CBRL aims to promote, facilitate, sponsor and carry out high-quality research in the subjects supported by the British Academy throughout the countries of the Levant (Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria) and adjacent regions. By developing our networks in the UK, regionally and internationally we can make a significant impact, particularly by enhancing and fostering multi-disciplinary approaches. Much of our research is only possible because of our presence, networks, and contacts in the region. This enormously enhances the efficiency and value for money of British research in the region, as well as enabling it to be richer and deeper through embedded local engagement.
A central tenet of our strategy is to resist short-term approaches and to ensure our research is soundly based within regional contexts conducted by experts who have a well-grounded empirical knowledge of the area. This applies to all subject-areas of our research. We believe that research is best developed as part of a wider strategy structured through our broad Strategic Research Initiative, and a number of key Research Themes. The British Academy and the CBRL play a crucial role encouraging independent academic research and supporting early-career researchers by helping them to gain experience in the region.
Research in contemporary Middle East studies is at a critical juncture, both in terms of wider international politics and the narrower university environment. As increasing demands are made on scholars in the name of applied policy, it is essential that critically engaged researchers of the contemporary Middle East evaluate future directions. We therefore recognise the importance of language training, not as an additional 'add on', but as a key part of research.
We strive to ensure that our research in the Middle East produces top quality outputs while maintaining academic integrity and independence. At the same time, however, we aim to ensure that our research is relevant and intelligible to wider audiences, including governmental, international organisations and the public. Our research and dissemination strategies therefore combine these two goals.
Neolithic statue from 'Ain Ghazal
CBRL has one major Strategic Research Initiative, Exploring Identities in the Levant. This combines elements from many of our key research themes. Our main role is to provide a research network, linking people working in different disciplines, facilitating research, establishing local and regional academic links, and sponsoring and organising meetings. The theme is specifically linked to the UK Government Science and Innovation Investment Framework 2004-2014 multidisciplinary research theme of identities and cultures. The Framework document identifies that "There is a need to develop a more sustained and cohesive programme, building research capacity and new intellectual strategies and approaches drawing leading researchers into interdisciplinary programmes." CBRL's multidisciplinary interests and the complex nature of identity in the Levant (and related migrant populations in the UK) make us ideally placed to support this research theme incorporating identity, migration, diasporas, culture and language.
Stairs in Ramallah
Within the academic disciplines we support, CBRL has identified a number of key research interests:
a) The origins, development and practice of economic and social strategies in the Middle East from earliest times to the modern day.
b) Long-term landscape, environment and climate change studies, from the past through to predictive models for future developments, including working with natural science research.
c) The interface between East and West.
d) The investigation of multiple identities in the Middle East.
e) The diachronic and synchronic study of the use of language and the written record in Middle Eastern society.
For details of CBRL funding awards available, click here.