New Opposition in the Middle East

Edited research books
Dara Conduit and Shahram Akbarzadeh
Conduit, D., Akbarzadeh, S. (2018) New Opposition in the Middle East. New York: Palgrave Macmillan
Publication year: 2018

This book uses a Contentious Politics lens to examine patterns of contestation since 2009 and 2011 among the Middle East’s most important opposition actors. The volume is comprised of seven chapters that ask questions in relation to the responsiveness of opposition groups to their political environments, the long-term legacies of authoritarianism, and whether the post-2009/2011 political environment is better or worse for Middle Eastern oppositions. It interrogates the ways in which oppositions have morphed in relation to this changed operating environment, subjectively interpreting the costs and benefits of contestation in order to maximise political opportunities. To some oppositions, changes in the power balance between regime structures and opposition agents led to unprecedented opportunity for political action, while for others, structures were galvanised to restrict opposition activities. In total, the volume shows that even though the Arab Uprisings and Green Movement achieved few of their overt goals, the events unleashed smaller shifts across the region that have led to a fundamental change in the politics of contestation amongst the region’s oppositions. These patterns echo experiences in other parts of the world, including the coloured revolutions in post-Soviet states, and the political environment in Chile after Pinochet.

Human Rights and Agents of Change in Iran

Edited research books
Rebecca Barlow and Shahram Akbarzadeh
Barlow, R., Akbarzadeh, S. (2018). Human Rights and Agents of Change in Iran. London: Palgrave MacMillan
Publication year: 2018

This volume extends debates on the interaction between universal human rights and the political experiences of Iranians, through a conceptual analysis of ‘theories of change’. It assesses the practical processes by which individuals, organizations and movements can reform or impact the structural, theological and political challenges faced in the Iranian context.

Contributors to this volume investigate how structures, institutions, and agents in Iran maneuver for influence and power at the state level, through the law, in international corridors, at the grassroots, and by implementing multiple and complex methods. The chapters provide distinct but interrelated analysis of key drivers of change in Iran. A number of those operate primarily through top-down approaches, such as the political reform movement, lawyers pursuing legislative change, and international human rights monitoring bodies. Others take a bottom-up approach, including local movements and campaigns such as the women’s movement, the labor movement, the student movement, and ethnic minority groups.

By prompting drivers of change to think about causation, influence, sequencing, prioritization, roles and relationships, a theory of change ultimately makes the work more effective. Through rigorous analysis of these issues for drivers of change in the Islamic State, this volume is an important contribution to human rights in Iran. In an era of escalating tensions in the Middle East, it amplifies voices of reform and freedom, filling a crucial gap in our understanding of this region.

Iran in the World: President Rouhani’s Foreign Policy

Edited research books
Dara Conduit, Shahram Akbarzadeh
NY: Palgrave, 2016
Publication year: 2016

This book evaluates President Hassan Rouhani’s foreign policy during his first two years in office, looking at the case studies of Armenia, Azerbaijan, the UAE, Turkey, and Syria, as well as the Iran-US relationship. President Rouhani came to power in Iran in 2013 promising to reform the country’s long-contentious foreign policy. His top priorities were rehabilitating the Iranian economy, ending the nuclear dispute, rebuilding relations with the US, and mending ties with Iran’s neighbors. It is argued here that while President Rouhani has made progress in the Iran-US relationship, in nuclear negotiations and some bilateral relationships, his broader success has been hampered by regional political developments and domestic competition. Further, it is contended that his future success will be guided by emerging regional tensions, including whether Iran’s neighbors will accept the terms of the nuclear agreement.

American Democracy Promotion in the Changing Middle East: From Bush to Obama

Edited research books
Shahram Akbarzadeh, Benjamin MacQueen ,James Piscatori, and Amin Saikal (eds)
Akbarzadeh, Shahram, Benjamin MacQueen, James Piscatori, and Amin Saikal, eds. American democracy promotion in the changing Middle East: from Bush to Obama. Routledge, 2012.
Publication year: 2013

The recent “Arab spring”, with its popular uprisings in many Arab countries, has exposed the ambiguity at the heart of American promotion of democracy in the Middle East. The US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were packaged as democracy promotion, as heralding the beginning of a new phase in the politics of the Middle East when democracy would replace authoritarian regimes. Many of these authoritarian regimes, however, were sustained by US support. The recent popular uprisings threaten to bring democracy without promotion by the US, and threaten to overthrow regimes previously supported by the US and important for US strategy in the region – hence an initial hesitant response by the US to some of the uprisings. This book explores the contradictions in American democracy promotion in the Middle East. It discusses the principles underlying US democracy promotion, and the debates surrounding US policy formation, and examines the application of US democracy promotion in specific cases. It concludes by assessing the likely future patterns of US engagement with democratic reform in the Middle East.

The Arab Revolutions in Context: Civil Society and Democracy in a Changing Middle East

Edited research books
Benjamin Isakhan, Fethi Mansouri and Shahram Akbarzadeh (eds)
Isakhan, Benjamin, Fethi Mansouri, and Shahram Akbarzadeh. ISS 12 The Arab Revolutions in Context: Civil Society and Democracy in a Changing Middle East. Vol. 12. Melbourne Univ. Publishing, 2012.
Publication year: 2012

From late 2010 a series of dramatic and unprecedented events swept across the Middle East and North Africa, toppling several autocratic regimes that had held power for decades and ushering in a new climate of dissent and democratisation. The Arab Revolutions in Context seizes a unique opportunity to reflect on these seismic events, their causes and consequences, and the core issues facing the region as it moves forward. This volume is more than a collection of detailed thematic essays.
It situates the Arab Revolutions within their broader contextual backgrounds—showing that a unique set of historical events, as well as local, regional and global dynamics, has converged to provide the catalyst that triggered the recent revolts-and also within a new conceptual framework. The argument here is that the Arab Revolutions pose a very specific challenge to conventional wisdom concerning democracy and democratisation in the Middle East. The Arab Revolutions in Context is the first volume of its kind to address the Arab Revolutions and the varying analyses, debates and discussions that they have stimulated.

Routledge Handbook of Political Islam

Edited research books
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Akbarzadeh, Shahram, ed. Routledge handbook of political Islam. Routledge, 2012.
Publication year: 2012

The Routledge Handbook of Political Islam provides a multidisciplinary overview of the phenomenon of political Islam, one of the key political movements of our time. Drawing on the expertise from some of the top scholars in the world it examines the main issues surrounding political Islam across the world, from aspects of Muslim integration in the West to questions of political legitimacy in the Muslim world.

Bringing together an international team of renowned and respected experts on the topic, the chapters in the book present a critical account of:

  • Theoretical foundations of political Islam
  • Historical background
  • Geographical spread of Islamist movements
  • Political strategies adopted by Islamist groups
  • Terrorism
  • Attitudes towards democracy
  • Relations between Muslims and the West in the international sphere
  • Challenges of integration
  • Gender relations.

Presenting readers with the diversity of views on political Islam in a nuanced and dispassionate manner, this handbook is an essential addition to the existing literature on Islam and politics. It will be of interest across a wide range of disciplines, including political science, Islamic studies, sociology and history.

America's Challenges in the Greater Middle East

Edited research books
Shahram Akbarzadeh (ed)
Akbarzadeh, Shahram, ed. America's challenges in the greater Middle East: the Obama Administration's policies. Springer, 2011.
Publication year: 2011

Barack Obama has faced many challenges in reversing U.S. policy on the Middle East. This book highlights points of resistance to Obama’s efforts regarding U.S. foreign policy and what lessons may be learned from this experience for the remainder of his presidency and his potential second term in office.

Islam and political violence: Muslim diaspora and radicalism in the West.

Edited research books
Shahram Akbarzadeh and Fethi Mansouri
Akbarzadeh, Shahram, and Fethi Mansouri. Islam and political violence: Muslim diaspora and radicalism in the West. Vol. 34. IB Tauris, 2010.
Publication year: 2010

Acts of violence by extremist groups and the resultant state responses (both national and international) have added fresh uncertainties to an already complex global order and heightened a widely felt sense of insecurity in the West and the Muslim world. Just as terrorism and counter-terrorism are locked in a mutually re-enforcing symbiosis, the sense of insecurity felt by Muslims (in both Muslim majority and minority states) and non-Muslims is mutually dependent and has the potential to escalate. The pervasive sense of being under attack by the United States and its Western allies, has contributed to a growing unease among Muslims and re-enforced deep-seated mistrust of the ‘West’. The subsequent policies that have emerged in this context of fear and mutual distrust have contributed to xenophobia and a vicious cycle of insecurity. ‘Islam and Political Violence’ seeks to redress the current debate on the uneasy and potentially mutually destructive relationship between the Muslim world and the West. It explores the modern concept of Islamism and the re-invention of Islam by political elites and counter-elites to advance temporal objectives. This book provides us with a new angle from which to examine the range of challenges to social cohesion and multiculturalism in Western societies and the future of Islam in the West.

Challenging identities: Muslim women in Australia.

Edited research books
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Akbarzadeh, Shahram, ed. Challenging identities: Muslim women in Australia. Vol. 5. Academic Monographs, 2010.
Publication year: 2010

Muslim women in Australia are at the forefront of a culture war, and not necessarily by choice. As visible representatives of Islam, veiled women face discrimination and abuse, and carry the stigma of a culture frequently deemed unacceptable and inferior.

Despite these adverse conditions, Muslim women have demonstrated a remarkable resilience by maintaining their presence in the public domain and by continuing to make a positive contribution to Australia. The experiences of Muslim women in Australia cannot be typecast as a sisterhood of oppressed females.

Challenging Identities questions the assumption of incompatible ‘Australian values’ and ‘Islamic values’, and provides valuable first-person accounts from the lives of Muslim women in Australia.

Islam and Human Rights

Edited research books
Shahram Akbarzadeh and Benjamin MacQueen,
Akbarzadeh, Shahram, and Benjamin MacQueen, eds. Islam and human rights in practice: Perspectives across the ummah. Vol. 8. Routledge, 2008.
Publication year: 2008

Questions over the compatibility of Islam and Human Rights have become a key area of debate in the perceived tensions between ‘Islam and the West’. In many ways, discussion over the stance of Islam in relation to such factors as gender rights, religious freedom, social and political freedoms, and other related issues represents a microcosm of the broader experience of how Muslim and ‘Western’ communities interact and relate.

This volume seeks to engage with the various debates surrounding Islam and Human Rights, in particular, challenging assumptions of a ‘standard’ or ‘essential’ Muslim perspective on Human Rights. Through a survey of the experiences of Muslim communities across the globe (the ummah), this volume highlights the dynamic way Muslims understand and incorporate Human Rights into their personal, social and political experiences.

From conceptual discussions on the issues of gender rights and religious freedom, to examining Muslim communities from South East Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, leading global experts bring forth key insights into the way in which Muslim communities live and experience Human Rights. The potential for deeper engagement with this issue is critical, as it opens possibilities for more profound understanding and tolerance.

Political Islam & Human Security

Edited research books
Fethi Mansouri and Shahram Akbarzadeh
Fethi Mansouri and Shahram Akbarzadeh (eds): Political Islam and Human Security (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2006).
Publication year: 2006

In the wake of the September 11 and subsequent terrorist attacks, the academic and media commentaries on Islam the religion and Islam the basis for political ideology haves received an unprecedented high level of exposure and attention. The acts of political violence by extremist groups and the omnipresent war on terror have added fresh uncertainties to an already complex global order. Just as terrorism and counter-terrorism are locked in a mutually re-enforcing symbiosis, the sense of insecurity felt by Muslims and non-Muslims alike is mutually dependent and has the potential to escalate. This general assessment holds true for Muslims living in the Muslim world and beyond. The pervasive sense of being under attack physically and culturally by the United States and its allies has contributed to a growing unease among Muslims and re-enforced deep-seated mistrust of the ‘West’. Public articulation of such misgivings has in turn, lent credence to Western observers who posit an inherent antipathy between the West and the Muslim world. The subsequent policies that have emerged in this context of fear and mutual distrust have contributed to the vicious cycle of insecurity.The present volume is anchored in the current debates on the uneasy and potentially mutually destructive relationship between the Muslim world and certain West countries. It brings together leading international scholars in this interdisciplinary field to deal with such inter-related questions as the nature of Islamism, the impact of the ‘war on terror’ on the spread of militancy, the growing sense of being under siege by Muslim Diasporas and the many unintended ramifications of a security-minded world order. This volume deliberately focuses on these issues both at a broad theoretical level but more importantly in the form of a number of prominent case studies including Indonesia, Algeria and Turkey.

Islam and Globalization,

Edited research books
Shahram Akbarzadeh (ed)
Shahram Akbarzadeh (ed): Islam and Globalization, 4 volumes. Routledge series on Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies. (London: Routledge, 2006).
Publication year: 2006

Globalization has opened up non-Western societies to forces of economic, political and cultural liberalism for the first time, and this process has had a profound effect upon Islamic societies, causing unease and concern among many Muslims. Moreover, this apprehension has been exacerbated by the fact that globalization as a concept and as a process seems to originate from the West, and because many Muslims equate globalization with colonization.
The conflict between Islam and globalization and the West is perhaps the most pressing issue in the post-September 11th era, and this set seeks to represent the shape of international relations – conciliatory and otherwise – between the two `civilizations’ in the late-twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
With a general introduction by the editor, the volumes include articles by leading scholars that will initially examine the various ways in which Islam has tried to protect itself against the encroachment of the West, before investigating a more outward-looking Islam that encourages religious reformism and evolution in order to contend with the new challenges and priorities of a global community.

Islam and the West : Reflections from Australia

Edited research books
Shahram Akbarzadeh, Samina Yasmeen
Shahram Akbarzadeh and Samina Yasmeen (eds): Islam and the West (Sydney: UNSWPress, 2005).
Publication year: 2005

The September 11 attacks on the US stunned Australians, as well as people all over the world, and the consequences have been far-reaching for both the West and the Muslim world. The subsequent War on Terror and its extension to Iraq, assaults on Muslims in many Western countries, and the recent bombing in Jakarta have brought to the fore many issues deserving attention and analysis. These include the prospects of conflict and co-operation between the Muslim world and the West including Australia and the future of Muslim communities in Australia. Islam and the West addresses these and other issues from a specifically Australian perspective.

Islam and political legitimacy

Edited research books
Shahram Akbarzadeh and Abdullah Saeed, (eds.)
Akbarzadeh, Shahram, and Abdullah Saeed, eds. Islam and political legitimacy. Routledge, 2003.
Publication year: 2003

Akbarzadeh and Saeed explore one of the most challenging issues facing the Muslim world: the Islamisation of political power. They present a comparative analysis of Muslim societies in West, South, Central and South East Asia and highlight the immediacy of the challenge for the political leadership in those societies. Islam and Political Legitimacy contends that the growing reliance on Islamic symbolism across the Muslim world, even in states that have had a strained relationship with Islam, has contributed to the evolution of Islam as a social and cultural factor to an entrenched political force. The geographic breadth of this book offers readers a nuanced appraisal of political Islam that transcends parochial eccentricities. Contributors to this volume examine the evolving relationship between Islam and political power in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan.

Researchers and students of political Islam and radicalism in the Muslim world will find Islam and Political Legitimacy of special interest. This is a welcome addition to the rich literature on the politics of the contemporary Muslim world.

Muslim Communities in Australia

Edited research books
Abdullah Saeed and Shahram Akbarzadeh
Akbarzadeh, Shahram, and Abdullah Saeed, eds. Muslim communities in Australia. UNSW Press, 2001.
Publication year: 2001

This book brings together the foremost scholars of Islam and Muslim politics in Australia to consider the relationship between Australian politics and society and Muslim Communities in Australia. – The book responds to such questions as: – Is there a Muslim community in Australia? – How do national differences affect the assumed ‘Muslim community’? – How do Muslim residents in Australia identify themselves? – How has the experience of migration affected their sense of identity? – Does the establishment of Islamic schooling and finance amount to the separation of Muslims from the mainstream of Australian society? – How has the Australian mainstream media portrayed Muslims in Australia and how has this portrayal changed over the last 30 years? – By addressing such critical issues, the book will present a well-rounded picture of the Muslim experience in Australia and highlight key issues of concern for the Muslim community.