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Dr Christopher Davidson, BA & MA (Cambridge); M.Litt & Ph.D (St. Andrews); FHEA

Personal web page

Reader in Middle East Politics in the School of Government and International Affairs

(email at

Christopher read Modern History at King's College, University of Cambridge, before taking his M.Litt and Ph.D in Political Science at the University of St. Andrews. He has lived and worked in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Beirut. Before joining Durham he was an assistant professor at Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates, first on the Abu Dhabi campus, then in Dubai. He is also a fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy and in 2009 was a visiting associate professor at Kyoto University, Japan.

He is the author of five single-authored books. The latest, After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies was published in summer 2013 by Oxford University Press in the US. A UK/Europe edition was published earlier in the year by Hurst & Co and Arabic and Farsi translations were published in 2014. Book launch lectures have been held at George Washington University (full video), the London School of Economics (full video), and other, shorter presentations on the book have been given at the Oxford Union (full video) and with the Project on Middle East Political Science (full video). It has already been reviewed by The Independent, The Guardian, The Economist, Tribune Magazine, and The Huffington Post. It was listed by the Foreign Policy Association as one of the 'Most Significant Books of 2013'; listed as one of Foreign Policy's 'Top Ten Books on the Middle East from 2012'; and also as one of Al-Monitor's 'Top 15 Essential Mideast Books.' In May 2013 Foreign Policy published an excerpt from the US edition.

His 2008 book Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success was named a book of the year by both the New Statesman and the London Evening Standard, and has been reviewed, inter alia, by the Financial Times, the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, Foreign Affairs, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the free Arabic press, and dozens of scholarly journals. It has been the subject of multiple television and radio documentaries and was cited by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, and the Independent as having predicted the 2009 Dubai crash.

He is co-editor of the book series Power and Politics in the Gulf. This was previously published simultaneously by Columbia University Press (in the US) and C. Hurst & Co (in the UK), and is now published by Oxford University Press. His edited book, published in December 2011, serves as the cornerstone for the series.

He is the author of more than a dozen scholarly articles, many of which have appeared in leading journals such as Foreign Affairs, Asian Affairs, Middle East Policy (1, 2, 3), and the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies.

He is a United Nations (Alliance of Civilizations) expert on the politics and development of the Gulf monarchies. His work has also been referred to by the UN's High Commissioner on Refugees. He is also an associate fellow of the Royal United Services Instutitute (RUSI).

He has appeared on most major television and radio news bulletins, including the BBC, CNN, Sky, ABC, Al-Jazeera, Japan's NHK, Bloomberg, ITV, and NPR. He has also been a guest on a number of prime time current affairs shows including the BBC's Newsnight, Sky's Jeff Randall Show, CNN's Connect the World, Bloomberg's Last Word, Radio 4's Today and PM shows, NPR's All Things Considered, NHK's Asian Voices, and Al-Jazeera's Inside Story, Riz Khan, Counting the Cost, and Empire shows. In December 2011 he appeared on BBC World's Doha Debates, speaking for the motion 'This House has no Confidence in Bahrain's Promise to Reform'.

He has been interviewed and his work cited by the leading international newspapers and the Arabic press. His opinion editorials have appeared in the New York Times (1, 2), the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, Foreign Policy, the New Statesman, and OpenDemocracy. He has also written for Al-Akhbar newspaper, with his article 'انهيار دبي الكبي ' / 'The Great Dubai Crash' being published in September 2009, two months before the Dubai crash. He has delivered public lectures at a number of leading universities, including Yale (video excerpts), Stanford (video excerpts), George Washington University, Oxford, the LSE, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, National University of Singapore, and Otago.

He has supervised six doctoral dissertations to successful completion. Two of these have already resulted in well-received publications: The Gulf Monarchies and Climate Change and Qatar: Securing the Ambitions of a City State. Positions gained by researchers during and after doctoral supervision include: postdoctoral researcher at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (Qatar), deputy director of the Royal United Services Institute (Qatar), and lecturer in defence studies at King's College, University of London.

Personal website:

He tweets to more than than 120,000 @dr_davidson (the subject of an article 'The Rules of Twitter Engagement' for the Times Higher Education)

Research Groups

School of Government and International Affairs

Selected Publications

Books: authored

Books: edited

Books: sections

Journal papers: academic

Reports: official

Show all publications

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Politics & Society: Gulf Politics
  • Politics & Society: Lebanese Politics
  • Politics & Society: The United Arab Emirates
  • Politics & Society: Dubai
  • Politics & Society: Abu Dhabi