Topics such as the U.S. policy of maximum pressure on Iran, climate change in the Middle East, the brutalization of government in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, and elections as a tool for change in Turkey and Israel are often overlooked in conversations about the Middle East. Experts on the Middle East spoke about these issues to a full room of professors, students and members of the public on Wednesday in Rapaporte Treasure Hall.
“It seems to me one of the constants is, from the top-down, you have very aggressive violence sometimes and certainly heavy-handed manipulations of the different groups in society by the people in power, probably to keep themselves in power and to push the whole dynamic in society towards something that will make their lives safer and more predictable and keep the country functioning. But those very actions have unexpected consequences,” said Amy Singer, Visiting Professor of History, Faculty Affiliate.
The panel was made up of Brandeis professors and professors from other universities. Other experts included Harold Grinspoon Junior Research Fellow Maryam Alemzadeh,
Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Rice University Sabbatical Fellow Gökçe Günel and
Renée and Lester Crown Professor of Modern Middle East Studies Pascal Menoret. The panelists spoke about personal experiences and research that they had in teaching and in field work. The conversation was moderated by Director for Research Naghmeh Sohrabi, Professor of Middle East History Charles (Corky) Goodman, and Associate Director for Research David Siddhartha Patel.
The panelists spoke about how their classes focuses have adapted and shifted in recent years due to the changing social climate in the region. They said that they said that these changes have included talking about communities developing under new leadership, an increase in diversity among professors in the field, and a willingness to explore issues that were not discussed before.