The Transformation of Saudi Arabia and the Geopolitics of the Middle East


Thursday, March 14, 2019, 4:30pm to 6:00pm


CGIS Knafel 262, 1737 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02138

The CMES/WCFIA Middle East Seminar presents

Bernard HaykelBernard Haykel
Professor of Near Eastern Studes and Director of the Institute for Transregional Studies and the Program in Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University

Professor Haykel's research is concerned with the political and social tensions that arise from questions about religious identity and authority. Educated at the University of Oxford, he received my doctorate in 1998 in Oriental Studies with an emphasis on Islam and history. Much of his teaching and research lies at the juncture of the intellectual, political, and social history of the Middle East with particular emphasis on the countries of the Arabian Peninsula. He also has a side interest in the effects of energy resources and rents on politics and society. An essential part of his work concerns the reception of reformist ideas at present and analysis of the Salafi heritage in contemporary debates among Sunnis as well as the Zaydi heritage among Shi`is.  Another concern pertains to the history and politics of the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, and Saudi Arabia in particular. Prof Haykel considers himself to be an historian who is not restricted by disciplinary boundaries or historical time frame. Although his focus is on the modern period, he is at home with pre-modern Islamic literary sources and concepts and sees these as a crucial foundation for the study of the modern Arab and Muslim worlds. The region he has studied, Arabia, is important for understanding the history and politics of the modern Middle East and yet it remains the least studied and understood.

Publications include: “Oil in Saudi Arabia’s Culture and Politics: from Tribal Poets to al-Qaeda’s Ideologues,” in Saudi Arabia in Transition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014); “The Political Failure of Islamic Law,” The Dallah Al-Baraka Lectures on Islamic Law and Civilization, Yale Law School Occasional Paper Series, 2013; Introduction of “The Expansion of Wahhabi Power in Arabia, 1798-1932: British Documentary Records” (Cambridge: Cambridge Archives Editions, 2013); “What Makes a Madhhab a Madhhab: Zaydi Debates on the Structure of Legal Authority,” Arabica 59, 2012; “Al-Qa`ida and Shiism”, in Fault Lines in Global Jihad (New York: Routledge, 2011); “Western Arabia and Yemen during the Ottoman Period,” in The New Cambridge History of Islam, vol. 2, 2010; “On the Nature of Salafi Thought and Action,” in Global Salafism: Islam’s New Religious Movement (London: Hurst, 2009); and Revival and Reform in Islam: The Legacy of Muhammad al-Shawkani (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).

Co-sponsors: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Center for Middle Eastern Studies
Contact: Liz Flanagan