Is the idea of the "Middle East" simply a geopolitical construct conceived by the West to serve particular strategic and economic interests-or can we identify geographical, historical, cultural, and political patterns to indicate some sort of internal coherence to this label? While the term has achieved common usage, no one studying the region has yet addressed whether this conceptualization has real meaning-and then articulated what and where the Middle East is, or is not.
This volume fills the void, offering a diverse set of voices-from political and cultural historians, to social scientists, geographers, and political economists-to debate the possible manifestations and meanings of the Middle East. At a time when geopolitical forces, social currents, and environmental concerns have brought attention to the region, this volume examines the very definition and geographic and cultural boundaries of the Middle East in an unprecedented way.
Michael E. Bonine is Professor and Head of the Department for Near East Studies and Professor of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona. Abbas Amanat is Professor of History and International and Area Studies at Yale University. Michael Ezekiel Gasper is Assistant Professor of History at Occidental College.