The Middle East and the Making of the Modern World

The Middle East and the Making of the Modern World
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Published Date: August 2017
ISBN-13: 9780674088337

In The Middle East and the Making of the Modern World, Cyrus Schayegh takes up a fundamental problem historians face: how to make sense of the spatial layeredness of the past. He argues that the modern world’s ultimate socio‐spatial feature was not the oft‐studied processes of globalization or state formation or urbanization. Rather, it was fast‐paced, mutually transformative intertwinements of cities, regions, states, and global circuits, a bundle of processes he calls transpatialization. To make this case, Schayegh’s study pivots around Greater Syria (Bilad al‐Sham in Arabic), which is roughly coextensive with present‐day Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel/Palestine. From this region, Schayegh looks beyond, to imperial and global connections, diaspora communities, and neighboring Egypt, Iraq, and Turkey. And he peers deeply into Bilad al‐Sham: at cities and their ties, and at global economic forces, the Ottoman and European empire‐states, and the post‐Ottoman nation‐states at work within the region. He shows how diverse socio‐spatial intertwinements unfolded in tandem during a transformative stretch of time, the mid‐nineteenth to mid‐twentieth centuries, and concludes with a postscript covering the 1940s to 2010s.


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