The perils and pitfalls of scholarly research in the Arab world

Summary: the Hedges case is symptomatic of the increasing risks of and restrictions on scholarly research in the Middle East.
We are again grateful to Greg Shapland for the posting below.

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2 thoughts on “The perils and pitfalls of scholarly research in the Arab world”

  1. Talking to various younger Friends across Europe who are either considering where to do field work for their future doctoral thesis or in the process of doing so, I come to the conclusion that Tunisia is by far the safest place, which does not come as a surprise since it is a democracy, though a very young one.

  2. Richard Makepeace

    The Matthew Hedges case is already having a impact on doctoral researchers. One (not actually from Oxford) came to see me a couple of weeks ago pursuing what had hitherto been a historical comparison of British relationships with Oman, UAE and Bahrain. He had just been told by his University that he had to drop UAE in mid-stream because they could not in all the circumstances allow him to do fieldwork there. I think other Universities will take the same view. In parallel, the people with whom he had scheduled meetings in the Emirates were emailing to say that they had been instructed not to talk to him. So just as the range of safe places to study Arabic is shrinking, so is the potential field for academic research. It is good that the UAE granted the pardon, but the impact will remain for a long time, I suspect.

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