ED: You say you cover the “intersection of business and international affairs?” What the **** is that?
MAHA: My background is in business journalism, but I wrote mainly about business subjects for general interest readers and with a focus on the bigger picture. For example. I covered: U.S. regulatory policy, from antitrust law to carbon caps; international political economy, especially in the Middle East and South Asia; the technology sector as a catalyst for social, cultural or political change; the politics and economics of natural resource industries, like energy and mining; corporate philanthropy, social enterprise and economic development. These types of stories gave rise directly to my PhD dissertation project, which looks at companies as governing authorities, through the lens of corporate land acquisition and corporate provision of infrastructure. The project’s making explicit the international political dynamics that ran through much of my journalistic work.
ED: I think you made this beat up.
MAHA: Actually, I stole it from Max Weber.
ED: You arrogant blowhard. Besides Weber, whom do you read?
MAHA: I’m a devoted reader of 19th century fiction, which was often journalism in disguise. In particular, I admire the attention to detail in the works of Dickens and Balzac. We remember them as crusaders using narrative as polemic, or as as stylists using prose as ornament, but their most important tool was observation. In this age of infotainment, reporters could learn a great deal from them.
ED: What do you do when you’re not being a nosey parker?
MAHA: I run. I cook, and I bake, which are not the same thing. I look for good wines. I eat a lot of cheese. I watch professional sports. I’m an obsessive Yankee fan, and a follower of club and international soccer. Oh, and I do crosswords.
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