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The Modern Middle East Sourcebook Project and The Electronic Middle East Sourcebook
(click here to go directly to EMES)

For over two decades, Middle Eastern history and culture has been taught at the university level without the benefit of a broad collection of primary sources. In 1996, three friends in graduate school -- Camron Michael Amin and Benjamin C. Fortna at The University of Chicago, and, Elizabeth B. Frierson at Princeton -- decided to do something about it as soon as their Ph.D's were in hand. In 1997, they began developing a grant proposal to support "the Modern Middle East Sourcebook Project," or MMESP, for short. The MMESP's essential task was to collect and make available primary sources relating to the history and culture of the "Greater Middle East" (an area including North Africa, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Balkans) from 1700 to the present. Sources were to be translated and annotated by specialist in the field so that both students and specialists could discuss them meaningfully.

After two attempts, and with the sage advice of Judith Jeffrey Howard and Bruce Robinson at the National Endowment of the Humanities, the MMESP was awarded an NEH Grant for $ 222, 396. From 2000-2003, The University of Michigan-Dearborn served as the "granting institution" with two major sub-contracts going to The School of Oriental and African Studies, The University of London and The University of Cincinnati. These fine universities are the home institutions of the MMESP editors: Cam (at UM-D), Ben (at SOAS) and Elizabeth (at UC). The MMESP also had a five-member advisory board: William Cleveland at Simon Fraser University, Hasan Kayali at The University of California-San Diego, Afsaneh Najmabadi at Harvard University, Judith Tucker at Georgetown University and Laurie Zittrain-Eisenberg at Carnegie Mellon University.

We have been fortunate to recruit dozens of specialists, so that MMESP is a mosaic of contemporary expertise in Middle East Studies. The project resulted in two publications: The Modern Middle East: A Sourcebook (Oxford, 2005) and the Electronic Middle East Sourcebook (launched in April 2004). The Oxford publication contains 200,000 words of annotated texts in translation, while EMES is an on-going peer reviewed publication, launched with 100,000 words of material but growing every year. All the EMES documents are available for free.

While the number of documents at EMES is growing, the table of contents of the Oxford Publication is set and available:


Chapter 1: State and society


1.1 A provincial treasurer reports, ca. 1674 (D.BŞM-UYH 17083) from Başbakanlk

Osmanl Arşvi, Baş Muhasebe Kalemi

Mark L. Stein

1.2 An Armenian account of the Ottoman siege of Erevan, 1724

George Bournoutian

1.3 'Concord and harmony among Ottoman provincial governors: a grand vizier's advice and warning'--Abdullah Pasha, 1749

From the Islamfiche project

1.4 Negotiating the power of the Sultan: the Ottoman Sened-i Ittifak (Deed of Agreement), 1808

Ali Akyildiz and Şkr Haniolu

1.5 Creating new institutions, Clot Bey's organization of Egypt's first modern medical establishment, 1827-1837

Robert G. Landen

1.6 Observing Muhammad Ali Pasha and his Administration at Work, 1843 to 1846

Paul Sedra

1.7 A manifesto for educational reform in Qajar Iran, 1859

Monica Ringer

1.8 Discipline in a late Ottoman provincial secondary school, 1903

Benjamin C. Fortna

1.9 An Armenian-Iranian promoted to Amir Tuman of the Persian Cossack Brigade: firman of Mohammad cAli Shah Qajar, 1908

David Yaghoubian

1.10 Wahhabi ulema and the state in Saudi Arabia, 1927

Guido Steinberg

1.11 Crime and society in Iran: press and court transcripts, 1934

Cyrus Schayegh

1.12 A protest of the Jewish women workers of Palestine against the new municipal ordinance which deprives the women of Palestine of their civic rights, 1934

Ellen Fleischmann

1.13 The rise of mass doctrinal parties, the program of Hasan al-Banna and the Muslim Brotherhood, 1936

Robert G. Landen

1.14 Gamal Abd al-Nasser: from Egypt's Liberation, 1953

From the Islamfiche project

1.15 The Program of the Bacath (Arab Socialist Resurrection) Party, 1963

Robert G. Landen


Selected bibliography

Chapter 2: Press, media and society


2.1 'The Statement of Purpose' of an Early Official Gazette in Qajar Iran, 1851

Camron Michael Amin

2.2 Nationalist imagery in Egypt's tabloid presses: a drawing from the Egyptian Papagallo, 1904

Indira Falk Gesink

2.3 'The world of journalism, or the reasons for the establishment of the newspaper To'jjor', 1907

Adeeb Khalid

2.4 The aftermath of revolution in the Ottoman cartoon space, 1909-1910

Palmira Brummett

2.5 Seruan Azhar: a paper published by Southeast Asian students in Cairo, 1925

Michael Laffan

2.6 Journalism in Egypt in the 1920s and 1930s: from The Education of Salamah Musa, 1947

From the Islamfiche project

2.7 Cartoon from the satirical Turkish weekly comic LeMan entitled 'Szde Mini yk' ('A So-Called Short Story'), 27 January 2001

Matthew Elliot

2.8 From the Internet magazine, The Iranian, 25 January 2002: a debate on the legacy of the Persepolis celebrations of 1971

Cyrus Kadivar and Jahanshah Javid


Selected bibliography

Chapter 3: Gender and society


3.1 A view of Indian Muslim womanhood from Hali's Majalis un-Nissa, 1874

Gail Minault

3.2 'Should women demand all the rights of men?' from the Cairo periodical, Al-Hilal, 1894

Sarah Gualtieri

3.3 Two Ottoman officials on gender and class in early twentieth-century Nablus, 1916

Weldon C. Matthews

3.4 Excerpts from Antun al-Gamayyil's textbook, Al-Fatat wal-Bayt ('The Young Woman and the Home'), 1916

Mona Russell

3.5 The Turkish 'Modern Woman': two press articles, 1924 and 1926

Carole Woodall

3.6 Gender, morality and state policy in modern Iran: a Ministry of Education memorandum, 1935

Camron Michael Amin

3.7 Interview of a deputation of the Arab Women's Committee in Jerusalem at Government House on Thursday the 24th March, 1938

Ellen L. Fleischmann

3.8 Two views of women fighters during the Algerian War of National Liberation, 1957

Ryme Seferdjeli


Selected bibliography

Chapter 4: Religion and society


4.1 An intellectual biography of a religious scholar in Ottoman Damascus: from Ismacil al-Ajluni's (d. 1749) 'The Finest and Most Perfect of Men who are Connected by Chains of Transmission to all other Fine Men'

Steve Tamari

4.2 Three letters from Imam Shamil to his followers, 1834-1858

Ernest Tucker

4.3 Kemal Atatrk on the abolition of the Ottoman caliphate, 3 March 1924

Robert G. Landen

4.4 An appeal from the Iraq Minorities (non-Muslim) Rescue Committee, 1931

Nelida Fuccaro

4.5 From the Javid-namah of Muhammad Iqbal, 1932

From the Islamfiche project

4.6 Reporting the news with an Islamic revivalist twist: excerpts from The Banner of Islam, 1946

Camron Michael Amin

4.7 The Committee for Public Morality in Saudi Arabia, 1957

Guido Steinberg

4.8 Twelver Shicism and Revolutionary Islam in Iran: From cAli Sharicati's, Approaches to the Understanding of Islam,1968

From the Islamfiche project

4.9 Osama bin Laden's use of history: an audiotape released in early 2004

Benjamin C. Fortna

4.10 Israel at fifty: the cultural war in the pages of Ha'aretz and The Jerusalem Post, 1998

Danny Ben-Moshe


Selected bibliography

Chapter 5: Modern identities


5.1 On justice towards peasants: from Rifacah Rafic al-Tahtawi's Paths of Egyptian Minds in the Delights of Modern Culture, 1869

Juan R. I. Cole

5.2 An official report on efforts to re-establish Ottoman control over Kuwait, 1870

Frederick Anscombe

5.3 Nationalism, Ottomanism, pluralism, humanism: extracts from the Sufi writing of Abu 'l-Huda al-Sayyadi, 1903.

Thomas Eich

5.4 Pan-asianism in the late Ottoman Empire, 1905-1912

Rene Worringer

5.5 Armenian and Iranian collaboration in the constitutional revolution: the agreement between Dashnakists and Majlis delegates, 1908

Houri Berberian

5.6 Excerpts from Tarz-i Siyaset ('Three Kinds of Politics') by Akuraoglu Yusuf, 1911

Barak Salmoni

5.7 Excerpts from Ahmet Agaoglu's The Turkish World, 1912-1913

A. Holly Shissler

5.8 Separdic Zionism in the Ottoman Empire: 'The Time is Here', Ha-Herut, 1 April 1914

Abigail Jacobson

5.9 Interview with Boubeddi Ben Ayyad, a Moroccan World War II Veteran of the French Army, 1999

Moshe Gershovich

5.10 Iran and the National Front, a speech by Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, 27 September 1951

Robert G. Landen

5.11 Mucammar al-Qaddafi on the state of Arab politics: two interviews, 1973 and 1974

From the Islamfiche project

5.12 Anwar al-Sadat's speech to the Israeli Knesset, 1977

From the Islamfiche project


Selected bibliography

Chapter 6: Views of the world


6.1 Letters from Nader Shah to the Ottoman Court, 1736

Ernest Tucker

6.2 Ottoman-Iranian marriage and the Ottoman legal code in the nineteenth century

Karen M. Kern

6.3 The Journals of an Ottoman Student in England, July 1829 to January 1830

Paul Sedra

6.4 The Young Ottoman: Namik Kemal's 'Progress', 1872

Robert G. Landen

6.5 The West through the eyes of an Iranian Qajar monarch: Naser al-Din Shah's first trip to Europe, 1873

Robert G. Landen

6.6 The battle for British public opinion on Turkey and the Eastern Question: two documents, 1876 and 1904

Nazan icek

6.7 Ismail Gaspirali and Tatar emigration from Russia to the Ottoman Empire, 1902-3

Brian Glyn Williams

6.8 Conceptualizing modernity in late Ottoman Times: Japan as a model nation, 1902-1913

Rene Worringer

6.9 The Ottoman home front, a German correspondent's remarks, 1917

Robert G. Landen

6.10 Muslim state participation in UN human rights debates, 1946-1966

Susan Waltz

6.11 The Lebanese community of Dearborn, Michigan, 1975-2000

Ronald R. Stockton


Selected bibliography

Chapter 7: Redefining tradition


7.1 A late Ottoman style of architectural poetry: Tevarih-i manzume, 1796

Shirine Hamadeh

7.2 Imams in the reformed army of Mahmud II: uniform regulations from Ottoman military archives, ca. 1827

Halil Erbay 

7.3 Science in religious education: a fatwa from nineteenth-century Cairo

Indira Falk Gesink

7.4 A memorial to a young Assyrian refugee, 1922

Eden Naby

7.5 The Brigadier and the Imam: two commemorative poems from Iran, 1923 and 1989

Paul E. Losensky

7.6 Three poems on British involvement in Yemen, from the Yemeni Press 1937

Flagg Miller and Ulrike Freitag

7.7 Taha Husayn: revolt against tradition from Al-Ayyam (The Days), 1939

From the Islamfiche project


Selected bibliography

Chapter 8: Economic change

Section 1: Economic data


Mike Twomey


Mike Twomey

Index of tables

(All table submitted by Mike Twomey)

Index of table names

Table 1. Population, 1900-2000

Table 2. Population growth, 1950s and 1990s

Table 3. Vital statistics, 1950-2000

Table 4. Other social measures

Table 5. Gender issues: indicators for females as a percentage of indicators for males

Table 6. Urban population as percentage of total population, 1950-2000

Table 7. Real GDP/capita 1913-1998

Table 8. Total real GDP, 1913-1998

Table 9. Average annual inflation rates by decades, twentieth century

Table 10. Agricultural land, 1913-2000

Table 11. Agricultural production index numbers

Table 12. Freshwater availability and use, late 1990s

Table 13. Foreign trade--dollar values

Table 14. Trade quantum index numbers, 1910-2000

Table 15. Middle East crude oil production, 1920-2000

Table 16. World crude oil prices, 1913-2000, nominal and real

Table 17. Export product diversity, 1938-2000

Table 18. Foreign investment 1888-1970; nominal total, and real per capita

Table 19. International finance: foreign direct investment and debt, 1970 and 2000

Table 20. Railways, total length and length per capita, 1880-1990

Table 21. Inward and outward stocks of non-national populations and work force, in the Gulf States and Israel

Table 22. Immigrants in Europe from Maghreb countries and Turkey, 1921-1999

Selected bibliography

Section 2: The cultural impact of economic change


8.1 The Barber of Damascus: Ahmad Budayri al-Hallaq's chronicle of the year, 1749

Steve Tamari

8.2 Six Ottoman documents on the power of guilds in the Balkans, 1760s

Frederick Anscombe

8.3 Economic change: Muhammad Ali's development schemes in Egypt and Syria, 1834 and 1837

Robert G. Landen

8.4 Financial imperialism and its relationship to development; the Ottoman Public Debt Administration, 1881-1925

Robert G. Landen

8.5 Development concessions, the D'Arcy concession for Iranian oil, 29 May 1901

Robert G. Landen

8.6 Memento of a Life, by Haj Muhammad Husayn Amin al-Zarb II, 1928

Shireen Mahdavi

8.7 The population as a national economic resource: an Iranian press article, 1937

Cyrus Schayegh

8.8 Diplomatic and court perspectives on the 'White Revolution' in Iran, 1958-1971

Ali M. Ansari


Selected bibliography





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