"Given the marginalization, violence, and displacements that have been the lot of numerous Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities over the last century, the fact that ongoing violence continues to make headlines, and the presumption among many in the West that these conflicts attest to an immutable, endemic religious fanaticism of the area, this book is important. It stands to be timely, significant, and useful in a variety of settings, including undergraduate courses on the modern Middle East."—Joshua Schreier, associate professor of history, Vassar College
"A valuable guide that sheds light on the process of 'minoritization' that involved most of the populations present in the region in the last century."—The International Spectator
"This compilation of articles provides an opportunity for students and scholars of the Middle East to understand the complicated patchwork of peoples living in the area that has been transformed into what we now call the ‘Middle East’."—Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations
In the wake of recent upheavals across the Arab world, a simplistic media portrayal of the region as essentially homogenous has given way to a new though equally shallow portrayal, casting it as deeply divided along ethnic, linguistic, and religious lines. The essays gathered in Minorities and the Modern Arab World seek to challenge this representation with a nuanced exploration of the ways in which ethnic, religious, and linguistic commitments have intersected to create “minority” communities in the modern era.
Bringing together the fields of history, political science, anthropology, sociology, and linguistics, contributors provide fresh analyses of the construction and evolution of minority identities around the region. They examine how the category of “minority” became meaningful only with the rise of the modern nation-state and find that Middle Eastern minority nationalisms owe much of their modern self-definition to developments within diaspora populations and other transnational frameworks. The first volume to upend the conceptual frame of reference for studying Middle Eastern minority communities in nearly two decades, Minorities and the Modern Arab World represents a major intervention in modern Middle East studies.
Laura Robson is associate professor of history at Portland State University. She is the author of Colonialism and Christianity in Mandate Palestine.
6 x 9, 336 pages