Thematic Research Clusters

The Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) organizes its work under three areas of overarching thematic focus that significantly expand the scope of its research agenda. In addition to maintaining a stream of research devoted to the Gulf and the Middle East under a Regional Studies theme, the center has launched two vital and timely thematic areas on Environmental Justice and Race and Society to support faculty whose research addresses important knowledge gaps in other geographies, whether regional or international. While the primary goal is to work closely with scholars to produce rigorous academic work on these topics, CIRS aims to engage broadly with our community and public audiences, and to contribute knowledge dissemination to multiple local and international stakeholders and communities of interest.

Faculty are invited to send project proposals on areas of research interest that fall under the broad rubric of these three overarching CIRS thematic areas at


Featured Projects 

Building a Legacy: Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022     The COVID Project                                                         



Regional Studies 

Regional Studies

Since its establishment in 2005, CIRS has sought to enhance knowledge production and to provide original, interdisciplinary analyses of the Gulf and the Middle East. This region’s geopolitics continue to unfold at remarkable speed, with ruptures in traditional regional and international alliances and the emergence of new political arrangements, and this remains a focal point of interest for CIRS research. Through this thematic focus, CIRS also considers a range of research efforts that provide deeper insights on historical, social, economic, and cultural developments in the region.

Research under Regional Studies 



Environmental Studies 


Building on CIRS’s previous record of research and scholarship on the topic, the thematic focus on Environmental Justice continues to address central questions related to climate change, the politics of natural resources, food security, water conflict, and other issues of environmental concern. Through this thematic focus, CIRS considers projects that examine the Middle East in comparison to other regions, or that pursue cross-national understandings of environmental issues. In addition to the production of rigorous research on these topics, CIRS seeks to translate this knowledge into practice through targeted outreach to communities and organizations that support a safer and sustainable future for all.

Research under Environmental Studies 


Race & Society 


Critically important for geopolitics, there is a range of social undercurrents and phenomena that require in-depth examination. Additionally, CIRS aims to enhance our understanding of race, ethnicity, religion, and cultural and national identity and belonging in multiple global contexts and geographies, including the Middle East. Through this thematic focus on Race and Society, CIRS supports original research production on diverse topics such as citizenship, migration, labor and employment, the family, education, technology and communication, as well as arts and cultural production.

Research under Race & Society