School of International Service
Additional Positions at AUCoordinator for Middle East Studies, SIS-CRS
Faculty Advisory Committee, Center for Democracy and Election Management
Co-Director of MES@AU Initiative
- Kristin Smith Diwan is Assistant Professor of Comparative and Regional Studies at the American University School of International Service. She holds regional expertise in the politics and policies of the Arab Gulf, and functional expertise on Islamic finance and the politics surrounding it. Her particular interests revolve around the political economy of Islamism; specifically, how Islamic political movements build support and further social Islamization through the economy. Dr. Diwan’s more recent research concerns citizenship and political reform in the Gulf region.
DegreesPhD, Political Science, Harvard University; MA Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS); BA, Baylor University
Favorite Spot on Campus:Davenport
Languages Spoken:Arabic; some French
- SIS - School of International Service
- SIS - 345
- TF 10:30-12:30
FOR THE MEDIA
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Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities
- "Bahrain’s Unfinished Revolution Holds Lessons for the West," The Financial Times, 13 February 2012.
- "Kuwait’s Constitutional Showdown," Foreign Policy, 17 November 2011 (Also in POMEPS Briefings VII: Arab Uprisings: Election Season, pp. 56-58, November 28, 2011).
- "Bahrain’s Deceptive National Dialogue," CNN, Global Public Square, 1 July, 2011.
- "Kuwait’s Impatient Youth Movement," Foreign Policy, 29 June, 2011.
- "Bahrain's Shia Question," Foreign Affairs, 2 March 2011.
- "Reform or the Flood in the Gulf," Foreign Policy, 20 February 2011 (Also in POMEPS Briefings V: Arab Uprisings: The Saudi Counter-Revolution.”, pp. 9-11, August 9, 2011).
- “Why the Bahrain Elections Matter?” Arab Uprisings: Bahrain’s Turn, POMEPS Briefings II, pp. 10-12, February 18, 2011.
- "The Gulf Comes Down to Earth," with Fareed Mohamedi, Middle East Report, No. 252 (Fall 2009).
- "A Tale of Two Kuwaits," Middle East Report, No. 252 (Fall 2009).
- "Sovereign Dilemmas: Sovereign Wealth Funds in Saudi Arabia," Geopoliltics, Volume 14, Number 2, April 2009, pp. 345-359.
Honors, Awards, and Fellowships
- Advisory Board, CET Language and Cultural Immersion Program, Aleppo, Syria.
- Advisory Board, Islam in Focus Dialogues, Social Science Research Center (SSRC).
- Research Grant, Middle-East Mediterranean Program, Sciences Po, Paris, France, 2010-2011.
- American University Faculty Research Support Award, 2008-2011.
- Qatar Post Doctoral Fellowship, Georgetown Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, 2004-2005.
- Social Science Research Council NMERTA Grant, 2000-2001.
- Fulbright-IIE Fellowship, 1999-2000.
- Center for Arabic Study Abroad Fellowship, Egypt, 1991-92.
SELECTED INVITED TALKS:
- "Whither the Arab State?", The Rahmania Annual Seminar co sponsored by the Transregional Institute, Princeton University, Al-Ghat, Saudi Arabia. 11-13 January 2012.
- “Gerrymandering Citizenship: Political Participation in the Arab Gulf States", New Perspectives on Citizenship in the Gulf, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) 2011 Annual Meeting, Washington D.C., 1-4 December 2011.
- "Fostering reform among U.S. allies”, The Arab World in Transition, The Brookings Institution, 8 June 2011.
- “Governance, Human Rights and American Interests in Bahrain”, Middle East Policy Council, 31 March 2011.
- “Eyes on Bahrain”, Gulf Roundtable, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), 8 March 2011.
- “The Growing Middle Class in the Arab Gulf,” Transnational Currents in the Gulf: People, Money, Ideas; Boston University, March 2010.
- “Insecurity in the Gulf: Economic and Social Perspectives,” George Washington University, November 2010.
- "Perspectives in the Social Science of Islamic Finance”, L'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris, France, May 2010.
- “The Dubai Debt Crisis: Bankruptcy or Bluff?,” Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University, December 2009.
- “Gulf Culture Wars: Liberals, Islamists, and the Urban-Bedouin Divide,” The Institute for Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia; Princeton University, September 2009.
SELECTED CONFERENCE PAPERS:
- "Gerrymandering Citizenship: Political Participation in the Arab Gulf States", New Perspectives on Citizenship in the Gulf, Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Annual Meeting 2011, Washington D.C., 1-4 December 2011.
- “Political Economies?: Islamic Finance and Islamist Politics in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait,” Gulf Research Meeting, Cambridge University, UK, July 2010.
- "Culture and Capital: The Strategic Construction of Islamic Financial Institutions in the Gulf," International Studies Association, New Orleans, February 2010.
- “The End of the Boom: The Global Financial Crisis and the Arab Gulf,” Six University Consortium Conference, University of Toronto, October 2009.
- “Political Reform in the Arabian Peninsula: The Perils of Partial Openings,” American Political Science Association (APSA) Annual Meeting, September 2008.
- “Islamic Finance and the Renewal of Awqaf,” The Eighth Annual Harvard University Forum on Islamic Finance, May 2008.
- Global Finance from Below, panel organized for American Political Science Association (APSA) Annual Meeting, Chicago, 2004.
Work In Progress
- "From Petrodollars to Islamic Dollars: Islamic Finance in the Arab Gulf," book manuscript.
- "Gerrymandering Citizenship: Naturalization and Voting Rights in the Arab Gulf," upcoming journal article.
- "Municipal Councils in the Gulf: Stepping Stones to Democracy?," research paper for the Sciences Po Kuwait Program (under review).
Area of Expertise: Middle East politics, Arab politics, Gulf politics, Islamist politics, politics of Islamic finance
Additional Information: Kristin Smith Diwan is an assistant professor in comparative and regional studies at the American University School of International Service. She works in both comparative politics and international relations and specializes in Arab and Islamist politics. Diwan has written many publications on the politics and political economy of the Arab Gulf, among them "Sovereign Dilemmas: Sovereign Wealth Funds in Saudi Arabia," Geopolitics, (April 2009); “The Gulf Comes Back to Earth" (with Fareed Mohamedi) Middle East Report (Fall 2009); “Bahrain’s Shia Question,” Foreign Affairs (March 2011); and “Kuwait’s Impatient Youth Movement,” Foreign Policy (July 2011). She is currently completing a book manuscript on the emergence of Islamic banking in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states entitled From Petrodollars to Islamic Dollars: Islamic Finance in the Arab Gulf. Diwan previously held the Qatar Post Doctoral Fellowship at Georgetown University. She received her PhD in political science from Harvard University and holds an MA in international affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
To request an interview please call AU Media Relations at 202-885-5950 or submit an interview request form.