IAS 150: New Approaches to Crises and Political Transition in the Middle East and Africa: Local, Regional and International Responses


  • James Church
  • Office Hours: By appointment
  • Office Location: 438 Doe Library
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About this Guide

This guide serves as a research tool for locating information on sources for research in local, regional and international responses to political transition in the Middle East and Africa.

Catalogs & Search Engines

Find a book that matches your topic and go to the call number range to browse. Check the references and bibliography.

Google Scholar
. Functions as both a key word database for articles and books. It automatically connects to select licensed content held by the UC libraries. 

Google Books. Millions of scanned books worldwide.  Search the text of the books, view previews or "snippets" from books still in copyright, and read the full text of out-of-copyright books.  To read the text of a copyrighted book, use the Find in a Library link to locate the book at UC Berkeley or search OskiCat.

Oskicat. UC Berkeley libraries catalog. Includes records for most UCB library materials, including books, e-books, journal and e-journal titles, films and videos, maps, archival materials, and much more. See also the Quick Guide to Oskicat and Oskicat Tutorial.

. Catalog for all UC Campus libraries, including selected libraries on campus not in Oskicat, e.g. the Boalt Law Library. 

Campus Library Map

Click on the image below to see a larger interactive version of the campus library map.

UC Berkeley Library campus map

You can also view/download a PDF map of library locations. For library contact information and building addresses, visit our directory.

Middle East Crises and Reference Books

The following are sample books about middle east conflict and politics.  Use Oskicat to find more items.

The encyclopedia of Middle East wars: the United States in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq conflicts Doe Reference Reference Hall DS63.1 .E453 2010. v.1-5 (2010) Read at Google Read at Google

Political handbook of the Middle East Doe Reference JQ1758.A58 P65 2008. Read at Google Read at Google

The government and politics of the Middle East and North Africa Doe Reference Reference Hall DS62.8.G68 2011 Read at Google Read at Google

The battle for the Arab Spring : revolution, counter-revolution and the making of a new era Main (Gardner) Stacks. JQ1850.A91 N68 2012. Read at Google Read at Google

Encyclopedia of the modern Middle East & North Africa Doe Reference Reference Hall DS43 .E53 2004. Read at Google Read at Google

Is there a Middle East?: the evolution of a geopolitical concept Main (Gardner) Stacks DS44.9 .I8 2012. Read at Google Read at Google

Democratization in the Arab world : prospects and lessons from around the globe Main (Gardner)Stacks. JQ1850.A91 D47 2012. Read at Google Read at Google

Connecting from Off Campus

You can access UCB Library resources from off campus or via your laptop or other mobile device using one of two simple methods:

Proxy Server
After you make a one-time change in your web browser settings, the proxy server will ask you to log in with a CalNet ID or Library PIN when you click on the link to a licensed resource. See the setup instructions, FAQ, and Troubleshooting pages to configure your browser.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)
After you install and run the VPN "client" software on your computer, you can log in with a CalNet ID to establish a secure connection with the campus network.

Electronic Resource Finder

The most important research section of the library web site is the Library Electronic Resource Finder. This is the library directory of databases and other information resources, organized by subject (e.g. political science) type (e.g. encyclopedias) as well as other categories. It also contains a link to a comprehensive listing of library e-journals.

Article Databases

Use the following databases, in addition to Google Scholar, to find articles and book chapters of interest. Click the UC elinks button or PDF link to get to the full-text if available.  

Africa-Wide NiPAD.  A comprehensive database covering journals, magazines, newspapers, broadcasts, books and more on all aspects of Africa including politics, history, economics, literature, music and natural sciences. Combines the databases previously known as African Studies and South African Studies.

International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS). Indexes journals, books, chapters, and book reviews in the fields of economics, political science, sociology, and anthropology from more than 100 countries. More than 70 languages are represented, with 30% percent of records published in languages other than English. 

Index Islamicus.  Indexes literature on Islam, the Middle East and the Muslim world. Over 3,000 journals are monitored for inclusion in the database, together with conference proceedings, monographs, multi-authored works and book reviews. 

CIAO (Columbia International Affairs Online). Indexes journals, books, policy briefs, working papers, and conference proceedings from research institutes worldwide related to international affairs analysis and advocacy materials. Also includes links to international affairs Internet sources. 

Elsevier Geography.  Indexes journals, monographs, books, conference proceedings, and theses covering the international literature in human geography, as well as international development issues.

JSTOR. Includes over 1000 scholarly journals with access to more than 2 million articles. JSTOR is an archive which means that current issues (generally the most recent 3-5 years) of the journals are not yet available. 

PAIS International. Indexes books, journals, government documents, statistical directories, grey literature, research reports, conference reports, and web sources related to public policy, politics, economics, and social issues worldwide. Includes publications from over 120 countries. (You may also search all Social Sciences databases on this platform).

PolicyFile. Index to public policy in the areas of economics, politics, the environment, and social issues, taken from reports from a wide range of thinks tanks, Non-governmental organizations, international governmental organizations, and other institutions worldwide.

Political Science: A SAGE Full-Text Collection. Includes the full-text of 24 journals published by SAGE and participating societies, some journals going back 24 years. Covers such subjects as American Government and Politics, Policy Studies, Peace and Conflict Studies and International Relations.

Pro and Con. Provides full text access to the print publications: Congressional Digest, Supreme Court Debates, and International Debates. Pro and con viewpoints are presented on topics ranging from civil rights, economy, environmental policy, politics and government, and foreign policy.

ProQuest Social Sciences. Interdisciplinary metasearch through 22 of the the social sciences indexes on the ProQuest platform. Includes EconLit, International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS), Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts, PAIS, PsycInfo, Sociological Abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts and more.

Web of Science. Indexes over 8,000 of the leading journals in the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences, providing searching of footnoted citations. Includes the Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Science Citation Index, and Social Sciences Citation Index.

Worldwide Political Science AbstractsIndexes books, journals, and dissertations within the field of political science and related to international relations, law and politics, political economy, public administration, and public policy. (You may also search all Social Sciences databases on this platform).

International Government

To get started finding International Governmental Organization (IGO) Information you may wish to try the following IGO Custom Search Engine, which was initiated by David Oldenkamp, International Documents Librarian at Indiana University, and searches 392 urls of International Governmental Organizations (IGOs).

Global Issues on the UN AgendaExcellent UN Ready Reference tool for links to online documents, agencies, and other resources on a wide range of important topics on the UN Agenda.

Relief Web. Web portal from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Hails itself as "the world's leading gateway to information on humanitarian emergencies and disasters.

United Nations Internet Resources. UC Berkeley library research guide for the United Nations by subject and organizational structure.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The United Nations Refugee Agency. Includes many online books, papers and statistics.

United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. UN Human rights portal.  To search for human rights documents go to the country section at the top and pull down "human rights in the world".

United Nations Yearbook.  Searchabler online compilation of the primary UN reference volume, with the full text of the entire series from 1946. The current year is excluded but is available in print in the Doe Reference Collection. Each yearbook contains summaries with supporting citations of key UN activities, including several hundred pages on human rights.   

UNBISnet. Most comprehensive database for UN documents & publications, from the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library. Includes speeches, voting records, and resolutions. Full text from 1993, bibliographic records from 1979.

World Food Programme (WFP). The United Nations Food Agency. The WFP is the world's largest international food aid organization, dedicated to combating hunger in nations with severe food shortages.

United Nations

The following selected United Nations agencies, departments, funds, commissions, and information systems deal with political and economic affairs relating to the Middle East and Africa.

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). UN Regional Commission for the Middle East.  Mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its member states, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation.

United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.  UN Regional Commission for Africa. Mandated to promote the economic and social development of member states, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation. 

United Nations News Centre.  Includes a section devoted specifically to the Middle Eastas well as country specific sections on Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Sudan & South Sudan, and the Horn of Africa.

United Nations and the Question of Palestine. UCB Library research guide on the Palestinian Question and the various United Nations agencies addressing it.

United Nations Democracy Fund.  United Nations General Fund to support democratization efforts around the world. UNDEF supports projects that strengthen the voice of civil society, promote human rights, and encourage the participation of all groups in the democratic process. See especially the sections on the Arab States and Africa

United Nations Global Issues: Africa. Gateway site to United Nations resources and documents on Africa.

United Nations Peacebuilding Commission. UN commision mandated to "bring together all relevant actors to marshal resources and to advise on and propose integrated strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery and to focus attention on the reconstruction and institution-building efforts necessary for recovery from conflict."

The United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPA). Established and developed by the Division for Palestinian Rights containing the texts of current and historical United Nations material about the question of Palestine and other issues related to the Middle East situation and the search for peace. 

United Nations Department of Political Affairs.  UN agency set up to monitor and assesses global political developments with an eye to detecting potential crises before they escalate, and devising effective responses. See especially the sections for the Middle East and Africa.

United Nations Support Mission to Libya.  Mandated to manage the process of democratic transition, including through technical advice and assistance to the Libyan electoral process and the process of preparing and establishing a new Libyan constitution.

United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on Africa. UN agency to enhance international support for Africa's development and security through its advocacy and analytical work, and to assist the Secretary General in improving coherence and coordination of the UN system support to Africa.

United Nations Peacekeeping.  See below for current operations in the Middle East and Africa. For historical missions see the section of the site devoted to past operations.

United Nations Peacemaker.  Online mediation support tool developed by the UN Department of Political Affairs. Intended for peacemaking professionals, it includes an extensive database of peace agreements and guidance material and information on the UN’s mediation support services. 

United Nations: Sport for Development and Peace. UN agency devoted to sport as a tool to promote peace, tolerance and understanding by bringing people together across boundaries, cultures and religions. 

University for Peace. Education programmes, training and research for peace, including conflict-prevention, human security, human rights, environmental security and post-conflict rehabilitation. 

Regional Organizations

African Union. Mission is ot rid  the continent of the remaining vestiges of colonization and apartheid; to  promote unity and solidarity among African States; to coordinate and intensify cooperation for development; to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial  integrity of Member States.

Economic Community of West African States. Regional group of west African countries to promote economic integration in "all fields of economic activity.

Gulf Cooperation Council. Political and economic union of the Arab states bordering the Persian Gulf and located on or near the Arabian Peninsula.

League of Arab States (Arab League). Organization to facilitate the political, economic, cultural, scientific and social programs to promote the interests of the Arab world.

Organization of Islamic Cooperation.  Organizaiton representing the collective voice of the Muslim world and safeguarding the interests and well-being of its member countries in an atmosphere of international peace.

Southern African Development Community (SADC). Regional organization mandated to further socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among 15 southern African states. 

African UnionAfric
Gulf Cooperation Council
League of Arab States
Organization of Islamic CooperatiAfrican U

NonGovernmental Organizations & Think Tanks

The amount of information on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) on the Internet is large so locating NGO information by subject or geography can be difficult. The following links and  the NGO search engine below may help. The UC Berkeley libraries also obtain print publications from NGOs, which can be located by searching in the Oskicat or Melvyl catalogs.

NGO Custom Search Engine

This search engine was developed by David Oldenkamp at Indiana University and James Jacobs at Stanford. The site seaches NGOs with Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, sites listed on the University of Minnesota Human Rights Library, the Duke University Libraries' NGO Research Guide, and the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO).

Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies.  Research institute and think tank with an emphasis on the applied social sciences, striving to foster communication between Arab intellectuals and specialists in the social sciences and humanities.

African Arguments. From the Royal African Society and World Peace Foundation, part of the Guardian Africa Network. dedicated to vigorous debates on Africa.

Center for Humanitarian Dialogue.  Independent organization dedicated to improving the prevention of, and response to, armed conflict.

Coaltion for the International Criminal Court.  Includes 2,500 civil society organizations in 150 different countries working in partnership to strengthen international cooperation with the ICC.

ComparativeConstitutions.org.  Project of scholars committed to assisting constitutional design, in collaboration with the United States Institute of Peace.

Democracy in Africa.  Online community of people that are interested in, and care about, the state of democracy in Africa.  Draws together information about elections in Africa with a blog that provides clear analysis on complex issues in African politics.

Forum of Federations.  International network of federal countries, elected officials, civil servants and scholars running learning events on federalism, giving technical advice on governance and producing publications for academics and practitioners of federalism.

Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect.  International NGO created to "transform the principle of the responsibility to protect into a practical guide for action in the face of mass atrocities."

Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security. International commission of eminent individual aiming to highlight the importance of elections to achieving a more secure, prosperous and stable world 

Human Security Report.  Information and analyses on global and regional trends in armed conflict and other forms of organized violence.  From the Human Security Report Project.

International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect.  Coalition bringing together NGOs from all regions of the world to strengthen normative consensus for RtoP,

International Crisis Group. World’s leading independent source of analysis and advice to governments, and intergovernmental  bodies on the prevention and resolution of deadly conflict.

International Peace Institute. Independent, international not-for-profit think tank dedicated to promoting the prevention and settlement of conflicts between and within states by strengthening international peace and security institutions.

Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP).  Provides news and perspectives about the Middle East not available from mainstream news sources.

NYU Center for International Cooperation. Publishes analysis and policy research with the goal of transforming international cooperation on global challenges, such as increasing peace and security, strengthening fragile states, securing strategic resources and tackling climate change.

Reform the UN. Section of the World Federalist Movement (see below) dedicated to a strengthened and more democratized United Nations.

United Nations Integrated Civil Society Information System. Provides general profiles for civil society organizations, including address, contacts, activities and other information for NGOS with consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social CouncilSee section onAfrica.

World Federalist Movement for Global Policy. Includes programs working to protect civilians from the threat of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity and promote the application of the rule of law.

Statistics & Data: Selected Sources

Africa Development Indicators.  Detailed collection of data on Africa, containing over 1,600 indicators, covering 53 African countries from 1961 to 2008. Data include social, economic, financial, natural resources, infrastructure, governance, partnership, and environmental indicators. 

The Armed Conflict Location and Event Dataset. Comprehensive public collection of political violence data for developing states. These data contain information on the specific dates and locations of political violence, the types of event, the groups involved, fatalities, and changes in territorial control. 

CIA World Fact Book. Basic formation on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and political issues for 267 world entities.

EIU Country Reports. Indexes studies that provide analysis and forecasts of the political, economic, and business environments in more than 180 countries. Annual profiles are updated by quarterly reports.

FAOSTAT. Extensive data on agriculture, food supply, food security, prices, commodities, forest products, and fisheries from the FAO.

Freedom in the World.  Published by Freedom House. Data on global political rights and civil liberties for countries worldwide going back to 1972. 

Human Development Report Statistics. Statistics from the United Nations DevelopmentProgramme (UNDP). Links to the text of national human development reports from over 250 countries and regions.

International Data Base. From the U.S. Census Bureau. Statistics for demographic, and socioeconomic data for countries and areas of the world. Information dates back from 1950 and as far ahead as 2050.

International Financial Statistics (IFS).  From the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Includes data on exchange and interest rates, balance of payments, government finance, national accounts, prices, foreign reserves, and more.  Recommended: use the economic concept view.

ICPSR. Consortium of 325 institutions working together to acquire and preserve social science data. Maintained at University of Michigan, ICPSR receives, processes, and distributes data on social phenomena in 130 countries. Includes survey data, census records, election returns, economic data, and legislative record

ISI Emerging Markets. Includes company data, financial statements, industry analyses, equity quotes, macroeconomic statistics, and many national government statistical yearbooks.

LABORSTA. International labor statistics from 1979 to the present on employment, earnings, wages, migration, strikes and more.

Lexis Nexis Statistical DataSets. Provides fast and easy one-stop shopping to more than 5.3 billion (and growing) data points from licensed and public domain datasets. Sources of data include local, state and international governments and organizations.

Official Statistics on the Web. Access to social, economic and general data from official government sources.  Includes statistical offices, central banks and government agencies. Features a good subject list.

Polling the Nations. A compilation of public opinion polls and surveys from more than 6,500 national, state, local and special surveys in the U.S. and over 60 other countries. The surveys date from 1986 and contain information on over 3,000 social, political and economic issues.

PRS Country Risk Data. International political risk data, macroeconomic data, and forecasting, including measures of bureaucracy, corruption, civil disorders, ethnic tensions, inflation, terrorism, etc.

UN Data. Wide range of economic, social, cultural, and demographic indicators: population, environment, health, economics, technology, trade, refugees, and more.

U.S. Overseas Loans and Grants (Green Book). Loans and grants from the US government each fiscal year by purpose and country.

World Development Indicators. Time series data from 1960 for 207 countries in the areas of population, labour, education, economics, the environment and much more.

World Income Inequality Database. Information for over 140 countries on income inequalities at both cross-country and time series levels over the period 1950-98, with a focus on the period since 1980. See also the University of Texas Income Inequality Project.

News Databases

ABYZ News Links. A portal to online news sources from around the world. The database is primarily composed of links to online newspapers, but also includes many broadcast stations, internet services, magazines, and press agencies. ABYZ News Links does not contain actual news content but only links to other news sources.

Access World News
.  Global wire services, newspapers, magazines and government documents covering politics, economics, culture, business, science, and technology, worldwide.

  Contains over 700,000 articles from 120 news publications throughout Africa. Also includes press releases and documents from 200 governments and non-governmental organizations in and outside of Africa. 30% of articles are in French

Factiva.  General and business news and information from more than 9,000 sources in 22 languages, including influential local, national and international newspapers, and news wires. Includes the exclusive combination of The Wall Street Journal (1979-present), the Financial Times, Dow Jones and Reuters newswires and the Associated Press, as well as Reuters Fundamentals, and Bureau van Dijk company profiles.

Foreign Language News and Newspapers
. A list of freely available newspapers and magazines from Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Russian Sources. Compiled by the MIT Libraries.

LexisNexis Academic. Includes over 6,000 individual titles of international, national and local newspapers and wire services; radio and television transcripts; and business, medical, industry, and legislative magazines, journals, and newsletters. Wide geographic coverage and translations from foreign-language sources.

.  Brief English translations of Arabic, Kurdish, and Persian news articles from 22 Arab countries, Iran and the Diaspora. Subjects covered are Middle East and North African politics, culture, economy, and opinion pieces appearing in the print, radio, and television media of these countries, with links to the original sources.

World News Connection. Full-text translated transcriptions of radio and TV broadcasts, newspaper articles and periodicals from countries worldwide. A successor to reports from the Foreign Broadcasting Information Service and Joint Publications Research Service.

Specific News Sites and Blogs

The following are specific news and blog sources relating to the Middle East and Africa.

I-CONnect. Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law and ConstitutionMaking.org 

Al Jazeera. Award-winning international news network headquartered in Doha, Qatar.

The Arabist. News blog focusing on Egypt, broader issues in the Arab world, US policy in the Middle East, Israeli-Palestinian issues, and cultural developments in the region.

Ashaq alawsat.  Arabic international newspaper headquartered in London. 

Democracy in Africa.  Blog with analysis on issues in African politics and democracy.

Foreign Policy: The Middle East Channel. Middle east section of the bimonthly American news site covering politics, economics, integration, and other topics. 

Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP). Non-profit independent research group publishing reports and papers on Middle East conflicts.

Now Lebanon. Beirut-based Lebanese online news and opinion site.

Rebel Economy: Rebuilding After the Arab Spring. Blog founded by Farah Halime, a business journalist based in Cairo.

Sahara Media (In Arabic and French). Premier media company in Mauritania, covering the Arab Maghreb and West Africa.

Sahel Blog (Alex Thurston). News about religion and politics in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. 

Syria Comment. Blog administered by professor Joshua Landis to promote debate, information, news, criticism and analysis about Syria and related matters.

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Research Advisory Service for Cal Undergraduates

Book a 30-minute appointment with a librarian who will help refine and focus research inquiries, identify useful online and print sources, and develop search strategies for humanities and social sciences topics (examples of research topics).

Schedule, view, edit or cancel your appointment online (CalNetID required)

This service is for Cal undergraduates only. Graduate students and faculty should contact the library liaison to their department or program for specialized reference consultations.

Library Workshop: Research 101

Unsure how to start a paper or research project? Think maybe you could stand to brush up ostudent with laptopn search strategies?

If this sounds familiar, Library Workshop: Research 101 has you covered. This interactive tutorial explores six stages of the research process. You can view it from start to finish, or focus on specific sections as needed:

1: Begin Your Research

Starting strategies from choosing a topic to search keywords.

2: Knowledge Cycle

The publication timeline, scholarly v. popular sources, and differences in academic disciplines.

3: Finding Books

Search for books and other items in OskiCat, Cal's local library catalog.

4: Finding Articles

Locate and access articles in library research databases.

5: Basic Search

Common techniques for constructing searches that yield useful results.

6: Advanced Search

Specialized search strategies for targeting specific topics.

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