Between 2014 and 2018, I completed my Ph.D. at the Department of Politics and International Relations of the University of Oxford. During this time, I was affiliated with St. Antony's College, a graduate college specializing on regional studies. My dissertation was supervised by Middle East expert Prof. Philip Robins (Oxford) and Israel expert Prof. Derek Penslar (Toronto/Oxford/Harvard). During my stay at Oxford, I was fortunate to receive the feedback and support of many other excellent scholars in the field as well as the infrastructure of the university and its colleges.
My official dissertation abstract below provides a brief summary of my work:
This dissertation asks why Israel, a deeply divided society facing the same difficulties as other post-colonial states, was able to establish a stable democratic regime whereas its neighbour, Lebanon, with similar characteristics, continues to suffer from endemic democratic instability. The question has wider implications for deeply divided post-colonial societies elsewhere and has gained greater currency in an age of civil strife and democratic retreat. By carefully tracing the political process that stretched from the advent of colonial power in the Middle East through the 1950s, this dissertation seeks to explain how these two states came to follow divergent regime trajectories. The key argument here is that during the mandate period, the community which would become the core of the Israeli state (known as the Yishuv) was able to develop a coherent vision of the state that guided post-independence policy and deactivated the dangerous effects that deep divisions can have on democracy. This development was aided by institutional mechanisms put in place by the British mandatory. In Lebanon, on the contrary, the mandatory powers deepened and entrenched deep divisions, thus precluding the emergence of such coherent vision. The Lebanese state lacked cohesion and direction in the crucial first years of independence, and its democracy was perpetually put on a path of instability.
I expect to be able to publish my dissertation as a commercially available book by 2020.
Through my years as a doctoral candidate, I taught several courses on political science, international relations and the Middle East at the University of Oxford, Oxford Brooks and the summer school of Oxford Royale Academy.