Observers of the Middle East are often quick to speak of the sectarian tensions that have beset the region. However, Ussama Makdisi, Ph.D., the Arab-American Educational Foundation Chair of Arab Studies at Rice University, stressed the need to view these issues within a broader historical context. Focusing particularly on Lebanon under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, Makdisi dispelled assumptions about why and how sectarian sentiments arose in the Middle East, detailing often overlooked elements of coexistence that have shaped the modern Arab world.
At this event, Makdisi spoke on his book, “Age of Coexistence: The Ecumenical Frame and the Making of the Modern Arab World,” which addresses matters relevant to understanding the contemporary Middle East. This event was sponsored by the Baker Institute Center for the Middle East.
A book signing followed the presentation and copies of the book were available for purchase courtesy of the Brazos Bookstore. Follow @BakerInstitute on Twitter and join the conversation online with #BakerMiddleEast.
6:30 p.m. — Presentation
Ussama Makdisi, Ph.D., is a professor of history and the first holder of the Arab-American Educational Foundation Chair of Arab Studies at Rice University. Currently, he is a visiting professor in the Department of History at the University of California, Berkeley. He has published widely on Ottoman and Arab history as well as on U.S.-Arab relations and U.S. missionary work in the Middle East. Makdisi is the author of, most recently, “Age of Coexistence: The Ecumenical Frame and the Making of the Modern Arab World” (University of California Press, 2019) and “Faith Misplaced: The Broken Promise of U.S.-Arab Relations, 1820-2001” (Public Affairs, 2010). Makdisi received the Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin in spring 2018. In 2012-2013 he was an invited resident fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin). In April 2009, the Carnegie Corporation named Makdisi a 2009 Carnegie Scholar as part of its effort to promote original scholarship regarding Muslim societies and communities, both in the U.S. and abroad. He holds a Ph.D. in history from Princeton University.