Seminar considers "difference" and "sameness" as they have been conceived, experienced, and regulated by peoples of the Middle East, with a focus on the 19th and 20th centuries. First half discusses the Ottoman Empire. Explores how this multiethnic, polyglot empire survived for several relatively peaceful centuries and what happened when its formula for existence was challenged by politics based on mono-ethnic states. Second half focuses on post-Ottoman nation-states, such as Turkey and Egypt, and Western-mandated Arab states, such as Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq. Concludes with a case analysis of Israel.