I completed my Ph.D. at NYU's Dept. of Middle Eastern Studies in 1999, after which I held postdoctoral positions at Cornell University's Society for the Humanities and the European University Institute's Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, in Florence, Italy before coming to UCI. My research and teaching focus on the following issues: histories, theologies and political and cultural economies of the Middle East and Islam in the modern and contemporary periods, Palestine/Israel, comparative studies of imperialism and colonialism, urban planning and architecture (history and theory), critical theory, and globalization studies with a comparative focus on popular cultures and religion in Europe and the Muslim world. More recently, I have begun research projects looking at popular music in the Muslim world, the history of the Oslo peace process, and the public sphere in the Middle East and North Africa.
My first book, Overthrowing Geography: Jaffa, Tel Aviv and the Struggle for Palestine, was published by the University of California Press in 2005. My second book, Why They Don't Hate Us: Lifting the Veil on the Axis of Evil, was published by Oneworld Publications in 2005. My third book, Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance and the Story of Islam's Generation-X, was published by Random House, and my fourth single-authored book, An Impossible Peace: Israel/Palestine since 1989, was published by Zed Books in 2009.
I have also co-edited several books. The first, with Viggo Mortensen and Pilar Perez, is Twilight of Empire: Responses to Occupation, was published in 2004 by Perceval Press and features leading scholars and activists from around the world (including the Muslim world) discussing the roots, present dynamics and possible solutions to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. The second volume, Religion, Social Practices and Contested Hegemonies: Reconstructing the Public Sphere in Muslim Majority Societies, was co-edited with Armando Salvatore, and was published by Palgrave Press in 2005. The third volume, Reapproaching the Border: New Perspectives on the Study of Israel/Palestine, is co-edited with Sandy Sufian, and was published by Rowman Littlefield Press in 2007. The fourth book, Struggle and Survival in Palestine/Israel, was co-edited with UC San Deigo sociologist Gershon Shafir and published by UC Press in 2012. I am presently completing two more books for UC Press. The first, another edited volume, is titled The Parallel States Proposal for the Israeli-Palestinian project, is co-edited with Ambassador (ret.) Mathias Mossberg of Sweden. The second book, The Five Year Old Who Toppled a Pharoah, chronicles my travels through the Arab world in the last two years of uprisings and revolutions in the longue duree of history that produced the present moment of upheavel. I am presently engaged in a major research project bringing together Lund University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the American University of Beirut to study the evolution of human rights discourses in the Arab world. I am co-principal investigator of a team of scholars that will produced the largest body of scholarly research yet done on human rights in the Arab world, and will focus on the relationship between research, advocacy and the shaping of public policy, which we bring together under the acronym RAPP.
As journalist I have presently a senior columnist at al-Jazeera English and frequent contributor to its news shows and the Arabic channel as well. I have also written for publications including Jadaliyya, Le Monde, The Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor, TIKKUN (where I am a contributing editor), Alternet.org, the OC Weekly, and Beliefnet.com.
I am also a professional musician and have worked with artists such as Mick Jagger, Dr. John, Johnny Copeland, Albert Collins, Chuck D, Michael Franti, Ozomatli (which won a Grammy), world music artists Hassan Hakmoun, the Kordz, Lazy Wall, Cafe Mira, Ramy Essam, Arabian Knights, Armada Bizerta, MC Rai, Tanboura, Sara Alexander and others. I have spent the last two years working with many of the main revolutionary musicians in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Palestine, and Iran. These days I play mostly a combination of Middle Eastern, Balkan/Romani, funk, Latin and blues (although not always all at the same time). My most recent album was Flowers in the Desert, featuring music from artists from my book Heavy Metal Islam, released by EMI Records in 2009. I am also producer of the documentary film version of Heavy Metal Islam, directed by Jed Rothstein, which will premiere on PBS station in the US in the spring of 2013 and be released theatrically soon thereafter.
My scholarship, activism and music are all tied to my commitment to struggles for social justice in the United States and around the world. I attempt to bring these three fields together through the practice of "culture jamming," which brings together leading artists, scholars and activists in critical dialog and performance on issues of concern to young people. I have held these culture jams in LA, NYC, Philadelphia, Paris, Rome, Casablanca, Beirut, Cairo, Tunis, Prague and other cities.
» The Five Year Old Who Toppled a Pharaoh, UC Press, forthcoming
» The Parallel States Proposal for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, co-edited with Ambassador Mathias Mossberg, UC Press, forthcoming
» Struggle and Survival in Palestine/Israel, co-edited with Gershon Shafir, UC Press, 2012
» An Impossible Peace: Israel/Palestine Since 1989
, Zed Books, 2009
» Heavy Metal Islam: Religion, Popular Culture and Resistance in the Middle East, Random House/Verso, forthcoming.
» Re-Approaching the Border: New Perspectives on the Study of the Israel/Palestine, London: Zed Books, forthcoming
» Overthrowing Geography: Jaffa, Tel Aviv and the Struggle for Palestine, 1880-1948
, University of California Press, 2005.
» Why They Don't Hate Us: Lifting the Veil on the Axis of Evil
, Oneworld Publications, 2005.
» Religion, Social Practice, and Contested Hegemonies: Reconstructing the Public Sphere in Muslim Majority Societies, co-edited with Armando Salvatore, Oxford: Palgrave, 2005.
» Twilight of Empire: Responses to Occupation, co-editor with Viggo Mortensen and Pilar Perez, Perceval Press, 2003.
Book chapters, peer-reviewed
» "Fateful Triangles: Modernity and its Antinomies in a Mediterranean Port City," in Thomas Bender and Alev Cinar, eds., Locating the City: Urban Imaginaries and the Practice of Modernity, University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming
» "Chaos, Globalization and the Public Sphere: Political Struggles in Weak-State Countries," in Vali Nasr, ed. Political Islam, the State and Globalization, Oxford: Oxford University Press, Submitted
» "Islam and Urban Politics in Israel: The Muslim Association and the struggle for autonomy in Jaffa," in Dan Rabinowtiz and Daniel Monterescu, eds., Mixed Towns/Trapped Communities: Historical Narratives, Spatial Dynamics Gender Relations and Cultural Encounters in Palestinian-Israeli Mixed Towns, London: Ashgate Publishing.
» "Reforming Muslim Public Spheres: A methodological Genealogy," in Seteney Shami, ed., Approachig Public Spheres: Theory, History, Gender, Conflict, manuscript under review.
» "Crossing the Borders: Labor, Community and Colonialism in the Jaffa-Tel-Aviv Region during the Mandate Period," in Gil Gonzalez and Gil Gonzalez, et al, eds., Labor and Empire, NY: Routledge, 2004.
» "Planning to Conquer: Modernity and its Antinomies in the New-Old Jaffa," Haim Yacobi, ed., Constructing a Sense of Place: Architecture and the Zionist Discourse, London: Ashgate, 2004.
» "Popularizing the Public and Publicizing the Popular: Contesting Popular Cultures in Mandatory Jaffa and Tel Aviv," in Ted Swedenburg and Rebecca Stein, eds., Popular Palestine: Palestine, Israel and the Politics of Popular Culture, Ralley Durham: Duke University Press, 2005.
» "Land, Law, and the Planning of Empire," in Huri Islamoglu, ed., Constitutions of Property in Comparative Perspective, London:I.B.Tauris, 2004.
» "Socio-Religious Movements and the Transformation of 'Common Sense' into a Politics of 'Common Good'" in Religion, Social Practice, and Contested Hegemonies: Reconstructing Muslim Public Spheres, ed. by Armando Salvatore and Mark LeVine, NY: Palgrave, 2005.
» "'Human Nationalisms' versus 'Inhuman Globalisms': Cultural Economies of Globalization and the Re-Imagining of Muslim Identities in Europe and the Middle East," in Stefano Allievi and Jorgen Nielsen, eds., Muslim Networks and Transnational Communities in and Across Europe, Leiden: Brill, 2003.
» "Locating Home: Overthrowing Geography, Misreading Modernity and Other Adventures in the Search for the Routes that Divide Us," in Bo Strath, ed. Homeland, Brussels: Peter Lang, 2003.
» "The 'New-Old Jaffa': Tourism, Gentrification, and the Battle for Tel Aviv's 'Arab Neighborhood," in Nezar AlSayyad, ed., Global Norms/Urban Forms: On the Manufacture and Consumption of Traditions in the Built Environment, New York, Spon/Routledge, 2000, pp. 240-72.
» "A Diplomatic History of the El Salvador Peace Process," in Johnstone & Doyle, Eds., The Future of UN Peace-keeping: El Salvador and Cambodia and the Secretary-General's Agenda for Peace, London, Cambridge University Press, 1997.