Writing the History of Mount Lebanon

Church Historians and Maronite Identity

Mouannes Hojairi

A meticulous deconstruction of Maronite history writing and the ways in which Lebanese nationalist myths have been invented and perpetuated by histori

English edition
5 October 2021
240 pp.
15.50x12cm
ISBN 9781649031259
For sale worldwide

$59.95

A meticulous deconstruction of Maronite history writing and the ways in which Lebanese nationalist myths have been invented and perpetuated by historians

As a frequently contested territory, Mount Lebanon has an equally contested history, one that is produced, shaped, and revised by as many players as those who molded the Lebanese state since its inception in 1920. The Lebanese Maronite Church has had more at stake in the process of history writing than any other group or institution. It is arguably one of the most influential institutions in Lebanese history and definitely the most influential institution in the country at the moment of the state’s birth.

Writing the History of Mount Lebanon traces the genealogy of Maronite identity by examining the historical traditions that shaped its contemporary manifestation. It explores the presence of a tradition in Maronite Church historiography that was maintained by the historians of the Church, whose claims and hypotheses ultimately defined the communal identity of the Maronites in Mount Lebanon and deeply influenced subsequent Lebanese national identity. Rooted in a reexamination of  the existing literature and bringing evidence to bear on this particular aspect of history-writing in Lebanon, it shows how early Maronite ecclesiastic historiography’s plea for inclusion as a part of Catholic orthodoxy was transformed and recast in subsequent centuries by lay and secular historians into a demand for exclusion and exclusivity, which in turn led to the rise of exclusivist political identities based on sectarian belonging in Mount Lebanon.

Ultimately, Mouannes Hojairi shows how history-writing is one of the main instruments in generating and perpetuating nationalist ideologies and how historians are central agents of nationality.

To read an excerpt, click here.

For the Table of Contents, click here.

 

Mouannes Hojairi

Mouannes  Hojairi is assistant professor of history at the American University in Cairo. He received his PhD from Columbia University in 2011. In 2009–2010 he was visiting assistant professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Bard College and in 2010–2013 he was Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Africana Studies at Vassar College. His research is focused on the relationship between history-writing and identity formation specifically on historiography and the rise of nationalist identities in the Modern Middle East.
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