Theses Doctoral

Church Historians and Maronite Communal Consciousness: Agency and Creativity in Writing the History of Mount Lebanon

Hojairi, Mouannes

The intent of this dissertation is to trace the genealogy of Maronite identity through an examination of the development of the historical tradition that shaped its contemporary manifestation. It examines how the current identity of the Lebanese Maronite community was formed and how its content is claimed by those interpolated by it as a stable and fixed essence, and what the claims of the contemporary nationalists regarding its formation would be.

What this study aims to reveal, is how early Maronite historiography's plea for inclusion, as a part of Catholic orthodoxy, was transformed and recast in subsequent centuries into a demand for exclusion and exclusivity. The metahistorical task of Maronite ecclesiastical historiography, the claim of perpetual orthodoxy was recast through emplotment in different narratives that perform oppositional tasks relevant to each era and each political project. Those include an exclusivist and exclusionary political history with the nineteenth century rise of sectarian politics, as well as a nationalist narrative in the twentieth century that attempted to preserve Maronite privilege and political ascendency.

This study brings evidence to bear on a particular aspect of history writing in Lebanon by presenting a reassessment and re-examination of an existing historiographical debate. It will demonstrate how history writing is one of the main instruments in generating and perpetuating nationalist myths and ideologies and that historians are central agents of nationality.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Thesis Advisors
Massad, Joseph A.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
March 1, 2013