Middle East Historiographies: Narrating the Twentieth Century

Publication Year



This collection of ten essays focuses on the way major schools and individuals have narrated histories of the Middle East. The distinguished contributors explore the historiography of economic and intellectual history, nationalism, fundamentalism, colonialism, the media, slavery, and gender. In doing so, they engage with some of the most controversial issues of the twentieth century.

Middle Eastern studies today cover a rich and varied terrain, yet the study of the profession itself has been relatively neglected. There is, however, an ever-present need to examine what the research has chosen to include and exclude and to become more consciously aware of shifts in research approaches and methods. This collection illuminates the evolving state of the art and suggests new directions for further research.


Pt. I. The state of the art

“Introduction,” Israel Gershoni and Amy Singer

 “The historiography of the modern Middle East: transforming a field of study,” R. Stephen Humphreys

 Pt. II. Colonialism and nationalism

“The historiography of World War I and the emergence of the contemporary Middle East,” Charles D. Smith

“Twentieth-century historians and historiography of the Middle East: women, gender, and empire,” Julia Clancy-Smith

“Reading genocide: Turkish historiography on the Armenian deportations and massacres of 1915,” Fatma Müge Göçek

Pt. III. Narratives of crisis

“The theory of crisis and the crisis in a theory: intellectual history in twentieth-century Middle Eastern studies,” Israel Gershoni

“The historiography of crisis in the Egyptian political economy,” Ellis Goldberg

Pt. IV. Emerging voices

“On gender, history ... and fiction,” Marilyn Booth

“Will that subaltern ever speak? Finding African slaves in the historiography of the Middle East,” Eve M. Troutt Powell

“Muslim religious extremism in Egypt: a historiographical critique of narratives,” Juan R.I. Cole “Audiovisual media and history of the Arab Middle East,” Walter Armbrust.


The editors have assembled a valuable range of insightful and well-informed views of crucial themes in the contemporary historiography of the Middle East and North Africa.- International Journal of Middle East Studies 41 (2009)

In addition to traditional topics such as colonialism, nationalism, religion, and intellectual history, [these] essays cover less examined subjects such as On Gender, History, .. and Fiction, Will That Subaltern Ever Speak? Finding African Slaves in the Historiography of the Middle East, and Audiovisual Media and History of the Arab Middle East. This is an excellent, timely work of scholarship, indispensable for any serious student of the contemporary Middle East. - Choice

University of Washington Press