Guillemette CrouzetSep 12, 2023
Inventing the Middle East
Britain and the Persian Gulf in the Age of Global Imperialism
McGill-Queen's University Press 2022
The “Middle East” has long been an indispensable and ubiquitous term in discussing world affairs, yet its history remains curiously underexplored. Few question the origin of the term or the boundaries of the region, commonly understood to have emerged in the twentieth century after World War I.
In Inventing the Middle East: Britain and the Persian Gulf in the Age of Global Imperialism (McGill-Queen's UP, 2022), Guillemette Crouzet offers a new account in Inventing the Middle East. The book traces the idea of the Middle East to a century-long British imperial zenith in the Indian subcontinent and its violent overspill into the Persian Gulf and its hinterlands. Encroachment into the Gulf region began under the expansionist East India Company. It was catalyzed by Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt and heightened by gunboat attacks conducted in the name of pacifying Arab “pirates.” Throughout the 1800s the British secured this crucial geopolitical arena, transforming it into both a crossroads of land and sea and a borderland guarding British India’s western flank. Establishing this informal imperial system involved a triangle of actors in London, the subcontinent, and the Gulf region itself.
Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel.