Guest Editors’ Note – Beyond Connectivity: The Middle East in Global History

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The collected articles in this volume join what is rapidly emerging as a dynamic and increasingly crowded field in Middle East studies. In this field methodological nationalisms—whose practitioners consider the state to be an exclusive unit of analysis—are out, and global perspectives on Middle Eastern history are in, with monographs, articles, and two prior conference proceedings published as anthologies. This rather novel field even now seems to have a history of its own, which we tease out in what follows by comparing this volume’s themes and insights with its two forerunners, Global Muslims in the Age of Steam and Print (2014) and Global Middle East: Mobility, Materiality and Culture in the Modern Age, 1880-1940 (2015), both of which emerged from international workshops. Such a maneuver affords a glimpse into the thematic and conceptual changes that occurred in the intervening years. This volume too resulted from an international workshop. Titled “Thinking Globalization in the Middle East,” the workshop was convened by Kfir Cohen Lustig of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and Eugene Rogan, Director of the Middle East Centre at St. Antony’s College, and was held in 2019 at St. Antony’s College.