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School of Government & International Affairs

Staff Profile

Dr Christopher Davidson, BA & MA (Cambridge); MLitt & PhD (St. Andrews); FHEA

Personal web page

Associate Professor (Reader) in Middle East Politics in the School of Government and International Affairs
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 45676
Room number: IM210, Al-Qasimi Building

(email at christopher.davidson@durham.ac.uk)

Christopher is a reader in Middle East politics at Durham University, a fellow at Leiden University College in the Hague, and a fellow of the UK's Higher Education Academy. He was previously an assistant professor at Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates and a visiting associate professor at Kyoto University in Japan. He has also held a five year, fixed term, associate fellowship at the Royal United Services Institute and, in April 2017, held the Daoud Family Lectureship in Middle Eastern Studies at Albion College, Michigan.

He holds degrees from the University of Cambridge (BA, MA), and the University of St. Andrews (M.Litt, PhD).


He has published six single-authored books, two edited volumes, and a number of peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters in other edited collections. His 2008 book, Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success (New York: Columbia University Press), was a book of the year for both the London Evening Standard and the New Statesman. It was reviewed by the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, and numerous scholarly journals. His 2013 book, After the Sheikhs (New York: Oxford University Press), was translated into both Arabic and Farsi and was reviewed by the Guardian, the Independent, and the Economist. His most recent book, Shadow Wars: The Secret Struggle for the Middle East (London: Oneworld), was published in 2016 and selected for both the Cambridge Literary Festival and the FT Weekend's Oxford Literary FestivalWith Dirk Vandewalle (Dartmouth), he co-edits the book series Power and Politics in the Gulf, co-published by Hurst & Co. and Oxford University Press USA. 

He is the principal investigator on a three year-long project, employing a full-time postdoctoral researcher. As primary supervisor he has supervised eleven doctorates to completion, with his advisees having taken up assistant professorships/lectureships/postdoctoral fellowships at Georgetown University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Tubingen, Exeter University, Durham University, Kings College London, Qatar University, and the Emirates Diplomatic Academy. He has externally examined a number of doctorates internationally across a range of universities including Australian National University, Tel Aviv, Oxford, St. Andrews, Leeds, Exeter, the London School of Economics, and Queens University Belfast.

He has taught full-time for fifteen years in higher education and has convened a number of modules, including Politics of the Oil Monarchies, Middle East in the International System, Introduction to Middle East Politics, and (at his previous institution) Global Studies, State and Society, Comparative Politics, Development and Underdevelopment, and Research Methods in the Social Sciences. In 2014 he was runner-up in the Durham Student Union teacher of the year award (for the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law). He has held a number of departmental management portfolios, inter alia, acting deputy head of school, director of undergraduate studies, and director of postgraduate studies (both taught and research).

He has served as an expert witness on more than twenty occasions in a range of extradition, immigration, Interpol, and terrorism cases. In 2010 his evidence played a leading role in determining the outcome of Britain's longest running extradition case, and in 2014 his legal work formed the basis of an REF impact case study. He is currently preparing a similar, but more substantial impact case study in anticipation of the REF 2021 exercise. 

He has delivered a number of invited/endowed public lectures at universities around the world, including: Stanford, Yale, George Washington, Sciences-Po in Paris, Leiden, Kyoto, Otago, Amsterdam, American University of Beirut, Oxford, LSE, SOAS, St. Andrews, Exeter, Leeds, Bath, and Aberdeen.

In addition to academic work, he has also published policy-focused pieces in the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Guardian, the Times Higher Education, and BBC Online. In Arabic, his articles have been published by a number of leading newspapers, with his September 2009 article for Al-Akhbar, ‘The Great Dubai Crash / انهيار دبي الكبير’, credited with predicting the November 2009 Dubai crash.

He has delivered briefings and prepared reports for a range of organizations and institutions including the US Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the US Department of State’s Foreign Services Institute, the US National Intelligence Council, NATO Intelligence (Fusion), British Intelligence (GCHQ), Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (policy unit, ambassadorial briefings, etc.), the London Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, the Royal College of Defence Studies, the New Zealand intelligence services, the New Zealand, Canadian, and Netherlands foreign ministries, British Petroleum, Royal Dutch Shell, the Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority, and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2016 he presented oral evidence on Britain’s Middle East policy to the House of Lords International Relations Committee and in 2017 his work was cited in a UK Parliament Select Committee’s inquiry report entitled ‘The Middle East: Time for New Realism‘.

His professional website is http://www.christopherdavidson.net/

From time to time he tweets on Middle East politics and other related issues at @dr_davidson

Google Scholar profile

Selected Publications

Authored book

  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2016). Shadow Wars: The Secret Struggle for the Middle East. London: Oneworld / Allen & Unwin.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2013). After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies (US Edition). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2012). After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies. London: Hurst & Co.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2010). The Persian Gulf and Pacific Asia: From Indifference to Interdependence. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2009). Abu Dhabi: Oil and Beyond. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2008). Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2005). The United Arab Emirates: A Study in Survival. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner Press.

Chapter in book

  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2017). The Arab Spring's Impact on the Persian Gulf Monarchies. In Lost in Translation: New Paradigms for the Arab Spring. Rabi, Uzi & Bouasria, Abdelilah Sussex Academic Press.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2014). The Gulf Monarchies and Pacific Asia: Towards Interdependency? In Converging Regions: Global Perspectives on Asia and the Middle East. Lenze, Nele. & Schriwer, Charlotte. Ashgate. 143-160.
  • Sultan, Nabil, Bunt-Kokhuis, Sylvia van de, Davidson, Christopher M., Sentini, Alan & Weir, David (2012). E-Learning in the Arab Gulf: Responding to the Changing World of Education. In The GCC Economies: Stepping Up to Future Challenges. Ramady, Mohamed A. New York: Springer. 33-48.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2012). Government in the United Arab Emirates: Progress and Pathologies. In Governance in the Middle East and North Africa. Kadhim, Abbas. London: Routledge. 275-291.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2011). Gulf-Pacific Asia Linkages in the Twenty-First Century: A Marriage of Convenience? In The Transformation of the Gulf: Politics, Economics and the Global Order. Held, David. & Ulrichsen, Kristian. Routledge.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2011). Higher Education in the Gulf States: From Traditional to Modern. In The New Post-Oil Arab Gulf: Managing People and Wealth. Sultan, Nabil., Weir, David. & Karake-Shalhoub, Zeinab. London: Saqi Books. 97-116.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2011). Introduction. In Power and Politics in the Persian Gulf Monarchies. Davidson, Christopher M. Columbia University Press. 1-7.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2011). The Gulf Arab States and Asia Pacific: Geo-Economics and Interdependency. In Shifting Geo-Economic Power of the Gulf. Legrenzi, Matteo. & Momani, Bessma. London: Ashgate. 183-198.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2011). The United Arab Emirates. In Power and Politics in the Persian Gulf Monarchies. Davidson, Christopher M. London: Columbia University Press. 7-31.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2010). Dubai and the United Arab Emirates: Domestic and International Threats. In Security in the Gulf: Historical Legacies and Future Prospects. Legrenzi, Matteo. New York: Routledge.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2010). From Traditional to Formal Education in the Lower Arabian Gulf, 1820–1971. In Islam and Education. Abbas, Tahir. London: Routledge.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2010). The Higher Education Sector in the Gulf: History, Pathologies, and Progress. In The EU and the GCC: Challenges and Prospects under the Swedish EU Presidency. Koch, Christian. & Stenberg, Leif. Dubai: Gulf Research Center. 61-78.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2009). The United Arab Emirates: Economy First, Politics Second. In Political Liberalization in the Persian Gulf. Teitelbaum, Joshua. New York / London: Columbia University Press / Hurst & Co. 223-248.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2008). Diversification in Abu Dhabi and Dubai: The Impact on National Identity and the Ruling Bargain. In Popular Culture and Political Identity in the Arab Gulf States. Alsharekh, Alanoud. & Springborg, Robert. London: Saqi Books. 143-153.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2008). Higher Education in the Gulf: An Historical Background. In Higher Education in the Gulf States: Shaping Economies, Politics and Cultures. Davidson, Christopher M. & Mackenzie-Smith, Peter. London: Saqi Books. 23-40.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2008). The Impact of Economic Reform on Dubai. In Reform in the Middle East Oil Monarchies. Ehteshami, Anoushivaran. & Wright, Steven. London: Ithaca Press. 153-180.

Edited book

  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2011). Power and Politics in the Persian Gulf Monarchies. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. & Mackenzie-Smith, Peter. (2008). Higher Education in the Gulf: Building Economies, Politics and Cultures. London: Saqi Books.

Journal Article

  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2017). US-Iran Relations: From Nuclear Deal to Renewed Tensions? Global Policy
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2017). Why was Muammar Qadhafi really removed? Middle East Policy 24(4): 91-116.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2014). Expatriates and the Gulf Monarchies: Politics, Security, and the Arab Spring. Asian Affairs 45(2): 270-288.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2013). The Arab Sunset. Foreign Affairs 92(5): 235-243.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2011). Dubai's Diversification: From Boom to Bust. Orient 52(1): 51-55.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2010). Abu Dhabi's Global Economy: Integration and Innovation. Encounters 1(2): 101-128.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2009). Abu Dhabi's New Economy: Oil, Investment and Domestic Development. Middle East Policy 16(2): 59-79.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2009). Dubai and the United Arab Emirates: Security Threats. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 36(3): 431-447.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2009). Dubai: Foreclosure of a Dream. Middle East Report 251(Summer): 8-13.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2009). The United Arab Emirates: Prospects for Political Reform. Brown Journal of World Affairs 15(2): 117-127.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2008). Dubai: The Security Dimensions of the Region's Premier Free Port. Middle East Policy 15(2): 143-160.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2008). From Traditional to Formal Education in the Lower Arabian Gulf, 1820-1971. History of Education 37(5): 633-643.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2007). 'Arab Nationalism and British opposition in Dubai, 1920-66'. Middle Eastern Studies 43(6): 879-892.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2007). 'The Emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai: Contrasting Roles in the International System'. Asian Affairs 38(1): 33-48.
  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2006). After Shaikh Zayed: the Politics of Succession in Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates. Middle East Policy 13(1): 42-59.

Report

  • Davidson, Christopher M. (2010). Persian Gulf - Pacific Asia Linkages in the Twenty-First Century: A Marriage of Convenience? London School of Economics.

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Supervises

Contact Details

T: +44 (0) 191 334 5656

F: +44 (0) 191 334 5661