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date: 22 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

The Arabian Peninsula has played a central role in modern history. It is the birthplace of Islam and where Mecca, the destination of the annual Muslim pilgrimage, is located. It holds the world’s largest petroleum reserves and has been central to the global flow of economic, political, intellectual, and cultural networks since the early twentieth century. Yet these realities are not reflected in the scholarship on the Middle East. If anything, the latter largely approaches the peninsula as a backwater of politics, culture, and civilization. This chapter interrogates the politics of knowledge production on the peninsula, especially as they intersect with questions of power, culture, and imperialism. Addressing some of the critical scholarship in Arabian Peninsula studies, it moves on to a discussion of the politics of history-making in Saudi Arabia before concluding with a brief note on the role of Yemen therein.

Keywords: Arabian Peninsula studies, Yemen War, rentier state theory, Indian Ocean, knowledge production, Gulf exceptionalism, academic censorship.

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