Category Archives: History and Historians

The Global Cold War and the Empire of Justice

In my last post I outlined historian Odd Arne Wested’s argument for the ideological foundations of American policy during the Cold War. Unlike earlier generations of Cold War historians he places American Cold War policies in the the context of … Continue reading

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The Global Cold War and the Empire of Liberty

For a global phenomenon, it is striking that the Cold War has traditionally been interpreted almost exclusively as a European affair. “Cold War” brings to mind cloak and dagger intrigue involving CIA and KGB agents knocking one another off in … Continue reading

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Cultural Brokers: Exploring the Complexities of Historical Encounters

All too often, we are led to understand history in terms of the clash of monolithic political and cultural bodies, like states and civilizations. We assume, for example, that the conquest of the Americas was a zero-sum struggle pitting Europeans … Continue reading

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World History in My Backyard: Cahokia Meets Bali

When I first came to Edwardsville, IL to teach more than 10 years ago, if someone had mentioned Cahokia Mounds to me I would have scratched my head wondering what they were talking about. I knew about the Gateway Arch … Continue reading

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Witch Hunts and World History: A Feminist History of Capitalism

Thus far in our exploration of Eurocentrism (and its crtics) in the writing of modern world history, my graduate students and I have not seen radical challenges to keeping Europe at the center. For all their efforts to redress the … Continue reading

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Competing Approaches to Modern World History, Part II: The Case of Europe’s Late Take-off

This week my graduate students and I explored a new front in the battle over modern world history. To recap the first installment in this series: David Landes argues for the cultural factors that explain European economic success in the … Continue reading

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Against Orthodoxy: The Story of Alawi Origins

Since the outbreak of the popular uprising in Syria last spring, the media have focussed on the Alawi minority which controls the levers of power in that country. Most often, one hears echoes of mainstream Sunni and Shi’i sources that … Continue reading

Posted in History and Historians, Islam, Syria, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Mt. Lebanon: Holy Land or Den of Heretics?

Two weeks ago I participated in a memorial conference at the American University of Beirut (AUB) dedicated to Dr. Kamal Salibi and his legacy. On what would have been his 83rd birthday in what was once the campus chapel, he was feted (and mourned) … Continue reading

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Ottomans and Homeland Security: Who Determines Who You Are?

Anyone who thinks fiction is stranger than non-fiction has not read enough History. I spent last weekend in the rarefied company of scholars of the Ottoman Empire. I was fortunate to be at a conference-workshop organized by renowned Ottomanist and … Continue reading

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Bilad al-Sham, Arabic for Geographical Syria

I returned this week from the ninth annual meeting of the “Committee for the History of Bilad al-Sham” held in the Jordanian capital Amman. Most representations (popular and scholarly) of the Middle East focus on Islam, the nation state, and … Continue reading

Posted in History and Historians, Syria | 3 Comments