Evolving Methodologies in the Study of Islamist Politics


POMEPS Studies 16— February 2016

On January 29, 2016, POMEPS hosted its third annual workshop at George Washington University on Islamist politics (video of the public panel here). The workshop brought together more than a dozen scholars from diverse disciplinary and methodological perspectives to discuss new research approaches and conceptual issues in the study of Islamism.

Participants were asked to write short essays addressing how the dramatic changes in the Islamist landscape in recent years, from the rise and fall of the Muslim Brotherhood to the emergence of the Islamic State, change our research methods, priorities, and arguments. What assumptions underlying our research need to be problematized? What previously robust research findings no longer seem to hold? How should we deal with the vast outpouring of information and evidence about these movements now available on social media? What do we even mean by the term “Islamist”?

The workshop papers will be published here once a day over the next few weeks, and then released as volume 16 in our POMEPS Studies series:

Why ‘Islamism’ Does Not Help Us Understand the Middle East,” by Jillian Schwedler, Hunter College

Old Questions and New Methods in the Study of Islamism” by Steven Brooke, Harvard University

Understanding Islamist Politics: The Possibilities and Promise of Untapped Surveys,” by Lindsay Benstead, Portland State University

Rethinking Repression and Islamist Behavior After the 2011 Uprisings,” by Elizabeth R. Nugent, Princeton University

Facing the Cruel Palindrome:  Moving beyond Sauve Qui Peut,” by Nathan Brown, George Washington University

Rethinking Relationality Abductive Reasoning, Action Research, and Islamist Politics,” by Stacey Philbrick Yadav, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Public Piety and Nationalist Sentiment in Jordan,” by Sarah Tobin, Brown University

The ‘Third Image’ in Islamist Politics” by Kristin Smith Diwan, Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington

Salafi Politics during the Arab Uprisings: Methodological Insights from Game Theory” by Jacob Olidort, George Washington University

The Failures of Radical Islam” by Ahmed Khanani, Earlham College

Rethinking Moderation, Attending to the Liminal” by Michaelle Browers, Wake Forest University

The Islamist Identity Crisis: How Mainstream Islamism Lost Control of Its Own Narrative” by Quinn Mecham, Brigham Young University.

No Victor, No Vanquished…or Delaying the Inevitable?” by Ian M. Hartshorn, University of Nevada, Reno.

How do we contextualize Islamist organizations like Hezbollah by Rola el–Husseini, City University of New York.

Papers from previous workshops can be seen here: 2015 Islamism in the IS Age; 2014 Rethinking Islamist Politics.


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