IR Theory and a New Middle East Memos

An enormous amount has been written about the comparative politics of the Arab uprisings since 2011. This has generated significant progress both for the understanding of the region and for the broader development of the field of political science.  There have been noticeably fewer contributions to the study of the specific role of international actors, structures, organizations or norms despite their clear importance in shaping a wide array of outcomes. Therefore, the Project on Middle East Political Science and Aarhus University convened scholars from the Middle East, Europe and the United States for dialogue over how general IR theory can help us to understand international relations in a ‘new Middle East’ and how current dynamics of Middle East international relations can help IR scholars to think more creatively about international relations in general. The memos from the workshop, held May 7-8, 2015 in Denmark, will be posted here individually as well as a collection in an upcoming POMEPS Studies.

New dimensions of security and regionalism in the Middle East,” by Matteo Legrenzi, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice

‘2011’: Middle East (R)Evolutions,” by Stephan Stetter, University of the Bundeswehr Munich

Transcending disciplinary divide/s: A comparative framework on the international relations of the Middle East,” by Etel Solingen, University of California, Irvine

International relations theory and the new Middle East: three levels of a debate,” by Morten Valbjørn, Aarhus University

Forms of international pressure and the Middle East,” by Sarah Bush, Temple University

Regime security and shifting alliances in the Middle East,” by Curtis R. Ryan, Appalachian State University

Coming in from the Cold: How we may take sectarian identity politics seriously in the Middle East without playing to the tunes of regional power elites,”  by Helle Malmvig, Danish Institute for International Studies

One model of engagement between MES and IR: Inquiring into others’ conceptions of ‘security’,” by Pinar Bilgin, Bilkent University

When sovereignty and self-determination overlap in claims to statehood: The case of Iraqi Kurdistan,” by Zeynep N. Kaya, London School of Economics

IR and Middle East studies: Speaking truth to power in a multipolar world,” by Nora Fisher Onar, George Washington University, University of Oxford

Beyond ‘geosectarianism’: political systems and international relations in the Middle East,” by Ewan Stein, University of Edinburgh

Overlapping contests and Middle East international relations: The return of the weak Arab state,” by Bassel F. Salloukh, Lebanese American University

The Middle East and East Asia: A tale of two economic trajectories,” by Etel Solingen, University of California, Irvine

States, markets and power: International political economy and the new Middle East,” by Erin A. Snider, Texas A&M University

Why the Islamic State won’t become a normal state,” by Lawrence Rubin, Georgia Institute of Technology

Ideologies, alliances and underbalancing in the new Middle East Cold War,” by F. Gregory Gause III, Texas A&M University, with a condensed version available on the Monkey Cage, “Why there isn’t an anti-Iran alliance,”


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