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Understanding the Contemporary Middle East, 5th edition

Jillian Schwedler, editor
Understanding the Contemporary Middle East, 5th edition
ISBN: 978-1-62637-841-4
ISBN: 978-1-62637-891-9
2020/461 pages/LC: 2019021971
Understanding: Introductions to the States and Regions of the Contemporary World
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 previous edition of Understanding the Contemporary Middle East was published soon after the Arab uprisings, and the authors—writing across disciplines—captured those moments of possibility. Now, more than six years later, the Middle East is substantially changed, with three protracted civil wars, several retrenched authoritarian regimes, possibly one emerging democracy, and social and economic conditions that have been profoundly affected by the new political environment.

This thoroughly revised and updated edition explores both the impact of recent events in shaping the region and the continuities with established patterns of political, economic, and social relations.


Jillian Schwedler is professor of political science at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York.


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