The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Rothberg International School

Division of Graduate Studies

 

Studying the Modern Middle East (19th and 20th Centuries):

A Historiographic Review

 

 

Dr. Ursula Wokoeck

01859

 

Autumn Semester 2013/14

 

 

Tuesdays 12:30-16:00 (Boyar 206)

 

Office hour: Tuesdays 11:15-12:15 (by appointment)

 

 

How is the history of the modern Middle East written? Who is or was a historical actor? How does the timeframe influence the historical account? How does one define the arena where in the historical narrative is set to unfold? What are valid sources for a historical enquiry? How should or could they be read? What options are available? How do they differ with regard to their potential contribution to our understanding of history? What are their limitations? These are some of the questions the course addresses in order to facilitate a deeper understanding of studies in modern Middle East history and to provide tools to conceive potential research projects.

 

The course consists of two main parts. The first one aims at giving a historical outline of the major trends in modern historiography in general, since the late 19th century, and at considering the impact of these trends on the development of Middle Eastern studies in the European and American research traditions. The discussion on the development of the field also examines the challenge posed to Middle East studies by the fundamental criticism raised in Edward Said’s book Orientalism (1978) (Main Library DS 12 S24, Overseas Library ME9 S132) as well as the discussion in the field that followed.

 

The second part reviews recent historiographic trends and highlights the implications of their diversity for the understanding of the history of the modern Middle East. In this section the discussion opens by reviewing studies that aim at reconsidering the periodization and the framing of the modern era. The central issues in this context are the conceptualization of modernity and the discussion on the available approaches to study the transition towards modernity in the Middle East. The course then progresses to consider how a shift in focus might alter our understanding of Middle East history. The examples chosen include the reevaluation of the concepts of nation and national identity and the implications for the framing of history; alternative approaches to law as simply a normative system; gender studies; the recovery of “lost voices”; and the investigation of historical sources beyond texts, such as movies and music. The final set of examples concerns research trends that aim at adding a new dimension to established fields. These include research trends in economic history which integrate cultural studies; attempts of bringing tribal society back into the historical narrative; and approaches reconsidering Islamist trends. In each case, the discussion aims at locating the specific approach in the research tradition, analyzing the impact that the “Orientalism”-criticism might have had on the emergence of the approach, and considering the wider potential of the approach for our understanding of the history of the modern Middle East.

 

The students are expected to attend class, to read in preparation of each session and to participate in the discussion.

Each student has to complete three assignments during the semester:

(a) a written summary (3 pages, max.) of one of the general reading assignments of the first part, to be submitted a week after we discussed the item in class.

(b) a summary of an additional reading assignment (to be chosen from among items in the bibliography for the second part) to be submitted in writing (3 pages, max.) and presented orally in class (the date for the oral presentation will be set once the students chose the items for their presentation; the summary in writing is due a week after the oral presentation.

(c) an oral presentation of the outline of the final paper, to be presented in class in one of the last sessions of the semester.

At the end of the course, each student is expected to write a paper (10-15 pages), reviewing one article-size study in the history of the modern Middle East by placing it in the context of issues discussed during the seminar. I shall try to take the student's field of interest into account when assigning the topic for the paper. It will also be possible to write a full seminar paper (25-30 pages).

 

Final grade:      60% paper

 10% active participation

 30% assignments (10% each)

 

For questions or clarifications, I may be reached at ursula.wokoeck@mail.huji.ac.il

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * *

 


Course Structure and Reading Material

 

Please note: the weekly reading assignments (one or two items per week) will be chosen from among the items listed. My choice will be based on the development of the discussions in class and – as much as possible – on the particular interests of the participating students.

 

 

 

 

Introduction

 

P. M. Holt, Egypt and the Fertile Crescent, 1516-1922. A Political History (Ithaca, London: Cornell University Press, 1966), pp. 211-229. Overseas Library 962 H758; ERESERVE 001509550

 

Zachary Lockman, "Exploring the Field: Lost Voices and Emerging Practices in Egypt, 1882-1914," in Histories of the Modern Middle East: New Directions, eds. Israel Gershoni et al. (Boulder, 2002), pp. 137-153. Overseas Library ME9(09) G381, ERESERVE 001379612

 

 

Part One:

 

Overview of the main currents in historiography

 

Georg G. Iggers, Historiography in the Twentieth Century: From Scientific Objectivity to Postmodern Challenge (Hanover, NH, 1997), Overseas Library 901 I24; ERESERVE 001379555

pp. 1-47 (“Introduction” & “I. The Early Phase: The Emergence of History as a Professional Discipline”); or

pp. 51-94 ("II. The Middle Phase: The Challenge of the Social Sciences")

pp. 97-147 ("III. History and the Challenge of Postmodernism")

 

Ursula Wokoeck, German Orientalism: The Study of the Middle East and Islam from 1800 to 1945 (London, 2009), pp. 39-64 (Chapter 2: Working at the university), pp. 292-293 (notes to chapter 2) Overseas Library ME9 W847, ERESERVE 001486650

 

 

The constitution of Middle East History since mid-century

 

Zachary Lockman, Contending Visions of the Middle East: The History and Politics of Orientalism (Cambridge, 2004), pp. 99-147 ("4. The American century") Overseas Library ME9 L816

 

Robert Irwin, For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and their Enemies (London, 2006), pp. 237-276 ("An All Too Brief Heyday of Orientalism") Overseas Library ME9 I72

 

New trends in the late 1960s and 1970s

 

Lockman, Contending Visions of the Middle East, pp. 148-181 ("5. Turmoil in the field")  Overseas Library ME9 L816, ERESERVE 001383320

 

Nancy Elizabeth Gallagher, Approaches to the History of the Middle East: Interviews with Leading Middle East Historians (Reading, 1996),

ERESERVE 001379567

pp. 129-150 ("Nikki Keddie");

pp. 91-107 ("Afaf Lutfi Al-Sayyid Marsot");

pp. 19-46 ("Albert Hourani")

 

 

Said's Orientalism

 

Edward W. Said, Orientalism (New York, 1978) Overseas Library ME9 S132

pp. 1-28 (“Introduction”) ERESERVE 001490703

 

 

The Challenge of Orientalism

 

Lockman, Contending Visions of the Middle East, Overseas Library ME9 L816

pp. 182-214 ("6. Said's Orientalism: a book and its aftermath") ERESERVE 001457948

pp. 215-267 ("7. After Orientalism?") ERESERVE 001461249

 

Irwin, For Lust of Knowing, Overseas Library ME9 I72

pp. 277-309 ("An Enquiry into the Nature of a Certain Twentieth-Century Polemic")

pp. 310-330 ("Enemies of Orientalism") ERESERVE 001516488

 

“How Has the Field of Middle East Studies Changed in the Last Five Years? An IJMES Retrospective,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 42 (2010), pp. 3-9 E-journal

 

 

The Colonial Encounter and Postcolonial Studies

 

Frederick Cooper, “Postcolonial Studies and the Study of History,” [2005] in The New Imperial History Reader, ed. Stephen Howe (London: 2010), pp. 75-91

ERESERVE 001511779

 

Dipesh Chakrabarty, “Provincializing Europe: Postcoloniality and the Critique of History,” Cultural Studies 6/3 (1992), pp. 337–357 E-journal

 

John McLeod, “Introduction,” in The Routledge Companion to Postcolonial Studies, ed. J. McLeod (London, 2007), pp. 1-18 ERESERVE 001510238

 

Selim Deringil, "‘They live in a State of Nomadism and Savagery’: The Late Ottoman Empire and the Post-Colonial-Debate.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 2 (2003), pp. 311-342. E-journal

 

* * * * * * * * * * *

 

Part Two:

 

Reconsidering the periodization and framing of the beginning of the modern era

 

* Dror Ze'evi, "Back to Napoleon? Thoughts on the Beginning of the Modern Era in the Middle East," Mediterranean Historical Review 19 (2004), pp. 73-94.

ERESERVE 001379246

 

James Gelvin, "Napoleon in Egypt as History and Polemic,” in Napoleon in Egypt, ed. Irene Bierman (Reading: Ithaca Press, 2003), pp. 139-160 ERESERVE 001486866

 

Juan Cole, Napoleon’s Egypt: Invading the Middle East (New York, 2007)

Overseas Library 962 C689

pp. ix-xi, 244-248 (“Acknowledgements” & “Epilogue”)

 

 

Reconsidering Nations and National Identity

 

Juan R. I. Cole and Deniz Kandiyoti, “Nationalism and the Colonial Legacy in the Middle East and Central Asia: Introduction,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 34 no. 2 (2002), pp. 189-203 ERESRVE 001733976

 

Dafna Hirsch, “’We Are Here to Bring the West, Not Only to Ourselves’: Zionist Occidentalism and the Discourse of Hygiene in Mandate Palestine,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 41 (2009), pp. 577-594 

            ERESERVE 001733977

 

Eve Troutt Powell, “From Odyssey to Empire: Mapping Sudan Through Egyptian Literature in the Mid-19th Century,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 31 (1999), pp. 401-427  ERESERVE 001733978

 

Khaled Fahmy, “The Nation and Its Deserters: Conscription in Mehmed Ali’s Egypt,” International Review of Social History 43 no.3 (1998), pp. 421–436               E-journal

 

Reconsidering Modernity in the Middle East

 

Keith D. Watenpaugh, Being Modern in the Middle East (Princeton, 2006), pp. 1-30 (“Introduction: Modernity, Class, and the Architecture of Community”)

ERESERVE 001512438

 

Stephen Sheehi, “A social history of early Arab photography or a prolegomenon to an archaeology of the Lebanese imago,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 39 (2007), pp. 177-208. E-journal

 

Yoav Di-Capua, “Common Skies Divided Horizons: Aviation, Class and Modernity in Early Twentieth Century Egypt,” Journal of Social History, 41 (2008), pp. 917-942. E-journal

 

Toufloul Abou-Hodeib, “Taste and Class in Late Ottoman Beirut,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 43 (2011), pp. 475-492. E-journal

 

Haytham Bahoora, Baudelaire in Baghdad: Modernism, the Body, and Husayn Mardan’s Poetics of the Self,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, 45 (2013), pp. 313-329.  E-journal

 

Mehmet Bengü Uluengin, “Secularizing Anatolia Tick by Tick: Clock Towers in the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 42 (2010), pp. 17-36  E-journal

 

 

Contextualizing Law and Courts of Law

 

Iris Agmon, Family and Court: Legal Culture and Modernity in Late Ottoman Palestine (Syracuse, NY, 2006), pp. 22-57 ("Family and Court").

ERESERVE 001379614

 

Timothy Mitchell, Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity (Berkeley, 2002), pp. 54-79 (“2. Principles True in Every Country”)  ERESERVE 001494944

 

Liat Kozma, Policing Egyptian Women: Sex, Law and Medicine in Egypt 1850-1882 (Syracuse, 2011), pp. xv-xxvii (“Introduction”) Overseas library 297.983.96 K88; ERESERVE 001734190

 

Avi Rubin, Ottoman Nizamiye Courts: Law and Modernity (New York, 2011), pp. 1-17 (“Introduction”)  ERESERVE 001734634

 

Donald Quataert with David Gutman, “Coal Mines, the Palace, and Struggles over Power, Capital, and Justice in the Late Ottoman Empire,” Journal of Middle East Studies 44 (2012), pp. 215-235 E-journal

 

 

Gender Studies

 

Marilyn Booth, “Women in Islam: Men and the ‘Women’s Press’ in Turn-of-the-20th-Century Egypt,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 33 (2001): 171-201. E-journal

 

Julia Clancy-Smith, "Twentieth-Century Historians and Historiography of the Middle East: Women, Gender, and Empire," in Middle East Historiographies: Narrating the Twentieth Century, ed. Israel Gershoni et al. (Seattle, 2006), pp. 70-100. Overseas library ME9(09) M627,  ERESERVE 001492384

 

Palmira Brummett, “Gender and Empire in Late Ottoman Istanbul: Caricature, Models of Empire and the Case of Ottoman Exceptionalism,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 27.2 (2007), pp. 283-302 E-journal

 

Lisa Pollard, Nurturing the Nation: Family politics of modernizing, colonizing and liberating Egypt, 1805-1923 (Berkeley, 2005), pp. 73-99 (“3. Domesticating Egypt: The Gendered Politics of the British Occupation”) ERESERVE 001487007

 

Afsaneh Najmabadi, "The Gender of Modernity: Reflections from Iranian Historiography," in Histories of the Modern Middle East: New Directions, eds. Israel Gershoni et al. (Boulder, 2002), pp. 75-91. Overseas library ME9(09) G381, ERESERVE 001379570

 

“Roundtable: Queer Theory and Middle East Studies,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 45 (2013): 331-352. E-journal

 

 

Recovering "lost voices":

 

Eve M. Troutt Powell, "Will That Subaltern Ever Speak? Finding African Slaves in the Historiography of the Middle East," in Middle East Historiographies, pp. 242-261. Overseas library ME9(09) M627, ERESERVE 001459453

 

Mine Ener, Managing Egypt's Poor and the Politics of Benevolence, 1800-1952 (Princeton, 2003), pp. ix-xxvi ("Preface: Finding Egypt's Poor")

ERESERVE 001379631

 

Heather J. Sharkey, “Empire and Muslim conversion: historical reflections on Christian missions in Egypt,” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, 16/1 (2005), pp. 43-60 E-journal

 

Timothy Mitchell, Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity (Berkeley, 2002), pp. 19-53 (“Can the Mosquito Speak?”) ERESERVE 001494944  

 

 

Historical sources beyond texts

 

Barbara E. Mann, A Place in History: Modernism, Tel Aviv, and the Creation of Jewish Urban Space (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006), pp. 26-71 (“2. The Zionist Uncanny: Reading the Old Cemetery on Trumpeldor”) E115(TEL-AVIV) M281

 

Cyrus Schayegh, “‘Seeing like a state’: An essay on the historiography of modern Iran,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 42 (2010), pp. 37-61.

            E-journal

 

Walter Armbrust, "Audiovisual Media and History of the Arab Middle East," in Middle East Historiographies, pp. 288-313. Overseas library ME9(09) M627,  ERESERVE 001460668

 

Joel Gordon, “The Slaps felt around the Arab world: Family and national melodrama in two Nasser-era musicals,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 39 (2007), pp. 209-228. E-journal

 

“Roundtable: Studying the Music of North Africa,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 44 (2012), pp. 775-797. E-journal

 

Israel Gershoni and James Jankowski, Commemorating the Nation: Collective Memory, Public Commemoration, and National Identity in Twentieth-Century Egypt (Chicago, 2004), pp. 1-24, 305-317 ("Introduction" and "Conclusion") ERESERVE 001379650

 

“Roundtable: How Does Incorporating the Emerging Field of Environmental History into Studies of the Middle East Challenge Our Views of the Past and/or Present?” International Journal of Middle East Studies 42 (2010), pp. 657-671. E-journal

 

 


Trends in economic history

 

Relli Shechter, "Selling Luxury: The Rise of the Egyptian Cigarette and the Transformation of the Egyptian Tobacco Market, 1850-1914," International Journal of Middle East Studies 35 (2003), pp. 51-75. E-journal

 

Nancy Y. Reynolds, “National Socks and the ‘Nylon Woman’: Materiality, Gender, and Nationalism in Textile Marketing in Semicolonial Egypt, 1930-56,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 43 (2011), pp. 49-74 E-journal

 

Julia Clancy-Smith, “A Woman Without Her Distaff: Gender, Work, and Handicraft Production in Colonial North Africa,” in Social History of Women and Gender in the Modern Middle East, ed. Margaret L. Mariwether and Judith E. Tucker (Boulder, 1999), pp. 25-62 ERESERVE 001510670

 

Malek Abisaab, “Arab Women and Work: The Interrelation between Orientalism and Historiography,” HAWWA – Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World 7 (2009), pp. 164-198  E-journal

 

Roger Owen, “From Liberalism to Liberal Imperialism: Lord Cromer and the First Wave of Globalization in Egypt,” in Histories of the Modern Middle East: New Directions, ed. Israel Gershoni et al. (Boulder, 2002), pp. 95-112. Overseas library ME9(09) G381

 

Joshua Schreier, “From Mediterranean Merchant to French Civilizer: Jacob Lasry and the Economy of Conquest in Early Colonial Algeria,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 44 (2012), pp. 631-649 E-journal

 

 

Bringing tribal society back in

 

Yoav Alon, "The Tribal System in the Face of the State-Formation Process: Mandatory Transjordan, 1921-46," International Journal of Middle East Studies 37:2 (2005), pp. 213-240. E-journal

 

Richard T. Antoun, "Civil Society, Tribal Process, and Change in Jordan: An Anthropological View," International Journal of Middle East Studies 32:4 (2000), pp. 441-463. E-journal

Jonathan Benthall, "A Comment on Richard T. Antoun, ' Civil Society, Tribal Process, and Change in Jordan: An Anthropological View'," International Journal of Middle East Studies 33:4 (2001), pp. 668-670. E-journal

Richard T. Antoun, "A Reply to Jonathan Benthall," International Journal of Middle East Studies 33:4 (2001), pp. 670-672. E-journal

 

Jonathan Wyrtzen, “Colonial State-Building and the Negotiation of Arab and Berber Identity in Protectorate Morocco,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 43 (2011), pp. 227-249. E-journal

 

Reconsidering Islamist trends:

 

“Roundtable: How Do Scholars Study Islamist Movements and How Should We Be Studying Them?” International Journal of Middle East Studies 43 (2011): 133-146 E-journal

 

Samuli Schielke, “Being a Nonbeliever in a Time of Islamic Revival: Trajectories of Doubt and Certainty in Contemporary Egypt,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 44 (2012), pp. 301-320. E-journal

 

Ellen McLarney, “The Islamic Public Sphere and the Discipline of Adab,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 43 (2011), pp. 429-449. E-journal

 

Charles Hirschkind, “Experiments in Devotion Online: The YouTube Khutba,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 44 (2012), pp. 5-21 E-journal