The Middle East in World History

John Obert Voll

in The Oxford Handbook of World History

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199235810
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

The Middle East in World History

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This article describes the role of the Middle East in world history. The Middle East is both a strategic concept and a geo-cultural region. As a concept and a specific label of identification, it is a product of analysts writing about twentieth-century world affairs. However, as a region, its peoples and cultures are associated with the history of humanity from ancient times. This regional name itself shapes a way of understanding the history of the broad region of Southwestern Asia and Northern Africa. Both of the terms in the name — ‘Middle’ and ‘East’ — identify the region in relationship to other world regions and reflect the importance of the region's involvement in broader global historical processes. Along with examining the history of the region, the discussion also notes how the concepts of the historical units involved in that history have changed in the presentations of the history of the Middle East.

Keywords: Middle East; world history; ancient history; Southwestern Asia; Northern Africa

Article.  8706 words. 

Subjects: History ; Asian History

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