Central Asia. He is currently working on a project examining recent counter-terrorism and security efforts in Saudi Arabia, specifically rehabilitation and re-education programs for militants and extremists in the kingdom and the reintegration process for Guantanamo returnees.


Miriam Lowi

Miriam Lowi is Associate Professor of Political Science at The College of New Jersey. She earned her Ph.D. in Politics and Near Eastern Studies from Princeton in 1990. Professor Lowi has held research grants from the World Bank, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and is a Carnegie Scholar (2008-2010) for a project entitled, Oil and Islam: the Economy of Meaning. She was a visiting research scholar at Princeton’s Transregional Institute in spring 2007. Her research focuses on the natural resource dimension of political behavior, the political economy of oil-exporting states, and politics in Algeria. She is the author of Water and Power: the Politics of a Scarce Resource in the Jordan River Basin (Cambridge, 1993, 2nd. ed. 1995), and editor (with Brian Shaw) of Environment and Security: Discourses and Practices (MacMillan, 2000). At the TRI, Miriam completed a book manuscript, Oil Wealth and the Poverty of Politics: Algeria Compared (Cambridge, 2009). As a research scholar in the Oil, Energy, and Middle East Program in 2007-08, Professor Lowi will work on a new book – to be published by Cambridge University Press -- that explores the various ways in which oil has impacted the states and societies of the Middle East and North Africa.


Jamila Bargach

Jamila Bargach completed her Ph.D in cultural anthropology at Rice University in 1998. She is the author of Orphans of Islam: Family, Abandonment and Adoption in Morocco (Rowman and Littlefield) and has published several articles about children’s rights, women’s rights and violence against women. She has actively contributed to the creation of one of the first shelters for women victims of domestic abuse in Casablanca and has been a consultant for several European funding agencies as well as Moroccan NGOs working in the domain of women’s and children’s rights in Morocco. Her research focuses on emerging family forms in Morocco, especially that of unwed mothers. While at Princeton, Bargach gave two presentations on her work and completed a first draft of her book which is to be published by Texas University Press.