Adam Mestyan is Assistant Professor of History at Duke University. He has held a teaching position in Oxford University and, among other fellowships, he was a Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows, Harvard University. He is a graduate of CEU and ELTE (Budapest). His most recent book, Arab Patriotism : The Ideology and Culture of Power in Late Ottoman Egypt (Princeton, 2017) explores the making of modern Egypt through a social history of government, musical theaters, and the Arabic press in the context of the late Ottoman Empire.
Modern Middle East; Arab nationalism; transnational and regional history of the Mediterranean; global microhistory; theories of nationalism; Islam and industrialization; historical sociology of Arab elites; global urban history; history of sovereignty; Arabic political literature; the Arabic press; the social history of Arabic theatre
Modern Arab Kingship - Islam and Nationalism in Arab Monarchies, 1910s-1950s
My research project, Modern Arab Kingship, is a comparative social history of Arabic monarchist ideologies and practices between the late nineteenth century and the 1950s in the post-Ottoman Arab polities: Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq, Syria, and the Hijaz/Saudi Arabia. The project examines the loyalist ideas of Arab intellectuals, merchants, landowners, religious scholars, and statesmen (a group I collectively refer to as “notables”) in the age of capitalist colonialism and the Mandate system. In a global comparison with the ideologies of other Eurasian monarchies at the time, Arab monarchism, I argue, was a novel form of elite political ideology that sought to legitimize and historicize de facto political-economic realities of the colonial context. I use modern Arab kingship as a heuristic concept to describe the racialization (Arabization) of monarchical sovereignty in this particular period. The legal and even religious ideas about royal power did not emerge from Muslim theology but were constructed by both Muslim and Christian elites seeking to articulate independence.