Major Research Fund

Project Title: Career, Expertise and Life Strategies of High Skilled Migrant Workers in Qatar
Lead Principal Investigator: Nabil Khattab
Project Start Date: May 2016

The study will be a preliminary investigation focusing on the aspirations, ambitions and life experiences of highly skilled migrants in Doha. It is part of a larger project within which researchers from four academic institutions, three based in Qatar (Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, Qatar University, Georgetown University) and one based in the UK (Bath Spa University) work collaboratively and bring together three inter-related yet separate spheres of research: transnational migration, human capital and the attractiveness of employment in global cities such as Doha.


Project Title:  Egypt's Moment of Democracy
Lead Principal Investigator: Samer Shehata
Project Start Date: May 2016

Egypt's Moment of Democracy is a documentary film project about the 2011/2012 parliamentary elections. The elections were the first competitive and democratic multiparty elections in Egypt after the 2011 uprising. At the time, Dr.Shehata employed three professional videographers to film the campaign rallies and political demonstrations in Cairo and Alexandria. They also interviewed politicians and activists from across the political spectrum and dozens of "ordinary" Egyptians across the country. The documentary will use the elections as a prism to explore the topography of Egyptian politics at the time and to analyze larger questions about the importance and limitations of elections for achieving democracy. Egypt's Moment of Democracy will be both a visual record and an analysis of a pivotal moment in the country's history.


Project Title: Social History of Palestinian Plastic Art between 1800 and 1948  
Lead Principal Investigator: Esmail Nashef
Project Start Date: May 2016

The focus of this research project will be the social history of Palestinian plastic art between 1800 and 1948. By researching primary sources in Ottoman and British archives, the project aims to explore the social processes that led to transforming the sites of Palestinian plastic art within the general social structure. Moreover, the research will address the manners in which these transformed sites contributed to the rise of the Palestinian public sphere in its modern shapes. The book and articles that will be published as a result of this project will be the first of their kind in their field. The project will apply an interdisciplinary research methodology that will contribute new knowledge to the study of Palestinian history within the colonial context.  

Project Title:  Rethinking Politics: Tackling the Crisis in Political Science
Lead Principal Investigator: Abdelwahab El-Affendi 
Project Start Date: May 2017

The research seeks a rethinking of the discipline of political science in light of recent critiques and acknowledged failures, including those relating to the study of Arab and Middle Eastern politics. The over-arching objective is to explore the guiding hypothesis that these failures are neither accidental nor individual errors of particular researchers. 
The project will look at these failings and try to pinpoint their sources in the overarching theoretical frameworks and/or unexamined assumptions underpinning and informing the existing paradigm(s). In this regard, it will build on previous critiques, seeking to synthesize and transcend them.


Project Title: The impact of the "Arab Spring" on the Islamist movements and parties in the Arab world: A comparative study of their trajectories, transitions and organizations
Lead Principal Investigator: Khalil al-Anani
Project Start Date: May 2017

The research project aims to explore the current status of Islamist movements and parties in the Arab World half a decade after the start of the "Arab Spring". On the one hand, the research examines the role played by these forces in shaping the transition process and dynamics in their respective countries; and on the other hand, it evaluates the impact of the inclusion of these movements in pluralist political processes on their ideological and organizational settings as well as their trajectories.


Project Title: How the Islamic State (IS) Fights: Military Tactics in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt. 
Lead Principal Investigator: Omar Ashour
Project Start Date: December 2018

The literature on armed non-state actors provides a wide range of explanations regarding their military upsets against stronger forces. Most notably these centered on population-support, regime-type, geography, external support, aims, tactics and strategy. These explanations have made important contributions to understanding how weaker insurgents can survive or defeat stronger incumbents. Explaining the endurance and expansion of the Islamic State (IS) organization however has been mostly limited to journalistic or descriptive accounts, rather than a comparative, scholarly approach. The core puzzle that this proposed project will engage with is, how did IS fight and why did it endure for that long against much stronger international, regional and local forces? More specifically, it aims to answer the following research question: how did IS fight and why did it militarily endure and expand in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt between 2013 and 2017? The project will utilize multiple data-collection techniques to include discourse analysis of interview data and content analysis of historical records to answer the research question and offer relevant policy prescriptions on a topic that has greatly affected the Arab World and the rest of the globe.


Project Title: Immigrants and Citizens: The Social Psychology of Acculturation in the Arab World 
Lead Principal Investigator: Diala Hawi
Project Start Date: December 2018

For over a century, several Arab countries have received immigrants and refugees who are either searching for better opportunities or escaping war or civil tension. Yet, there is little research on diversity, intergroup relations, and acculturation within the Arab context. This project will focus on two countries – Lebanon and Qatar, each with their unique compositions and immigrant challenges – to explore how their respective citizens perceive changes in their levels of national diversity. Using a mixed-method research design, it will examine attitudes and perceptions of host communities and different migrant groups toward each other, as well as the social-psychological factors that shape the nature of these intergroup relations (e.g. prejudice, hostility, fear, tolerance, acceptance). Through a disciplinary lens and methodology that is rarely used in the region, this project aims to provide a culturally appropriate social psychological model of migration in Arab countries along with predictors of different acculturation and diversity strategies. On a practical level, this project will also help provide evidence-based interventions to improve intergroup relations and social stability in the region.