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
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