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Dan Sisken


Sowing the Arab Spring

[Image from the cover of Rami Zurayk,

Rami Zurayk, Food, Farming and Freedom: Sowing the Arab Spring. Charlottesville, VA: Just World Books, 2011. Is there a link between the decline in the availability of hearty village bread in Lebanon and the Arab revolutions of the past several months? In Food, Farming, and Freedom: Sowing the Arab Spring, Rami Zurayk, Professor of Agronomy at the American University of Beirut, answers in the affirmative and goes on to show why. Food could be fairly described as the book ...

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Rational Choice Theory Takes on the Arab Revolutions

[Image from Google Images]

In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, "How Tyrants Endure," political science professors Bruce Bueno De Mesquita and Alastair Smith offer a rational choice perspective on the Arab revolutions. It's a fairly short article, but given its large claims and the fact that Bueno De Mesquita does significant consulting for the Pentagon and CIA, it deserves some critical attention. Briefly, rational choice theory, of which Bueno De Mesquita is a major proponent, ...

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"Budrus": The Potential and Limits of Non-Violent Popular Struggle

[Image from the poster for the film

Budrus. Directed by Julia Bacha. 2009. Budrus, an award-winning film directed by Julia Bacha and produced by Ronit Avni, documents the struggle of a small West Bank Palestinian village of the same name to prevent Israeli security forces from building the separation wall through its property. Through its struggle, Budrus achieved notoriety as a successful protest movement based almost entirely on non-violence by Palestinians, as well as an early example of cooperation ...

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