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John M. Willis


New Texts Out Now: John M. Willis, Unmaking North and South: Cartographies of the Yemeni Past, 1857-1934

[Cover of John M. Willis,

John M. Willis, Unmaking North and South: Cartographies of the Yemeni Past, 1857-1934. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? John Willis (JW): The book began as a dissertation written in the departments of history and Middle Eastern and Islamic studies at New York University. While I had been interested in the production and mastery of space as a particular technic of power for some time, what drove me to frame the ...

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Theorizing the Arabian Peninsula Roundtable: Writing Histories of the Arabian Peninsula or How to Narrate the Past of a (Non)Place

[This is one of seven contributions in Jadaliyya's electronic roundtable on the symbolic and material practices of knowledge production on the Arabian Peninsula. Moderated by Rosie Bsheer and John Warner, it features Toby Jones, Madawi Al-Rasheed, Adam Hanieh, Neha Vora, Nathalie Peutz, John Willis, and Ahmed Kanna.] (1) Historically, what have the dominant analytical approaches to the study of the Arabian Peninsula been? How have the difficulties of carrying out research ...

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John M. Willis


John M. Willis is assistant professor of history at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His research area is the social and cultural history of the modern Middle East and the Indian Ocean. He is particularly interested in the relationship between state power and the geographical imagination, both as part of colonial modernity and movements of Islamic reform. He is the author of Unmaking North and South: Cartographies of the Yemeni Past, 1857-1934 (Columbia, 2012). His new research investigates debates over the future Islamic political community in the interwar period in the Arab world and South Asia.