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Re-forming ideas of collective identity: nationhood and inclusion in Arab intellectual debates during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Dr Elizabeth Monier

This three-year project analyses debates among intellectuals related to ideas of inclusion in ‘the nation’ in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.   This period, which saw the emergence of ideas such as Arabism and Pan-Islamism, as well as major upheaval due to the First World War, the establishment of colonial regimes, and the division of the Ottoman Empire into a series of nation states, was critical in shaping the modern Middle East. 

Through tracing the emergence, application, and evolution of concepts such as patriotism, constitutionalism and equal rights, this project will map out the roots of modern Arab thought on national belonging and how this has shaped contemporary categorisations of minority and ‘other’. It will explore discursive tensions related to equal inclusion in the national culture and national political space.  Particular focus is placed on the writings of Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews in order to understand the diversity (or homogeneity) of perspectives on the place of religious identity in the process of transformation of the individual from Ottoman subject and millet member to being a subject or citizen of a nation-state.

Dr Monier is working on a series of articles and a monograph, in which she will explore the key findings of the project.

The research is funded by a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship and the Isaac Newton Trust.