Today, Mitch Jeserich is in conversation with Toby Craig Jones, associate professor of History at Rutgers University, about the main role of oil and water management in Saudi political system. In his book Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia, he shows how Modern Saudi Arabian authoritarianism has its origins in the control of a regional power.
Then, we talk with Leslie Pierce about her latest book Empress of the East: How a European Slave Girl Became Queen of the Ottoman Empire. This book relate the life of Roxelana, also knew as Hurrem Sultan, a concubine of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent who broke the tradition and was the first to create a nuclear family in the heart of the Ottoman system and traditions. We question her influence in Ottoman politics and her controversial image in Istanbul society of the 16th century. Leslie Pierce is Silver Professor of History, Middle Eastern, and Islamic Studies at New York University.