Transregional Planning Grants


The Red Sea Arena, spanning East Africa to the Arabian Peninsula, is one of the most unequal in the world. This project starts with the urgent question of how, in one ecological region, some of the richest and poorest societies in the world are weathering today’s profound climatic, economic, and political transformations. By creating a network of specialists across the usual boundaries of African Studies and Middle Eastern Studies, across disciplines, and across institutions located throughout the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa, this project enables a deeper investigation of how environmental transformations and political economies unite this region.

Principal Investigators

Nathalie Peutz

Associate Professor of Arab Crossroads Studies, NYU Abu Dhabi

Nathalie Peutz is associate professor of Arab crossroads studies at New York University Abu Dhabi. A cultural anthropologist, she has conducted wide-ranging, ethnographic research in Yemen, Djibouti, and Somaliland. Peutz completed her BA at the University of Pennsylvania and PhD at Princeton University. She is the author of Islands of Heritage: Conservation and Transformation in Yemen (Stanford, 2018), which examines the impact of environmental conservation, development, and heritage projects in prewar Socotra, Yemen's Indian Ocean archipelago and one of the most biologically diverse places in the world. She is also the co-editor of The Deportation Regime: Sovereignty, Space, and the Freedom of Movement (with Nicholas De Genova, Duke, 2010). Her work has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, and the Bellagio Center of the Rockefeller Foundation, among others. Peutz is currently writing a book on Yemeni refugees and Ethiopian migrants in the Horn of Africa.

Alden Young

Assistant Professor of History, University of California Los Angeles

Alden Young is assistant professor of African American studies and a faculty member of the International Development Studies program of the UCLA International Institute. A political and economic historian of Africa, he is the author of Transforming Sudan: Decolonization, Economic Development and State Formation (Cambridge University Press, 2017). Young is particularly interested in the ways in which Africans participated in the creation of the current international order and has research interests on both sides of the Red Sea. He has done extensive fieldwork in Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates. Young’s current research project examines how Sudanese intellectuals and businessmen conceptualized the rise of the Arab Gulf beginning in the 1970s and built economic, political, and labor relationships between Sudan and the Gulf region. He is also engaged in two collaborative research projects: a study of post-partition conflicts in the Horn of Africa (e.g., Sudan–South Sudan and Ethiopia-Eritrea) with political scientist Michael Woldemariam, and a study of East African ideas of federation. Along with Nathalie Puetz of NYU Abu Dhabi, Young has been awarded a research grant by the Social Science Research Council to conceptualize the Red Sea as a region of study. A frequent contributor to international media outlets such as Al Jazeera, Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Policy, Young is a non-resident fellow at the Quincy Institute and was a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study of Princeton University for the 2019–2020 term.


Ian Hoyt

Student, NYU Abu Dhabi

Yesmine Abida

Student, NYU Abu Dhabi

Anatoli Lemma

Student, NYU Abu Dhabi

Rifal Imam

Student, NYU Abu Dhabi