Call for Submissions: Vol. VI

The editors welcome submissions for the sixth issue of the Oxford Middle East Review.

Borders and Boundaries.


Borders do not only affect human mobility and the circulation of goods and services, but they also influence our understanding of culture and identity. Depending on one’s perspective, borders can be subjective, contentious, or empowering. To some, a border can represent a threat; to others, a refuge. In either case, however, borders are vehicles for social interaction and cultural exchange and production.

Additionally, travel bans and border closures due to the COVID-19 crisis have brought forward new questions on the meaning of borders. How is the pandemic shifting current political and economic borders? How is it affecting human mobility, and how are migration policy responses to COVID-19 affecting the labour market?

For this issue of OMER, we encourage applicants to explore the functional as well as the intangible aspects of borders. We invite applicants to investigate the symbolic and/or physical manifestation of borders and their impacts on the political, economic, social, and/or cultural landscape of the Middle East and North Africa region. Empirical, comparative, and theoretical approaches are encouraged, and we also welcome projects centred around specific case studies. Papers will be considered for the journal’s two sections:

Policy Section:

Shorter briefs or position papers up to 2,000 words (including references and citations) aimed  at influencing contemporary debate or policy-making.  

Research Section:

Articles from 7,500 to 10,000 words (including references and citations) that present original material from any discipline and engage critically with the theme in the context of the Middle East and North Africa region.

Deadline for Submissions: November 26, 2021

Full Submission Guidelines:

To submit, please email:

For general queries, please email:

Vol 5, No. 1 (Trinity 2021)

Editors’ Foreword

Dear reader,
We are proud to present to you the fifth edition of the Oxford Middle East Review (OMER). OMER was founded in 2016 at St Antony’s College, Oxford, by two Middle Eastern Studies students, who sought to create an engaging forum for students and aspiring scholars to critically discuss issues pertaining to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. After five years, the journal now counts fifteen team members and received a record number of submissions for this volume. 

This year’s issue of OMER is unique as it has been developed almost entirely through a long series of lockdowns. It is a testament to both our team of editors and copy editors and all the wonderful submissions we have received that we can deliver yet another thoughtful and stimulating issue, even in such testing times. 

This volume’s theme is revolution, with a capital ‘R’ or without. We invited scholars from a range of disciplinary backgrounds to interpret this theme creatively. The result is three fascinating research articles and three thought-provoking policy pieces, analysing contemporary and historical revolutionary movements and politics in Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. 

In anthropology, revolutions have been framed as moments of transition, which involve a loosening of social normativity and the entrance into a stage of liminality. In this new realm, social normativity dissolves and agency is foregrounded, creating new and exciting potentialities. In many ways, the pandemic has propelled the world, including OMER, into this liminal space. Whilst this has, at times, been incredibly difficult, it has also been an incredibly productive stage in OMER’s journey. With submissions from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, we have expanded our base whilst also cementing other newer aspects of the journal, such as the policy section. Whilst liminality offers little certainty and requires considerable flexibility and resilience, it seems clear that OMER, despite the challenges we faced, is growing thanks to the committed support of the fabulous and committed group of students that wants to work for the journal, as well as the inspiring community of academics from around the world who constantly push Middle Eastern Studies to new and exciting frontiers.

The Managing Editors
Frederike Brockhoven
Tom Coyne

Contributing Editors

Juliet O’Brien, Ryan Musto, Sawsene Nejjar, Lina Volin, Felix Walker, Sara Elbanna, Alexandra Boothroyd, Francesca Vawdrey, Easa Saad, Nilsu Celikel, Piotr Schulkes, Mathew Madain


Non-Hierarchical Revolution: Grassroots Politics in the First Palestinian Intifada
Jack McGinn

From Protest, to Committee, to Consensus: Co-optation of the 2011 Revolutionary Movement in Yemen
Aylin Junga

Syria’s Experience with Post-Totalitarianism: The Need for Havelian Pre-Political Thinking
Marwan Safar Jalani


Understanding the cause of Iraq’s ‘October Revolution’ during the Adil Abdul-Mahdi administration
Zainab Mehdi

The contentious life of Basij revolutionary politics in poor neighbourhoods of Iran
Ahmad Moradi

Gendering the Revolution: Analysing Women’s Role in Sudan’s Revolutionary Transition
Miriam Aitken

Non-Hierarchical Revolution: Grassroots Politics in the First Palestinian Intifada

Jack McGinn

This article seeks to outline the non-hierarchical characteristics of the first intifada, using as examples the decentralised healthcare networks, labour unions, and women’s movements which were formed in the years preceding the uprising and provided a structure and backbone to the resistance. Such a focus on three distinct, but interdependent, forces behind the intifada is informed by a belief that each operated primarily on a deliberately horizontal basis of organising, thus highlighting the common motivation that activists felt towards a model of democratised resistance. The article concludes with a discussion of the town of Beit Sahour, where pre-existing networks of solidarity helped to produce a resilient campaign of tax resistance, coordinated by popular committees.

Jack McGinn is a PhD candidate at the London School of Economics Department of Sociology and the Communications Coordinator at the LSE Middle East Centre. He received his MSc in Arab World Studies from the University of Edinburgh, and subsequently worked in Jordan and Palestine as a translator and editor. His doctoral research at LSE focuses on decentralised anti-hierarchical organising in the Syrian revolution.