[P4452] A Tribute to the Work of Mary Ann Tétreault (1942-2015)

Created by Farah Al-Nakib
Friday, 11/18/16 3:45pm


On November 11, 2015, Mary Ann Tétreault (emeritus Una Chapman Cox Distinguished Professor of International Affairs at Trinity University) passed away. As MESA celebrates fifty years of scholarship, this panel pays tribute to her considerable contributions to Middle East studies.

By her own admission, Tétreault’s research interests were “eclectic.” With a regional focus on the Middle East in general and the Arab Gulf states in particular (specifically Kuwait), she wrote extensively about the political economy of oil, parliamentary politics, social movements and revolutions, gender and women’s rights, private and public life, and the relationship between civil society and the state. In most of these fields, her work was groundbreaking. Her early work on OPEC and the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation redefined the way scholars look at international and regional organizations in relation to world oil politics and economic development in the global south. Her research on the actions and experiences of women in Kuwaiti society and politics was key to opening up the feminist focus of Gulf studies. Her extensive work on Kuwaiti politics illustrated how small states with economic independence maintain domestic security and act autonomously within the constraining dynamics controlled by more powerful states. For more than three decades, her ideas have been adopted, enhanced, and challenged by scholars who continue to build upon her foundations.

Tétreault was also deeply devoted to mentoring younger scholars. In her own words: “My goals in teaching are not only to transmit knowledge, but also the skills and confidence that will enable students to continue to educate themselves throughout life.” This dedication extended beyond her own undergraduate and graduate students. As one of the first social scientists to write about the Arab Gulf states in English, Tétreault generously took on the role of mentor to innumerable up-and-coming scholars working on the region worldwide. Her personal investment in their achievements substantially contributed to the maturity of Gulf scholarship.

This panel honors both aspects of Tétreault’s scholarly life and legacy: her groundbreaking contributions to the field, and her belief in empowering and supporting the work of younger academics. The presenters on this panel form part of a new generation of scholars working on the Gulf who have been inspired by Tétreault’s work. The four papers presented here build directly upon Tétreault’s contributions and demonstrate the ongoing relevance of her scholarship in shaping the field, more than three decades since she began writing about the region.


Association for Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Studies (AGAPS)


Hist; Pol Science; Socio




    Gwenn Okruhlik

    (Independent Researcher)
    Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Discussant;