Adam Mestyan, Modern Arab Kingship: Remaking the Ottoman Political Order in the Interwar Middle East, Princeton University Press, 2023, 288 p.
In this groundbreaking book, Adam Mestyan argues that post-Ottoman Arab political orders were not, as many historians believe, products of European colonialism but of the process of “recycling empire.” Mestyan shows that in the post–World War I Middle East, Allied Powers officials and ex-Ottoman patricians collaborated to remake imperial institutions, recycling earlier Ottoman uses of genealogy and religion in the creation of new polities, with the exception of colonized Palestine. The polities, he contends, should be understood not in terms of colonies and nation-states but as subordinated sovereign local states—localized regimes of religious, ethnic, and dynastic sources of imperial authority. Meanwhile, governance without sovereignty became the new form of Western domination.
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