This book explores violence in the public lives of modern Middle Eastern cities, approaching violence as an individual and collective experience, a historical event, and an urban process. Violence and the city coexist in a complicated dialogue, and critical consideration of the city offers an important way to understand the transformative powers of violence—its ability to redraw the boundaries of urban life, to create and divide communities, and to affect the ruling strategies of local elites, governments, and transnational political players.
The essays included in this volume reflect the diversity of Middle Eastern urbanism from the eighteenth to the late twentieth centuries, from the capitals of Cairo, Tunis, and Baghdad to the provincial towns of Jeddah, Nablus, and Basra and the oil settlements of Dhahran and Abadan. In reconstructing the violent pasts of cities, new vistas on modern Middle Eastern history are opened, offering alternative and complementary perspectives to the making and unmaking of empires, nations, and states. Given the crucial importance of urban centers in shaping the Middle East in the modern era, and the ongoing potential of public histories to foster dialogue and reconciliation, this volume is both critical and timely.
About the author
Nelida Fuccaro is Reader in the Modern History of the Middle East, University of London, SOAS. She is the author of Histories of City and State in the Persian Gulf: Manama Since 1800 (2009).
"Violence has long been a major feature of social and political life in Middle Eastern cities, but no single volume surveys so much of the area in the way that this one does. It is extremely wide-ranging in its concerns, from 18th century Egypt, to early 20th century Iran, to Saudi Arabia in the late 1960s, based on diplomatic documents, contemporary chronicles and grounded in careful theorization and conceptualization. Altogether, it is a truly path-breaking collection."
—Peter Sluglett Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore
"Violence in the City is an impressive work, and it represents a bold move to foreground violence in considerations of the Middle Eastern city. The powerful and convincing arguments in this book will resonate widely."
—Benjamin Brower, The University of Texas at Austin
"This outstanding collection of essays is a revelation in many senses. Its consistently meticulous scholarship uncovers the details of a wide range of episodes that are further enhanced by serious engagement with theoretical debates concerning violence in urban politics. This empirical breadth and theoretical depth make it invaluable for students both of Middle Eastern history and of the politics of the city."
—Charles Tripp, SOAS, University of London
"Through the use of both empirical and theoretical approaches based on original research, Violence and the City in the Modern Middle East demonstrates the mutually constitutive relationship between violence and the city. The volume should be considered a major contribution to the field of urban violence and urban history in general and to the burgeoning field of urban violence in the Middle East in particular. With urban violence having been inflicted on different cities of the Middle East from Syria to Iraq, the essays in this volume provide us with fresh insights into the connection between violence and the city that goes beyond rudimentary and essentialist arguments to the deconstruction of space, language, state, and society, and their relationship to urban violence."
—Bedross Der Matossian, American Historical Review