Penn Ph.D. Candidate Guest Lectures in Modern Middle East Course
James Ryan, Ph.D. Candidate at The University of Pennsylvania, was the guest lecturer for Jake Greenberg’s Modern Middle East class on Wednesday, September 17.
The course involves a survey of Middle East history from World War I to the war in Iraq. Major themes include the emergence of nation states after colonialism; long-term historical, technological, and cultural trends in the region; the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; Islam and the West; and North Africa’s burgeoning societies. Students learn from a number of guest lecturers and take various field trips to experience Middle Eastern life in America.
My primary research concerns the way in which the early Turkish republican state attempted to establish a model for a modern, ethnonationalist culture and the way opposition groups and intellectuals contested this vision. This is in part an effort to write a history of the development of political ideology in a new nation, but I also wish to stress a more comprehensive view of what counts as intellectual history so as to better understand the roles of intellectuals not classically considered as such, including poets, novelists and visual artists. My dissertation tracks the transition in interwar Turkey from a cultural, intellectual and political environment dominated by the conflict between tradition and modernity to one who’s terms were largely set by the early Cold War environment.