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Why and How Should Middle East and African Studies Be Connected? (posed by Mervat Hatem): Pensée 1: Africa on My Mind

  • Mervat Hatem (a1)

For years, I struggled with the presentation of the category of “Middle East” to my students at Howard University, a historically black college. Like many of their professors, my students did not consider North Africa to be part of Africa. The reason was simple: the study of the continent was bifurcated between two fields, African and Middle East studies. African studies focused on sub-Saharan Africa; North Africa was the purview of Middle East studies.

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Author's note: I dedicate this piece to my students at Howard University and San Francisco State University, who have heard me struggle to articulate these thoughts.

1 Nasser Gamal Abdel, Falsafat al-Thawra (The Philosophy of the Revolution) (Cairo: Maslahat al-Istiʿlamat, 1966).

2 Braudel Fernand, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Phillip II, 2 vols. (New York: Harper & Row, 1972).

3 Personal communication with professor Joel Samoff, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, 11 October 2008.

4 Morris Lorenzo, “Ralph Bunche and his Intellectual Offspring,” Government and Politics Journal 3 (Spring 2007): viii.

5 Urquhart Brian, Ralph Bunche, An American Life (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1993), 103.

6 Henry Charles, Ralph Bunche, Model Negro or American Other? (New York: New York University Press, 1999), 131.

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International Journal of Middle East Studies
  • ISSN: 0020-7438
  • EISSN: 1471-6380
  • URL: /core/journals/international-journal-of-middle-east-studies
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