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Faculty Spring 2020: Lior B. Sternfeld

The Origins of Third-Worldism in the Middle East

Assistant Professor of History and Jewish Studies

The Origins of Third-Worldism in the Middle East

The Origins of Third-Worldism in the Middle East focuses on several instances in the social and political history of the MENA region and seeks to redefine the concept of Third-Worldism and find its roots in the region. It further sees the participation in the Bandung conference as the culmination of the movement rather than its beginning. This project asks not to deny the pivotal role played by India and South Asian countries but to better locate the Middle East in this significant global episode. In this project, I put the history of the Arab Middle East, Iran, Israel, and Southeast Asia into a direct dialogue. A dialogue that would enrich and complicate the story of the Third World nascence. Through a series of events that can be weaved into a single narrative, this project shows the inception, progress, and implementation of that ideological movement, from the responses and participation in the Spanish civil war, through the anti-British struggle that took place simultaneously in Mandatory Palestine and Egypt and gave way to strange bedfellows such as the Zionist paramilitary Irgun and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, to the Oil Crisis in the early 1950s that involved Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, and other countries. In this research, I use archival sources, minutes, autobiographies, and political publications in Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, and English.