Mohammed Ayoob is University Distinguished Professor of International Relations, Michigan State University. He holds a joint appointment in James Madison College and the Department of Political Science. A specialist on issues of conflict and security in the post-colonial world, he has written on security issues relating to South Asia, the Middle East and Southeast Asia as well as on conceptual and theoretical issues relating to security and conflict in the international system. In addition, he has published books and articles on the intersection of religion and politics in the Muslim World culminating in his latest book The Many Faces of Political Islam (University of Michigan Press, 2007)
He has authored and/or edited 12 books and published around 90 research papers in leading academic journals and as book chapters. His books include The Politics of Islamic Reassertion (1981), India and Southeast Asia: Indian Perceptions and Policies (1990) and The Third World Security Predicament: State Making, Regional Conflict, and the International System (1995) in addition to the recently completed book manuscript on The Many Faces of Political Islam published by the University of Michigan Press in the Fall of 2007. He has published around 90 research papers and scholarly articles in leading journals, such as World Politics, International Studies Quarterly, Foreign Policy, Survival, International Affairs, International Journal, Orbis, Asian Survey, World Policy Journal, Global Governance, Alternatives, Washington Quarterly, Australian Journal of International Affairs, International Studies Review, International Journal of Human Rights, Middle East Policy, and as chapters in edited volumes relating to issues of international security, political Islam, the Middle East and South Asia. In addition, he has contributed op-ed pieces from time to time to New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Yaleglobal, Hindu, Times of India, Canberra Times, Sydney Morning Herald, and Daily Star (Beirut).
He was a member of the faculty at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in India and the Australian National University before joining Michigan State University in 1990. He has held visiting appointments at Columbia, Oxford, Princeton, Sydney, and Brown Universities, the National University of Singapore and Bilkent University in Turkey. He has received fellowships and grants from the Rockefeller, Ford (thrice), MacArthur, and MSU Foundations and from the East-West Center in Honolulu and the Institute for Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. He has acted as a consultant to the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty; the High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change appointed by the UN Secretary General; and the Ford Foundation evaluating its programs on Non-Traditional Threats to International Security.
As a scholar interested in analyzing conflict, peace, and security issues in the Third World, his work straddles the fields of International Relations and Comparative Politics. This is inevitable because either sub-field to the exclusion of the other cannot explain Third World conflict and security issues adequately. His latest attempt at devising a perspective to explain issues of war and peace in the international system, termed "subaltern realism", therefore emphasizes problems regarding the construction of effective and legitimate domestic political order as much as it does the international systemic dimensions of international conflict. It also attempts to provide historical depth to theorizing in International Relations by attempting to incorporate the insights of the historical and sociological literature that deal with state formation in early modern Europe and the emergence of the modern system of states.
The outlines of the assumptions and arguments of the subaltern realist paradigm have been published in three articles. The first, titled "Defining Security: A Subaltern Realist Perspective", was published in Keith Krause and Michael Williams (ed), Critical Security Studies, University of Minnesota Press, 1997. The second, under the title "Subaltern Realism: International Relations Theory Meets the Third World", was published in Stephanie Neuman (ed), International Relations Theory and the Third World, St. Martin's Press, 1998. The Fall 2002 issue of International Studies Review carries a third iteration of his argument in the context of inequality in international relations (both material inequality between the North and the South and unequal space provided to “subaltern” concerns and experiences in the field of International Relations). Titled “Inequality and Theorizing in International Relations: The Case for Subaltern Realism”, it is based on a featured presentation that he was invited to make at the International Studies Association’s Annual Convention in Chicago in February 2001. Furthermore, he has attempted to locate security issues in the context of globalization in a paper titled “Security in the Age of Globalization: Separating Appearance from Reality” published in an edited volume from SUNY Press in 2005.
In addition, he has published articles emanating from another project titled “Constructing Regional Order in South Asia: India’s Role as Pivotal Power.” The theoretical underpinnings of the argument are outlined in an article titled “From Regional System to Regional Society: Explaining Key Variables in the Construction of Regional Order” delivered as a Golden Jubilee Lecture of the Department of International Relations, Australian National University, and published in the Australian Journal of International Affairs, November 1999. The argument for India’s importance in South Asia and the wider Asian region, especially in the context of American foreign policy objectives in Asia, is made in an article titled “India Matters” published in Washington Quarterly, Winter 2000, and in articles published in Orbis in 1999 and 2001. He has addressed the issue of instability and insecurity in Southwest Asia – the expanded region covering South Asia, the Gulf and Central Asia – after September 11 in an article in the Spring 2002 issue of Survival titled “South-west Asia After the Taliban”.
He has also worked on another project linking issues of humanitarian intervention with those of international order. His interest in the systematic study of the subject was sparked when he was invited in 1999 to act as a consultant to the International Commission for Intervention and State Sovereignty chaired by Gareth Evans and Mohamed Sahnoun. He published several articles on the subject, including one in the July-September 2001 issue of Global Governance and the other in the Spring 2002 issue of the International Journal of Human Rights. The latter – a 10,000 word piece titled “Humanitarian Intervention and State Sovereignty” – formed the centerpiece of a forum on the subject with responses from three scholars. A third article emanating from this project titled “Third World Perspectives on Humanitarian Intervention and International Administration” was presented at a conference at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, and has been published in a special issue of Global Governance, Jan-Mar 2004.
The events of September 11, 2001, persuaded him to return to what had been a major focus of his research in the late 1970s and the first half of the 1980s, viz., the international politics of the Middle East with particular emphasis on the interaction between religion and politics in that strategically important region. He is currently engaged in teaching an upper level undergraduate course on “Islam and World Politics” and a graduate research seminar on “Political Islam in a Comparative Perspective.” Simultaneously he has been working on a book project titled “ The Many Faces of Political Islam”, which will be published in 2007. It was written under contract for the University of Michigan Press in order to fill a void in the comparative literature on political Islam. It will be published simultaneously in hardcover and paperback aimed at both the college and trade markets.
In this context, he is also interested in US policy toward the Middle East and how it has impacted on the balance of political forces within the region, in both the intrastate and interstate domains, as well as on the future trajectory of political Islam. The first published product of this project appeared in the Summer 2003 issue of Middle East Policy and was titled “The War Against Iraq: Normative and Strategic Implications.” Since then he has published several other articles on political Islam and the politics of the Middle East in Orbis, World Policy Journal, International Affairs, Middle East Policy, and in an edited volume which was the outcome of a project undertaken by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC. A revised version of his MSU Sesquicentennial lecture that he was invited to deliver in September 2005 on “The Middle East 2025: Challenging the Traditional US Policy Paradigm” appeared in the summer 2006 issue of Middle East Policy as the centerpiece of a forum with responses from four leading scholars of the Middle East from the US and abroad. He has recently completed an invited article titled “Challenging Hegemony: Political Islam and the North-South Divide” for a special issue of International Studies Review on the North-South Divide to be published in summer 2007. He is currently editing a volume tentatively titled The Enigmatic Kingdom: Wahhabism, the House of Saud, and the United States. The outcome of a conference on “Understanding Wahhabism” that he organized in April 2006 on behalf of the about-to-be born Muslim Studies Program, it is likely to be published in 2008. He has already been contacted by three well-known publishers with offers of contract to write a sequel to his just completed book on political Islam on the topic “America and the Rise of Political Islam.”
He has lectured extensively on the topic of political Islam during the past couple of years in, among other places, Center for Strategic and International Studies and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, both in Washington, D.C.; International Peace Academy, New York; International Institute for Strategic Studies, Royal Institute of International Affairs, University College, London School of Economics, and Institute of Ismaili Studies, all in London; Department of International Relations, Bilkent University, Ankara; Foundation for Sciences and Arts (Bilim ve Sanat Vakfý), Istanbul; American University of Kuwait; School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; Centre for Security Analysis, Chennai; and Institute for Defence and Strategic Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
His interest in systemic and comparative issues of international and domestic order, and his work on security and conflict in multiple regions of the world, when combined with his long-standing concern with issues relating to the interaction of religion and politics in the Muslim world, provide him a unique vantage point to study political Islam in its multiple settings as well as draw out the implications of this phenomenon for the future of international security and world order.
He took a leading role in MSU’s Muslim Studies Intitiative that led to the establishment of a university wide Muslim Studies Specialization administered by James Madison College and the Muslim Studies Program located within ISP. He has been appointed Coordinator both for the Program and the Specialization. The program is expected to coordinate research and teaching about the Muslim world; aid in the development of courses relating to Muslim countries and regions; hold conferences, workshops, and seminars on different parts and facets of the Muslim world; and actively engage in external fund-raising to achieve these objectives.
MSU’s vision of Muslim Studies is unique in more than one way. First, the emphasis is on Muslims’ “lived experiences” and not just on scriptural and philosophical texts divorced from contexts. Second, while fully informed of the importance of history in shaping Muslim societies, Muslim Studies at MSU is concerned with the big questions facing Muslim societies in the contemporary era. Third, Muslim Studies at MSU is not limited to a particular region, such as the Middle East. It is conceived as a truly cross-regional and comparative enterprise that is poised to build on the existing expertise at MSU on Asia and Africa while creating new capabilities on the Middle East and Eurasia. Fourth, the undergraduate Muslim Studies specialization is seen as having a symbiotic relationship with the program, emphasizing that MSU is as concerned with disseminating knowledge of the Muslim world to undergraduates across the university as it is with conducting high quality research and graduate teaching. A great deal of his time is currently devoted to activities related to the Muslim Studies Program and Specialization in an effort to build capacity on the Muslim world at MSU and put it on the national map.
His scholarly publications (since 1989 for articles and 1981 for books) are given below in reverse chronological order. Earlier publications are not included for reasons of space.
The Many Faces of Political Islam, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 2007
The Third World Security Predicament: State Making, Regional Conflict, and the International System, Lynne Rienner, Boulder, CO, 1995, for Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies' series "Emerging Global Issues".
India and Southeast Asia: Indian Perceptions and Policies, Routledge, New York, 1990.
Leadership Perceptions and National Security: The Southeast Asian Experience, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, 1989.
Regional Security in the Third World, Croom Helm, London, and Westview, Boulder, CO, 1986.
The Politics of Islamic Reassertion, St. Martin’s Press, New York and Croom Helm, London, 1981
The Middle East in World Politics, Croom Helm, London, 1981
Journal Articles and Book Chapters:
“Challenging Hegemony: Political Islam and the North-South Divide”, International Studies Review, Winter 2007
“State Making, State Breaking, and State Failure”, in Chester Crocker, Fen Hampson, and Pamela Aall (eds.), Leashing the Dogs of War: Conflict Management in a Divided World (United States Institute of Peace Press, Washington, DC, 2007
“The Middle East 2025: Implications for U.S. Policy”, Middle East Policy, vol. 13 (2), Summer 2006
“The Future of Political Islam: The Importance of External Variables”, International Affairs, vol. 81(5), October 2005
“Deciphering Islam’s Multiple Voices: Intellectual Luxury or Strategic Necessity?”, Middle East Policy, vol. 12(3), Fall 2005
“The Unipolar Concert: Multilateralism and Unipolarity in the Age of Globalization” (with Matthew Zierler) in World Policy Journal, vol.22(1), Spring 2005
“The Muslim World’s Poor Democratic Record: The Interplay of Internal and External Factors” in Shireen Hunter and Huma Malik (eds.), Modernization, Democracy and Islam, CSIS/Praeger, 2005
“Security in the Age of Globalization: Separating Appearance from Reality” in Ersel Aydinli & James N. Rosenau (eds.), Paradigms in Transition : Globalization, Security, and the Nation State, SUNY Press, 2005
“Political Islam: Image and Reality”, World Policy Journal, vol. 21(3), Fall 2004
“Turkey’s Multiple Paradoxes” Orbis, vol. 48(3), Summer 2004
“Third World Perspectives on Humanitarian Intervention and International Administration”, Global Governance, vol. 10(1), Jan-Mar 2004
“The War Against Iraq: Normative and Strategic Implications”, Middle East Policy, vol. 10(2), Summer 2003
“Inequality and Theorizing in International Relations: The Case for Subaltern Realism”, International Studies Review, vol. 4(3), Fall 2002
“Humanitarian Intervention and State Sovereignty” International Journal of Human Rights, vol.
6 (1), Spring 2002
“South-west Asia After the Taliban”, Survival, vol. 44(1), Spring 2002
“State Making, State Breaking, and State Failure” in Chester Crocker and Fen Hampson
with Pamela Aall (eds), Turbulent Peace, USIP Press, 2001
“Humanitarian Intervention and International Society”, Global Governance, vol. 7(3), July-
“South Asia’s Dangers and U.S. Policy”, Orbis, 45(1), Winter 2001.
“State Making, State Failure and Revolution in Military Affairs”, in Gwyn Prins and Hylke Tromp (eds), The Future of War, Kluwer Law International, Boston, MA, 2000.
“India’s Nuclear Decision: Implications for Indian-American Relations”, in Raju Thomas and Amit Gupta (eds), India’s Nuclear Security, Lynne Rienner, Boulder, CO, 2000.
“India Matters”, Washington Quarterly, 23(1), Winter 2000.
“Potential Partners: India and the United States” Asia-Pacific Issues, 42, December 1999.
“From Regional System to Regional Society: Exploring Key Variables in the Construction of Regional Order”, Australian Journal of International Affairs, 53(3), November 1999.
“Nuclear India and Indian-American Relations”, Orbis, 43(1), Winter 1999.
“Subaltern Realism: International Relations Theory Meets the Third World”, in Stephanie G. Neuman (ed), International Relations and the Third World, St. Martin's Press, 1998.
“Defining Security: A Subaltern Realist Perspective”, in Keith Krause and Michael Williams (eds), Critical Security Studies: Concepts and Cases, University of Minnesota Press, 1997.
“The 1996 Indian Election: A Political Milestone”, Washington Quarterly, 20(1), Winter 1997.
“State Making, State Breaking and State Failure”, in Chester A. Crocker and Fen Osler Hampson (eds), Managing Global Chaos, United States Institute of Peace Press, Washington, D.C., 1996. Also published in Luc van de Goor, Kumar Rupesinghe, and Paul Sciarone, (eds), Between Development and Destruction: An Enquiry into the Causes of Conflict in Post-Colonial States, Macmillan, London, and St. Martin's Press, New York, 1996.
“Subnational and Transnational Actors”, in Edward A. Kolodziej and Roger E. Kanet (eds), Coping with Conflict After the Cold War, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, 1996.
“The New-Old Disorder in the Third World”, Global Governance, 1(1), Winter 1995. Also published as a chapter in Thomas G. Weiss (ed), The United Nations and Civil Wars, Lynne Rienner, 1995.
“Security in the Third World: Searching for the Core Variable”, in Norman Graham (ed), Seeking Security and Development: The Impact of Military Spending and Arms Transfers, Lynne Rienner, 1994.
“Squaring the Circle: Collective Security in a System of States”, in Thomas G. Weiss (ed), Collective Security in a Changing World, Lynne Rienner, 1993.
“The Third World in the Changing Strategic Context”, in David Dewitt, David Haglund, and John Kirton (eds), Building a New Global Order: Emerging Trends in International Security, Oxford University Press, 1993.
“State Making and Third World Security” in Jasjit Singh and Thomas Bernauer (eds), Security of Third World Countries, Aldershot, 1993, for United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research.
“Unravelling the Concept: 'National Security' in the Third World”, in Bahgat Korany and Paul Noble (eds), The Many Faces of National Security in the Arab World, Macmillan (UK) and St. Martin's Press, 1993.
“The Security Predicament of the Third World State: Reflections on State Making in a Comparative Perspective”, in Brian Job (ed), The Insecurity Dilemma: National Security of Third World States, Lynne Rienner, 1992.
“Dateline India: The Deepening Crisis”, Foreign Policy, 85, Winter 1991-92.
“India as Regional Hegemon: External Opportunities and Internal Constraints”, International Journal, 46(3), Summer 1991.
“The Security Problematic of the Third World”, World Politics, 43(2), January 1991.
“India in South Asia: The Quest for Regional Predominance”, World Policy Journal, 7(1), Winter 1989-90.
“The Third World in the System of States: Acute Schizophrenia or Growing Pains?”, International Studies Quarterly, 33(1), March 1989.