Massimiliano Trentin is Assistant Professor of History and IR of the Middle East at the Department of Political and Social Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Italy. He works on the International History of the Middle East and North Africa with a special focus on the interplay between diplomacy, economics and patterns of development.
His Ph.d thesis, Which kind of modernity for Syria? The construction of the Ba'thist regime under the shadow of the Berlin Wall (University of Florence, 2008), dealt with the influence of economic and institutional development models of East and West Germany on Syria in the Sixties and early Seventies of the XX century. His first monograph, Engineers of Modern Development : East German Experts in Ba'thist Syria, 1965-1972 (Cleup, 2010) and later the editions, like The Middle East and the Cold War. Between Security and Development (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012) focus on the critical conjucture between Cold War interventions and patters of development in the postcolonial Middle East. He published articles on the topic in international academic journals, like Diplomatic History, Cold War History, Foro Internacional, Phoenix in Domo Foscari, The International Spectator, and several essays in volumes for Italian and foreign editors (IB Tauris, Lynne Rienner, Peter Lang, Cahiers Irice, Bruno Mondadori, Marsilio, Franco Angeli).
He currently works on the history of economic development in the Middle East and North Africa during the "long" Seventies and the influence of international economic organizations (World Bank, International Monetary Fund and UN Agencies) as a part of an international project on the history of energy in the XX century. Moreover, he plays attention on the political economy of the transformations recently occurring in the Arab world, as he edited the dossier "Lines of conflict: the transformation of the Arab world" (Afriche e Orienti, vol. 1-2, 2013).
The course analyses the history of Syria and Lebanon since independence, with particular attention to two patterns of interaction: first, between domestic and foreign forces; second, between politics and economics. Differences along time and space in the blend of these factors will help understanding the dynamics of change as well as the points of convergence and divergence between the two countries.