Liberal Thought in the Eastern Mediterranean

Late 19th Century until the 1960s


This volume analyzes liberal thought in the Eastern Mediterranean since the late nineteenth century, highlighting its long-term and ongoing influence, and challenging the conventional wisdom that liberalism has no legitimate place in the region’s intellectual discourse. By investigating the activities of diverse institutions, media, and personalities, the authors in this volume examine the liberal ideas and values that emerged during eras of both peace and political turmoil, while recognizing the factors contributing to their decline. Seen from these many perspectives, liberal thought developed not merely from “Westernization,” but from the interaction between indigenous intellectual critique and political ideology, political experiences and literary imagination, and a mixture of admiration for and resistance to European ideas and political domination.

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Christoph Schumann, doctorate in political science, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, is Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Bern, Switzerland. His research focuses on political ideologies in the Middle East and Muslims in the West.
"This edited collection of papers sets out to challenge the "dominant narrative of absence" by tracing the forgotten, multilayered and often ambiguous history of liberal thought and practice in the region. ..[S]everal indices that allow to search for personal names, political terms, names of institutions, organisations, and periodicals[...] point to the multitude of aspects addressed in this carefully produced volume which opens many ways for further discussions." H-Soz-u-Kult, 2010

"[T]he essays in Liberal Thought in the Eastern Mediterranean usefully and creatively extend the boundaries of scholarship on liberal thought in the modern Middle East in its historical context by focusing on the actors whose lives were shaped by the struggle for liberal ideas and institutions." Helena Kaler in International Journal of Middle East Studies

The book is relevant for all those interested in the political and intellecutal history of the Middle East: scholars, students, research institutes, and libraries.