New Brandeis Magazine analyzes Arab spring

The Fall 2011 issue of Brandeis Magazine is now available online. The cover story draws on the Crown Center’s deep well of Middle Eastern scholarship to explore the prospects for democracy in the countries affected by the Arab spring. Professor Eva Bellin, who conducted fieldwork in Tunisia for her Ph.D. at Princeton, provides critical context to understand the unrest in the region and how it might be applied to help forge democratic institutions in countries that historically have been allergic to such change. Other Crown Center scholars weigh in on key questions such as how regional dynamics will affect the near term prospects for the Arab-Israeli peace process, and the political factors that set Iran apart from other states in the region.

Another story, “Mississippi Smoldering,” explores this country’s own heart of darkness in the Jim Crow South. Last summer, 11 students, led by sociologist David Cunningham, became amateur gumshoes, digging up the moldering arrest records, court dockets and school board minutes — the kind of mundane documents that frame the historical record of institutionalized segregation. In journals students wrote, several of which are excerpted in the magazine, you can read how they dealt with the unsettling emotions of personally encountering evidence of segregation’s long shadow over Mississippi’s citizens.

For fun and games, check out two other stories. “That First Championship Season” revisits the first of only two NCAA Division III championships in Brandeis history. It took place on a soccer field redolent of manure in rural Pennsylvania 35 years ago this fall. If you read “From the Schwartz/Bing Tapes” you’ll discover what CBS executive Gil Schwartz ’73 has been up to in his spare time. It can be tough when your alter ego is more successful than you are.

The online magazine also features web exclusives, including video interviews with Heller’s Anita Hill, who just published a book about finding equality, and a video story about the students’ research in Mississippi. Please send your comments to

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