MESA madness

The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) is meeting at this very moment in Washington. Over at Sandstorm, I do some counting, which reveals the herd instinct at work: MESAns just love to do papers on Palestine and the Palestinians. Read the column to find out why.

And here’s a pop question: what’s the least-studied Arab country among MESAns? Answer: it’s probably Saudi Arabia, to judge from the numbers. (See the graph at Sandstorm.) Why? For the context, pay a visit here.

I’m still awaiting the results of the MESA presidential race (Zachary Lockman vs. Mark Tessler), and the elections for the board of directors (the egregious Joseph Massad is a candidate). And who will fill the one empty spot reserved for honorary fellows? (Here’s my preference.) I await the white smoke from the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.

Quick update: Word reaches me that Zachary Lockman is the new president-elect of MESA–as I predicted. MESA has lurched to the radical left, rejecting the garden-variety liberal Mark Tessler. Has the other shoe dropped? (Massad!) I’m still waiting…

Further update: Joseph Massad didn’t win a spot on the MESA board. (I made no prediction on that one.) No one was chosen to join the ranks of honorary fellows. And there was a major fracas at the business meeting, created by supporters of the academic boycott of Israel. I’ll look for reliable, first-hand accounts.