Nations, Maps, and Drawing the Boundaries of Post-Ottoman Nation-States

Episode 15. Redrawing the Map of the Middle East

While maps create the illusion that borders are static, fixed, inviolable boundaries surrounding sovereign space, borders are in fact much more fluid than they appear on modern maps and are constantly being reconfigured. In this episode, Nicholas Danforth explores the ways in which the drawing of borders of the Modern Middle East in the post-Ottoman colonial order was variously arbitrary, haphazard, and even destructive.

Click here to open slide show (PDF format)

Nicholas Danforth is a PhD student studying the history of modern Turkey at Georgetown University (see
Emrah Safa Gürkan is a PhD candidate studying Ottoman history at Georgetown University (see
Chris Gratien is a PhD student studying the history of the modern Middle East at Georgetown University (see

Select Bibliography:

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso, 2006.

Poulton, H. (1997). Top hat, grey wolf, and crescent: Turkish nationalism and the Turkish Republic. Washington Square, N.Y: New York University Press.

Weber, E. (1976). Peasants into Frenchmen: The modernization of rural France, 1870-1914. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press.

Navari, L. (1998). The Ottoman world. London: Bernard J. Shapero.

Gellner, E. (1983). Nations and nationalism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.


Susan J. said…
This is GREAT!!! You guys should publish it more widely -- youtube, hardcopy book, whatever -- thanks so much!

Ottoman History Podcast is a noncommerical website intended for educational use. Anyone is welcome to use and reproduce our content with proper attribution under the terms of noncommercial fair use within the classroom setting or on other educational websites. All third-party content is used either with express permission or under the terms of fair use. Our page and podcasts contain no advertising and our website receives no revenue. All donations received are used solely for the purposes of covering our expenses. Unauthorized commercial use of our material is strictly prohibited, as it violates not only our noncommercial commitment but also the rights of third-party content owners.

We make efforts to completely cite all secondary sources employed in the making of our episodes and properly attribute third-party content such as images from the web. If you feel that your material has been improperly used or incorrectly attributed on our site, please do not hesitate to contact us.