Interpreting the Middle East

Essential Themes

Edited by David S. Sorenson

First Edition • March 1, 2010 • 456 pages

Print ISBN: 9780813344409 • $55.00 USD$53.99 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780813391823 • $33.99 USD$39.99 CAN

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Contemporary approaches to comparative studies of the Middle East increasingly recognize how globalization and regional mass communication have blurred differences across countries. Populations travel across national borders and compare narratives about political change, economic futures, and the role of the outside world in shaping their lives. Organized by five principal themes of a regional overview, politics, political economy, social contexts, and the international dimensions of Middle East issues, Interpreting the Middle East provides a vibrant introduction to the Middle East that is compatible with this regionalist perspective. Invited authorities contribute insightful and accessible original discussions of headline-fresh issues, including the aftermath of the Iraq war, Iran’s regional ambitions, developments in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and the global politics of Middle East oil, as well as the Islamic awakening, conflict in the Western Sahara, civil–military relations, economic development, political change, and gender understandings. Section introductions by the editor integrate the contributions, and a glossary, biographical list of key persons, and chronology of significant events provide helpful guidance for readers.

Dr. David S. Sorenson is professor of national security studies at the US Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Professor Sorenson formerly served on the faculties of Denison University and the University of Colorado at Denver, and was a fellow at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Ohio State University. The author or editor of numerous works on Middle East politics, defense budget politics, and national security affairs, Professor Sorenson has also served as Chair of the International Security Studies Section of the International Studies Association, and Chair of the International Security and Arms Control Section of the American Political Science Association.


1. Interpreting the Middle East (David S. Sorenson)

Part 1: Demography and Historical Memory
2. Demographic Development (Onn Winckler)
3. Historical Memory and Contemporary Affairs (Glenn E. Perry)

Part 2: Politics
4. Political Change (Dafna H. Rand)
5. Civil–Military Relations (David S. Sorenson)

Part 3: Political Economy
6. Political Economy (Chantel Pheiffer and Gregory White)
7. Political Economies of the Mahgreb (Clement M. Henry)

Part 4: Social Contexts
8. Gender (Amy Elizabeth Young)
9. The Islamic Awakening (Raymond William Baker)

Part 5: International Dimensions
10. The Israeli–Palestinian Conflict (Christopher Hemmer)
11. Conflict in Western Sahara (Yahia H. Zoubir)
12. The Political Economy of Modern Iraq (Eric Davis)
13. Iran’s Regional Foreign Policy (Manochehr Dorraj)
14. Global Energy and the Middle East (Steve Yetiv)

Biographies of Key Persons
Chronology of Significant Middle East Events

“An innovative and thought-provoking set of readings by a distinguished group of scholars of the Middle East and North Africa covering a wide range of relevant themes, issues, and concerns made particularly accessible by the book’s organizational clarity that highlights demography, politics, political economy, social contexts, and international dimensions. An ideal compliment to undergraduate textbooks of the Middle East that includes a useful glossary, biographies of key persons, and a chronology of significant MENA events.” —John P. Entelis, Fordham University

“Interpreting the Middle East is both a timely guide through the richly variegated politics, cultures, histories and economies of the region, and a lively set of arguments about the projections and distortions that continue to obscure its complexities from view. The contributors approach different aspects of the Middle East by way of diverse and somewhat eclectic political and methodological lenses; the effect is fittingly prismatic and highly engaging.” —Roxanne L. Euben, Wellesley College

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