Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
James Madison University
comparative democratization, civil society, social movements, conflict to peace and the political economy of transitions, Middle East politics, the Arab-Israeli conflict
Media Contact

Personal Info

About Me

I am an associate professor of political science at James Madison University (JMU). My research interests include comparative democratization, civil society, social movements, conflict to peace and the political economy of transitions, and Middle East politics, including the Arab-Israeli conflict.

My most recent publications have appeared in Comparative Political Studies, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, International Feminist Journal of Politics, and International Migration Review, as well as in a number of edited volumes. I have also has contributed political and social commentary to the Montréal Gazette, Al-Ahram Weekly, the Palestine Chronicle, Bitterlemons International, and Al-Jazeera, among others. I recently completed my first book, and I am beginning a second, mutli-year project. One over-arching theme animates these projects: Why and under what circumstances do individuals, groups or movements choose to organize and mobilize, and what factors shape these processes over time? I examine these issues through a cross-regional lens exploring various Middle Eastern and Latin American cases. In my first book, Democracy Promotion in Distorted Times, which draws from research for which I won the best fieldwork award of the Comparative Democratization section of the American Political Science Association, I examined the impact of the political settlements and the mediating role of Western donor assistance on political movements and emergent civil society groups in the Palestinian territories and El Salvador, culminating in Hamas’ election victory in 2006 and the political aftermath that transpired. In my new project, The Arab Uprisings & Movement Mobilization in Cross Regional Perspective, I evaluate the political-economic determinants of social movement organization that led to these moments of upheaval in Egypt and Tunisia, compared to their predecessors in Latin America, such as in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile.

I have a PhD in political science from McGill University and a BA and MA in international relations from UC Davis and San Francisco State, respectively. Most recently, during the 2014 and 2015 academic year, I was a research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy’s Middle East Initiative. Prior to joining the faculty of JMU, I was a Sultan post-doctoral fellow at UC Berkeley’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, a research fellow at the Dubai School of Government, and a visiting scholar at Harvard University’s Dubai Initiative. During the late 1990s, I worked as journalist and researcher in the Palestinian Territories. I have consulted for a number of organizations, including the United Nations Special Coordinators Office in the Occupied Territories and the UK’s IHS Jane’s. I also contributed to the feasibility studies that led to the establishment of the Arab Council for the Social Sciences. Between 2010 and 2015, I served as a member of the Middle East Studies Association’s Committee for Academic Freedom, and between 2012 and 2014, I was a member of the transitional board of directors of the Association for Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Studies.

I am currently based in Washington DC.

Recent Publications

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles and Book Chapters

“Democracy Promotion, Civil Society Building, and the Primacy of Politics” Comparative Political Studies vol. 45 no. 1 (January 2012): 3-31. Prepublished online April 27, 2010, DOI: 10.1177/0010414010365998.

“Beyond Fateh Corruption and Mass Discontent: Hamas, the Palestinian Left and the 2006 Legislative Elections,” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, vol.  40, no.  3 (July 2013): 273-294.

“Western Donor Assistance & Gender Empowerment in the Palestinian Territories and Beyond” International Feminist Journal of Politics, vol. 17, no. 2 (2015): 232-252.  Prepublished online 22 December 2013, DOI: 10.1080/14616742.2013.849966.

“The Palestinian Women’s Sector and the Promotion of Human Security,” in The Search for Lasting Peace: Critical Perspectives on Gender-Responsive Human Security edited by Rosalind Boyd (Farnham: Ashgate, 2014)

“The ‘Tiering’ of Citizenship and Residency and ‘Hierarchization’ of Migrant Communities: the United Arab Emirates in Historical Context,” International Migration Review, vol. 49, no. 3 (Fall 2015): 601–632.  Prepublished online 13 February 2015, DOI: 10.1111/imre.12132.

“The “Other Arab” & Gulf Citizens: the Mutual Accommodation of Palestinians in the UAE in Historical Context,” in Arab Migrant Communities in the GCC edited by Zahra Barbar (London: Hurst Publishers, and New York: Oxford University Press forthcoming.)

Invited Commentary

“Approach and Substance in Middle East Political Science,” in  “Arab Uprisings: New Opportunities for Political Science.”  POMEPS Briefing, no. 12, June 12, 2012

“Arab Women, Protest, and the Arab Spring.” edition 2, 12 January, 2012.


Media Coverage
Country Focus
Palestinian territories; United Arab Emirates; MENA

Research Areas

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