Dr. Davis is a Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University and past director of the University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies. His research has included the study of the relationship between state power and historical memory in modern Iraq, the political economy of Egyptian industrialization, the ideology and social bases of religious radical movements in Egypt and Israel, and the impact of oil wealth on the state and culture in Arab oil-producing countries. Dr. Davis has been appointed a fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University; the Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin; the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies, Princeton University; the Center for the Critical Analysis of Contemporary Culture, Rutgers University, and the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis. Dr. Davis was appointed a Carnegie Scholar for 2007-2008 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Dr. Davis received his Ph.D from the University of Chicago.
His book publications include Memories of State: Politics, History and Collective Identity in Modern Iraq (California, 2005; Arabic translation, The Arab Institute for Research and Publishing, 2009); Challenging Colonialism: Bank Misr and Egyptian Industrialization, 1920-1941 (Princeton, 1983; Arabic translations: Institute for Arab Development, 1986; Dar al-Sharook, 2009); and Statecraft in the Middle East: Oil, Historical Memory and Popular Culture (with Nicolas Gavrielides, Florida, 1991). His forthcoming, Taking Democracy Seriously in Iraq, is under contract with Cambridge University Press.
Dr. Davis was a member of an eight nation study, Democracy and Development in the Arab World,” sponsored by the World Bank and the American University of Beirut, which resulted in the publication (with Bassam Yousif), “Iraq: Understanding Autocracy – Oil and conflict in a historical and socio-political context,” in I. Elbadawi and S. Makdisi, Democracy in the Arab World –Explaining the Deficit, Routledge, 2011.
Dr. Davis’s recent publications include, “Abd al-Karim Qasim, Sectarian Identities and the Rise of Corporatism in Iraq,” Kufa Review 2/1 (Winter 2013); and “Islamism, Authoritarianism and Democracy: a Comparative Study of Egypt and Iraq,” in Noureddin Jebnoun, ed., Modern Middle East Authoritarianism: Roots, Ramifications and Crises, Routledge Press, forthcoming July 2013. Dr. Davis is the author of the blog, The New Middle East.
Dr. Davis' interests include theories of political economy, state theory, political culture, theories of comparative politics, historical memory, and hegemony theory.
His research has involved the relationship between state power and historical memory in modern Iraq, the political economy of Egyptian industrialization as a case study of dependency theory, the impact of oil wealth on the state and culture in Arab oil-producing countries, the ideology and social bases of Islamic radical movements, and the comparison of Islamic and Jewish radical movements.
With grants from the US Institute of Peace and the American Academic Research Institute in Iraq, Dr. Davis conducted research on Arab and Kurdish Iraqi youth between the ages of 12 and 30 in 2010 and 2011 which is part of a 5 nation project on youth attitudes towards sectarian identities and democracy in the Middle East. Dr. Davis is currently writing a book manuscript on the implications of the Arab uprisings for theories of democratic transitions and an article (with Ali Alhbabi) comparing the political impact of fatwas in Sunni and Shi’i Islam, with special reference to Iraq and Egypt.