Ruins from the Crusader fortress of Apollonia overlooking the Mediterranean Sea from atop the Calcarenite (kurkar
) cliffs of central Israel. [Source: D Gershon Lewental (DGLnotes)
This website is currently under construction.
Welcome to DGLnotes! On this website, I aim to host an ongoing discussion of various aspects of scholarship on the Middle East, focusing mainly on matters of identity and memory. I am currently the Schusterman visiting professor of Israel studies at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. My primary academic background lies in the history of Iran and in early Islamic history and I completed my doctorate on the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah, during the Arab-Muslim conquest of Iran, and its changing perceptions through time.
An examination of the interplay of history and memory, national identity, and religion in the modern Middle East guides my research. As an historian, I seek to examine modern identities within their historical contexts and to reveal the shared heritage of their roots. My areas of my interest are broad and varied; they include the Constitutional period in Iran, early Islamic history, the Bahāʾī faith, Israeli history and society, and Iraq under the Baʿth.
Please note that not all of these events are open to the general audience; please check with the organisers to confirm.
07 January 2013, 18.30—‘The Rise of Jewish national identity in the modern world’ (Israel Cornell Club): Khan Museum of Ḥaderah, ha-Gibborim 74, Ḥaderah, Israel.
18 January 2013, 12.00—‘An Israeli elections primer: Understanding and interpreting the 22 January 2013 elections’ (Department of International & Area Studies, University of Oklahoma): Hester Hall, Norman, Oklahoma.
01 February 2013, 20.30—‘History of the Baháʾí community in the Holy Land, 1917 to the present’ (Moore Baháʾí Cultural Event): 1516 SW 38th Street, Moore, Oklahoma.
08 December 2012, 18.30—‘The Baháʾí faith in the Holy Land and Baháʾí-Israeli relations’ (Norman Baháʾí Center): 526 Iowa St, Norman, Oklahoma.
12 November 2012, 19.00—‘The Art of Zionism: Jewish national identity in the modern world’ (Jewish University adult education series, Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City): 710 W Wilshire St, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
12 October 2012, 14.15 (Panel 2)—‘History for a purpose: An Analysis of “Ṣaddām’s Qādisiyyah”’ (5th annual conference of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa): Key Bridge Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC.
03 October 2012, 12.00—‘The Bahāʾī faith in Israel and its community’s relations with the Jewish state’ (JuSt Lunch Brown-Bag Lecture Series, Schusterman/Josey Program in Judaic & Israel Studies, University of Oklahoma): Gittinger Hall 109, 760 Van Vleet Oval, Norman, Oklahoma.
The Bahāʾī faith emerged in Iran during the mid-Nineteenth Century as a new religion within the Abrahamic monotheistic faith tradition, focusing on human unity and equality. Although the faith and its prophet-founder, Bahāʾ-Ollāh (also Baháʾuʾlláh, born Mīrzā Ḥusayn-ʿAlī Nūrī, 1817–1892) came from Iran, persecution brought them to ʿAkko (Acre) and Ḥaifa (Haifa) in Ottoman Palestine, where the leadership of the faith has remained ever since. For nearly a century, the families and descendants of Bahāʾ-Ollāh and many of his early followers continued to live and thrive in the land, as it passed from the Ottomans to the British to the Israelis. I have conducted extensive research on the relations between the Bahāʾī community and British, Jewish, and Israeli authorities at the Israel State Archives and present general information on the Bahāʾī faith, original studies, and primary sources and other resource materials here