Elie Kedourie C.B.E.
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...
, FBA (25 January 1926 – 29 June 1992, Washington
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....
) was a British
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...
of the Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...
. He wrote from a conservative
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism...
perspective, dissenting from many points of view taken as orthodox in the field. He was at the London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...
(LSE) from 1953 to 1990, becoming Professor of Politics.
He was born in Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...
; his background was Iraqi Jewish and he grew up in the Jewish quarter, attending the Alliance Française primary school and then the Shammash High School. He took an undergraduate degree at the LSE.
Kedourie's doctoral thesis (later England and the Middle East) was critical inter alia
-Track listing:# Inter Alia# Outfox'd # Righteous Badass # The Altogether feat. Bix, Apt, UNIVERSE ARM and Cal# The Day-to-Daily# Trouble Brewing # The Prestidigitator# The Force...
of Britain's inter-war role in Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....
. It was refused the degree of D. Phil. of the University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...
, but was published in 1956. It castigated British policy makers, for their encouragement of Arab nationalism
Arab nationalism is a nationalist ideology celebrating the glories of Arab civilization, the language and literature of the Arabs, calling for rejuvenation and political union in the Arab world...
, and contained a very negative view of T. E. Lawrence
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence, CB, DSO , known professionally as T. E. Lawrence, was a British Army officer renowned especially for his liaison role during the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule of 1916–18...
. He refused to make changes requested by one of the examiners, Sir Hamilton Gibb
Sir Hamilton Alexander Rosskeen Gibb , also commonly referred to as "H. A. R. Gibb", was a Scottish historian on Orientalism.-Early life and education:...
, and so did not proceed to take the degree. Michael Oakeshott
Michael Joseph Oakeshott was an English philosopher and political theorist who wrote about philosophy of history, philosophy of religion, aesthetics, and philosophy of law...
brought Kedourie back to the LSE in 1953.
In 1964 Kedourie was founder and editor of the learned journal, Middle Eastern Studies
Middle Eastern studies is a name given to a number of academic programs associated with the study of the history, culture, politics, economies, and geography of the Middle East, an area that is generally interpreted to cover a range of nations extending from North Africa in the west to the Chinese...
His 1960 book Nationalism provoked replies, in Thought and Change
Thought and Change is early work by Ernest Gellner. In this book Gellner outlines his views on what is "modernity". He looks at the processes of social change and historical transformation and perhaps most forcefully the power nationalism...
(1964) and Nations and Nationalism (1983), by his LSE colleague Ernest Gellner
Ernest André Gellner was a philosopher and social anthropologist, described by The Daily Telegraph when he died as one of the world's most vigorous intellectuals and by The Independent as a "one-man crusade for critical rationalism."His first book, Words and Things —famously, and uniquely...
, contesting Kedourie's theories on the potential eliminability of nationalist thought.
Kedourie was critical of Marxist interpretations of history and of nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...
, which he described as 'anti-individualist, despotic, racist, and violent'. He claimed they had turned the Middle East into 'a wilderness of tigers'.
Kedourie also documented and criticised what he saw as the British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...
's debilitation through over-indulgence in self-criticism. In 1970 he attacked another British celebrity, Arnold J. Toynbee
Arnold Joseph Toynbee CH was a British historian whose twelve-volume analysis of the rise and fall of civilizations, A Study of History, 1934–1961, was a synthesis of world history, a metahistory based on universal rhythms of rise, flowering and decline, which examined history from a global...
, in an essay, The Chatham House Version, holding him partly responsible for British imperial abdication of responsibility for the state of the Middle East.
- England and the Middle East: The Vital Years 1914–1921 (1956) later as England and the Middle East; the destruction of the Ottoman Empire 1914–1921
- Nationalism (1960) revised edition 1993
- Afghani and 'Abduh: An essay on religious unbelief and political activism in modern Islam (1966)
- The Chatham House Version: And Other Middle Eastern Studies (1970)
- Nationalism in Asia and Africa (1970) editor
- Arabic Political Memoirs and Other Studies (1974)
- In the Anglo-Arab Labyrinth: The McMahon-Husayn Correspondence and its Interpretations 1914–1939 (1976)
- Middle Eastern Economy: Studies in Economics and Economic History (1976)
- The Jewish World: Revelation, Prophecy and History (1979) editor, as The Jewish World: History and Culture of the Jewish World (US)
- Islam in the Modern World and Other Studies (1980)
- Towards a Modern Iran; Studies in Thought, Politics and Society (1980) editor with Sylvia G. Haim
- Modern Egypt: Studies in Politics and Society (1980) editor
- Zionism and Arabism in Palestine and Israel (1982) editor with Sylvia G. Haim
- The Crossman Confessions and Other Essays in Politics, History and Religion (1984)
- Diamonds into Glass: The Government and the Universities (1988)
- Essays on the Economic History of the Middle East (1988) editor with Sylvia G. Haim
- Democracy and Arab Political Culture (1992)
- Politics in the Middle East (1992)
- Spain and the Jews: The Sephardi Experience, 1492 and after (1992)
- Hegel & Marx: Introductory Lectures (1995)