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Topics / Arab Region Transitions

Go Deeper: Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Politics

Published as a companion to Hillary Wiesner's essay "What Is Sectarianization?," this is a selective listing of Corporation grantees who are working on political sectarianization, the geopolitics of religious soft power, and more, many of whom offer digital resources, including online publications, podcasts, and videos


American Political Science Association (APSA)
The American Political Science Association now features the APSA MENA Politics Section, as well as MENA research development workshops.

Arab Political Science Network (ASPN)
An independent organization founded by graduates of the APSA, the Arab Political Science Network (ASPN) is a research and professional development forum centered in the region.

The Century Foundation
The Century Foundation’s international scholars network addresses political sectarianization in the terrain of human rights and conflict mitigation through analysis and publications such as Order from Ashes (2018) and Citizenship and Its Discontents (2019).

The Geopolitics of Religious Soft Power
A partnership of Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs and the Brookings InstitutionThe Geopolitics of Religious Soft Power project “explores the global impact of religious propagation activities sponsored by several countries in the Middle East.” The research project is led by Peter Mandaville.

Inclusive Governance
Lebanese American University’s project on Transnational Movements and Inclusionary States studies sectarianized political systems. Led by Bassel Salloukh, it offers the online report Challenges to the Middle East North Africa Inclusionary State (POMEPS Studies 37, February 2020).

Legitimacy and Citizenship in the Arab World
London School of Economics’ project on Legitimacy and Citizenship in the Arab World is led by Rim Turkmani. It works with Syrian and international scholars on state manipulations of identity politics, when violence becomes a mechanism for mobilizing sectarian sentiment and predatory economic behavior. The Question of Religion in Syria's Constitutions: A Comparative and Historical Study, by Turkmani and Ibrahim Draji, is the first publication in the project’s Working Paper Series.

POMEPS (Project on Middle East Political Science)
George Washington University’s Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS) is a major field-building network founded by Marc Lynch. An online collection of essays, Sectarianism and International Relations, (POMEPS Studies 38, March 2020) is among the project’s many publications and podcasts. POMEPS is based at GWU’s Institute for Middle East Studies.

SEPAD (Sectarianism, Proxies and De-sectarianisation)
Led by Simon Mabon and based at Lancaster University’s Richardson Institute, the Sectarianism, Proxies and De-sectarianisation (SEPAD) project is an international scholars network aimed at "understanding the conditions that give rise to sectarian violence and proxy conflicts along religious lines with the aim of creating space for a 'de-sectarianisation’ of socio-political life."

Striking from the Margins
Central European University’s Striking from the Margins project was founded by Aziz Al-Azmeh to expose the relationship between transformations of religion and changes to the state and social structures in Syria, Iraq, and other countries.


← Back to Hillary Wiesner’s “What Is Sectarianization?”


TOP Thousands of Lebanese protesters wave national flags during demonstrations in downtown Beirut, October 21, 2019. This was the fifth day of mass protests demanding better living conditions and the ouster of politicians who have monopolized power and influence for decades. (Credit: Anwar Amro/AFP via Getty Images)