A History of the Middle East Centre for Arab Studies

  • Authors
  • James Craig

Part of the St Antony’s Series book series

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. James Craig
    Pages 1-9
  3. James Craig
    Pages 10-24
  4. James Craig
    Pages 25-30
  5. James Craig
    Pages 31-53
  6. James Craig
    Pages 54-66
  7. James Craig
    Pages 67-88
  8. James Craig
    Pages 89-111
  9. James Craig
    Pages 112-126
  10. James Craig
    Pages 127-146
  11. James Craig
    Pages 147-162
  12. Back Matter
    Pages 163-203

About this book


Shemlan, a small, once unknown village in the hills overlooking Beirut, became notorious throughout the Middle East when Bertram Thomas chose it as the location for the Middle East Centre for Arab Studies (MECAS) in 1947. The knowledge that a western government was taking pains to teach its citizens Arabic and inform them of Arab history, society and religion made the Arabs suspicious. The success of MECAS in producing specialists who were the envy of other governments produced doubt and anxiety. The power of MECAS to attract British but also foreign diplomats and businessmen should have made it a profitable enterprise; instead there was constant penny-pinching and reluctance to invest. In retrospect it looks like an excellent idea developed by improvisation through its early troubles which was then allowed to die in its prime. Was it yet another example of a British invention unexploited?


anxiety Arabic expansion history history of literature idea Jerusalem knowledge Middle East reform religion society

Bibliographic information