Dr. Richard Norton is a professor of Anthropology and International Relations at Boston University. His research experience in the Middle East spans nearly three decades, including residences in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, and Lebanon. His current research interests include inter-sectarian relations in the Middle East, reformist Muslim thought, and strategies of political reform and opposition in authoritarian states.
In the 1990s he headed a widely-cited three-year project funded by the Ford Foundation that examined the state-society relations in the Middle East and the question of civil society in the region. It is indicative of his interests that many of his courses are often cross-listed with the departments of international relations and political science. He has also held academic appointments at New York University and the United States Military Academy. In 2006 he was an advisor to the Iraq Study Group (Baker-Hamilton Commission). He is also Visiting Professor in the Politics of the Middle East at the University of Oxford and a Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.
His books include Hezbollah: A Short History, the two-volume collection Civil Society in the Middle East, Amal and the Shi’a: Struggle for the Soul of Lebanon, The International Relations of the PLO (senior editor), Political Tides in the Arab World (co-author), UN Peacekeepers (co-author), and Security in the Middle East: New Perspectives (in Arabic).
His recent articles have appeared in Current History, Foreign Policy, International Spectator, Journal of Palestine Studies, Middle East Journal, The Nation, and in leading newspapers.
He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Middle East Studies Association, the American Anthropological Association, and the American Political Science Association, and a co-founder of the Boston Forum on the Middle East and the Conference Group on the Middle East.