Skip to main content

Ussama Makdisi Discusses Coexistence and Sectarianism in the Arab World

Ussama Makdisi

February 13, 2020

Ussama Makdisi presented a lecture titled “Age of Coexistence: The Arab World before Sectarianism” on February 12, 2020 in the Middle East Center’s “Voices in Middle East Studies” 2020 lecture series. Makdisi is Professor of History and Arab-American Educational Foundation Chair of Arab Studies, Rice University, and is currently a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley. His recent scholarship explores efforts toward coexistence in the Arab World from the mid 19th century to the present. In a new approach, he disputes the concept of the Arab World as a place of age-old sectarianism while not dismissing the importance of sectarian identities.  He examines the willingness from 1860 to 1948 to build societies in the Middle East that transcended sectarian differences. The presentation drew on research conducted for his most recent book titled: Age of Coexistence: The Ecumenical Frame and the Making of the Modern Arab World (University of California Press, 2019).