Tourists with Agendas

by Salim Tamari
published in MER196

One bizarre aspect about life in Palestine is the scrutiny to which we are subjected by journalists, researchers and political tourists who descend daily. Birzeit University is particularly attractive to researchers who come to “do Palestine.” At first glance, the benefits would seem great: publicity, access to the media and protection against institutional harassment by the Israelis. Indeed, this was important during the intifada, when the university was closed for four and a half years.

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Bringing the Peninsula In from the Periphery

From Imagined Scholarship to Gendered Discourse

by Gwenn Okruhlik
published in MER204

Research on the political and economic development of the contemporary Arabian Peninsula is often relegated to the fringes of general comparative and Middle Eastern scholarship, isolated from larger theoretical debates and narrowly defined in terms of threat typologies, regional security alliances and the stability of major oil-exporting states. The intellectual marginalization of the Peninsula is the result of a monopoly on access.

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Women and Gender in Middle East Studies: A Roundtable Discussion

published in MER205

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Women and Gender in Middle East Studies

Trends, Prospects and Challenges

by Simona Sharoni
published in MER205

In the past two decades, there has been growing interest in the study of women and gender issues in the Middle East, reflected in the greater number of books, journal articles, dissertations and conference panels devoted to such topics. [1] As a result, many scholars in Middle East studies have come to view the study of women and gender in the Middle East as a field in and of itself. [2] Elizabeth Fernea’s 1986 presidential address to the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) is considered a milestone in the evolution of Middle East women’s studies as a distinct field of inquiry.

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From One East to the Other

Middle East Studies in Japan

by Modjtaba Sadria
published in MER205

Although direct encounters between the two extremes of Asia began in the seventh century [1] and the Imperial Treasures contain many items from the Middle East dating back more than a thousand years, systematic study of the Middle East in Japan did not emerge until the “modernization process” of the Meiji period, which began in 1868. [2] The Meiji restoration addressed, among other things, a number of capitulation treaties signed by the late Tokugawa regime with the Western powers. As part of their efforts to minimize Western influence, Meiji officials undertook numerous foreign studies.

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No Debate

Middle East Studies in Europe

by Eugene Rogan
published in MER205

In 1990, an umbrella organization was created to promote Middle East studies in Europe. The European Association for Middle East Studies (EURAMES) has modest goals and virtually no budget. It has published a directory of Middle East scholars in Europe (with EU funds) and has initiated triennial conferences in cooperation with its member societies. [1] The foundation of EURAMES has encouraged the creation of new national associations in Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Poland. [2]

The Privatization of Russian Middle East Studies

by Garay Menicucci
published in MER205

The Institute for Oriental Studies in Moscow, once headed by the current Russian foreign minister, Yevgenii Primakov, [1] used to be the premier research establishment for modem history and Soviet policy making concerning the Arab world, Africa and Asia. Like other state-funded academic institutions, it has not fared well under the Yeltsin budgetary boondoggles and chaotic privatization measures. Salaries are so low that the academic and nonacademic staff spend most of their working hours at other jobs in the private sector. At the end of August 1997, all salaries were arbitrarily suspended for a month.

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Investing in Inequality

Education Reform in Egypt

by Marion Wood Dixon
published in MER255

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Amazigh Activism and the Moroccan State

by Paul Silverstein , David Crawford
published in MER233

When primary school students in the major Berber-speaking regions of Morocco returned to class in September 2004, for the first time ever they were required to study Berber (Tamazight) language. The mandatory language classes in the Rif, the Middle Atlas, the High Atlas and the Sous Valley represent the first significant policy change implemented by the Royal Institute of the Amazigh [Berber] Culture, a government body established by King Mohammed VI on October 17, 2001, following through on a promise made in July of that year on the second anniversary of his ascension to the Moroccan throne.