Next podcast: “The Ottoman Origins of the Modern Middle East” w Prof. Jane Hathaway

Join us for our next podcast live stream on Wednesday, May 5th at 10:00 am ET on our Facebook site. We will be speaking with Professor Jane Hathaway about the Ottoman origins of the modern Middle East. We might touch on several topics, including political developments, and the social, cultural, and economic processes that helped form what is now known as the Middle East. Dr. Hathaway will deconstruct a lot of the most common assumptions about the nations, peoples, and cultural communities that make up the modern nation-states of the region and bring out their richness and diversity. She will also illuminate the complex nature of the historical Ottoman “state.”

If you would like some materials to listen to or read beforehand, we recommend the following. Professor Hathaway and her students discuss the Middle East in this Origin’s podcast from 2015:

Her book Arab Lands Under Ottoman Rule is a comprehensive source on the subject of the Ottoman origins of the Middle East, with an emphasis on the Arabic-speaking communities and territories under Ottoman rule.


Cover of Arab Lands Under Ottoman Rule

Arab Lands Under Ottoman Rule by Professor Jane Hathaway, History Department, Ohio State University


World War One as a Major Part of Turkish History and World History with Prof. Yiğit Akın

Our latest episode is now on Facebook, Twitter, and most podcast platforms. If you need a transcript or prefer to read it, you can also go to our Youtube channel.

Prof. Yiğit Akın delved into the topic of World War One as a major part of Turkish history and world history. He shed light on fact that the map we see today when we look at the political borders of the Middle East is a direct result of world war one, the single most important political event in the history of the modern Middle East. He also shed light on the important role the Ottoman Empire played in the Great War, and what it meant to the Turkish Republic that emerged after the war. One of the unique aspects of his work is that he includes civilian experience, not just battles, in his history. We talked about the importance of including women’s perspectives for gaining an understanding of how the battles affected the whole society. We talked about so much more. Please do check out the podcast or the video on Youtube. Ohio State Students, check out the courses he offers below! As well as videos he recorded for the WWI Museum in Kansas City.

Dr.  Akın offers a history course, “The Middle East Since 1940,” and a course on the broader history of Islam, History 2350.

Also check out his seminars, such as “WWI and the Making of the Modern Middle East,” History 4375

Currently, he is investigating the memory of ww1 in the Middle East, mostly Ottoman Turkey. The discrepancy between what he calls, “official oblivion and local memory the memory of the Great War” is of particular interest to him. His second monograph, a sequel to When the War Came Home: The Ottomans’ Great War and the Devastation of an Empire (Stanford, 2018), will focus on the twilight of the Ottoman Empire, 1918-1922. The time period of this work is basically after the empire, before the nation. Please also check out his presentations on the WWI Museum Youtube Channel




World War I and the Making of the Modern Middle East with Professor Yiğit Akın

Join us on March 17th 10:00am ET on Facebook Live to discuss World War I and the Making of the Modern Middle East with Professor Yiğit Akın. Dr. Akın is Associate Professor and Carter V. Findley Professor of Ottoman and Turkish History. Yiğit earned his Ph.D. at the Ohio State University in 2011 and he is a specialist in the history of the modern Middle East. His research interests include social and cultural history of the late Ottoman Empire and early Republican Turkey, with a particular focus on the First World War and its aftermath, war and society, nationalism, and social movements. Before joining the faculty at Ohio State, Dr. Akın taught at the College of Charleston and Tulane University where he received the university’s highest teaching award, the Weiss Presidential Award for Undergraduate Teaching.

World War One and how it affected the Middle East is one of the major keys to understanding the region. Dr. Akın will discuss his second book, When the War Came Home: The Ottomans’ Great War and the Devastation of an Empire (Stanford, 2018), which examines the social and cultural dimensions of Ottoman society’s catastrophic experience of the First World War and analyzes the impact of the war on the empire’s civilian population. When the War Came Home was named a 2018 Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Title and won the 2019  Tomlinson Book Prize for the best work of history in English on World War One, awarded by the World War One Historical Association.


image of book cover,



Professor Sean Anthony on Islam and late antiquity, March 3rd

On March 3rd we’re going to be with Professor Sean Anthony of Near Eastern languages and cultures at Ohio State University to talk about Islam and late antiquity. His interests include Early Islam & Late Antiquity, Islamic Thought, and Classical Arabic Literature. We will ask him about his recent findings regarding early Islamic Civilizations, as we discuss his new book: “Muhammad and the Empires of Faith” due to come out in April. You can find a lot of his research on his Twitter feed, as well. So come prepared to ask questions – we will be streaming live on our Facebook page at 13:00ET on Wednesday, March 3rd.


book cover image



2021-2-3 Afghanistan in Global Context

A great introductory view on the peoples, cultures, languages, religions, and history of Afghanistan. We also discussed the country’s neighbors in some depth with respect to their relationships with Afghanistan and how their cultures and languages overlap. You can of course get more visual information on topics like the meaning of Afghanistan’s flag and the history of its borders if you watch the video (embedded below and available on our Facebook page).  In this hour-long video, you will get a sense of the diversity of the country and why it has been involved in so many global power struggles over the ages.

Ohio State is an amazing place to learn more about Afghanistan. We regularly host public presentations where our faculty address headlines and discuss the history of Afghanistan. Most recently, we commissioned and produced two plays about Afghanistan based on stories written by Afghan women. If you are a student or researcher at Ohio State, you’ll learn about the many resources for studying the country and its people at our university. We offer nearly all of the languages spoken there and have an amazing library collection*, in addition to faculty such as Dr. Payind who are offering related courses.

Listen to “Keys to Understanding the Middle East” on Spreaker.

*Start with this libguide, created by Professor Magda El-Sherbini:

Afghanistan in Global Perspective

Iqbal called Afghanistan “The Heart of Asia” because anything that happens there sends shock waves throughout the entire continent. Since 9/11 Afghanistan is watched warily from around the world, especially with regard to the Taliban and the specter of failed statehood looming. Yet, Afghanistan is loved dearly by its people and seemingly by all who visit there. Join us on February 3rd at 10am as we discuss Afghanistan, its people, and its past and present roles in the world. We will be live on Facebook/mesc.osu – or catch it later as a podcast. You will be able to find the episode here, or nearly anywhere you may listen to podcasts.


picture of men praying in front of a mosque in Afghanistan



Minority Religious Groups in the Middle East

Dr. Alam Payind, Director of the Middle East Studies Center joins us. We discuss Minority Religious Groups in the Middle East, delving into the struggles different religious minorities have faced over the centuries until today. The Middle East is uniquely diverse as a crossroads of civilizations. Religious identity has played an important role in the power dynamics between the many different communities created by the many different traditions, cultures, and languages. Invaders, also, have played a central part in divisions and conflicts between religious communities. At the same time, communities withstand all of these situations and continue to practice their faith, even until today.
Listen to “2021-01-20-Minority Religious Groups in the Middle East with Dr. Alam Payind” on Spreaker.

Minority Religious Groups in the Middle East with Dr. Alam Payind

Join us next Wednesday at 10am ET for  Facebook live stream on the topic of Minority Religious Groups in the Middle East.  We will look at Sunni minorities in countries like Iraq, other minority sects within Islam, as well as religious groups with smaller populations within their countries. This topic relates to a recent webinar we hosted on the Alevi minority in Turkey, with professor Ayfer Karakaya-Stump that you can view on our MESC Outreach Youtube channel.

image of protester with sign showing crescent and cross, Egypt

CC2.0 “The Friday of One Demand” by Al Jazeera English via Flickr

What life was like thousands of years ago in the Arabian Peninsula?


Meet Professor and anthropologist, Dr. Joy McCorriston, and learn about what life was like thousands of years ago in the Arabian Peninsula. Hear about her experiences in #Yemen and #Oman doing #archeology. What can knapped stones, graffiti, animal bones, and more, tell us about how people lived their lives? Dr. McCorriston sheds light on how people made social ties, how groups shared resources, and what technologies people created to get what they needed from their environments. Some of these practices are found throughout the world, not just in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula.

Listen to “2021-01-06-What was life like thousands of years ago in the Arabian Peninsula_” on Spreaker.

Her Books:
World Prehistory & the Anthropocene
Landscape History of Hadramawt
Pilgrimage and Household in the Ancient Near East…
Her archeology in Yemen:
Some of her classes at Ohio State U:
ANTH 2201 Introduction to Archaeology
ANTH 3451 Archaeology of the Ancient Near East
ANTH 3434 Archeology of the Holy Land