The Modern Middle East has ratings and 43 reviews. Siria said: This is a brisk and pretty informative introductory survey of the history of the Middl. Beginning with the first glimmerings of the current international state and economic systems in the sixteenth century, The Modern Middle East: A History explores. The aim of this essay is to offer a survey of the uses developed by Mandeville of the notion of honour in his philosophical project, focusing on the role played by.

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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. The Modern Middle East: Oil and the Spectacle of Culture in Nigeria. University of Chicago Press, This awkwardly titled but splendid book explores what is surely the most fasci- nating and arguably the most significant period in the history of independent Nigeria. The s represent a real hinge in Nigerian history. No event better symbolizes the gigantic national aspi- rations of the period or better exemplifies the gigantic and ultimately ruinous expenditure of free-flowing oil money than the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture FESTAChosted by Nigeria in early The book is considerably bigger than its number of pages would suggest.

In a sense, it is two books that are inextricably mixed: The assessment of this review, with its simple linear progression, gives an inadequate notion of the mosern, for, as noted, it is really at least two works. In both languages, Apter writes extremely well, and often with wit. Though leading occasionally to exaggeration in jamess terms, it is more important that the postmodernist analysis also leads to wonderfully rich interpre- tive lodes, as in the sections on the durbar and regatta traditions.

But these are not central foci of the work. The book, with jame faults it may have, is richly rewarding and highly recommended, both for those interested in Nigeria and also as an addition to the growing number of reexaminations and interpretations of the great world fairs and exhibitions of the past.

University of Wisconsin—Madison Paul A. A History of Justice and Oppression. Frontiers of the State in the Late Ottoman Empire. Cambridge University Press, Taken together, these two books present a challenge to the traditional narrative of state modernization in the Middle East.

Dick Douwes studies coastal and western Syria in the period —, a names of ancient urbanization delineated by the cities of Hama, Damascus, and Acre, while Eugene L. Rogan examines the more southerly area known in the s as Transjordan, whose capital of Amman was tge founded around by Circassian refugees from southern Russia.

Both authors rely on the registers of the Islamic court. Douwes also uses local chronicles, while Rogan utilizes Ottoman state documents, Euro- pean diplomatic sources, and memoirs. The Circle allowed for a level of violence that was acceptable to contemporaries if it pro- tected them, restrained provincial officials from exploiting midddle common people, and kept taxation reasonable and predictable.

However, imperial governance at that juncture worked against these desiderata. They possessed delegated power, which eglvin them to act inde- pendently but not to have independent aims.

To keep the sword of dismissal over their heads, the ruler prevented them from legally collecting sufficient revenues to fulfill their tasks. The period saw an increase in levels of coercion, which Douwes maintains was not endemic to the region but resulted specifically from the disruption of this traditional arrangement by foreign invasion and state intervention.

Tribes displaced from Arabia by the Wahhabi uprising invaded Syria and pushed its desert tribes into the cultivated area. The Ottoman state tried both military confrontation and financial appeasement, but abandoned the protection system in favor of direct state administration.

Jamees the Egyptian withdrawal, Ottoman state authority mivdle reestablished militarily. Violence also arose from factional politics.

The Modern Middle East

The second half of the century saw the rise of coastal economic power under Ahmad Jazzar. Despite his successes, however, the Ottomans would not appoint him permanent governor of Damascus. Much of the revenue went directly to local officials, whose expenditures the state could not control.


Efforts to control expenditures enhanced state penetration of the provincial economy. He nearly doubled state income by sharply increasing taxes, expanding the area under cultivation, and eliminating traditional exemptions.

This result was not due to modernization, however, but merely an extension of Ottoman policies accom- panied by an immense increase in brutality and force. Rogan asserts that it was the Ottoman Tanzimat reforms of the later nineteenth century that really established the modern state. In the frontier region of Transjordan, there was almost no state control before the nineteenth century, and local arrangements resembled those of eighteenth-century Syria.

Nomadic tribes, which offered protection in return for tribute, and the chiefs of the towns, who exercised hospitality and managed trade relations with surrounding regions, dominated the sedentary population. The vehicle for establishing a modern state was the Milayet Law ofwhich articulated an Ottoman administration down to the district level, backed by sufficient military force to overcome tribal resistance.

The Ottomans wished to increase revenue by sedentarizing nomads and increasing cultivation and to erect a buffer against Egyptian expansion, especially after the British eglvin in In they established an administration that was centered on Karak. The railway and the greater military pres- ence it made possible diminished tribal authority and allowed the government to provide security and services.

The expansion of cultivation and revenue, plus refugee resettlement in new villages, more than covered the costs. Farming for the market became more lucrative, and by the s the area south of Amman yielded as much revenue as the district of Hama. Modernization of the state apparatus was accompanied by economic and social modernization, carried out by Palestinian merchants and European missionaries.

The new mercantile elites supplemented muddle with moneylending teh agricultural investment.

Missionaries provided education and health care as well as religious services but fostered religious polarization and European intervention, causing the Ottoman state to develop its own educational and religious missions. The people looked to official rather than tradi- tional authorities to solve their problems. In local life, sectarianism and factionalism were replacing tolerance and nego- tiation.

Fears of a nationalist movement among united Arab tribes fueled a massive military response, whose destruction and impoverishment contrasted tellingly with the earlier economic growth. Under the British mandate, the Hashemite Amir Abdullah came to power in He created the unified state, but on the political, legal, and fiscal foundations laid by the Ottomans.

With these two books, then, the old story of somnolent Ottomans modernized from outside yields to a narrative of Ottoman state activity and intervention that—absent external interruption—maintained order, collected reasonable taxes, and, in time, created a modern state in the region.

University of Arizona Linda T. Edited by Toyin Falola and Matt D. Indiana University Press, One of the most important themes in African diaspora historiography is the Yoruba diaspora. Although the subject of the Yoruba has generated an impressive list of academic publications over the years, we are still a long way from a full understanding of the Yoruba dimension of the African diaspora in the Atlantic world. This study is a welcome contribution to this academic effort.

The editors must be commended for this impressive volume. Following a very useful introduction on methodology and research literature by the editors, the study is divided into four sections: Of all African cultural legacies in the Atlantic world, Yoruba culture, through the Yoruba diaspora, has been one of the most widespread and long lasting. This is especially the case in the context of religion.

The Modern Middle East: A History

The chapters by Luis Nicolau Pares on Bahian Candomble and Christine Ayorinde on Cuban Santeria, among others, expand and enrich our understanding of the Yoruba cultural contributions to African diaspora. The subject of return is a major aspect of African diaspora studies. In the case of the Yoruba and their descendants, return to Yorubaland occurred in both the West African and American contexts of their diaspora. Cole on liberated Yoruba Muslim slaves in nineteenth-century West Africa are important contributions to the literature.

The Modern Middle East: A History – James L. Gelvin – Google Books

The Yoruba Diaspora in the Atlantic World is a well-researched and well- written volume. It makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the origins of the Yoruba diaspora in Yorubaland, the involuntary migration and settlement of the Yoruba in the Americas, the cultural contributions of the Yoruba to the African diaspora in the Atlantic world, and the return of the Yoruba and their descendants to their ancestral homeland in southwestern Nigeria.


It is rather difficult to write a complete history of a whole people, from their origins to the present, that will be informative for the general reader and gevin a multidisciplinary academic audience as is the intention of the series in which this volume appears. Iran has a very long history, going back around 2, years—if we accept the miscalculations of the late shah, Muhammad Reza Pahlavi—based on the duration of the monarchical tradition. This creates problems of definition and focus, not least, jamex this case, the problem of nomenclature.

Thereafter, we are dealing with Gelvon and the Iranians.

Perhaps the less said about this as herethe better, but the crucial issue of how the Iranians perceive themselves remains. What follows is a largely political history of Iran, with a very strong focus on the question of dynastic legitimacy and the idea of universal rulership, which seeks to embrace the multiracial and pluralistic constituencies of society and to act as the cement that holds it all together.

The emphasis on monarchical continuity is natural, and indeed incontrovertible, given the deliberate cultivation of the notion of the splendor of the King of Kings in both Iranian jxmes Greco-European visions of Iranian history. It is far from the only recurrent factor, however, and Gene R.

There is much of value here, much that is provocative, and much also with which to take issue. One must at least put the record straight in one respect and give Jean Calmard credit for the first Safavid round table in Paris in see Jean Calmard, ed. Overall, he has provided a useful introduction to the long and varied expanse of Iranian history. Oxford University Press, This is not your ordinary historical survey. Rather than placing the region outside the train of world events, James L.

Instead of juxta- posed chapters about the Ottoman Empire, Egypt, and Iran in the nineteenth century, we get discussions of how imperialism and defensive developmentalism state-directed efforts to fashion modern imddle of governance encompassed the entire region.

The Modern Middle East – James L. Gelvin – Oxford University Press

This approach allows him to emphasize events and personalities that illustrate broader trends. With the big picture as a criterion for selecting what to include or leave out, the result is a less crowded stage and a more sensible narrative. Gelvin then examines the sixteenth-century transition from unstable military-patronage states to durable gunpowder empires. The heart of the book relates how modern historical forces reshaped polity, economy, society, and reli- gion.

On one hand, his thematic approach has the virtue of making room for the sort of original insights seldom found in surveys, as in his treatment of the culture of nationalism fast contemporary Islamic movements. On the other hand, certain themes receive short shrift. The chapter on secularism and modernity, for example, poses the question of why secularism has not taken root in the Middle East. Readers learn that Ottoman rulers put an Islamic stamp on nationality, but why it endured in Ottoman successor states—Iran and Egypt—remains an open question.

The reviewer would rather see gelvni discussion of secularism, constitu- tionalism, and Islamic political movements than primary documents, which are available in anthologies and electronic format. Nevertheless, the virtues in this volume are preponderant. Gelvin presents history as a vibrant field of inquiry marked by arguments between its practitio- ners, not a stockpile of dead facts.