Middle East

Sabine Schmidtke, Professor in the School of Historical Studies, has edited Studying the Near and Middle East at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, 1935–2018 (Gorgias Press, 2018), which traces...

An arcane topic to most people, Syriac sources help shed a more complex light on the history of the Middle East from late antiquity to the Middle Ages. They reveal a non-imperial epoch and its rich contributions to the cultural and religious...

Just before Thanksgiving last year, I sent an email to the Institute’s Director, Robbert Dijkgraaf, whom I had never met. Acknowledging that my missive was somewhat “out of the blue,” I explained that I had spent most of the previous eight years...

Although the maqāma is less familiar to Western readers than the fantastic tales of the Arabian Nights, which achieved their prominence as a result of Antoine Galland’s eighteenth-century French translation, the maqāma...

In this public lecture, Richard Murphy draws on his experiences as U.S. Ambassador to Syria and Saudi Arabia and Assistant Secretary of State for the region to attempt a reply to this and other questions about the Middle East. What brought about...

When Sabine Schmidtke and Hassan Ansari, an Iranian national, met more than a decade ago in Tehran, Ansari was a ­student of the traditional religious system in Qum and Tehran (the “Hawza”). Ansari had read Schmidtke’s doctoral thesis The...

“Freedom is the ultimate virtue of mankind”; “Democracy is the only political system of modern man and modern society”; “Therefore, Egypt must be committed to freedom and democracy.” These are the words of ‘Abbas Mahmud al-‘Aqqad in his book ...

In these turbulent times in the Middle East, I have found myself working on the rise and fall of a late antique Jewish kingdom along the Red Sea in the Arabian peninsula. Friends and colleagues alike have reacted with amazement and disbelief when...

The Tunisian revolution of 2011 (al-thawra al-tunisiya) was the result of a series of protests and insurrectional demonstrations, which started in December 2010 and reached culmination on January 14, 2011, with the flight of Zine el-Abidine Ben...

Jihadism today has a strong transnational and anti-Western character, but this was not always the case. The first jihadists were revolutionaries who fought in their home countries against their respective governments from the 1940s onward. Only...

In 2004, a Member of the Classics section of the School of Historical Studies I was chatting with told me that some badly burnt papyri dating from the sixth century had been found in a church during excavations at Petra in Jordan. Modern...

Lakhdar Brahimi, former Special Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, has spent the last year as a Director’s Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study, participating in the School of Social Science’s program on “The ‘Third...