- Recent Publications
The Economy of the Gulf States, by Matthew Gray. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Agenda Publishing, 2019. 254 pages. $25. Matthew Gray, associate professor at Waseda University, Tokyo, provides a comprehensive analysis of the economies of the Gulf states. The Arab monarchies' heavy reliance on oil and hydrocarbon exports as an economic driver has helped create a unique set of political features that have been instrumental in their longevity, all while carving a crucial place in the global economy. Gray combines a deep study of the economic profile of each country using recent data with a historical analysis of the key factors that have shaped their politics. The book also casts an eye forward, analyzing the Gulf's future prospects. (RH)
AngloArabia: Why Gulf Wealth Matters to Britain, by David Wearing. Medford, MA: Polity, 2018. 275 pages. $24.95. In AngloArabia, David Wearing, a teaching fellow at the University of London, offers a comprehensive investigation of the intricate web of ties that bind the United Kingdom with the Gulf monarchies. Wearing argues that the Gulf Arab monarchies constitute today the UK's most important alliance in the global South. Through an analysis of commercial data on arms deals, the monarchies' foreign investment in the UK and other data, Wearing sketches a clear picture of the Gulf states as a nexus of power holding great importance for Britain's geopolitical role and its strategy for after it leaves the European Union. (RH)
Modernism on the Nile: Art in Egypt between the Islamic and the Contemporary, by Alex Dika Seggerman. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2019. 255 pages. $34.95. In this study, Alex Dika Seggerman provides a guiding framework that encapsulates late 19th and early 20th century Egyptian modernism, a style that is neither entirely Arab nor Western, but rather a blend of the two. She illustrates how a distinct and unique artistic style existed in Egypt during this period—a style independent of the Western characterizations of modernism, wholly aware of Islam and its role in society, but also broader and more nuanced than what is contained in accounts of Islamic art. (RH)
Egypt's Beer: Stella, Identity, and the Modern State, by Omar D. Foda. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2019. 252 pages. $34.95. This book tracks the development of modern economics in Egypt, the birth of popular consumerism, and the subsequent cultural ramifications that followed such changes. Author Omar Foda, however, has chosen an untraditional lens to view this history: the beer industry. Despite alcohol not being a staple in Muslimmajority countries like Egypt, the country's largest beer brand, Stella, is uniquely intertwined with the cultural and political history of the country itself. First, the Egyptian-ization, as the author calls it, of Stella, as it shed its dependency on foreign funding, occurred as the Egyptian state came into being in the 1930s. Then, the nationalization of the company that produces Stella happened during a wave of nationalizations after Egypt had thrown off the colonial mantle and was consolidating the economy under state control. While Stella was an icon of Egypt's consumer culture during its more secular, nationalist years, its decline occurred amid the rise of political Islam, cultural conservatism, and the economy's turn to neoliberalism—epitomized by the privatization of the company that made Stella in 1997 and its 2002 sale to Heineken International. (RH)
Iran Resurgent: The Rise and Rise of the Shia State, by Mahan Abedin. London: Hurst, 2019. 265 pages. $34.95. In Iran Resurgent, Mahan Abedin explains how Iran's power and influence in the region has expanded despite opposition from its regional adversaries and international isolation. The author demonstrates how Iran has formed a system in which conservatives, populists, centrists, and reformists can engage on the political level while maintaining a consistent foreign policy—one that balances ideological propagation with pragmatism. In addition to having cemented its alliances with Syria and Iraq, Iran has also created a "resistance" narrative and projected its power through proxies such as Hizbullah in Lebanon, the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) in Iraq, and Ansar Allah (the...