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Samedi 31 décembre 2022
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« The “Middle East” has long been an indispensable and ubiquitous term in discussing world affairs, yet its history remains curiously underexplored. Few question the origin of the term or the boundaries of the region, commonly understood to have emerged in the twentieth century after World War I.
The book offers a new account in Inventing the Middle East. It traces the idea of the Middle East to a century-long British imperial zenith in the Indian subcontinent and its violent overspill into the Persian Gulf and its hinterlands. Encroachment into the Gulf region began under the expansionist East India Company. It was catalyzed by Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt and heightened by gunboat attacks conducted in the name of pacifying Arab “pirates.” Throughout the 1800s the British secured this crucial geopolitical arena, transforming it into both a crossroads of land and sea and a borderland guarding British India’s western flank. Establishing this informal imperial system involved a triangle of actors in London, the subcontinent, and the Gulf region itself. By the nineteenth century’s end, amid renewed waves of inter-imperial competition, this nexus of British interests and narratives in the Gulf region would occasion the appearance of a new name : the Middle East.
Charting the spatial, political, and cultural emergence of the Middle East, Inventing the Middle East reveals the deep roots of the twentieth century’s geographic upheavals. »
Table des matieres
1 Edge of Empire : Britain, the East India Company, and Early Interventions in the Gulf
2 “Pax Britannica” in the Gulf ? Strategies for Indirect Rule, 1810-1853
3 Maps and Surveys : The Geographical Invention of the British Gulf
4 The Globalization of the Gulf Economy
5 Passages to India : Mesopotamia and the Gulf in British Imperial Imaginaries
6 The Gulf in the Age of New Imperialism
“A welcome reassessment that not only shows how Britain’s empire in the Middle East began and ended in the Persian Gulf but reminds us of the violence and contestation of that colonial relationship. Meticulously researched and rigorously argued - an outstanding book.”
Eugene Rogan, University of Oxford and author of The Arabs : A History
“Working with beaches and water, rather than deserts and oil, Crouzet recasts the origins of the idea of the Middle East. A masterful narration of a complex history of British imperial violence, treaty-making, trade, and indirect rule. This book makes an empirically rich contribution to recent efforts to centre the Gulf in world and British imperial history.”
Sujit Sivasundaram, University of Cambridge
“Deeply researched and elegantly written, Crouzet’s Inventing the Middle East offers a major intervention in historical analysis of Britain’s conception of the nineteenth-century Persian Gulf. Taking archaeologists, cartographers, colonial bureaucrats, pearl fishers, slave traders, steam technologists, and Wahhabis into her capacious purview, Crouzet expertly anatomizes the emergence of the Gulf.”
Margot Finn, University College London
Dr Guillemette CROUZET
Marie Curie Sklodowska Individual Research Fellow
Department of History, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7EQ
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