Gulf Studies | Call for Papers

When the Centre Cannot Hold: How the Arab Spring, Changing Global Energy Markets, and the rise of the Developing World Have Enriched the Gulf Economies and Provided New Avenues of Influence While Shattering the Foundations of Their Foreign Policies

Dr Sean Foley and Dr Philipp O. Amour have proposed a panel on Gulf Studies for the annual conference of The British Society for Middle Eastern Studie, and for the World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES). The BRISMES  Annual Conference will be held  at the  University of Sussex on 16-18 June 2014. The WOCMES Conference will be held at the Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara, on 18-22 August 2014.

The panel proposes to carefully examine how the six Gulf Cooperation Council States (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) have respond to three transformative events in global affairs since 2010: Arab Spring, Changing Energy Markets, and the Rise of the Non Western World. These three events have radically altered the calculations of leaders from Washington to Berlin to Tehran to New Delhi and Seoul.

Few places have these changes been more consequential than the Gulf: these forces have simultaneously brought unprecedented wealth to the region while shattering foreign and security policies that have remained in place for decades and served it well. Time and again, Gulf leaders have found themselves with unprecedented financial, political and technical resources to pursue their foreign policy objectives but have proven unable to find global partners, either among their traditional great power allies or other great powers, such as Russia or China.  Equally importantly, Gulf leaders have not been the only ones in their societies playing a role abroad, with private citizens and groups deploying resources abroad and not always to causes that are consistent with what governments see as the national interest.

We believe this transformation and its implications has not been covered adequately in the literature, and we would be particularly interested in contributions which address, for example, if and how the Green revolution in Iran 2009-2010 has affected the Arab Spring, not just in the immediate aftermath of the uprisings, but in terms of enduring legacy and forecast Middle East regional order; how the dramatic increase in the wealth in developing nations since 2008 (and their demand for oil) has brought new wealth and trade ties with nations who had little previous ties to the region; whether the rise of hydraulic fracking in North America has shifted Washington’s assumptions about the importance of the Middle East; how the media and the arts have facilitated and frustrated the objective of Gulf states in the Middle East; why the Syrian revolution has proven so elusive to Gulf governments; why the Gulf states and their traditional regional partners differed greatly on Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood; and the role of wealthy Gulf Arabs, expatriate workers and others act as potent non-state actors in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.


If you would like to present a paper as part of our panel, please submit an 300 MS-Word abstract, with your Name, Affiliation, together with a short biography simultaneously to: &

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Inquiries are welcome