by ADEEL MALIK for the CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF AFRICAN ECONOMIES, AUGUST 2012:

An influential thesis [Kuran, 2011, The Long Divergence] locates the economic failure of the Middle East in Islamic legal arrangements that laid the basis for organizational deficiencies. This article critically scrutinizes this thesis using the lens of political economy and argues that tracing the impact of Islamic law without a discussion of the enforcement environment is unconvincing.

Specifically, as a legal explanation for development, it is important to probe the extent to which Islamic law was embedded in the material domain and influenced by preferences of political incumbents. A key contention of the article is that Islamic law can be described, at best, as a proximate rather than a deep determinant of development, and that there is limited evidence to establish it as a causal claim. Continue reading

by KIMBER WILLIAMS for EMORY (UNIVERSITY) REPORT on JULY 10, 2012:

What feeds anti-American sentiment in the Islamic world?

It’s a question that has grown in volume since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, generating policy debate and cultural assumptions, but few hard answers.

However, a new study by Emory political science researcher Drew Linzer and Lisa Blaydes, of Stanford University, offers fresh insight, suggesting that American animosity in the Islamic world may have more to do with the intensity of conflicting factions within local Islamic politics than individual attitudes toward American culture, policies and diplomacy. FULL ARTICLE 

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The Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources blog announced on June 28, 2012 that the Aga Khan Museum, under construction in Toronto, Canada, has made manuscripts from its collection (Qur’an, religious commentary,  books of science, philosophy , and literature (including some famous Shahnameh) available in scanned form on the following web site. 

by MARK DEREWICZ for ENDEAVORS MAGAZINE on JUNE 21, 2012:

For centuries scholars and theologians have debated the Qur’an’s confusing passages. But Carl Ernst says they’ve missed out on a key method for unlocking the book’s secrets. READ MORE.

UNC Chapel Hill Professor of Religious Studies Carl Ernst is a specialist in Islamic studies, with a focus on West and South Asia. He is co-director with Professor of Sociology Charles Kurzman of UNC Chapel Hill’s Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations. 

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(edited) by SAMER SHEHATA, on MAY 3, 2012:

Islamist Politics in the Middle East – Movements and Change (description by publisher):

For over three decades, Islamist politics, or political Islam, has been one of the most dynamic and contentious political forces in the Middle East. Although there is broad consensus on the importance of political Islam, there is far less agreement on its character, the reasons for Islamist’s success, the role of Islamist movements in domestic and international affairs, or what these movements portend for the future.

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