About the blog

The New Middle East Blog is the blog of The Centre for Islamic and Middle East Studies (CIMS), an interdisciplinary research centre at the University of Oslo that aims to promote understanding of key developments within the Middle East and the Islamic world through a range of academic approaches. Any opinions expressed on the blog are the views of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of CIMS.

Areas of study

The Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies seeks to promote understanding of political and cultural developments within the contemporary Middle East and North Africa, as well as the development of Islam from a broad perspective. Insights from research into linguistics and literature, the history of religion, history, anthropology and political science enable us to adopt an interdisciplinary perspective when studying a region and culture that is in a state of rapid change. The Centre’s geographical focus is the area from Morocco in the west to Iran in the east, and from Turkey in the north to Yemen in the south. We also study Islamic beliefs and practices in other parts of the word, including Norway. Research at the Centre is based on skills in key languages such as Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Hebrew.

What do we study?

The Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies runs research programmes into a range of topics that primarily aim to promote understanding of current developments within Islam and within Middle Eastern societies. How has the understanding of Islam’s message evolved over time? What is the political and social role of religious movements in the Middle East? How do the Gulf oil revenues influence political processes? How has literature in the region responded when encountering modernity and Western cultural influences? What are the linguistic effects of tensions between everyday speech and standardised language forms? Our research in these areas is given added depth by our study of the heritage of the early Islamic period.


Language and literature
Arabian, Persian, Turkish, Hebrew and other Semitic languages

Religious studies
Islam and other religions

Regional studies
political and ideological development