In this series, I speak to scholars about Israel, Iran, Lebanon and Türkiye. As you will note, we have produced more episodes on Israel and Iran, simply because those two countries have been prominently featured in the U.S. news media.
Currently, we only have two episodes on Africa. Nevertheless, we are committed to producing more episodes about the history of that fascinating continent. I am particularly interested in Africa's history because it's one of the regions that our mainstream news media covers and cares about the least.
We have also produced several episodes on Afghanistan, which you can learn about in HbN's China and Asia series.
I hope you enjoy these episodes. Listen, read and watch below. And, by the way, we love feedback.
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- What Went Wrong In Middle East's History?-
Dr. Philip Hoffman
In this episode, I speak with Dr. Hoffman about the divergent historical paths of the Middle East and Europe. He is the author of Why Did Europe Conquer the World?
Fri., Dec. 1, 2023, 6am ET
- What Went Wrong In the Middle East? -
This episode aired this morning. You can listen to it at S3E49 on your favorite podcast.
HbN Guest: Dr. Maha Nassar
Forthcoming book: Palestine's People (tentative title)
About Our Guest: Dr. Nassar is a professor of Middle Eastern history and Islamic Studies at the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies of the University of Arizona.
Her first monograph is titled Brothers Apart: Palestinian Citizens of Israel and the Arab World, and her forthcoming book is tentatively titled Palestine's People.
In the news: Mr. Netanyahu announced that Israel will take control of Gaza's security - indefinitely!
In this episode (Nov. 8, 2023):
HbN Guest: Dr. Howard Lupovitch
Author of: Transleithanian Paradise: A History of the Budapest Jewish Community, 1738-1938
About Our Guest: Dr. Lupovitch is a professor of history and the director of the Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies at Wayne State University. He specializes in modern Jewish History, specifically the Jews of Hungary and the Habsburg Monarchy. He recently completed a history of the Jews of Budapest and is currently writing a history of the Neolog Movement, Hungarian Jewry's progressive wing.
In the news: The Israel-Gaza War
In this episode (Nov. 1, 2023):
HbN Guest: Dr. Mary Elizabeth Walters
Author of the forthcoming book: Hospitality is the Law of the Mountains: The 1999 Kosovo War
About Our Guest: Dr. Walters is an Assistant Professor of Military and Security Studies in the Department of International Security at the Air Command and Staff College. She received both her MA and PhD in military history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Walters is currently working on an oral history project exploring Operation Allies Welcome, the U.S. military support for the evacuation and resettlement of Afghans spanning 2021-2022. Her second book project, Hospitality is the Law of the Mountains: The 1999 Kosovo War, examines how Albanians – motivated by the Albanian concept of hospitality – took strangers into their homes and communities and changed the course of the refugee crisis.
In the news: Israel's Impending Invasion of Gaza
In this episode (Oct. 27, 2023):
HbN Guests: Dr. Michael Ptylik
About Our Guests: Dr. Pytlik is a professor of in Anthropology and Judaic Studies, Director of Judaic Studies, and Director of the Cis Maisel Center for Judaic Studies at Oakland, University, in Rochester, MI. He teaches The Archaeology of Israel, God Through Jewish History, Written Tradition of Judaism, Introduction to Judaism, and Monotheistic Mysticism, World Religions, Life and Legends of King David, and more. Since 2009 he has organized and led a group of Oakland University students to Israel for a tour and excavation field school. He is interested in the formation of the Israelite state, the development of the synagogue, Jewish Theology, Hebrew and the archaeology of Israel.
In the news: Gaza and Israel - violence & war
In this episode (Oct. 20, 2023):
HbN Guests: Dr. Guy Lurie & Dr. Amir Fuchs
About Our Guests: Dr. Guy Lurie is a Research Fellow in the Democratic Values and Institutions Program of the Israel Democracy Institute... he is an attorney and holds a Ph.D. in History from Georgetown University. Dr. Amir Fuchs is a Senior Researcher at the Center for Democratic Values and Institutions at the Israel Democracy Institute. He holds a doctorate from the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is a lecturer in the Politics and Communication Department at the School of Government and Social Sciences at Hadassah Academic College.
In the news: Prime Minister Netanyahu's coalition has passed the first reform law to limit the powers of the Supreme Court of Israel ("SCI").
In this episode (Aug. 4, 2023):
HbN Guest: Dr. Gideon Rahat
Author of: From Party Politics to Personalized Politics?: Party Change and Political Personalization in Democracies
About Our Guest: Dr. Rahat is the Gersten Family Chair in Political Science and the Chair of the Department of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research fields are comparative politics and Israeli politics. His interests include political parties, electoral reform, the personalization of politics and candidate selection methods. He is a Senior Fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute.
In the news: Hundreds of thousands of protestors in Israel chanting "democracy or rebellion". Interestingly, both supporters and opponents of Mr. Netanyahu's judiciary overhaul claim they are "defending the soul of Israel's democracy."
In this episode (Apr. 14, 2023):
HbN Guest: Dr. Michael Pytlik
About Our Guest: Dr. Pytlik is a professor in the Dept. of Anthropology and Religious Studies at Oakland University, in Rochester, Michigan. He is the Director of Judaic Studies and the Director of the Cis Maisel Center for Judaic Studies and Community Engagement. He is also the Director of the Study Abroad in Israel: an archaeological field school and culture tour.
In the news: During last month's military conflict between Israel and Hamas, we also witnessed clashes within Israel itself - between its people, between Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews.
In this episode (Jun. 4, 2021):
HbN Guest: Dr. Khodadad Rezakhani
Author of: ReOrienting the Sasanians: East Iran in Late Antiquity
About Our Guest: Dr. Rezakhani is a lecturer and a senior research fellow at Leiden University. He is a historian of Global Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages, with a focus on Central and West Asia from 500-700 CE. His research focuses on the Sasanian and Early Islamic economy of the Near East.
In the news: At the Grammy Awards, Dr. Jill Biden presented the first ever Best Song For Social Change Award to "BARAYE", a song by Shervin Hajipour, who was arrested by Iran's regime. Dr. Biden stated that this "song became the anthem for the Mahsa Amini protest, a powerful call for freedom and women's rights"
In this episode (Mar. 17, 2023):
HbN Guest: Dr. Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi
Author of: Islam and Dissent in Post-Revolutionary Iran
About Our Guest: Dr. Ghamari-Tabrizi is the Professor and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, where he is also the Director of the Sharmin & Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies. He has written extensively on the topics of Iran, the Iranian revolution, social theory and Islamist political thought in different journals and book chapters. Currently, he is working on a project on Mystical Modernity, a comparative study of the philosophy of history and political theory of Walter Benjamin and Ali Shariati. He is also the author of Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, and Remembering Akbar: Inside the Iranian Revolution.
In the news: "Iran’s Islamic Leaders Face a Crisis of Faith as Protest Swell". See WSJ, Dec. 11, 2022.
In this episode (Dec. 16, 2022):
HbN Guest: Dr. Janet Affary
Author of: Sexual Politics in Modern Iran
About Our Guest: Dr. Afary is a professor of Religious Studies at UC Santa Barbara, the Director of the Iranian Studies Initiative, and the Chair of Religion and Modernity. She is the author of many books, including Iranian Romance in the Digital Age: From Arranged Marriage to White Marriage (Sex, Family and Culture in the Middle East).
In the news: Murder of Ms. Mahsa Amini by Iran's regime for the alleged improper wearing of her hijab.
In this episode (Oct. 14, 2022):
HbN Guest: Dr. Naghmeh Sohrabi
Author of: Taken for Wonder: Nineteenth-Century Travel Accounts from Iran to Europe
About Our Guest: Dr. Sohrabi is the Charles (Corky) Goodman professor of Middle East History and the director for research at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University. She is also a fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. She is currently working on her second book, which is tentatively titled The Intimate Lives of a Revolution: Iran 1979.
In the news: After the murder of Ms. Mahsa Amini by Iran's regime, Iranians erupted in mass protests. This time it feels different. Could this be a revolution?
In this episode (Oct. 7, 2022):
HbN Guest: Dr. Vali Nasr
Author of: The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat
About Our Guest: Dr. Nasr is a professor of Middle East Studies and International Affairs at Johns Hopkins University. From 2012 to 2019, he served as the Dean of Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies. He served as Senior Advisor to U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke between 2009 and 2011. Dr. Nasr has advised senior American policymakers, including the President, Secretary of State, senior members of the Congress, and presidential campaigns.
In the news: U.S. and European negotiators announced they had completed a text for restoring the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, and that the ball is essentially in Iran's court to take it or leave it. See WSJ, 8/8/22.
In this episode (Aug. 12, 2022):
HbN Guest: Dr. Vali Nasr
Author of: Democracy in Iran: History and the Quest for Liberty
About Our Guest: Dr. Nasr is a professor of Middle East Studies and International Affairs at Johns Hopkins University. From 2012 to 2019, he served as the Dean of Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies. He served as Senior Advisor to the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke between 2009 and 2011. Dr. Nasr has advised senior American policymakers, including the President, Secretary of State, senior members of the Congress, and presidential campaigns. He is also the author of Forces of Fortune: The Rise of a New Middle Class and How it Will Change Our World; and The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam will Shape the Future.
In the news: Mr. Ebrahim Raisi becomes Iran's president. Is he a real Ayatollah?
In this episode (Aug. 6, 2021):
HbN Guest: Dr. Sinan Ciddi
Author of: Kemalism in Turkish Politics: The Republican People's Party, Secularism and Nationalism
About Our Guest: Dr. Ciddi is a professor of National Security Studies at Command and Staff College at Marine Corps University. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. In addition, he is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
In the news: After 20 years of wielding power, will Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stay at the helm after this national election?
In this episode (May 19, 2023):
HbN Guest: Dr. Ussama Makdisi
Author of: The Culture of Sectarianism: Community, History, and Violence in Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Lebanon
About Our Guest: Dr. Makdisi is a professor of History and the first holder of the Arab-American Educational Foundation Chair of Arab Studies at Rice University. He has been a Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley, a Resident Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, in Berlin, and was named a Carnegie Scholar in 2009. He was awarded the Berlin Prize and was a Fellow at the American Academy of Berlin. His book Artillery of Heaven: American Missionaries and the Failed Conversion of the Middle East was the winner of the 2008 Albert Hourani Book Award from the Middle East Studies Association, the 2009 John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association, and a co-winner of the 2009 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize given by the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies.
In the news: sectarian fighting in Lebanon and dire economic situation for the people of Lebanon.
In this episode (Oct. 15, 2021):
HbN Guest: Dr. Christopher Tounsel
Author of: Chosen Peoples: Christianity and Political Imagination in South Sudan
About Our Guest: Dr. Tounsel of the University of Washington an historian of modern Sudan, with a special focus on race and religion as political technologies. He is now working on his second book, Bounds of Blackness: African Americans, Sudan, and the Politics of Solidarity.
In the news: Widespread fighting in Sudan is degenerating into another devastating civil war.
In this episode (Jul. 21, 2023):
HbN Guest: Dr. Etana Dinka
Author of: Society, Revolution and Military Intervention in Ethiopian Politics
About Our Guest: Dr. Dinka was born in Ethiopia and teaches African History at James Madison University. He has written extensively about Ethiopia's history.
In the news: Ethiopia's Civil War.
In this episode (Aug. 27, 2021):