Faculty of Arts and Education

Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation



The Australian Middle East Research Forum (AMERF) is a cross-institutional, cross-disciplinary research forum focused on research into the Middle East from an Australian perspective. AMERF is a collaborative research network open to researchers, research students, policy-makers, media professionals and anyone interested in the region.

This thematic research group focuses on the following topics in relation to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA):

  • The rapidly changing nature of civil society and democracy in the contemporary MENA;
  • Defining the ‘Middle East’ and examining how it has been constructed and understood in the ‘West’;
  • The complex and overlapping histories of the region and its myriad languages, cultures and political movements;
  • The need for innovative undergraduate teaching and the supervision of higher degree work in the field;
  • Utilising inter-disciplinary approaches and methodologies as the basis for understanding the complexities of the region.


AMERF was founded by Fethi Mansouri and Sally Totman in 2006 and is currently convened by Benjamin Isakhan and constituted by a group of world-leading researchers and lecturers in the field of Middle East studies and languages. It is well placed to conduct and collaborate on high-profile international research and teaching initiatives relating to the MENA. In addition, AMERF regularly hosts international and national events and seminars with a focus on Australia and its relationship with the MENA region.

AMERF Members

Book Launch





Arab Revolutions

To make a general enquiry about CCG please contact our office.

Key Publications

Recent books


Book coverBenjamin Isakhan. “Democracy in Iraq: History, Politics, Discourse”, Ashgate, London, 2012.

This book proposes a significant reassessment of the history of Iraq, documenting democratic experiences from ancient Mesopotamia through to the US occupation. It reveals that Iraq has a democratic history all of its own, from ancient Middle Eastern assemblies and classical Islamic theology and philosophy, through to the myriad political parties, newspapers and protest movements of more recent times.




Book coverSally Totman. "How Hollywood Projects Foreign Policy", Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2009.

This book draws together elements from several academic disciplines - politics, international relations, psychology, film and cultural studies and examines US foreign policy toward the so-called "rogue states" and the products of the Hollywood film industry in relation to these states, which promises to make a significant contribution to our understanding of the 'soft power' that is popular culture.



Book coverShahram Akbarzadeh & Fethi Mansouri (eds). “Islam and Political Violence: Muslim Diasporas and Radicalism in the West”, I.B. Tauris, New York, 2006.

This book brings together the current debate on the uneasy and potentially mutually destructive relationship between the Muslim world and the West and argues we are on a dangerous trajectory, strengthening dichotomous notions of the divide between the West and the Muslim world.

book coverDanny Ben-Moshe & Zohar Segev (eds.). “Israel, the Diaspora, and Jewish Identity”, Sussex Academic Press, Sussex, 2007.

This book investigates the significance, contribution, and role played by the State of Israel-ideologically and practically-in the identity of Diaspora Jews. It explores the extent and way Israel features in Diaspora identity through a range of issues including: anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, Jewish continuity, the peace process, pro-Israel lobbying, religious thought, and gender.

Book coverBenjamin Isakhan, Fethi Mansouri & Shahram Akbarzadeh (eds). “The Arab Revolutions in Context: Civil Society and Democracy in a Changing Middle East”, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2012.

This book seizes on a unique opportunity to reflect on the seismic events that constituted the ‘Arab Revolutions’ of 2010-12, their causes and consequences, and the core issues facing the region as it moves forward. The argument here is that the Arab revolutions pose a very specific challenge to conventional wisdom concerning democracy and democratisation in the Middle East




Book cover

Fethi Mansouri (ed). “Australia and the Middle East: A Front-line Relationship”, I.B. Tauris, New York, 2011 (2006).

This book traces the nature of the Australia-Middle East relationship, from an insular ‘White Australia’ ideology through to the global impact of September 11th. A comprehensive analysis of this complex relationship provides an essential basis for understanding past encounters, evaluating present policies and developing a framework for future interactions.


Recent Journal Articles

  • Ben-Moshe, Danny (2005). The Oslo Peace Process and Two Views on Judaism and Zionism, 1992-1996, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 32, no.1, pp. 13-28.
  • Ben-Moshe, Danny (2004). The Impact of the Al-Aqsa Intifada on Israel-Diaspora Relations, Israel Studies Forum, Vol. 19, No. 3.
  • Hardy, Mat (2007). UN-Consistent: A Comparison of Australia’s Military Interventions in Somalia and Rwanda, Small Wars & Insurgencies, Vol. 18, No. 3.
  • Isakhan, Benjamin (2011). Targeting the symbolic dimension of Baathist Iraq : cultural destruction, historical memory, and national identity, Middle East journal of Culture and Communication, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 257-281.
  • Isakhan, B. (2009). Manufacturing Consent in Iraq: Interference in the post-Saddam media sector. International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies, 3(1), 7-26.
  • Isakhan, B. (2009). Manufacturing Consent in Iraq: Interference in the post-Saddam media sector. International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies, 3(1), 7-26.
  • Isakhan, B. (2007). Engaging "Primitive Democracy," Mideast Roots of Collective Governance. Middle East Policy, 14(3), 97-117.
  • Kamp, Annelies and Fethi, Mansouri (2009). Constructing inclusive education in a neo-liberal context : promoting inclusion of Arab-Australian students in an Australian context, British Educational Research Journal, pp. 1-12.
  • Kasem, Abdel-Hakeem (2005). The effect of focus on form in the written work of adult learners of Arabic, Languages and Linguistics, no. 15 & 16, pp. 69-82.
  • Mansouri, Fethi and Pietsch, Juliet (2011). Local governance and the challenge of religious pluralism in liberal democracies : an Australian perspective, Journal of Intercultural Studies, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 279-292.
  • Mansouri, Fethi, Leach, Michael and Nethery, Amy (2010) Temporary protection and the refugee convention in Australia, Denmark, and Germany, Refuge: Canada's Periodical on Refugees, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 135-147.

Online Materials

Read Mat Hardy’s regular column on The Conversation


The Middle East Studies Major

The Arabic Language Major

AMERF Events

View current events here.

AMERF Past Events

Visit our event archive for more information.

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3rd December 2013