Middle East summer reading lineup


A man sells cotton candy as people enjoy the warm weather on a beach at the port city of Sidon, southern Lebanon June 27, 2014. (Ali Hashisho/Reuters)

Last week, my Monkey Cage colleagues Laura Seay and Kim Yi Dionne published their summer spectacular reading list on African politics. I was inspired by them, so now it’s the Middle East’s turn. Here’s my personal list of some summer book reading for the Middle East political science crowd. Some of them I’ve already read and enjoyed, and some I’m looking forward to reading on the beach. Enjoy!

Eleven for the beach, if you’re the type of person who reads this sort of book on the beach:

Lila Abu Lughod, “Do Muslim Women Need Saving?” Sharply observed take on the Western impulse to save oppressed Muslim women and the wider political, legal and cultural issues at stake.

Hisham Aidi, “Rebel Music:Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture.” Simply a brilliant, utterly unique, effortlessly transnational and wonderfully written account of hip hop and new Muslim youth culture.

Zaid al-Ali, “The Struggle for Iraq’s Future: How Corruption, Incompetence and Sectarianism Have Undermined Democracy.” Sharply written, personal account of the failure of the Iraqi political elite, which provides essential context to the current crisis.

Abdullah al-Arian, “Answering the Call: Popular Islamic Activism in Sadat’s Egypt.” This new history of a critical period explores how the Muslim Brotherhood reconstituted itself in Egypt in the 1970s after decades of harsh repression at the hands of Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Melani Cammett, “Compassionate Communalism: Welfare and Sectarianism in Lebanon.” Cutting-edge research on the politics of the provision of social services in the region, with implications far beyond Lebanon.

Elliott Colla, “Baghdad Central.” A crime novel set in the early days of the American occupation of Iraq, written by a professor of Arabic literature.

Lara Deeb and Mona Harb, “Leisurely Islam: Negotiationg Geography and Morality in Shi’ite South Beirut.” Intriguing ethnography of cafe culture in Shiite South Beirut and the complexities of Muslim youth culture.

Tarek Masoud, “Counting Islam: Religion, Class and Elections in Egypt.” Methodologically rigorous and analytically sharp examination of Egyptian voting patterns, which sheds new light on the place of the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamism.

Pascal Menoret, “Joyriding in Riyadh: Oil, Urbanism and Road Revolt.” Starts with an epic joyride outside of Riyadh and develops into a highly original account of the politics of urbanism, oil and cars in Saudi political culture.

Amélie Le Renard, “A Society of Young Women: Opportunities of Place, Power and Reform in Saudi Arabia.” How are young Saudi women experiencing the rapid transformations and continuing challenges of politics and society?

Jonathan Smolin, “Moroccan Noir: Police, Crime, and Politics in Popular Culture.” Fun, fascinating and incisive reading of the genre of Moroccan crime fiction.

Extra Time:

If you missed them back when I named my Best Books of 2013, it’s not too late to check out:

Adria Lawrence, “Imperial Rule and the Politics of Nationalism: Anti-Colonial Protest in the French Empire.” Rich, nuanced comparative history which sheds new light on the resistance to French role in North Africa.

Raphael Lefevre, “Ashes of Hama: The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria.” Detailed, fascinating account of the political history of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

Madawi al-Rasheed, “A Most Masculine State: Gender, Politics, and Religion in Saudi Arabia.” Fascinating, diverse look at gender in Saudi Arabia, which ranges effortlessly from literature to culture to politics.

Frederic Wehrey, “Sectarian Politics in the Gulf: From the Iraq War to the Arab Uprisings.” Well-researched and sharply argued examination of the political role of sectarianism in the domestic and regional politics of the Gulf.

Carrie Rosefsky Wickham, “The Muslim Brotherhood: Evolution of an Islamist Movement .” Definitive account of the evolution of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood through the early stages of the Egyptian uprising of 2011.

Penalty Kicks:

You won’t be able to read it on the beach, but of course you should pre-order my new edited book “The Arab Uprisings Explained.” Where else will you get definitive analysis of the outbreak, rapid spread and later struggles of the 2011 wave of contentious protests from some of the top scholars in the business, including Nathan Brown, Daniel Brumberg, Clement Henry, Steven Heydemann, Michael Hoffmann, Amaney Jamal, Vickie Langohr, Reinoud Leenders, Ellen Lust, Quinn Mecham, David Patel, Michael Robbins, Curtis Ryan, Jillian Schwedler, Robert Springborg and Mark Tessler? It’s due out August 22, not in time for the beach, maybe, but just in time for fall courses!

 

Marc Lynch is a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, where he is the director of the Institute for Middle East Studies and the Project on Middle East Political Science. He is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.
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