Imperial Interventions in the Levant in 1919: The Wilsonian Imaginary & the Ottoman Lands I May 2019


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American interventions in the Middle East over the past fifty years have been a popular subject for scholars, yet the first major American diplomatic foray into the region occurred a century ago. The King-Crane Commission of 1919, sent to the Middle East by Woodrow Wilson in order to ascertain the political desires of the (no longer) Ottoman people, generated a moment of intense political debate and deliberation in the region. After returning from the Ottoman lands, the Commission made recommendations that did not align with the desires of the British, French, or the people of the region, yet these discounted proposals embodied what a Wilsonian Middle East may have resembled. This lecture will evaluate the history of this oft-forgotten Commission, the political moment that it spawned, and the legacy of Woodrow Wilson’s stillborn global vision. About the speaker: Dr Andrew Patrick is an Assistant Professor of History at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee (USA). His research focuses on American involvement in the Middle East, particularly during the World War I era. Patrick’s publications include America’s Forgotten Middle East Initiative: The King-Crane Commission of 1919 (London: IB Tauris, 2015) and “Woodrow Wilson, the Ottomans, and World War I” Diplomatic History (v. 42 no. 5, 2018). His articles have also appeared in Middle Eastern Studies, First World War Studies, and the Jerusalem Quarterly. Patrick’s current research involves the 19th and early 20th century entry of American oil companies into the region, as well as the American role in the post-war negotiations at Lausanne. He received his PhD in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Manchester in 2011, and has also taught in Turkey and Abu Dhabi.

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