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November 23, 2007


hannah draper

Monday's panel on Gulf security in historical perspective was pretty good - I especially enjoyed Fred Lawson's presentation on preferential trade agreements in the Gulf. There was a lot of economic stuff there that I hadn't considered before. Tuesday's panel on new media politics also had several presentations on blogging and journalism online - I was surprised not to see you at that one!

This was my first MESA, given that my grad program was dirt-cheap and wouldn't send any of us there. I wish I were going to be in DC for next year's!


Marc - can you tell us more about Saad Eskander? Did he have anything to say about his current situation in Baghdad? He stopped publishing his day to day diaries in July, it had all obviously become too much of a burden to bear. Up until then his accounts of the lives of his staff had been simply heartrending. He is one of the most courageous people imaginable. He must have been very high on the insurgent hitlist - he often detailed his running battles with the corrupt Sunni Minister for Culture. His family implored him to move Kurdistan but he would not leave his employees to an uncertain fate.

I'm sure everybody like me who had been reading this diaries would have had many anxiety attacks about his welfare since he stopped posting them!

Brian Ulrich

Who won the Hourani award and the Humanities dissertation award?

Gregory Gause

Absolutely no fireworks at the Steve Heydemann panel (that's a bit unfair to the other presenters, but Steve organized it). Pete Moore was understated in the comments. A late addition, Oliver Schlumberger of the German Development Agency, made a plea for bringing "legitimacy" back into the study of Arab politics. I restrained myself on that one, as I see the focus on "legitimacy" as having led us down blind alleys for two decades -- kind of like the search for democracy in the Arab world led us down blind alleys in the 90's. But for a panel on authoritarianism, it was interesting how many questions got back around to democracy. That is one trope that won't go away, even though the smartest people in the field really are asking themselves, and us, to focus on the resilience of authoritarianism in the Arab world.


Who presented at the new media politics panel?

Chatty Kathy

Interesting that you mentioned "judicial activism" in Egyptian courts. I'd imagine AmURicans of all stripes have a different view of this sort of activism than the so-called "judicial activism" of American courts. Activism overseas always sounds nicer.

Martin Hervouët

"Amalie le Raynard spoke about the rapidly changing ways in which young Saudi women can use public space".

Her actual name is Amélie Le Renard.

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