Coexistence or Conflict
Lecture by Ussama Makdisi
If you follow the news from the Middle East today, you might think the region consists solely of extremist groups and secteric strife, and that the West are the ones trying to impose freedom of religion and speech in the region.
But 150 years ago, the Ottoman empire made up a culturally and religiously diverse society in which Jews, Christians and Muslims lived together in peaceful coexistence. How did this situation come about? And what can history teach us about today’s secteric strife in the Middle East?
Ussama Makdisi is a professor of history at Rice University in Texas, US. His book Age of Coexistence challenges and nuances the stereotypical portrayals of the Middle East in Western imagination.
In this lecture, Makdisi examines how a modern culture of coexistence first appeared in the Middle East, and what this means for our understanding of the region today.