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Writing the History of Sectarianism in the Modern Middle East

In this brown-bag lunch seminar, Professor Ussama Makdisi will discuss a paper based on his forthcoming book on the history of sectarianism in the modern Middle East. While sectarianism has conventionally been depicted as a holdover of primordial religious divisions that make up the region, Prof Makdisi’s new book will argue that the Ottoman crisis of religious pluralism that began in the nineteenth century was itself part of a global problem in which many empires and nation-states struggled to transform explicit politics of discrimination into those of citizenship and equality. This important intervention comes at a time when the politics of sectarianism have appeared once again in the region since 2011.

Event Details

Speaker: Professor Ussama Makdisi, Rice University
Chair: Dr John Chalcraft, LSE
Date: Thursday 15 May 2014
Time: 12.00-14.00
Location:  Room LG.02, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, LSE
Attendance: This event is free and open to all on a first come first served basis. If you would like to receive a copy of the seminar paper in advance, please email Dr John Chalcraft onj.t.chalcraft@lse.ac.uk

Please note that this is a brown-bag lunch seminar, attendees are welcome to bring sandwiches for consumption during the proceedings. 



Ussama Makdisi is Professor of History and the first holder of the Arab-American Educational Foundation Chair of Arab Studies at Rice University.  In April 2009, the Carnegie Corporation named Makdisi a 2009 Carnegie Scholar as part of its effort to promote original scholarship regarding Muslim societies and communities, both in the United States and abroad. Professor Makdisi is the author of Faith Misplaced: The Broken Promise of U.S.-Arab Relations, 1820-2001 (Public Affairs, 2010).  His previous books include Artillery of Heaven: American Missionaries and the Failed Conversion of the Middle East, which was the winner of the 2008 Albert Hourani Book Award from the Middle East Studies Association, the 2009 John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association, and a co-winner of the 2009 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize given by the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies. 

'Turkey in Asia' 1794

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