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Session C5032 (Unraveling the Middle East III: The End...?), 2017
In my short intervention, I will focus on the ways in which we might unpick the strategic handiwork that has stitched together disparate spaces into a single geopolitical entity - the Middle East. In particular, I will sketch out a case for thinking of the Eastern Mediterranean - a term that is admittedly not without its fraught cultural and political associations - as a discrete zone. Though it overlaps with and shades into other spaces of life, production, and capital, it is bound together by a particular circulatory logic that connects its nodal points together, while disconnecting and distinguishing them from other central places of knowledge production or trade. How was this region formed and reformed by the entanglement of this region into broader circuits of capital and commerce in the course of the long nineteenth century? And how has it been reshaped by the shifting modes of organising economy and society that succeeded each other over the long twentieth century? Tracing over time these changing mechanics for articulating different scales and strategies of accumulation, I suggest, offers one fruitful means of unravelling the Middle East and gaining purchase on its particularities.