Adam Mestyan’s current book project is Modern Arab Kingship, a transnational history of the making of Arab kingdoms from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century.
The book offers a novel perspective on the making of Arab national monarchies by analyzing the forced disintegration of the Ottoman Empire as a problem of imperial transition between the 1910s and 1950s. Based on extensive archival research and analysis of the interwar Arabic press, Modern Arab Kingship provides a new interdisciplinary framework for understanding international relations of dependence and domestic sovereignty in interwar Arab monarchies. Combining international legal history and historical sociology, the first part of the book details the interaction of ex-Ottoman Muslim aristocrats with British and French occupiers; the second part examines the impact of monarchy on Arabic discourses about sovereignty and the invention of political Islam. By tracing the imperial-military origins of Middle Eastern monarchies, the project offers a radical rethinking of the Arab world in global history.
Recently, Mestyan also started a project on law and nature in the modern Middle East, especially about the history of property regimes.
Other past and present projects include: various writings about global urban history of Cairo (including La fabrique du Caire moderne project), Islam and nationalism in the Arab world, the social transformation in the late Ottoman Empire, Arabic theater history, the theory and practice of archives, and the origins of the Arabic public sphere.
Mestyan is equally invested in the Western European cultural history of the nineteenth and twentieth century, especially posing culture and the making of the bourgeoisie as a global social model.