Can the idea of space, mythologized and then re-configured on a far wider basis, be the foundation of today's “Middle East”? Surely it is the “local,” in its complexity and variety, that deserves attention as more than a subject on which to hang a “Middle East.” Recognizing that external powers and actors have tried to create a region in their service does not preclude recognition of the peoples, communities, and institutitions within the region that have tried to create their own identities, promote their own aspirations, and establish their own ideologies.

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