Welcome to this, our first opening lecture of our course on the emergence of the modern Middle East. I am Professor Asher Susser from Tel Aviv University. And this is going to be a course about the modern Middle East, which means the last 200 years or so of the history of this region from the early 19th century until the Arab Spring of the last few years. Our first lesson today is on the Middle East in the modern era. That requires us first to talk a bit about what is the Middle East, and the other, what is it exactly that we mean by the modern era. The term Middle East is not self-evident. If you look at this region from the main cities of the Middle East, from Istanbul, from Cairo, or from Tel Aviv, this is not the middle or the east of anything. The term Middle East is a term created by people who looked at the Middle East from somewhere else. It is the Middle East if you're looking at this region from Paris, from London, or from Washington. If you're looking at the region from outside, it is that Middle East which is on the way to the Far East. So what that means is that this is a term that was created by foreigners. But even though the term was created by foreigners, all the peoples of the Middle East use this term to describe the region in which they themselves live. In Arabic, in Turkish, in Persian, in Hebrew, this region is called by the Middle Eastern people the Middle East even though it is a term of foreign creation. The term was actually created by an American naval historian, Alfred Thayer Mahan, who used it in an article and popularized the term in 1902. The fact that the term created by a foreigner has been adopted by the local peoples is an indication of the enormous effect that foreign nations, foreign powers, have had in the creation of this modern Middle East as we call it. Time. Time is defined in this region according to the Gregorian Western calendar. There are Muslim and Jewish calendars. Yet day-to-day life in the countries of the Middle East is not governed by these Muslim or Jewish calendars, but rather by the Gregorian Western Christian calendar. So both time and space in the Middle East have been defined by outsiders, again a reminder of the enormous influence that outsiders have had in the creation of this modern Middle East. So where is it exactly, this modern Middle East? What are the countries that are included in the Middle East? Normally, although there are various definitions of what exactly the Middle East is, most would go along with the definition that the Middle East includes all the Arab countries. That is, from Morocco in the west to the countries in the Gulf, like Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia, and the non-Arab countries, of which there are three, Turkey, Iran, and Israel. If we look at the state structure of the Middle East, any map of the Middle East showing us where the borders of the different countries are, we can see that for a very large degree, this is the patchwork of foreigners, that imperial powers often sat with rulers and created states where states had not existed before. Countries were created with new identities that did not yet actually exist. In fact, in the Middle East, it is much more appropriate to speak of state-nations rather than nation-states. In Europe, it was very common for nations like the French or the Germans to create states that represented their national linguistic and territorial identity. But in the Middle East, states were created before nation-states existed. Thus we have countries like Jordan, for example, or the territory of Palestine as defined after the First World War, where these were totally new creations. There were no Palestinian people or Jordanian people when these states were created. No Syrian or Lebanese or Iraqi people when their states were created. But with time, with the existence of these states, nations that emerge with a particular territorial identity. Thus you do have after the creation of Palestine, after the creation of Jordan, after the creation of Iraq and after the creation of Syria, for example, the emergence of people who do have Palestinian, Jordanian, Syrian, or Lebanese identities. These are state-nations rather than nation-states, nations that came into being after the creation of the state, not the creation of states that came into being after the formation of the nation, which is the more typical European example. Peoples in the Middle East, for centuries upon centuries, identified themselves collectively not by the states in which they lived, not by the territory that they inhabited, and not by the language they spoke, but by their religious belief. Collective identity was about religion, not about territory and language. And it was only after the dramatic, long-standing impact of the West that identities began to shift and to emerge towards a more European style, territorial, or linguistic identity.