Sussex builds up expertise in modern history of the Middle East

15 February 2012
Sussex builds up expertise in modern history of the Middle East

Sussex builds up expertise in modern history of the Middle East


The University of Sussex is set to develop its research base in modern Middle Eastern history, with plans for two new lectureships sitting alongside an upcoming professorial appointment.

The creation of a Chair in Modern Israel Studies, announced earlier this month, is part of wider University investment in the broad field of Middle Eastern studies.

The Chair is envisaged as the first of several appointments in the history of the region and will contribute to the development of a new Middle East Studies programme at Sussex.

Two further posts are planned:
  • a lectureship in the History department devoted to the history of the modern Middle East;
  • and a lectureship in the Philosophy department, focusing on the philosophical and ideological underpinnings of Middle Eastern politics.

Professor Matthew Cragoe, Head of the School of History, Art History and Philosophy (HAHP), says: “While these three appointments are all being made in HAHP, the wider aim is to pull together all those with an interest in the region and create a Centre for Middle East Studies at Sussex.

“The Sussex Centre for Language Studies is already offering Arabic, for example, so the possibility of creating an interdisciplinary degree with language training is one we are thinking about seriously.”

Professor Cragoe points out that the Middle East is a particularly vibrant area for researchers at Sussex at the moment: “The Research Theme on Citizenship and Democratisation, for example, organized a very well-attended meeting in July 2011, in response to the early stages of the Arab awakening.

“This was a scoping meeting to identify whether Sussex researchers had a distinctive contribution to make to analysis of change in the Arab world. The conclusion was that the research interests of academics at Sussex, while diverse, contained the potential for the development of an original perspective.

“So the University has decided to make a well-balanced and broad-ranging investment in the study of the Middle Eastern world.”

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Farthing, adds: “In this period of huge social and political change in the wider region, the development of our research in this area is timely. We hope to play our part in aiding understanding and scholarship.

“As an academic development at Sussex, it is part of our tradition of engaging with urgent and complex issues, in this case with a focus on the modern history of the region.”


Posted on behalf of: School of History, Art History and Philosophy
Last updated: Wednesday, 15 February 2012

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