What the Think Tanks Say
Middle East scholars examine the Israel-Hamas War in our long weekend Cosmopolitan Globalist Thinktankapalooza.
There are praiseworthy exceptions, but for the most part, American departments of Middle East Studies are a wasteland of time-servers who think that the phrase “settler colonialism” offers amazing insight into the Israel-Palestine conflict and who churn out bilge like this by the metric ton:
In this article, I analyze urban mobilities by looking closely at the lives of a brother and sister from a low-income neighborhood in Cairo, Egypt, and examining their individual mobilities in the context of Victor Turner’s work on liminality and Pierre Bourdieu’s writing on habitus and bodily hexis. I approach daily mobilities as embodied liminal encounters that are open to multiple possibilities. I show that the liminality of mobility may be the grounds for the reflection and reproduction of social hierarchies but may also create opportunities for questioning and reconfiguring inequalities, particularly in regard to class and gender.
In 2001, Martin Kramer described the problem in Ivory Towers on Sand. Since then, the situation has not improved. But this doesn’t mean no one’s doing real scholarship. There’s just been an exodus from academia to the think tanks, where many fine researchers are still beavering away. Their reports—and definitely not the opinion pieces in the daily news—are your best bet if you’re looking for well-informed commentary on events in this region.1 Yet because Google doesn’t include think tank reports in its news search results, you won’t see them if you’re looking for news from the Middle East. So I thought I’d compile a list for you, and you can bookmark these think tanks for future reference if you find this useful.