Crown Books

The Crown Center for Middle East Studies supports its scholars to author in-depth books on critical topics in the region.

February 2016 – Building Rule of Law in the Arab World: Tunisia, Egypt and Beyond
Eva Bellin and Heidi E. Lane, editors

How might Arab countries build the foundations for rule of law in the wake of prolonged authoritarian rule? What specific challenges do they confront? Are there insights to be gained from comparative analysis beyond the region? Exploring these questions, the authors of “Building Rule of Law in the Arab World” provide a theoretically informed, empirically rich account of key issues facing the countries at the forefront of political change since the Arab Spring as governments seek to develop effective and responsible judiciaries, security sectors, and anticorruption agencies.

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December 2013 – Arabs and Israelis: Conflict and Peacemaking in the Middle East
Abdel Monem Said Aly, Shai Feldman and Khalil Shikaki

The Arab-Israeli conflict is one of the most protracted and resilient of modern times. This ground-breaking new textbook explores the history of the conflict and later peacemaking efforts from competing Israeli, Palestinian and wider Arab perspectives, written by three eminent scholars and analysts from each of these backgrounds. Structured to fit a 13-week semester, each chapter introduces key developments in each period of the conflict; presents the differing Israeli, Palestinian and broader Arab narratives on these developments; and offers a unique framework for analyzing and understanding these developments. The result is an engaging and truly innovative textbook that encourages a balanced approach to understanding the Arab-Israeli conflict and its pivotal role in the Middle East.

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Watch a webcast of the book discussion at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.


April 2012 – Taken for Wonder: Nineteenth Century Travel Accounts from Iran to Europe
Naghmeh Sohrabi

Travelogues can reveal much more than the customs of a foreign land; they can also serve as a window into the culture and concerns of their place of origin. Drawing on a series of travel narratives by Iranian visitors to Europe in the nineteenth century, Taken for Wonder illustrates how these writings reflect the complicated political agendas of diplomats, merchants, kings, and others during the Qajar Dynasty. Using texts that correspond to four monarchic reigns in this period, the book shifts the traditional framework of analysis from the act of travel to that of writing travel. In the first example Hayratnamah (The Book of Wonder), an Iranian ambassador’s account of his visit to the court of King George III, Sohrabi’s reading reveals a narrative calculated to reinforce the grandeur and stability of the Qajars to its Persian readers rather than merely recount the lifestyle of the English court. Similarly, the political motives at work in Mirza Fattah Khan Garmrudi’s accounts of his European journey are explored in light of Britain’s 1837 occupation of Iran. In a subsequent chapter Sohrabi considers the ways Nasir al-Din Shah, the longest reigning Qajar monarch, viewed his European travelogues as a tool for domestic politics and international diplomacy. The study concludes with two travel accounts by non-government officials, demonstrating how the genre became a mode for critiquing the Qajar Dynasty and instigating political reform at the close of the nineteenth century.

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December 2011 – Israel, Jordan, and Palestine: The Two-State Imperative
Asher Susser

Since 1921, the Zionist movement, the Hashemites, and Palestinian nationalists have been vying for regional control. In this book, Asher Susser analyzes the evolution of the one- and two-state options and explores why a two-state solution has failed to materialize. He provides an in-depth analysis of Jordan’s positions and presents an updated discussion of the two-state imperative through the initiatives of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Susser argues that Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians have cohesive collective identities that violently collide with each other. Because of these entrenched differences, a single-state solution cannot be achieved. Thus, despite all the inherent difficulties, a two-state solution remains the only viable option.

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April 2010 – The Mobilization of Political Islam in Turkey
Banu Eligur

The Mobilization of Political Islam in Turkey explains why political Islam, which has been part of Turkish politics since the 1970s but on the rise only since the 1990s, has now achieved governing power. Drawing on social movement theory, the book focuses on the dominant form of Islamist activism in Turkey by analyzing the increasing electoral strength of four successive Islamist political parties: the Welfare Party; its successor, the Virtue Party; and the successors of the Virtue Party: the Felicity Party and the Justice and Development Party. This book, which is based on extensive primary and secondary sources as well as in-depth interviews, provides the most comprehensive analysis currently available of the Islamist political mobilization in Turkey.

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