[R6309] The Unmaking and Making of the Middle East in the Great War

Created by Jonathan Wyrtzen
Tuesday, 11/30/21 2:00 pm


The centenary of the First World War has engendered a wave of new scholarship over the past decade examining the causes, course, and outcomes of the Great War in the Middle East and North Africa. These include social, diplomatic, political, military, environmental, genocide studies, micro and macro, memoir, and global-transnational histories that have filled out and, in some cases, challenged our understandings of what constitutes perhaps the most transformative period in the region’s history over the past two centuries. The Great War marked the final unmaking of the centuries-old Ottoman-Qajar-Alawite regional framework extending from Morocco to the Iranian Plateau, and at the same time set up the stage and the trajectories of the colonial and nationalist influences that shaped the modern Middle East’s interstate system. rn rnThe proposed roundtable aims to reflect on this new body of scholarship, attempting to distill what has been learned, what has challenged dominant historiographical meta-narratives, and what kind of new consensus we might arrive at in terms of assessing the war’s overall impact on the region. To encourage a truly participatory discussion during the panel towards this end, the roundtable participants will address key questions related to periodization (the limits of the 1914-18 bracket, relationship to long 19th century developments, the break/non-break between prewar and postwar empire or mandate units of analysis, boundaries between war and interwar period) and geographical scope (limits of focus on Ottoman core and Arab provinces, connections to Balkans, Caucasus, Iran, Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, translocal connections through Indian Ocean and Mediterranean). They will also comment on the question of political agency, the role of colonial and local actors, and the longer term legacies of this period in the region.





Ali Abdullatif Ahmida

(University of New England)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Elizabeth Thompson

(American University, Washington DC)
Elizabeth F. Thompson is Professor and Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace in the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC. She is currently writing a new history of the constitutional government established at Damascus, Syria...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet

(University of Pennsylvania)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Mustafa Aksakal

(Georgetown University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer;

Jonathan Wyrtzen

(Yale University)
Jonathan Wyrtzen is a comparative-historical sociologist with teaching and research interests in North African society and politics. He works on the areas of state formation and non-state forms of political organization; colonialism and empire; ethnicity...
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer;

Christine Philliou

(UC Berkeley)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Laura Robson

(Penn State)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Hussein Omar

(University College Dublin)
Hussein A H Omar is a Junior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford and a Research Associate at the History Faculty, working on the 'First World War and Global Religions’ project. His postdoctoral research examines the anti-colonial insurrectionary...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;