Arab Studies Journal
Vol. XVII, No. 1
This issue is a rich one that offers, in the best tradition of Arab Studies Journal, the rigor, insight, and transdisciplinarity that our team fosters. In “Confronting a Colonial Rule of Property: The al-Sakhina Case in Mandate Palestine,” Munir Fakher Eldin sheds an innovative light on popular conceptions and strategies of property, land, and sovereignty. His work reshapes our temporal and thematic understandings of land and settler-colonial politics in Palestine by centering how Sakhinites challenged colonial policy as well as interrupting, contesting, and shaping land and law. Chihab El Khachab traces how a family of successful film producers and their narrative formula came to signify a distinct genre of commercial entertainment in “The Sobky Recipe and the Struggle Over ‘The Popular’ in Egypt.” In illuminating struggles between multiple class-cultural formations, entrepreneurial interests and labor conditions, and highbrow and lowbrow music production, Khachab traces and explodes the category “popular.” In “Comic Images and the Art of Witnessing: A Visual Analysis of Joe Sacco’s Footnotes in Gaza,” Nawal Musleh-Motut reveals how images facilitate readers’ role in bearing witness, through testimonial interactivity, appropriating and using images of trauma, manipulating time and space to narrativize trauma, and enabling self-reflexive interrogation. In “No One to See Here: Genres of Neutralization and the Ongoing Nakba,” Shir Alon analyzes Palestinian art in the late 1990s and early 2000s to show how emotional opacity, deflation of event-based plots, and a focus on banal everyday gestures constitute an aesthetic trend. Exploring Elia Suleiman’s film Chronicle of a Disappearance (1996) and Adania Shibli’s first novel, Touch (2002), Alon shows how this aesthetic trend suspends temporality and historicity while interrogating the political. Liron Mor in “Resistance into Incitement: Translation, Legislation, ‘Early Detection,’ and the Palestinian Poet’s Intention” explores the case of Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian poet who posted a poem on social media and was recently convicted of incitement to terror. Through a close reading of the poem, the testimonies, and the court proceedings, Mor reveals the paradox of “non-translation,” a mode of depoliticizing and controlling Palestinian resistance. The issue also features a typically rich and incisive review section.
With this issue, we commemorate the end of an era. This February, the journal lost one of its intellectual and familial pillars, Asmahan Haddad. Asma, as she was known to her expansive family, both biological and far beyond, has made this journal possible since its initial steps over a quarter of a century ago. Not a scholar or activist in any conventional sense, Asma molded minds, made the present possible, and inspired different futures. In this sense, she was a public figure who shaped those around her with her sharp insight and boundless wit. Asma was an endless fountain of wisdom, love, and strength that nourished generations of people, projects, and visions. She enriched all who crossed her path, until the last moment, when dozens of loved ones from near and far surrounded her. Asma was a mother, a comrade, and an early principal supporter of the mothership of this publication, the Arab Studies Institute (ASI).
Asma helped propel ASI as an experiment in forging collectivity. Her energy went far beyond the warm generosity that characterized everything she did. It was her commitment to critical knowledge that inspired each of us in crucial ways. Perhaps more than anything, it was her faith in a group of young women and men who came together starting in the early 1990s. On paper, this group would embark on what is today ASI’s constellation of initiatives: the Arab Studies Journal, Jadaliyya, Quilting Point, Forum on Arab and Muslim Affairs (FAMA), and Tadween Publishing.
In 1992, the Arab Studies Journal (ASJ) was launched as an aspiring graduate student academic journal at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS), Georgetown University. However, the administration was not ready to fund the ambitious project beyond providing emotional support. Yet, it moved forward under the editorship of Bassam Haddad, Asma’s son, and a dedicated team of editors—notably Michelle Kjorlien (now Esposito) and Steve Brannon—who were then all graduate students in the MA in Arab Studies program (MAAS) at CCAS. Asma backed the project unconditionally, and committed to handling any unmet cost.
Asma gave all of us an expansive model of family, a family that embraced our ideas, acknowledged our weaknesses, and fortified our strength with humor, curiosity, and—above all—unstinting honesty. Her faith in, and support for, the project only grew as ASJ attracted a number of students who enrolled in the MAAS program and beyond at Georgetown, including Sinan Antoon, Chris Toensing, Nadya Sbaiti, and Sherene Seikaly. By 1994, ASJ had also attracted prominent writers from the United States, Europe, and the Middle East, including from Georgetown University, based on the promise of its English section as well as its meteoric Arabic section, which, under Sinan Antoon’s leadership, featured some of the leading Arabic writers and novelists of their time. While short-lived, the Arabic section spoke the most to one of Asma’s enduring passions: her mother tongue.
During the lead-up to publication, with hefty printing and distribution costs looming, Asma encouraged us to forge ahead without worry. In addition to financial contributions by some of the editors, and the remarkable dedication and volunteer labor of all the editors, she guaranteed the production of the publication during its early years. By 1996, the journal began attracting unsolicited work by luminaries in the field—while always serving as a platform for distinguished graduate student work—and the new leadership at CCAS was far more forthcoming in supporting ASJ, providing it with office space that continues to serve as its home at Georgetown University. And while the support came early on from our mentors, including Hanna Batatu, Halim Barakat, Hisham Sharabi, and Barbara Stowasser, among others, it was the steady hand of Michael Hudson and the leadership and unflinching enthusiasm of Judith Tucker that forged a permanent place for the journal at Georgetown University. This support continues until today, under the leadership of the center’s directors, Osama Abi-Mershed and, currently, Rochelle Davis.
For all these reasons, it was a painful but beautiful moment when Judith Tucker was among the first to arrive at Asma’s memorial, or “Celebration of Life,” in March 2019. Asma did not want grief to mark her farewell; she wanted us to go on, to fight the good fight, to celebrate life. Countless people attended Asma’s memorial or were there in spirit, including the good people who have fueled and nurtured ASI for nearly three decades. These included (in addition to those mentioned above) Ziad Abu-Rish, Noura Erakat, Maya Mikdashi, John Warner, Ibtisam Azem, Rosie Bsheer, Samia Errazzouki, Kylie Broderick, Hesham Sallam, Lisa Hajjar, Mouin Rabbani, Anthony Alessandrini, Mona Harb, Adel Iskandar, Omar Dahi, Khalid Namez, Tareq Radi, Maria Bouzeid, Malihe Razazan, Aslı Bâli, Osama Esber, Muriam Haleh Davis, Abdullah al-Arian, Paola Messina, Nour Joudah, Michael Haddad, Elliott Colla, In’aam Issawi, Musa Hamideh, Edward Gaier, Samantha Brotman, Anjali Kamat, Allison Brown, Solène Maillet, Basileus Zeno, Mohammad Ali Nayel, Brittany Dawson, Katty Elhayek, Noah Black, Katie Jackson, Max Ajl, John Kallas, Michael Ernst, Alicia Cagle, Lama Khoury, Kevin Martin, and dozens more, with whom Asma came into contact. Asma was the proudest when she attended ASJ’s twentieth anniversary in 2013, as the journal continued to thrive under the editorship of Sherene Seikaly and, at that time, Nadya Sbaiti.
Asma’s fearless energy did not stop at print alone. When the United States invaded Iraq, and we took our foray into documentary filmmaking, she was there holding us up. Despite the risks of venturing into Baghdad weeks after the occupation, Asma co-funded what became ASI’s award- winning documentary About Baghdad, the transnational series What is Said About Arabs and Terrorism, and the forward-looking documentary The Other Threat: Arab and Muslim Immigrants in Europe. Asma was always interested, always ready to learn more, always reminding us of the urgency of the political moments we were lucky to experience with her. She believed we were on to something long before we believed it ourselves.
Asma’s contributions far exceeded the material foundations that made these collective projects possible. Most, if not all, of us at ASJ juggled doctoral work, ASI development, and, sometimes, full-time jobs. The Haddad household, with its own supportive small business headed by Asma’s two other children, Elie and Carole Haddad, continued to be a material incubator. For nearly three decades, Asma’s home was the laboratory where we could hatch plans, ideas, and dreams; hold weekly meetings, workshops, and mini- conferences, and, most of all, grow and learn. She fed, comforted, listened to, and made space for hundreds of team members over the years. She would not rest until everything was in its place, even after a day of laboring over stoves and serving multitudes from large trays of delectables (“Take this piece, you always ask for it”). Her food gave a new meaning to joy. Hunger was not an option at Asma’s. She fed us effortlessly with edible delicacies, with her commitment to social justice, and with her piercing observations around the circle of life and love that was her kitchen table. It was at that table that we debated, gossiped, and most of all laughed, well into the early hours of dawn. She was always the last one to call it a night.
Perhaps one of her lasting lessons was the power of friendship across generations. She did not lecture or preach or don the mantle of the all-knowing matriarch. Asma’s bravery in confronting and transgressing social norms and taboos made her the best sort of friend, comrade, and confidante. She taught us to love what we do, and to stand tall against the odds. When we thought we were doing well with our projects, she would lift us up to see a yet broader horizon, another milestone to surpass, and a loftier goal to achieve.
There were never any pretenses with Asma. She revealed her beauty and her flaws. She did not hide her imperfections and limitations. Her willingness and eagerness to learn has imparted on each of us the lessons of humility. In her life and in her death, she inspires the desire to proximate her humanity and resolve. Asma’s ability to transcend the era she hailed from was evident in her practice. Her home was a refuge. She forged comfort and empowerment. You could just be, at Asma’s, even in ways that tested social norms and conventions. This personal comfort was itself an experiment in freedom. We observed and consumed it whole.
Asma gifted each of us the “je ne sais quoi” glue that continues to bind us. Even for those who did not share the most intimate of moments and ideas, the abundance of her power and love is evident. She was a living example of what friendship and thoughtfulness is, in theory and practice. When she was diagnosed with terminal cancer in early January 2019, with few precious weeks/months to live, she opted to postpone the immediate treatment needed. Instead, she traveled, with an inordinate amount of pain, back to what she calls home (Beirut and Damascus), and said goodbye to her life-long friends and family. When the doctors told her “you may not make it back,” she responded with her emphatic accent: “I don’t care.” Asma knew they would surely be denied a last encounter with each other, as many could not make it to the States to say goodbye. She made it back, underwent an albeit moot round of therapy unselfishly, against her own preferences, and decided to discontinue the process and go back to be at home, surrounded with her family and loved ones. Asma passed away shortly after at her home in Fairfax, Virginia, on 23 February.
With her passing many things die: her exquisite taste, her unstinting commitment to freedom, and a kitchen that was always full to the brim with delicious food, laughter, and the kinds of discussions that were taboo elsewhere. Asma tore through boundaries and norms seamlessly and with passion. She was an anchor of anchors. And while her death leaves us bereft, we carry her hope for different futures and her celebration of the present with us always.
T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S
12. Confronting A Colonial Rule of Property: The al-Sakhina Case in Mandate Palestine
Munir Fakher Eldin
34. The Sobky Recipe and the Struggle Over “The Popular” in Egypt
Chihab El Khachab
62. Comic Images & the Art of Witnessing: A Visual Analysis of Joe Sacco’s Footnotes in Gaza
90. No One to See Here: Genres of Neutralization and the Ongoing Nakba
118. Resistance into Incitement: Translation, Legislation, “Early Detection,” and the Palestinian Poet’s Intention
156. Arab Nationalism: The Politics of History and Culture in the Modern Middle East by Peter Wien
Reviewed by Jens Hanssen
161. Familiar Futures: Time, Selfhood, and Sovereignty in Iraq by Sara Pursley
Reviewed by Kevin Jones
166. Modernizing Marriage: Family, Ideology, and Law in Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Egypt by Kenneth M. Cuno
Reviewed by Hussein A. H. Omar
171. A Sea of Debt: Law and Economic Life in the Western Indian Ocean, 1780-1950 by Fahad Ahmad Bishara
Reviewed by Matthew S. Hopper
176. British-Ottoman Relations, 1661–1807: Commerce and Diplomatic Practice in Eighteenth-Century Istanbul by Michael Talbot
Reviewed by Pascale Barthe
181. The Limits of Whiteness: Iranian Americans and the Everyday Politics of Race by Neda Maghbouleh
Reviewed by Randa Tawil
Arab Studies Journal
Vol. XVI, No. 2
We are proud to feature a collection of pieces that innovate new methodological approaches, confront the relationship between knowledge and power, and speak to the urgent concerns of the present, infrastructure, ecology, migration, and war. In “Epicures and Experts: The Drinking Water Controversy in British Colonial Cairo,” Shehab Ismail explores taste, class, and the environment. When in 1905 the Cairo Water Company altered its source of intake to deep wells instead of the Nile, it pitted experts, officials, and the urban poor in a battle over knowledge, medical traditions, and water practices. In tracing the five year struggle in which the palate became a battleground, Ismail reveals how taste, as a mode of embodied knowledge became a site of confrontation between heterogenous epistemic persuasions. In “From Mandate Borders to the Diaspora: Rashaya’s Transnational Suffering and the Making of Lebanon in 1925,” Reem Bailony traces debates on the social, political, and economic constructions of Lebanon and Syria, both in the borders of the French Mandate and well outside of it. By placing mahjar studies and Middle East studies in close conversation, Bailony both calls for and provides a model for a methodology that transgresses the territorial confines of the nation-state. In doing so, she reveals the crucial role of the mahjar in consolidating Lebanon as nation- ally distinct from Syria and in need of different sectarian arrangements. Neha Vora and Ahmed Kanna contribute reflections on two decades of ethnographic experiences researching Dubai and other cities in the Arabian Penninsula. “De-exceptionalizing the Field: Anthropological Reflections on Migration, Labor, and Identity in Dubai,” explores and critiques scholarly identity and authority in a call to develop understandings of Gulf cities that address migration, diaspora, place, and belonging. Vora and Kanna thus put the individual experiences of politics, geography, racialization, and minoritization into conversation with the knowledge that is produced on these historical forces. Graham Pitts reveals how the “human ecology” of Lebanon evolved according to the logic of an expanding and retracting global capitalism in “The Ecology of Migration: Remittances in World War I Mount Lebanon.” In detailing the material and environmental history of migration as well as highlighting World War I, the famine, and remittances, Pitts traces a broader trajectory of Lebanon’s history. In “Writing Shame in Asad’s Syria,” Judith Naeff analyzes how the Syrian author Khaled Khalifa built feelings of shame into the literary structure of his novelNo Knives in the Kitchens of this City. She traces the multiple forms of shame and how, like rot, its pervasive spread unravels relations. Shame, she suggests, is at once contagious and repulsive, and is one site to both reflect on and understand the unraveling of Syrian social landscapes under the Asads’ authoritarianism. We offer as always a robust set of reviews and review essays that feature the latest contributions to the study of the Middle East.
Table of Contents
8. Epicures and Experts: The Drinking Water Controversy in British Colonial Cairo
44. From Mandate Borders to the Diaspora: Rashaya's Transnational Suffering and the Making of Lebanon in 1925
74. De-Exceptionalizing the Field: Anthropological Reflections on Migration, Labor, and Identity in Dubai
Neha Vora and Ahmed Kanna
102. The Ecology of Migration: Remittances in World War I Mount Lebanon
Graham Auman Pitts
130. Writing Shame in Asad’s Syria
150. Citizen Strangers: Palestinians and the Birth of Israel’s Liberal Settler State by Shira Robinson
Reviewed by Maha Nassar
155. Lineages of Revolt: Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East by Adam Hanieh
Reviewed by Benoit Challand
160. Qatar: Securing the Global Ambitions of a City-State by David B. Roberts
Reviewed by Jocelyn Sage Mitchell
164. The Ottoman Scramble for Africa by Mostafa Minawi
Reviewed by David Gutman
169. The Unmaking of the Arab Intellectual: Prophecy, Exile, and the Nation by Zeina G. Halabi
Reviewed by Alexa Firat
174. The World in A Book: Al-Nuwayri and the Islamic Encyclopedic Tradition by Elias Muhanna
Reviewed by Matthew L. Keegan
180. Empire and Capitalism in the Western Indian Ocean
by Hollian Wint
Slaves of One Master: Globalization and Slavery in Arabia in the Age of Empire
by Matthew S. Hopper
Margins of the Market: Trafficking and Capitalism Across the Arabian Sea
by Johan Mathew
Buying Time: Debt and Mobility in the Western Indian Ocean
by Thomas F. McDow
Arab Studies Journal is pleased to announce that Susanna Ferguson’s “‘A Fever for An Education’: Pedagogical Thought and Social Transformation in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, 1861-1914” (Spring 2018) was selected by the Women Historians of the Middle East (WHOME) group as a co-winner of their 2018 Graduate Student Paper Prize.
WHOME awards an annual prize for the best article about Middle Eastern history written by a female-identifying graduate student (Masters or PhD). The award aims to bring attention to the innovative scholarship women are producing in the field. The article may be about any period in Middle Eastern history and may address any subfield in the discipline. Nomination can be made by the author, academic advisors, professors, or journal editors. The winner was announced at the WHOME meeting at the Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting.
WHOME is a group of female-identifying historians dedicated to creating an inclusive space to inspire and promote women’s historical research on the Middle East, as well as to protect and mentor across and with ranks. Its membership is open to all graduate students and those holding a doctorate within the discipline.
In celebration of this award, ASJ is pleased to make Ferguson’s article available for download (at no cost) for a limited time. To download the article, please click here.
Arab Studies Journal
Vol. XVI, No. 1
We are proud to feature a diverse array of disciplines and approaches in this issue. In “The Nahda in Parliament: Taha Husayn’s Career Building Knowledge Production Institutions, 1922-1952” Hussam R. Ahmed traces the bureaucratic and institutional force of one of the most influential intellectuals of the twentieth century. He reveals new ways to think about the ties between intellectual work, knowledge production, pedagogy, and the Egyptian state. In “‘Jerusalem, We Have a Problem’: Larissa Sansour’s Sci-Fi Trilogy and the Impetus of Dystopic Imagination,” Gil Hochberg offers a reading of both the colonial legacies of the sci-f genre and the potential for its radical upending. Hochberg ponders the question of Palestine in a futuristic post-factual and post-national time of becoming. In “‘A Fever for an Education’: Pedagogical Thought and Social Transformation in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, 1861-1914,” Susanna Ferguson explores education’s appeal and promise of stability and reform in the nineteenth century Arab world. In “Infrastructure Crises in Beirut and the Struggle to (Not) Reform the Lebanese State,” Éric Verdeil approaches public infrastructure as a site of political struggle. Verdeil challenges the conventional readings that assert the power of neoliberalism and sectarianism to marginalize state institutions, showing instead how infrastructural policy instruments accentuate Lebanese society’s gaps and inequalities. Finally, in “If We All Leave, Who Will Cut the String: Exiled Intellectuals in Ghada al-Samman’s Thought,” Louis Yako contributes an engaged read of exile, the role of the intellectual, and the possibilities of revolution.
This issue also features the usual robust array of book reviews. With this issue, we bid farewell to a long-time pillar of Arab Studies Journal and its book review team. Allison Brown, an inimitable editor and thinker, will be departing after a decade of teaching and leading our team with the intellectual depth and editorial precision that have made the journal what it is today. While she may not grace our pages, she will always be part of the ASJ family.
Table of Contents
8. The Nahda in Parliament: Taha Husayn’s Career Building Knowledge Production Institutions, 1922-1952
Hussam R. Ahmed
34. “Jerusalem, We Have a Problem”: Larissa Sansour’s Sci-Fi Trilogy and the Impetus of Dystopic Imagination
Gil Z. Hochberg
58. “A Fever for an Education”: Pedagogical Thought and Social Transformation in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, 1861-1914
84. Infrastructure Crises in Beirut and the Struggle to (Not) Reform the Lebanese State
114. If We All Leave, Who Will Cut the String: Exiled Intellectuals in Ghada al-Samman’s Thought
140. Hanan al-Cinema: Affections for the Moving Image, by Laura U. Marks
Reviewed by Hend F. Alawadhi
145. Freedom in the Arab World: Concepts and Ideologies in Arabic Thought in the Nineteenth Century, by Wael Abu-‘Uksa
Reviewed by Susanna Ferguson
150.Medieval Damascus: Plurality and Diversity in an Arabic Library, the Ashrafiyya Library Catalogue, by Konrad Kirschler
Reviewed by Steve Tamari
155. Everyday Sectarianism in Urban Lebanon: Infrastructures, Public Services, and Power, by Joanne Randa Nucho
Reviewed by Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins
160. Kuwait Transformed: A History of Oil and Urban Life, by Farah Al-Nakib
Reviewed by Arbella Bet-Shlimon
165. Gaining Freedoms: Claiming Space in Istanbul and Berlin, by Berna Turam
Reviewed by Hilal Alkan
170. Colonial Jerusalem: The Spatial Construction of Identity and Difference in a City of Myth, 1948–2012, by Thomas Philip Abowd
Reviewed by Marwan D. Hanania
174. Britain’s Hegemony in Palestine and the Middle East, 1917–56: Changing Strategic Imperatives, by Michael J. Cohen
Reviewed by Simon Davis
180. New Perspectives on Communal Memory, Intergenerational Identity, and the Algerian War in Contemporary France
by Chris Rominger
From Empire to Exile: History and Memory within the Pied-noir and Harki Communities
by Claire Eldridge
Hériter 1962: Harkis et immigrés algériens à l’épreuve des appartenances nationales
by Giulia Fabbiano
188. Resisting the Slow Violence of the North African and West Asian University
by Corinna Mullin
The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study
by Fred Moten and Stefano Harney
Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education
by Henry A. Giroux
Decolonizing the Westernized University: Interventions in Philosophy of Education from Within and Without
by Ramón Grosfoguel, Roberto D. Hernández, and Ernesto Rosen Velásquez
Visualizing Change: Graphic Arts and Literature in the Contemporary Arab World
Guest Editors: Eid Mohamed and Barkuzar Dubbati
This special issue focuses on the rise of graphic literature and arts in the Arab world as a means of expression, representation, and political resistance against ideological hegemony. We are interested in scholarly works that examine the intersectionality of the literary and artistic production created before, during, and after the Arab uprisings and the significance of the development of means of production of these works. The uprisings that began in Tunisia in December 2010 popularized the use of non-traditional and independent media for publishing. It proved that seekers of political change do not need the sponsorship of traditional media. New aspiring artists and authors came to a similar realization as they began to use media, such as the internet and public spaces to broadcast and showcase their art, literary works, and political statements. We invite papers on visual arts and literature that either combine pictorial and verbal narratives or use images as a form of narration, such as graphic novels, comics, caricatures, and graffiti.
Possible topics include but are not limited to: graphic arts and literature as tools of resistance; the use of images in art and literature to represent socio-political realities in Arab countries; the rise of independent means of production of graphic literature and art; the impact of social media and the Arab uprisings on the rise of graphic literature and art; a comparative analysis of Arab/Arabic graphic narratives and arts before and after the Arab uprisings; issues or challenges in translation of graphic literature from or into Arabic; the Arab-Israeli conflict in graphic arts and literature; historiographic studies of Arabic graphic novels and comics; the representation of gender in Arab graphic art; the commodification of graphic arts; the reception of graphic arts in the Arab world; and the emergence of the Arab webcomic.
Submission of six thousand to eight thousand words should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 1 April 2018. Please format submissions in accordance with ASJ style guide.
The 2017 Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), held November 18-21 in Washington D.C., showcased the Arab Studies Institute’s (ASI) expansive, talented, and ever-growing network of scholars, activists, authors, practitioners. This year’s MESA offered a wonderful opportunity for ASI to announces some of its most exciting new projects, initiatives, and developments. Here, we share a sense of the MESA whirlwind with you, reflecting in turn on future ventures at ASI, our sister organizations, and scholarship on and in the region more broadly. The 2017 Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), held November 18-21 in Washington D.C., showcased the Arab Studies Institute’s (ASI) expansive, talented, and ever-growing network of scholars, activists, authors, practitioners. This year’s MESA offered a wonderful opportunity for ASI to announces some of its most exciting new projects, initiatives, and developments. Here, we share a sense of the MESA whirlwind with you, reflecting in turn on future ventures at ASI, our sister organizations, and scholarship on and in the region more broadly.
ARAB STUDIES JOURNAL
VOL. XV, NO. 2
In this issue, we are proud to feature a series of groundbreaking interventions. Ifdal Elsaket explores anti-Blackness in Egypt through the genre of “jungle films.” She lays bare the racial and imperial fantasies that informed these films’ popularity. Elsaket exposes a process of racialization through which Egyptians positioned themselves as superior and modern, at a time when Egypt’s claims to Sudan took on a greater urgency and Blackness marked otherness. This deeply engrained vision of Africa as a place of inferiority would continue to inflect film and visual culture long after decolonization.
Suhad Daher-Nashif interrogates the national-civic service which has successfully targeted young Palestinian women who are citizens in Israel. Her ethnographic study carefully details the complex web of considerations, interests, and strategies that shape the national-civic service as a “trapped escape.” Women’s participation in the service reveals the mutually constitutive nature of Israeli colonial and Palestinian social structures. By showing how women use a colonial apparatus to escape patriarchal norms Daher-Nashif rethinks Palestinian experience in Israel as well as the imposition of and resistance to gender norms more broadly.
Nisa Ari explores the interaction between local and foreign artistic communities in early twentieth century Palestine. She focuses on the work of Palestinian artist Nicoal Saig (1863-1942) who copied photographs that the American Colony Photo Department (ACPD) produced. The relationship between Saig and the ACPD, Ari shows, reveals a multidirectional artistic exchange between local and foreign. She uncovers a world in which a diverse group of artistic agents employed different practices, produced and sold religious representations and object, and formed a vibrant economic market in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Palestine.
Tamer ElGindi tackles the World Bank’s assessment of the massive uprisings that rocked Egypt and Tunisia as “puzzles,” given both countries’ achievements in poverty rates, access to education, child and maternal mortality, and infrastructure services. Through a close reading of various inequality measures from the developmentalist era of Gamal Abdel Nasser to the subsequent neoliberal eras of Anwar al-Sadat and Husni Mubarak, ElGindi shows that macroeconomic improvements never “trickled down.” Energy and food subsidy systems in particular benefited the wealthiest instead of targeting the needy. He urges for a comprehensive understanding and measurement (of the monetary and the non-monetary) as a prerequisite to understanding and ameliorating inequality.
Manfred Sing revisits the wave of Arab social criticism that marked intellectual life after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Through a careful rereading of five intellectuals Sadiq Jalal al-‘Azm, Yasin al-Hafiz, Mustafa Hijazi, Nawal El Saadawi, and Hisham Sharabi, Sing traces the normative shift in Marxist thought away from a critique of capitalist society and towards theorizing the absence or failure of revolutionary mass movements. Following neither the admirers of Arab criticism nor their countercritics, Sing maps a social criticism that was timely, provocative, polemic, disenchanted, and marred by heuristic fallacies. This issue also features the usual robust array of book reviews.
ARAB STUDIES JOURNAL
VOL. XV, NO. 2
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Jungle Films in Egypt: Race, Anti-Blackness, and Empire
Trapped Escape: Young Palestinian Women and the Israeli National-Civic Service
Spiritual Capital and the Copy: Painting, Photography, and the Production of the Image in Early Twentieth-Century Palestine
The Inequality Puzzle in Egypt: What Do We Really Know?
Tamer El Gindi
Arab Self-Criticism after 1967 Revisited: The Normative Turn in Marxist Thought and Its Heuristic Fallacies
Arabic Thought beyond the Liberal Age: Towards an Intellectual History of the Nahda
Edited by Jens Hanssen and Max Weiss
Reviewed by Nader Atassi
Frantz Fanon and the Future of Cultural Politics: Finding Something Different
Anthony C. Alessandrini
Reviewed by Sophia Azeb
The Arab City: Architecture and Representation
Edited by Amale Andraos and Nora Akawi
Reviewed by Deen Sharp
Violence and the City in the Modern Middle East
Edited by Nelida Fuccaro
Reviewed by Nicholas Simcik Arese
Surveillance and Control in Israel/Palestine: Population, Territory, and Power
Edited by Elia Zureik, David Lyon and Yasmeen Abu-Laban
Reviewed by Charles Anderson
Keepers of the Golden Shore: A History of the United Arab Emirates
Michael Quentin Morton
Reviewed by Kristi N. Barnwell
A History of the ‘Alawis: From Medieval Aleppo to the Turkish Republic
Reviewed by Charles Wilkins
The Kurds of Syria, by Sean Lee
Out of Nowhere: The Kurds of Syria in Peace and War, by Michael M. Gunter
The Kurds of Syria: Political Parties and Identity in the Middle East, by Harriet Allsopp
La question kurde: Passé et présent, by Jordi Tejel Gorgas
Excavating Origins, Assessing Development: The Evolution of Middle East Studies and Its Scholars, by Laurie A. Brand
Anthropology’s Politics: Disciplining the Middle East, by Lara Deeb and Jessica Winegar
Field Notes: The Making of Middle East Studies in the United States, by Zachary Lockman
This section will not be visible in live published website. Below are your current settings:
Current Number Of Columns are = 1
Expand Posts Area = 1
Gap/Space Between Posts = 10px
Blog Post Style = simple
Use of custom card colors instead of default colors =
Blog Post Card Background Color = current color
Blog Post Card Shadow Color = current color
Blog Post Card Border Color = current color
Publish the website and visit your blog page to see the results
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.