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Modern Middle Eastern History and Culture

Research Projects:

Dr. Lori Allen

'My book, 'The Rise and Fall of Human Rights: Cynicism and Politics in Occupied Palestine' (Stanford University Press, April 2013) is an ethnographic investigation of the human rights world in Palestine since 1979. I am conducting archival research for a second book, 'A Genealogy of Political Proof: One Hundred Years of Investigative Commissions to Palestine, 1919-2009', which is a historical-ethnographic inquiry into the political practices and discourses framed by the concepts of rights and suffering in Palestinian politics, from the 1920s to the present. I am particularly curious about how suffering and victimhood have become central to Palestinian nationalism as it developed in dialectic tension with Israel's legacy as a refuge for the Jews. Suffering for Rights examines this history as a key aspect of the development of a global politics of suffering and human rights, which emerged partially in response to World War II and the Holocaust.'

Dr. Paul Anderson

Dr. Anderson's research interests include social and political anthropology of the Arab world (especially Syria), particularly issues of language, agency, ethics, religious piety, trust and personhood, and Islamic modernism.  He is currently working on a monograph on trust, intimacy and state power in the lives of contemporary traders in Syria.

Dr. Toby Matthiesen

Toby Matthiesen is currently working on a book based on his PhD 'The Shia of Saudi Arabia: Identity Politics, Sectarianism, and the State', which won the 2012 APSA (American Political Science Association) Aaron Wildavsky Award for the Best Dissertation on Religion and Politics.

He is also working on a research project that looks at how the Arab Spring protests affected the Gulf states, particularly Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and how these states responded to protests both at home and in the wider Arab world.

Mr Erol Baykal (PhD Student)

Research Title: 'The Ottoman press in Istanbul, 1908-1923.’

Mr Luke Peterson (PhD Student)

'My current research revolves around language, conflict, and representation in the news media. I am interested in the contemporary discourse on Palestine-Israel in both the United States and United Kingdom and the manner in which that discourse contributes to the formulation of public knowledge about the conflict in those communities. My theoretical approach is informed by Critical Discourse Analysis as well as established theories of media research and social linguistics. I am also interested in modern Middle Eastern history, particularly that of Palestine-Israel and I closely follow current regional events and their representation in the English-language press.'

Mr Will Smiley (PhD Student)

'I study the Ottoman Empire, especially its relations with the neighboring Russian and Habsburg/Holy Roman Empires. My dissertation, drawing on both Russian and Ottoman archival sources, focuses on the evolution of military captivity between the Ottomans and their rivals in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. I discuss the growth of a recognizably modern "prisoner of war" system through negotiations between state interests, Islamic legal traditions, and the claims of captors and captives themselves.'

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