Anne Mariel Peters, assistant professor of government, has been selected as a 2010-2011 Academic Fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) in Washington, D.C. As an FDD fellow, Peters will participate in an intensive course on terrorism and counterterrorism at the University of Tel Aviv from May 30 to June 9. The course examines terrorism from a variety of political, academic, and law enforcement perspectives. It also includes site visits to Israeli security installations and border zones, as well as meetings with Israeli, Jordanian, Turkish and Indian officials.
Peters’ expertise is in the political economies of the Middle East. She is interested in how international resource transfers, such as foreign aid, natural resource revenues, and worker remittances, affect the strength of state institutions, the pace and scope of economic reforms, and authoritarian durability. Her book manuscript, titled Special Relationships, Dollars, and Development, considers how the size and composition of authoritarian regime coalitions in Egypt, Jordan, South Korea, and Taiwan determined whether or not US foreign aid was used for long-term economic development or short-term patronage.
Although her courses substantially address Middle Eastern political economies, Peters aims to provide students with broad exposure to other key issues in the region. This includes units on violent and nonviolent social movements, terrorism, and counterterrorism.
“When I teach courses on the comparative politics and international relations of the Middle East I try to include some material on the subject, ” she says. “Yet as someone who focuses more in her own research on issues like state-building and economic development, I have only a very superficial knowledge of terrorism and counterterrorism, virtually all of it coming from what I’ve read in articles and books. I think that participating in the FDD program will give me a deeper knowledge and a lot of interesting field experience that I can use to enrich my courses.”
Peters first heard about the fellowship when she was a graduate student working at the Edward M. Kennedy Oral History Project at the University of Virginia. The project’s head, Stephen Knott, who is now at the Naval War College, had participated in the fellowship and spoke highly of it.
While the access to diplomats, counterterrorism officials, and academics who focus on the subject was a major incentive, Peters was also intrigued by the possibility to learn about the Israeli perspective on this issue first-hand.
“Although I have been to Israel a number of times as a tourist, my own academic experience is in the Arab Middle East, specifically Jordan and Egypt,” she says. “I have invested my time in learning Arabic and learning about Arab political systems. I have also participated in several panels and roundtables on US-Egypt relations, most recently with the Hollings Center for International Dialogue in Istanbul. I am not deeply familiar with Israeli government and politics. This will give me an exciting opportunity to learn about these issues from their perspective and use that information to enhance my courses.”
More information on the fellowship is available here.