Cultural Pluralism in Modern Middle East

A painting from the Ottoman Empire, featuring two men. The man on the left wears a blue robe and a turban. The man on the right wears a hooded brown robe with yellow stripes.

A 15th century painting from the Ottoman Empire, depicting Mehmed the Conqueror meeting Patriarch Gennadius II from Constantinople. Non-Muslim people were still ruled by the Empire, but weren't always forced to follow the Muslim faith. This image is in the public domain


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Spring 2014



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This seminar considers "difference" and "sameness" as they have been conceived, experienced, and regulated by peoples of the Middle East, with a focus on the 19th and 20th centuries. The first half discusses the Ottoman Empire by exploring how this multiethnic, polyglot empire survived for several relatively peaceful centuries and what happened when its formula for existence was challenged by politics based on mono-ethnic states. The second half of the course focuses on post-Ottoman nation-states, such as Turkey and Egypt, and Western-mandated Arab states, such as Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq. Finally, the course concludes with a case analysis of Israel.

Related Content

Lerna Ekmekcioglu. 21H.365 Cultural Pluralism in Modern Middle East. Spring 2014. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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