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Fall 2020 Publication

Al-Buhuuth-2020

Winter 2019 Publication

Research

MARTYRDOM, MYTH, AND RESONANT SYMBOLS: CONTESTING AND CREATING NATIONAL IDENTITY IN REVOLUTIONARY EGYPT

Jeron Dastrup

ABSTRACT:

At the core of the Arab Uprisings that shook not only the Middle East, but the world, were the omnipresent Martyrs. The figure of the Martyr, invested with the ideals of a movement, led countless protesters into the streets of Cairo in unexpected and overwhelming mass politics of protest. The cultural phenomenon of the ‘Martyr’, though initially appearing to be another manifestation of an old, regional trope, was appropriated in fascinating ways throughout the uprisings to serve opposing political and social agendas. The current work seeks to understand the development of the symbol of the Martyr within its cultural and historical context, while providing a theoretical framework for understanding why some symbols resonate with the public and others do not. I find meaningful differences between language usage surrounding martyrdom both between different cultural contexts and over time within the same contexts. I argue that Martyrdom is resonant because of its appropriation of existing symbolic networks, ability to leverage demands, and application as an empty signifier.

LESS TERRITORY, MORE TERROR: THE EVOLUTION OF BRUTALITY IN ISLAMIC STATE PROPAGANDA

EJ Morin

ABSTRACT:

IS rapidly garnered global attention and intensified its media wing following Al-Baghdadi’s declaration of the Caliphate in 2014. IS propaganda’s grotesqueness, as seen in itssleekly produced execution videos and sensationally violent Western-centric magazines, Dabiq and Rumiyah, simultaneously attracted followers and horrified the world. Since 2014, IS expanded its territorial presence and, with these gains, IS propaganda has evolved, including its use of brutality. I attempt to answer why IS propaganda—specifically its emphasis on brutality— has varied by analyzing the relation between major territorial gains and losses of IS and level of brutality in Dabiq, Rumiyah, and propaganda videos between 2014-2018. Through my analysis of Dabiq, Rumiyah, IS propaganda videos and comparisons with contemporary territorial changes, I posit and demonstrate that IS propaganda is less dependent on brutality when IS territory is increasing and stable and therefore more brutal when IS shrinks and loses swaths of key territory.

GENDER IN REVOLUTION: DO SOCIETAL EXPECTATIONS OF GENDERED BEHAVIOR AFFECT A REVOLUTIONARY’S PARTICIPATION AND LEADERSHIP STRATEGY?

Katie Munk

ABSTRACT:

Societal expectations of male and female behavior surrounding aggression and violence dictate each gender’s norms of anger expression. These social expectations may or may not extend to the political sphere as well. Specifically in the contentious politics of revolutions, are the revolutionary activities that women engage in more or less violent than men’s? Does this change whether women are participants or leaders in the revolution? This study argues there is a difference between the way that men and women approach revolutionary tactics as participants and leaders.Through an experiment testing female and male revolutionary activity and strategy as well as a case study on the Arab Uprising of 2011 and the Muslim Sisterhood in Egypt, findings suggest that it is the framing of gendered behavior in a revolution affects how men and women act as both participants and leaders in revolutions which leads to the difference in their revolutionary behavior.

IMPROVING WOMEN’S FREEDOM OF DRESS: A COMBINATION OF TOP-DOWN AND BOTTOM-UP APPROACHES

Kelsey Rasband

ABSTRACT:

In 2008, the Women Stats Office created a map that portrays required codes of dress for women in the Islamic world. Many Islamic states have undergone several political and social changes over the last decade; thus, these countries have experienced both positive and negative shifts in dress code freedoms. What caused positive and negative shifts in dress code freedoms in this region and how do these changes affect women’s rights in general? Research suggests that revolutions, the rise of extremism and Islamism, governments with women empowerment agendas, and activism and civil society might explain these shifts. Evidence from Bangladesh, Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia indicate that revolutions and the rise of extremism and Islamism have individual effects on some cases; but, the last two variables explain change across all cases. Evidence from these cases suggest that when government and civil society take initiatives and work in tandem, there is a positive change in dress code laws and overall freedom for women.

Grassroot initiatives can help the government realize that empowering women will not threaten their power, but will help the state progress economically and socially. When people from all facets of society are working toward this common goal, changes will be more long-lasting and sustainable. One of the first steps towards women empowerment is giving women freedom of dress. If women are able to choose for themselves what to wear in public spaces, they will be more confident and enabled, so they will be more likely to push for and be given additional freedoms. Therefore, dress code freedoms is a mechanism that allows women to progress and close the gender equality gap.

Essay

R2P IN LIBYA: WHEN COUNTRIES INTERVENE

Naomi Mortenson

ABSTRACT:

Eight years after NATO’s intervention in Libya, the region has yet to stabilize amidst civil war and regional conflict. After a review of NATO operations during this period, the evidence implicates the use of the Right To Protect principle as a pretext for regime change during the Arab Spring. The Western media reports of the Libyan crisis under Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 enabled NATO to the narrative of genocide that R2P seeks to protect civilians against. The result of the intervention includes violent religious extremism and clashing tribal identities which in turn accelerated further destabilization in the region. This paper examines how NATO was able to frame their intervention as a model usage of the R2P rather than a pretext for regime change. Their employment of R2P yielded the same large-scale mortality rates and regional upheaval that intervention was claimed to prevent.

2018 Publication

Research

BLACK SEPTEMBER: THE LEADING ROLE OF EGYPT’S PRESIDENT JAMAL ‘ABD AL-NASIR IN JORDAN’S CIVIL WAR

By Vaughn Durfee

ABSTRACT:

The period of prominence for the PLO in the late 1960s and early 1970s within the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is directly related to the support it received from Egyptian President Jamal ‘Abd al- Nasir. As the actions of the PLO caught Nasir’s attention, its ability to conduct operations, attract recruits, and establish influence increased. The large number of Palestinians within Jordanian territory and their support by a foreign power impeded Jordanian King Husayn’s effectiveness in reacting to their growing legitimacy. After the Black September civil war broke out in 1970, it was not until after the death of Nasir that Husayn was able to exercise the full extent of his power and suppress Palestinian aggression. This paper analyzes the relationship between President Nasir of Egypt and King Husayn of Jordan, illustrating the direct correlation of Nasir’s influence over the PLO to King Husayn’s ability to act within his own kingdom. I conclude that the enabling role that Nasir played in his relationship with the PLO and his limitations on the opposing Jordanian monarch generated the eventual culmination to civil war.

DEMOCRACY OF TERROR: AN INVESTIGATION OF JIHADIST TRENDS IN TUNISIA

By Tanner Sullivan

ABSTRACT:

Despite Tunisia’s small population and liberal democratic government, estimates show that the number of Tunisian foreign fighters who joined the Islamic State and other militant groups in Iraq, Syria and Libya is more than double the number of foreign fighters from any other country. Additionally, a number of notable terrorist attacks in recent years have been carried out by Tunisians in their own country and in Europe. This paper explores the reasons behind Tunisia’s struggle with extremism and argues that following Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution, the breakdown of state security and religious institutions, combined with new freedoms of expression and association, created a space that extremist groups were able to exploit to establish robust recruiting operations. This new permissive political environment, when combined with economic hardship and geographic characteristics unique to Tunisia, created fertile ground for extremist recruitment. This paper also considers the current security challenges that Tunisia is facing, while offering analysis as to how they might affect the country’s political future and that of the region as a whole.

DEMOCRATIZING REVOLUTIONS AND THEIR EFFECT ON RULE OF LAW

By Makade Claypool

ABSTRACT:

In the first decade of this century, “color” revolutions swept across the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe. These largely peaceful demonstrations focused on improving democracy and were lauded by international spectators; however, the results of these revolutions are as diverse as the colors to which they ascribe. To explain these differences, it is noteworthy the laws of a country and the extent to which leaders are bound by such laws (i.e., rule of law) greatly affect a country’s governance and politics. Accordingly, a country’s focus on rule of law is likely integrally tied with its democratic success post-revolution. This paper focuses on the rule of law before, during, and after three distinct color revolutions, analyzing its effect on democratic success. Ultimately the Egyptian “Lotus” Revolution (2011), the Georgian “Rose” Revolution (2003), and the Ukrainian “Orange” Revolution (2004) demonstrate that revolutionary attempts to improve a system’s democracy without also improving its rule of law yields little, if any, desired results.

HOW DO REVOLUTIONS AFFECT SATISFACTION WITH GOVERNMENT PERFORMANCE? EVIDENCE FROM THE ARAB SPRING

By Anne Nollet

ABSTRACT:

Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation in 2010 fanned the flames of revolution that spread throughout the entire Arab World in what is now known as the Arab Spring. Though the grievances and outcomes differed between countries, a common theme was widespread dissatisfaction. This paper focuses on how these Arab Spring revolutions affected citizens’ satisfaction with government performance. Using data from nine countries, this paper offers a statistical analysis of the key factors affecting satisfaction. The results indicate that revolutions mostly impact the likelihood of citizens having high levels of satisfaction, perceptions of government performance play a major role in determining satisfaction, and countries that experienced major revolutions do not have significantly different satisfaction levels than those that did not.

Essay

HURREM SULTAN: A FORCE FOR CHANGE IN THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE

By Eleanor Lewis

ABSTRACT:

Many people have heard of Suleyman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1520 to 1566, but few people have heard of his wife, Hurrem Sultan. After she was kidnapped from her home in eastern Europe around 1520, she rose through the ranks of the Sultan’s harem. In an unprecedented diversion from tradition, she married the Sultan and ruled the Empire alongside him for several decades. She lived a miraculous life and left a lasting influence on the Ottoman Empire. Through her fierce bond with Suleyman and personal strength of character, she broke the traditional norms for a slave-concubine and carved out a new political and cultural landscape for a new period of Ottoman history.

Winter 2017 Publication

Research

POLITICAL AND MILITARY CONFLICT ON THE CURRENT WATER CRISIS IN IRAQ

By Laura Boyer

ABSTRACT:

Previously home to fertile lands and sufficient water, Iraq is now facing a water crisis. Water supplies are shrinking and contamination is increasing. While environmental factors affect these trends, geopolitical relations and current conflict within the Middle East also provide explanations for the decrease of water supply and quality. By using Iraq as a case study, I examine these political forces in relation to the water crisis. Using qualitative sources and analysis, I find that the international relations between Iraq and Turkey, Saddam Hussein’s political regime within Iraq, and the history of conflict in Iraq all help explain this water crisis. The findings show that in order to reverse these trends, serious attention must be placed on the water politics within the region and conflict surrounding water sources must be avoided.


NATIONALISM, TRIBALISM, AND THE FUTURE OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN IRAQI KURDISTAN

By Adena Moulton

ABSTRACT:

There is little question that the legal rights of Kurdish women in Iraq gradually improved after Kurdish emancipation at the end of the Gulf War in 1991 and particularly after the American invasion in 2003. In contrast, Arab-Iraqi women’s rights deteriorated after the Gulf War and fell into crisis after 2003. I use statements, laws, and reports published by the KRG and transnational women’s groups to support the theory that the Kurdish government increased women’s legal rights due to the growth of women-oriented civil society, the strength of transnationalism, and Kurdistan’s search for international legitimacy. However some academics and policy leaders overemphasize the importance of transnational feminist movements, international pressure, and Kurdish civil society (as it stands today) in promoting women’s rights because they do not sufficiently address the effects of tribalism, which hinders the implementation of women’s rights legislation. The economic, political, and social instability that has rocked Kurdistan since the Iran-Iraq War strengthened these tribal bonds enough that bonds now undermine the effectiveness of the KRG. I also argue that some academics and policy leaders overemphasize the importance of transnational feminist movements, international pressure, and Kurdish civil society (as it stands today) in promoting women’s rights because they do not sufficiently address the effects of tribalism.

UN RESOLUTION 242 AND US FOREIGN POLICY TOWARDS THE ISRAELI PALESTINIAN ISSUE

By Kris Summer

ABSTRACT:

This paper will look at two instances when the American government, under Obama, was accused of changing US policy towards Israel and settlement building. There will be a comparison of these instances with previous American president’s statements concerning the same issue in order to determine if the Obama administration followed historical precedent. However, this paper finds that Obama followed historical policy positions rather than changing them.

Essay

DISCOVERING TRUTH: A COMPARISON OF MORMON THOUGHT AND SUFI MYSTICISM

By Nick Hainsworth

ABSTRACT:

This essay takes a comparative look at Islamic Sufi mysticism and the Mormon methodology of discerning truth. Using Al-Ghazali’s Deliverance from Error as a base, this essay compares and contrasts the place of scripture, prophets, logic, and the exercise of faith in receiving revelation in the Sufi and Mormon traditions, offering insight in how Mormons could look at this topic in a new light.