This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Constructing And Naturalizing The Middle East

7466 words - 30 pages

geographical record 
The Geographical Review  (): -, October  Copyright ©  by the American Geographical Society of New York
Dr. Culcasi is an assistant professor of geography at West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia .
I have been writing about it in the Guardian for almost four years and I'm fairly sure that I have been there, but I have to confess that I don't know for certain where the Middle East is.
Brian Whitaker, 
Defining or locating the "Middle East" is a precarious endeavor.1 The territory and the characteristics that have been used to delimit and describe this world re- gion have varied immensely over time and space. Even a cursory examination of maps or encyclopedias quickly reveals that the Middle East and the various criteria that have been used to define it are variable and ambiguous. Nevertheless, the re- gion has been naturalized as a real and definable place. Indeed, popular and politi- cal discourses on the Middle East are so commonplace that we rarely scrutinize their socially constructed origins and connotations.
Critical examinations of naturalized geographical concepts such as "space," "scale," and "place-specific identities" have sparked vibrant discussions (Häkli ; van Schendel , ), but the world region has received scant attention. Gener- ally defined as groupings of contiguous states that have some cultural, historical, economic, and even physiographic similarity, world regions are a taken-for-granted concept (N. Smith , -; Lewis and Wigen , ; Harvey , ). How- ever, world regions are not naturally existing, homogeneous spaces; rather, they are social constructs that are formed and altered in a myriad of discourses (Murphy , ; Paasi , , ; Hagen ). In this essay I analyze the construction and naturalization of the Middle East as a world region. Specifically, I provide a com- prehensive and critical examination of the origins, definitions, delineations, and meanings of "Middle East" that have been formative in incorporating this place in our everyday geographies. My goal is to move beyond questions such as "What is the proper designation of the Middle East?" "What is its actual extent?" and "What criteria best determine the region's...

Find Another Essay On constructing and naturalizing the middle east

The Middle East Essay

863 words - 4 pages terrorist when meeting someone from the Middle East or a Muslim for the first time. Because the impact of the 9/11 attacks were caused by people from the Middle East, others immediately link terrorism with people from the Middle East. The culture of the Middle East, the U.S. involvement in the Middle East, and the Arab Israeli Conflict influenced the connection between terrorism and the Middle East. Islam is a religion practiced by many Muslims around

The Middle East Essay

891 words - 4 pages does not mean that Americans have no family values. When people think of the Middle East, they usually imagine a place full of inequality and very little justice. This is mostly true. There is a lot of inequality in the Middle East and there is no justice for ordinary citizens. The only way for ordinary citizens to get any justice is through “knowing the right people.” People from foreign countries seem to think that Americans are obsessed with

Turkey: Bridge Between the Western World and the Middle East

865 words - 4 pages countries which makes it important to other countries. The geographical location of Turkey between Europe, the Middle East and Asia also makes it important. Turkey being a modern Muslim country, it socially serves as a bridge between Western and the Islamic world. Turkey also plays a key role in the distribution of energy from the Middle East to Europe where Turkey paves way for the distribution. Turkey have been acting as a mediator between Iran and

The Domino Revolutions in Europe and the Middle East

1880 words - 8 pages a mass change under an autocracy. Over 150 years later, the same revolutionary spirit that swept across Europe rose again in 2010 throughout the Middle East. Beginning this time in Tunisia with the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in December 2010 in protest of police corruption and ill-treatment (Fahim 1), it was the event that triggered major upheavals in the North African and South West Asia region. The protests “united discontented

The Cause of Hatred and Distrust in the Middle East

2256 words - 9 pages The Cause of Hatred and Distrust in the Middle East The war in Iraq is further poisoning the already noxious political atmosphere between Arabs and Americans. It has intensified and increased dangerous feelings of humiliation and outrage among the Arab public, while paranoid rhetoric about Western attacks against Islam elsewhere is spreading from the religious fringe to the mainstream. It is simplistic and self- serving

The Roles Of Women: America And The Middle East

468 words - 2 pages What defines a woman? Is it as simplistic as a sentient being capable of giving life; or perhaps it is much more than that. The very definition of a woman varies from place to place, culture to culture. In this instance, I will be discussing American women and Middle Eastern women.The general American woman today has labored hard for the rights they now possess. Women work hard and are considered as equals as they can perform any job that a man

Major Demographic Changes in the Middle East and North Africa

961 words - 4 pages The major demographic changes in the Middle East and North Africa have been the massive increase in population, and urbanization which has seen the emergence of many large cities throughout the region. The reasons for this have been because of better health care, greater mobility of the population, economic opportunities in the cities and political changes. During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, a number of European

Water In the Middle East: Prospects for Conflict and Cooperation

1580 words - 7 pages . High level of population growth in the Middle East countries makes their share of water per each resident rapidly shrinking. In general, the availability of water in the region has fallen from 3,300 liters per year in 1960 to less than 1200, which is the lowest in the world, representing 33% of Central Asian level, 15 % of African and 5% Hispanic . If demographic rates will not change, thirty years on each inhabitant of the region will account

Understandings and Approaches to Human Trafficking in the Middle East

1719 words - 7 pages In 2013, the ILO (International Labour Organization) reported the Middle East to be the primary destination for trafficking victims, as they calculated that there are around 600,000 forced labour victims within the region to date (13). This seemingly widespread issue of human trafficking within the Middle East has been subject to significant media coverage and global debate. There are three major elements at the centre of this debate: issues

Citizen Protest In Nazi Germany and the Middle East

1046 words - 4 pages The situation that is occurring in the Middle East is not the first political unrest that has occurred. The actions that have been taken to stifle the protestors are not similar to the actions that Nazi Germany took to suppress the Jews. The actions that differentiate these two groups are the circumstances that caused these violent acts to come about. The leader of Egypt and Hitler are two entirely different beings. The underlying causes of the

Population Overview and Growth in the Middle East

957 words - 4 pages Domestic Product, where two-thirds of the world's oil resides. These are all contributing factors to a growing population expected to double within 50 years.The Middle East and North Africa, defined in this report to include Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Yemen, is an area of 18 nations covering approximately

Similar Essays

Usama, The Middle East, And The Crusades

1565 words - 6 pages The selection from Usama Ibn Munqidh’s Kitab al-l’tibar otherwise know in English as the Book of Contemplation is a book in which Usama provides a series of short vignettes as a testimony to his experiences in the medieval Middle East and the Crusades. Through his writings the reader is able to get a Muslim account of the Crusades. It is largely a personal account so many details are left out and much background knowledge is assumed. It also is

American Politics And The Middle East

2190 words - 9 pages Introduction Unlike most Europeans countries, the United States of America enjoyed a rather healthy relationship with Middle East nations during the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Possibly, this was due to the fact that the US had little or no interest in colonizing countries in the region. On the contrary, it largely participated in philanthropic and educational activities therefore attracting positive perception among the Middle

Terrorism And Culture Of The Middle East

4947 words - 20 pages Terrorism and Culture of the Middle East Introduction In 1993, a Harvard political scientist named Samuel P. Huntington wrote a controversial article entitled “The Clash of Civilizations” in Foreign Affairs. At this point the Gulf War was still fresh in the minds of most Americans. The most poignant issues at the time were the threat of Suddam Hussein, nuclear weapons, and the establishment of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Also

Middle East And Canada Essay

4662 words - 19 pages In December 1985, the Canadian press reported the death by suicide of hundreds of field mice in the Middle East. In an apparently instinctive reaction to a problem of over-population, the mice willfully plunged to their doom off the cliffs of the Golan Heights. This bizarre story was the subject not only of straight news coverage in the Canadian press, but also of an editorial in the Globe and Mail on December 20. On November 1, 1985, the Globe