Skip navigation
Center for Middle East Studies Books



Sectarianization: Mapping the New Politics of the Middle East, Edited by Nader Hashemi and Danny Postel (forthcoming in October 2016 from Hurst Publishers)



As the Middle East descends ever deeper into violence and chaos, 'sectarianism' has become a catch-all explanation for the region's troubles. The turmoil is attributed to 'ancient sectarian differences', putatively primordial forces that make violent conflict intractable. In media and policy discussions, sectarianism has come to possess trans-historical causal power.

This book trenchantly challenges the lazy use of 'sectarianism' as a magic-bullet explanation for the region's ills, focusing on how various conflicts in the Middle East have morphed from non-sectarian (or cross-sectarian) and nonviolent movements into sectarian wars. Through multiple case studies — including Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen and Kuwait — this book maps the dynamics of sectarianisation, exploring not only how but also why it has taken hold. The contributors examine the constellation of forces — from those within societies to external factors such as the Saudi–Iranian rivalry — that drive the sectarianisation process and explore how the region's politics can be de-sectarianised. Featuring leading scholars — and including historians, anthropologists, political scientists, religious studies scholars and international relations theorists — this book will redefine the terms of debate on one of the most critical issues in international affairs today.


The Syria Dilemma, edited by Nader Hashemi and Danny Postel (MIT Press, 2013)


The Syria Dilemma The current conflict in Syria has killed more than 100,000 people and displaced five million, yet most observers predict that the worst is still to come. For two years the international community has failed to take action. World leaders have repeatedly resolved not to let atrocities happen in plain view, but the legacy of the bloody and costly intervention in Iraq has left policymakers with little appetite for more military operations. So we find ourselves in the grip of a double burden: the urge to stop the bleeding in Syria, and the fear that attempting to do so would be Iraq redux.

What should be done about the apparently intractable Syrian conflict? This book focuses on the ethical and political dilemmas at the heart of the debate about Syria and the possibility of humanitarian intervention in today's world. The contributors--Syria experts, international relations theorists, human rights activists, and scholars of humanitarian intervention--don't always agree, but together they represent the best political thinking on the issue. The Syria Dilemma includes original pieces from Michael Ignatieff, Mary Kaldor, Radwan Ziadeh, Thomas Pierret, Afra Jalabi, and others.


Hashemi-book Islam, Secularism, and Liberal Democracy: Toward a Democratic Theory for Muslim Societies, by Nader Hashemi (Oxford University Press, 2009)

Nader Hashemi, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies, is the author of  Islam, Secularism, and Liberal Democracy: Toward a Democratic Theory for Muslim Societies (Oxford University Press, 2009). The paperback edition, which contains a new preface reflecting on the Arab Spring, was published in August of 2012. Seyla Benhabib of Yale University called it a "thoughtful and erudite examination" of "some of the most difficult questions of our times." Khaled Abou El Fadl of UCLA called it a "masterful contribution" that "has succeeded in raising the bar and in setting a new standard of critical analysis in the field." 



The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran's Futureedited by Nader Hashemi and Danny Postel (Melville House Books, 2011)

Publishers Weekly called The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran's Future "a rich, consistently engaging anthology." Houchang Chehabi of Boston University called it a "timely collection" that is "of capital importance not only for all those who take an interest in Iranian affairs, but also for students of democratization and of social movements."