skip to primary navigationskip to content

José Ciro Martínez

PhD student, Middle Eastern Studies


I graduated magna cum laude from Williams College (BA ’10) with a double major in Political Science and History. During my time as an undergraduate, I wrote an honors thesis on comparative theories and processes of democratization in the Middle East entitled, ‘They Cannot Represent Themselves, They Must be Represented: Class Discourse and Democracy in Lebanon and Iraq, 1989-2009.’  After Williams, I spent a year on a Thomas J. Watson travel fellowship pursuing a research project examining politics and the printed press in immigrant communities, spending the majority of my time in Jordan, Syria, Argentina and Morocco. During the past academic year (2011-2012), I pursued an MPhil in Politics at Cambridge, where I completed a dissertation on the comparative intersections of nationalism, Islamism and monarchism in the construction of political legitimacy in Morocco and Jordan during the immediate post-independence period.

Subject groups/Research projects

Arabic & Persian Studies:

Research Interests


Current Research Interests

My current research project seeks to contemplate questions regarding the construction and development of political legitimacy and nationalist discourse amidst structures of dispossession during the 1967-1971 period in Jordan. It draws upon a broad array of Arabic-language sources and employs theoretical insights from post-structural historiography, critical anthropology and political economy. How is Jordanian identity imagined, what are the politics of nationalism, how has historical discourse been constructed and how do these debates impinge upon contemporary politics are the main questions I seek to answer.


Political and cultural history of Iran and The Levant. Theories of identity and culture (especially nationalism and religion), the political economy of development, democratization and qualitative methods.


“Understanding the Roots of the Iranian Revolution: Assessing the Power, Influence and Social Position of Shi’ite Ulama in Iran, 1890-1979.” Journal of Politics and Society 20 (1): 17-40, 2010.