Studying Middle Eastern Societies: Imperatives and Modalities of Thinking Comparatively

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Current debates about the status of middle east studies are informed by an assumption that separates ‘area studies’ from ‘global studies,’ and ‘area specialization’ from disciplinary or theoretical orientation. Arguing against such separation, I propose that a resort to comparative perspectives may help bridge the divide. To this end, I discuss imperatives and modalities of thinking comparatively in the context of the Middle East, and their implications for bringing other areas into comparative inquiries. Focusing on illustrations from Middle East social studies, I attempt to think through my own, albeit limited, experience of comparative research within the Middle East region.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-158
JournalMiddle East Studies Association Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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