The Crown Center for Middle East Studies is committed to conducting balanced and dispassionate research of the modern Middle East that meets the highest academic standards.

The Center seeks to help make decision- and opinion-makers better informed about the region. The scope of the Center’s research includes the 22 members of the Arab League as well as Turkey, Iran, and Israel. The Crown Center’s approach is multi-disciplinary in its study of the politics, economics, history, security, sociology, and anthropology of the region’s states and societies. 

Upcoming Events

September 7, 2022, 4:00-6:00pm EDT - Annual Kickoff Event
Beyond the Headlines: Overlooked Trends in the Middle East
Mohammad Ataie, Nader Habibi, Raihan Ismail, and Mona Kareem

September 21, 2022, 11:00am-12:15pm EDT
"Peace, Justice, and Knowledge Production in Yemen"
Stacey Philbrick Yadav

October 12, 2022, 11:00am-12:15pm EDT
"Worldmaking in the Long Great War: How Local and Colonial Struggles Shaped the Modern Middle East"
Jonathan Wyrtzen

December 7, 2022, 11:00am-12:15pm EST
"Saharanism: Intellectual and Literary Histories of a Desert-focused Imagination"
Brahim El Guabli

February 1, 2023, 11:00am-12:15pm EST
"Exportability and Commitment: Arabic Literature in the Euro-American Market"
Hosam Aboul-Ela

March 1, 2023, 11:00am-12:15pm EST
"How Even Failed Protests are Politically Significant: Insights from Jordan"
Jillian Schwedler

March 29, 2023, 11:00am-12:15pm EDT
"One War, Two Countries: Syria and Ukraine"
Deborah Amos

Catch up on past seminars over at our YouTube channel.

Recent News and Publications

July 8, 2022

Crown Conversations 14 (Summary)After the Jasmine Revolution of 2011, the Islamist movement Ennahda reemerged in Tunisia and frequently has been the largest party in the parliament and kingmaker in coalition governments. Consequently, it has borne the brunt of many Tunisians' growing disenchantment with their post-revolutionary political system. Since President Kais Saied's power grab in July 2021 and subsequent dissolution of parliament, Ennahda and its leader, Rached Ghannouchi, have tried to oppose the coup without triggering a violent crackdown by the state or alienating allies and party members. Nonetheless, in the lead-up to a national referendum scheduled for July 25 to approve a new draft constitution, Tunisian courts imposed a travel ban on Ghannouchi and froze various Ennahda leaders' bank accounts. In this Crown Conversation, the third in a series on Tunisia, we spoke with Andrew F. March—who has interviewed Ghannouchi extensively and is co-writing a book with him—about the history of Ennahda, how it has responded to Saied's actions, and where the movement goes from here.

May 31, 2022

Middle East Brief 148 (Summary) — The Kurdish movement in Turkey has long been associated with the country's rural south-east. But in recent years, it is the cities of the region that have been the crucible of a new Kurdish politics. In our latest Middle East Brief, Muna Güvenç explains how municipal elections have propelled pro-Kurdish parties into power in Diyarbakır and other cities, even as they have been prevented from winning representation at the national level. Once in office, pro-Kurdish parties have channelled the resources of city hall to support cultural centers, associations, and NGOs with explicitly Kurdish agendas, directly building their support base across class lines and indirectly infusing everyday life with visible signs of Kurdishness. Despite its electoral gains in the municipalities of south-east Turkey, the Kurdish movement's success is now threatened by a central government campaign to remove its mayors, purge its members from the bureaucracy, and ban its leaders from political activity altogether.

May 27, 2022

Crown Conversations 13 (Summary) — Running as a populist, Kais Saied, a retired law professor and political independent, was elected president of Tunisia in October 2019. After suspending parliament and dismissing the prime minister on July 25, 2021, Saied has further tightened his hold on power by announcing he would rule by decree, reconfiguring the Supreme Judicial Court, and laying out a roadmap to revise the constitution. These moves—called a "coup" by some and a "correction" by others—threaten Tunisia's decade-old democratic transition. In the second of a series of Crown Conversations on Tunisia, we spoke with Hind Ahmed Zaki about how Tunisians' disenchantment with their post-revolutionary political system led to the election of Saied as president, public support for his power-grab, and how the country's women's rights movement has reacted to his appointment of the Arab world's first female prime minister.

March 9, 2022

Middle East Brief 147 (Summary) — Why is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan so enthusiastic about planting trees? The answer is more complicated than authoritarian greenwashing. In our latest Middle East Brief, Ekin Kurtiç argues that the AKP government’s keen interest in greening Turkey is an attempt to monopolize the environmental agenda and turn legitimate environmental protest into a criminal activity. From anti-mining movements in the 1990s to the Gezi Park occupation in the 2010s and the wildfires of the 2020s, Kurtiç charts how community organizers, legal activists, and forestry experts have formed new fronts of opposition against environmental degradation. While state-led initiatives to plant trees throughout Turkey might appear benevolent, Kurtiç argues, in reality AKP environmentalism is rooted in coercion.

February 22, 2022

In the News (Summary) — In the summer of 2021, one of the largest wildfires in the history of Turkey destroyed over 333,000 acres (135,000 hectares) of forest and killed eight people along with thousands of animals. The conflagration was not unexpected. Mediterranean forests are ecologically prone to fire, and summer is fire season in this region. Weeks before the wildfire, the General Directorate of Meteorology forecast a heatwave for the end of July and the first days of August. In addition, extreme drought had been a major concern throughout the year. Given these conditions, forestry experts had been informing the public and state officials about the likelihood of large forest fires.