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Melani Cammett

Insecurity and Political Values in the Arab World

February 5, 2020

Within a few years of the historic Arab uprisings of 2011, popular mobilization dissipated amidst instability in many Arab countries. We trace the relationship between shifting macro-political conditions and individual-level political values in the Middle East, demonstrating that a preference for democracy and political trust are not fixed cultural features of populations but rather can shift rapidly in the face of perceived insecurity. Our empirical analyses employ longitudinal data from the Arab Barometer covering 13 countries and data from the 2015 World Values Survey, which includes...

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Erdogan with crowd

"Erdoğan the Good" or "Erdoğan the Bad?" A Conversation with Soner Çağaptay on US-Turkey Relations Following US Withdrawal from Syria

October 25, 2019

Reilly Barry, a first-year AM student at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy (JMEPP) at Harvard Kennedy School, sat down with Soner Çağaptay after his WCFIA/CMES Middle East Seminar talk to discuss what underlying factors are most influential for policymakers on US-Turkey relations right now, especially in light of Turkish troops’ entry into northeast Syria and targeting of former American partners the YPG.... Read more about "Erdoğan the Good" or "Erdoğan the Bad?" A Conversation with Soner Çağaptay on US-Turkey Relations Following US Withdrawal from Syria

Harvard CMES building

Federal Funding and the Question of Academic Freedom

October 17, 2019

After many organizations decried the First Amendment violations in the letter, last month, the Department of Education voted to renew funding for the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies for the 2019-2020 academic year. Still, members of Harvard’s CMES are worried the letter will affect its own Middle East Studies programming under the Trump administration. Read Paul G. Sullivan's article in the Harvard Crimson Magazine...

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Karagoz puppets

Video: 'Trauma, Magic, Love': a tribute to Osman Kavala on his birthday

October 2, 2019

On September 16, CMES welcomed Syrian-Armenian-American stage and film actress Sona Tatoyan and artist and puppet master Ayhan Hülagü to speak about finding her Armenian grandfather's Karagöz puppets in the abandoned family home in Aleppo, Syria. Ayhan then presented some of Sona's family's puppets in a short puppet show to close the event. For more on Sona and Ayhan and the event: https://bit.ly/2potIVR.

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Roger Owen at CMES

Roger Owen, My Mentor and My Friend

August 1, 2019

It is impossible to sum up the life of Professor Roger Owen in a few paragraphs; even Roger found it difficult to edit his life in his wonderful memoir. I will focus on being his student and then his friend, and how he taught me how to pass forward his special brand of mentoring.

As a graduate student working on the history of Egypt and Sudan, I made my pilgrimage to Oxford to see Roger and Albert Hourani and receive their wisdom on my project. Albert enjoyed its potential but Roger told me in no uncertain terms that it was too big and would be very difficult (I would like to...

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Rosie Bsheer Mecca keynote

Reflecting on the Many Faces of Mecca, the Lived City

June 28, 2019

“Mecca is lived, experienced, and documented differently by different people,” began Rosie Bsheer, Assistant Professor of History at Harvard and author of the forthcoming “Archive Wars: Spectacle, Speculation, and the Politics of History in Saudi Arabia,” in her keynote address to the colloquium Mecca: The Lived City, hosted by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies in May.

Mecca is characterized by plurality. In two days of lectures, speakers drew on academic, professional, and personal experiences to explore disparate visions of Mecca. The city’s social,...

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