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A Survey of Middle East Archives

Kian Byrne

Introducing a new HAPP series, A Survey of Middle East Archives

In a new series of blog posts on Sources and Methods, I will survey archives and research institutions in the Middle East relating to diplomatic history.

The surveys are based on months of research on the archival landscape in five countries: Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, and Iran. For each entry, I interviewed historians and librarians who have lived, worked, and studied in the region. I am extremely grateful that so many scholars were willing to share their insights about archival research in the region with me.

As each of the five posts will show, conducting research in the Middle East, particularly when studying modern diplomatic history, can prove difficult in the best of times. Limited resources, unclear classification laws, and often antagonistic government authorities can make the experience exhausting –even dangerous.

It is therefore important to have a sense of what one is getting into, and what one can hope to expect, before embarking on a research trip to the region.

The series is by no means exhaustive, nor is it intended as the final word on the matter. Rather, it is a first step in understanding and describing the potentially valuable holdings of archives in the Middle East. In the coming months, I plan to expand my survey to include additional countries in the greater Middle East/North Africa region, as well as valuable collections located outside of the region itself.

I hope readers will share their experiences conducting research in the Middle East with me, offer any necessary corrections, and point out missing information. The individual blog posts will eventually be compiled into a larger Working Paper and republished, and your comments could prove invaluable to making this a useful and reliable resource for future readers.

Part 1: Lebanon

Part 2: Turkey

Part 3: Egypt

Part 4: Israel

Part 5: Iran

About the Author

Kian Byrne

Kian Byrne

Program Associate, History and Public Policy Program

Kian Byrne is a Program Coordinator with the History and Public Policy Program.

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