David Patel is a PhD candidate in Stanford's Dept of Political Science and,
beginning in Fall 2007, an Assistant Professor of Government at Cornell
University. He is currently a pre-doctoral fellow with the Center on
Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford University.
Mr. Patel will speak about changes in the communal support base of the
Jordanian Islamic Movement. He asks, why did a flourising Islamist movement,
capable of transcending Jordan's communal boundaries and shifting the broad
axes of social division, instead transform into an ethnic party in the
1990s? He argues the Transjordanian-dominated government, threatened by
Islamists' cross-communal appeal, purposely exploits communal divisions
within the Islamic Movement by engineering electoral rules, gerrymandering
districts, and provoking communally-divisive crises with the Movement. These
changes lead the Islamic Movement to increasingly cater to
Palestinian-Jordanian voters, which preserves national origin as the most
salient cleavage in Jordanian society.