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This paper was part of the 2014-2015 Penn Humanities Forum on Color. Find out more at


Color has been a unique way to distinguish different nations. When a nation emerges, its most prominent symbol is its flag, with each color meant to represent a different ideal. A group of people forms a nation to distinguish themselves from “others.” These “others” could be ethnically, linguistically, religiously, or culturally separate – they are distinguished as different. What is the relation between the nascent Arab nationalist movement and those not represented by the colors of the flag? In particular, how did this affect other ethnic minorities within Arab regions of the Ottoman Empire and others who were represented by the colors of the flag by virtue of their Arab ethnicity, but who came from religiously distinct backgrounds such as Christians, Druze, and Shi’ites?



Date Posted: 18 November 2016