Paper on Huthis at MESA


One of the panels (not sponsored by AIYS) at this year’s MESA Conference in Denver  is  relevant to Yemen.  This is:

(4170) Shiʿi (Trans)nationalism in Comparative Perspective Organized by Robert J. Riggs and Zackery Heern
Chair/Discussant: Juan Cole, U Michigan
Sunday 2-4pm
Zackery Heern, Idaho State U–Modern Usuli Shiʿism as a Transnational Movement
Mina Yazdani, Eastern Kentucky U– Shiʿi Nationalism in the Twentieth Century Iran
Simon Wolfgang Fuchs, Princeton U– The Shiʿi Regulators of Free Religious Trade: Debating and Importing the Iranian Revolution in Pakistan
Najam Haider, Barnard Col/Columbia U–The Houthi Revolt: The Revival of Traditional Zaydism in Republican Yemen (1962-2015)
Robert J. Riggs, U Bridgeport–AlSadr’s Indigenization Strategies and the Emergence of Iraqi Arab Shiʿism

Letter to AIYS Members

October 1, 2015
Dear AIYS Member,
It has been a long and difficult year for those of us who know Yemen, with no resolution in sight for the extensive loss of life, property, cultural heritage and the worsening humanitarian crisis.  As AIYS President, I am writing for your support.

First, please renew your membership as soon as you can.  You can do this on our AIYS website at  And if you know of anyone with even a slight interest in Yemen, please encourage them to join AIYS as well.

Second, AIYS is looking for those who work on Yemen in any field to be candidates for AIYS at-large board members.   There are only a few of us who work on Yemen, so your participation is really needed, especially given the extraordinary problems our Yemeni colleagues and the Yemen people are facing. Please feel free to volunteer yourself to serve on the board and contact me.

Third, at this difficult time for Yemen, our concern is obviously on the humanitarian crisis, but we also need to continue support for research on Yemen in all fields, especially for our colleagues who teach in Yemen.  Last year we inaugurated a special fellowship fund for Yemeni scholars in the name of Dr. Abdulkarim Al Eryani (details at and we welcome contributions to that. Any suggestions for other research funding resources would be greatly appreciated.

Fourth, if you have written commentaries, articles or blog posts regarding Yemen in any capacity, please send me the details for our AIYS blog.

Regarding AIYS in Yemen, our library and hospice are temporarily closed, but so far the building has not received any damage. Dr. Salwa Dammaj, our Resident Director, continues to represent AIYS despite the difficult circumstances.  Relevant news about Yemen, including the ongoing destruction of cultural heritage, is provided on the AIYS blog ( and our AIYS Facebook site ( You are encouraged to join our Facebook site.

This year AIYS will sponsor two panels at MESA, which is being held in Denver Colorado.  The first panel, [P4124] “Turmoil and Tolerance: Unpacking the Current Crisis in Yemen,” will be held Sunday, November 22, from 4:30-6 pm.  The presenters are:

•              Yemen and the Culture of Tolerance by Sharafuddin, Mohammed

•              Mediating Social Hierarchies in Yemen’s Highlands by Adra, Najwa

•              Huthis and Tribes: Prospects for Tribalism in Huthi-Controlled Areas by Brandt, Marieke

•              U.S. Drones–Houthi Responses: A Critical Reading of Ansarullah’s Resistance Politics in Yemen by Mahdi, Waleed

•              A New Era for Language Diversity in Yemen: Mahri and Socotri in the new Yemeni Constitution by Liebhaber, Sam

The second panel is a roundtable entitled “What’s Happening In Yemen” with a talk by H.E. Ambassador Amat al-Alim Alsoswa on the current situation in Yemen and discussion by Dan Varisco and Sheila Carapico. This will be held on Monday, November 23, from 11:00 am-12:30 pm.  If you plan to attend MESA, I strongly encourage you to attend these, as well as our AIYS business meeting, to be held Saturday, November 21 from 7:30-8:30pm, Plaza Court 6, Plaza Building, Concourse Level.

I look forward to hearing from you and seeing those of you who will attend MESA in November.  Please feel free to contact me at for more information or to provide any suggestions you have for the future of AIYS.


Daniel Martin Varisco
President, AIYS
Research Professor in Social Science, Qatar University