Interview with SU Press Editor Suzanne Guiod 

Suzanne Guiod

SU Press has multiple series regarding the Middle East, and presents different methodologies and approaches. Can you speak as to why you feel there is so much scholarship being produced regarding the Middle East?

Syracuse University Press has been publishing books in Middle East studies since the 1970s, and over the decades, new series with different foci have added depth and dimension to our editorial program. Currently the Press invites projects on subjects as varied as legal studies, politics, economics, religious trends, intellectual history, the media, and gender in the Middle East, as well as literature in translation from the region. I think a great deal of work has been and continues to be produced on the Middle East and North Africa partly in response to a need for increased public understanding of this complex and crucial region of the world. Likewise, new scholarship satisfies an intellectual desire on the part of new generations of students who wish to grapple with the geopolitics and study the long history and rich culture of the region., perhaps in preparation for a career. Surely much new work being produced (and classic work being kept in print) is intended to inform policy making in the U.S. and abroad. Further, scholars of Middle Eastern origins producing new work add vitally important perspectives to ongoing dialogues across the social sciences. The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) currently has upwards of 3,000 members, many of whom attend the annual meeting at which some 40 to 50 book and journal publishers exhibit, so that gives you some idea of the scope of publishing in the discipline!

Is there a particular topic that you often see in the MES-related books that are published, or would you say they are diverse?

Over the past few years, we’re seeing more projects concerned with studying media in the Middle East, gender and power dynamics, Islam, popular activism, and – increasingly – migration. Several of our series specifically encourage work that challenges and complicates stereotypical East-West dichotomies, so we see proposals from many authors whose work is written in that vein. We’ve also been fortunate to publish several important volumes on Syria in recent years that study the conditions and pressures prior to the civil war. As conflict there continues and the humanitarian crisis drags on, original scholarship and genuine field research has obviously become endangered.

What MES related books are on the catalog for Spring 2018?

This spring we’ll be publishing a wonderful translation from the Arabic of a novel called Jerusalem Stands Alone, by Palestinian writer Mahmoud Shukair. This is an engaging series of vignettes about Palestinians living in Jerusalem, written in an experimental but highly readable style. A major new reference work co-edited by Professor Boroujerdi, Postrevolutionary Iran: A Political Handbook, represents more than a decade’s worth of data collection and analysis on his part of Iranian political elites, major political events, and election trends in that country since 1979. Emirate, Egyptian, Ethiopian Colonial Experiences in Late NineteenthCentury Harar, by Israeli scholar Avishai Ben-Dror, will publish in our Modern Intellectual and Political History of the Middle East series, and examines late-nineteenth-century Egyptian colonial intervention in North Africa. And in our Syracuse Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution series, we’re bringing out Peacekeeping in South Lebanon: Credibility and Local Cooperation by Vanessa Newby, which examines the role of credibility in peacekeeping missions, using the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon as a case study. In the fall, watch for several new novels coming out in our Middle East Literature in Translation series!