Middle East Studies

Watson Institute’s ‘Trending Globally’ podcast with MES Director Beshara Doumani

February 6, 2018

Middle East Studies Director and Joukowsky Family Distinguished Professor of Modern Middle East History Beshara Doumani, recently joined Sarah Baldwin on the Watson Institute’s podcast, Trending Globally. They discussed Doumani’s book Family Life in the Ottoman Mediterranean: A Social History, and how Islamists, Arab nationalists and Orientalists have all used notions about the Muslim family and Muslim law—as well as the encounter with Europe in the early 19th century—to explain society in the Middle East. But when historian Beshara Doumani set out to explore these notions, he found almost no scholarship had been done.

Taking a deep dive into two centuries of local records about ordinary people in the Eastern Mediterranean, Doumani discovered that when it comes to defining the typical Muslim family, there was, and is, no such thing.