Faculty News

William Granara on the Ottoman History Podcast

William Granara on the Ottoman History Podcast

February 27, 2020
During the 9th century, Arab armies from North Africa conquered Sicily, leading to four centuries of Muslim history on the island, which is now part of Italy. Sicily during that period has often been portrayed as an interfaith utopia where Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived side by side, giving rise to a cultural synthesis, but as CMES Director William Granara explains, the reality was more complex. In "Muslim Sicily and Its Legacies... Read more about William Granara on the Ottoman History Podcast
Melani Cammett

Insecurity and Political Values in the Arab World

February 5, 2020

Within a few years of the historic Arab uprisings of 2011, popular mobilization dissipated amidst instability in many Arab countries. We trace the relationship between shifting macro-political conditions and individual-level political values in the Middle East, demonstrating that a preference for democracy and political trust are not fixed cultural features of populations but rather can shift rapidly in the face of perceived insecurity. Our empirical analyses employ longitudinal data from the Arab Barometer covering 13 countries and data from the 2015 World Values Survey, which includes...

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Roger Owen at CMES

Roger Owen, My Mentor and My Friend

August 1, 2019

It is impossible to sum up the life of Professor Roger Owen in a few paragraphs; even Roger found it difficult to edit his life in his wonderful memoir. I will focus on being his student and then his friend, and how he taught me how to pass forward his special brand of mentoring.

As a graduate student working on the history of Egypt and Sudan, I made my pilgrimage to Oxford to see Roger and Albert Hourani and receive their wisdom on my project. Albert enjoyed its potential but Roger told me in no uncertain terms that it was too big and would be very difficult (I would like to...

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Rosie Bsheer Mecca keynote

Reflecting on the Many Faces of Mecca, the Lived City

June 28, 2019

“Mecca is lived, experienced, and documented differently by different people,” began Rosie Bsheer, Assistant Professor of History at Harvard and author of the forthcoming “Archive Wars: Spectacle, Speculation, and the Politics of History in Saudi Arabia,” in her keynote address to the colloquium Mecca: The Lived City, hosted by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies in May.

Mecca is characterized by plurality. In two days of lectures, speakers drew on academic, professional, and personal experiences to explore disparate visions of Mecca. The city’s social,...

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Village of Roussillon summer 2018

Arab and European Interactions in Aix-en-Provence

January 25, 2019

In summer 2018, Gordon Gray Professor of Arabic and CMES Director William Granara, along with Khaled al-Masri, Associate Professor of Arabic at Swarthmore, led undergraduates on a Harvard Summer School program in Aix-en-Provence, France. The program, which Granara has led for several years, brings together students of Arabic and French language and culture to examine historical, literary, and cultural aspects of Arab and European interactions in the colonial and postcolonial eras. Andrew Aoyama ’21 wrote about his experience on the trip.... Read more about Arab and European Interactions in Aix-en-Provence

Roger Owen

Professor Roger Owen Has Passed Away

December 26, 2018

To the members of the CMES family:

I write to convey the very sad news that our colleague, teacher, and friend Roger Owen passed away last Saturday. Roger was a towering figure in Middle Eastern studies and a much beloved patriarch for all of us at Harvard’s CMES. At this time, his family is making arrangements, and I write to let you know we will celebrate his life, his scholarship, and his legacy in mid-February.

May he rest in Peace.

William Granara
Director, CMES

Ana Sortun, Cemal Kafadar, Bedriye Poyraz

In the Kitchen with Kafadar

September 13, 2018

“Speaking about food or looking at old menus to explain the way culinary culture changes is one thing,” says Cemal Kafadar, Vehbi Koç Professor of Turkish Studies. “Hands-on exposure is another.” And so one evening in April, Kafadar led students in his course History 1878B: Ottoman State and Society, along with guests including CMES Visiting Researchers Bedriye Poyraz and Nil Tekgül, out of the classroom and into an industrial kitchen beneath freshman dining facility Annenberg Hall. There, under the guidance of acclaimed chef Ana Sortun—whose Cambridge-area restaurants Oleana, Sofra...

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