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Understanding the Contemporary Middle East, 4th edition

Jillian Schwedler, editor
Understanding the Contemporary Middle East, 4th edition
ISBN: 978-1-58826-910-2
ISBN: 978-1-62637-037-1
2013/487 pages/LC: 2013003036
This book also available as a Nook Book from Barnes & Noble
"A must read for specialists in the field and an excellent choice for broad surveys.... Highly recommended."—Choice

Praise for the previous editions:

"Expertly analyze[s] the crucial issues facing the Middle East as a region and its relation to the rest of the world.... An informative, objective, and much-needed addition to the ever-growing literature on the Middle East.... Essential."—Choice           

"A multi-dimensional picture of the Middle East that comes alive as you browse through the pages.... It is seldom that one comes across such a good introduction to the Middle East that could be used for both undergraduate and postgraduate level courses."—Pinar Bilgin, Millennium

"A superb and engaging book profiling the region.... this unique volume is one of the few truly interdisciplinary books about the contemporary Middle East."—Library Journal


The fourth edition of Understanding the Contemporary Middle East is fully revised and updated throughout to reflect the still-unfolding impact of the Arab Spring, the changing international environment, the impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and much more. The book also includes an entirely new chapter on the role of women in the Middle East. Maps, photographs, and details of basic political data enhance the text, widely acknowledged as the best available introduction to the region.


Jillian Schwedler is professor of political science at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her publications include Faith in Moderation: Islamist Parties in Jordan and Yemen and (with Laleh Khalili) Policing and Prisons in the Middle East: Formations of Coercion.


  • Introduction—J. Schwedler.
  • The Middle East: A Geographic Preface—I.R. Manners, B.M. Parmenter, and R. King.
  • The Historical Context—A. Goldschmidt Jr.
  • Middle Eastern Politics—P. Schrodt and D.J. Gerner.
  • International Relations—M.A. Tétreault.
  • The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict—S. Sharoni and M. Abu-Nimer.
  • The Economies of the Middle East—A. Paczynska.
  • The Political Economy of Middle Eastern Oil—M.A. Tétreault.
  • Population Growth, Urbanization, and the Challenges of Unemployment—V.M. Moghadam.
  • Kinship, Class, and Ethnicity—L. King-Irani.
  • The Role of Women—L. Pollard.
  • Religion and Politics in the Middle East—J. Schwedler.
  • Middle Eastern Literature—m. cooke.
  • Trends and Prospects—J. Schwedler.