Jorg Matthias Determann
Researching Biology and Evolution in the Gulf States
Networks of Science in the Middle East
I. B. Tauris 2015
New Books in Islamic StudiesNew Books in MedicineNew Books in Middle Eastern StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books in Science & TechnologyNew Books in Science, Technology, and SocietyNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network November 29, 2015 Carla Nappi
Jorg Matthias Determann‘s new book looks at the history of modern biology in the Arab Gulf monarchies, focusing on the treatment of evolution and related concepts in the publications of biologists who worked in the Gulf states. Researching Biology and Evolution in the Gulf States: Networks of Science in the Middle East (I. B. Tauris, 2015) begins by describing a fatwa against Pokemon and opens out into an introduction of the sensitive nature of discussions related to evolution and creation in the Gulf. The ensuing chapters approach and answer a major question: given this sensitivity, what enabled scientists to nevertheless employ evolution in the political, religious, social, and natural environments of the Gulf? At least part of the answer lies in the importance of networks between scientists, plants, princes, local tribes, European businesses, animals, and other historical actors. The history of those networks – and the botanical, zoological, ornithological, and paleontological research they enabled – is a transnational and transregional one, and looks carefully at concerns with conservation, climate change, and economies at multiple levels. Determann’s book avoids telling this story in terms of the common tropes of decline and stagnation, and seeks instead to “go beyond the wholesale and often negative views of scientific production in the contemporary Arab world.” Enjoy!