Extremism, Ancient and Modern : Insurgency, Terror and Empire in the Middle East book cover
1st Edition

Extremism, Ancient and Modern
Insurgency, Terror and Empire in the Middle East

ISBN 9780415788397
Published January 25, 2018 by Routledge
218 Pages

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Book Description

Near Eastern archaeology is generally represented as a succession of empires with little attention paid to the individuals, labelled as terrorists at the time, that brought them down. Their stories, when viewed against the backdrop of current violent extremism in the Middle East, can provide a unique long-term perspective.

Extremism, Ancient and Modern brings long-forgotten pasts to bear on the narratives of radical groups today, recognizing the historical bases and specific cultural contexts for their highly charged ideologies. The author, with expertise in Middle Eastern archaeology and counter-terrorism work, provides a unique viewpoint on a relatively under-researched subject.

This timely volume will interest a wide readership, from undergraduate and graduate students of archaeology, history and politics, to a general audience with an interest in the deep historical narratives of extremism and their impact on today’s political climate.

Table of Contents



The Middle East and Me


Chapter One—The Passion Will Play

Narrativity and Resistance

Chapter Two—Gunpowder, Treason and Emplotment

Motive, Agency and Trope


Chapter Three

"The fanged serpent of the mountain"

Kurdish resistance and the Primeval Hills

Chapter Four

"A true people like so many others the world has seen"

Bedouin insurgency past and present

Chapter Five

"Their hearts were confident, full of their plans"

Palestinians and Philistines


Chapter Six

"There was no king in Israel"

The Early Iron Age in Israeli Settler Narratives

Chapter Seven

"Realm like his was never won by mortal king"

Himyarites and Huthis in the Yemen

Chapter Eight

"Our Place Here is But a Deception"

Al-Andalus in Islamic Ideology


"Those who ignore history are condemned to retweet it."








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Sandra Scham is Adjunct Associate Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology at the Catholic University of America and a countering violent extremism specialist who works with USAID and the Department of State. She lived in the Middle East for over seven years teaching and also implementing Israeli–Arab exchange and peace-building projects. She is the Co-Editor of the Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies, served as Editor of Near East Archaeology, published by the American Schools of Oriental Research, and is a contributing editor to Archaeology magazine. She has taught courses on archaeology, politics and the heritage of the Middle East at the University of Maryland and Stanford University.