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In 1524, a man named David Reubeni appeared in Venice, claiming to be the ambassador of a powerful Jewish kingdom deep in the heart of Arabia. In this era of fierce rivalry between great powers, voyages of fantastic discovery, and brutal conquest of new lands, people throughout the Mediterranean saw the signs of an impending apocalypse and envisioned a coming war that would end with a decisive Christian or Islamic victory. With his army of hardy desert warriors from lost Israelite tribes, Reubeni pledged to deliver the Jews to the Holy Land by force and restore their pride and autonomy. He would spend a decade shuttling between European rulers in Italy, Portugal, Spain, and France, seeking weaponry in exchange for the support of his hitherto unknown but mighty Jewish kingdom. Many, however, believed him to favor the relatively tolerant Ottomans over the persecutorial Christian regimes. Reubeni was hailed as a messiah by many wealthy Jews and Iberia's oppressed conversos, but his grand ambitions were halted in Regensburg when the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, turned him over to the Inquisition and, in 1538, he was likely burned at the stake. Diary of a Black Jewish Messiah is the first English translation of Reubeni's Hebrew-language diary, detailing his travels and personal travails. Written in a Hebrew drawn from everyday speech, entirely unlike other literary works of the period, Reubeni's diary reveals both the dramatic desperation of Renaissance Jewish communities and the struggles of the diplomat, trickster, and dreamer who wanted to save them.
In this gripping graphic novel, a Jewish journalist encounters an extension of the horrors of the Holocaust in North Africa. In the lead-up to World War II, the rising tide of fascism and antisemitism in Europe foreshadowed Hitler's genocidal campaign against Jews. But the horrors of the Holocaust were not limited to the concentration camps of Europe: antisemitic terror spread through Vichy French imperial channels to France's colonies in North Africa, where in the forced labor camps of Algeria and Morocco, Jews and other "undesirables" faced brutal conditions and struggled to survive in an unforgiving landscape quite unlike Europe. In this richly historical graphic novel, historian Aomar Boum and illustrator Nadjib Berber take us inside this lesser-known side of the traumas wrought by the Holocaust by following one man's journey as a Holocaust refugee. Hans Frank is a Jewish journalist covering politics in Berlin, who grows increasingly uneasy as he witnesses the Nazi Party consolidate power and decides to flee Germany. Through connections with a transnational network of activists organizing against fascism and anti-Semitism, Hans ultimately lands in French Algeria, where days after his arrival, the Vichy regime designates all foreign Jews as "undesirables" and calls for their internment. On his way to Morocco, he is detained by Vichy authorities and interned first at Le Vernet, then later transported to different camps in the deserts of Morocco and Algeria. With memories of his former life as a political journalist receding like a dream, Hans spends the next year and a half in forced labor camps, hearing the stories of others whose lives have been upended by violence and war. Through bold, historically inflected illustrations that convey the tension of the coming war and the grimness of the Vichy camps, Aomar Boum and Nadjib Berber capture the experiences of thousands of refugees through the fictional Hans, chronicling how the traumas of the Holocaust extended far beyond the borders of Europe.
This is the fantastical, yet real, story of the merchants of Bethlehem, the young men who traveled to every corner of the globe in the nineteenth century. These men set off on the backs of donkeys with suitcases full of crosses and rosaries, to return via steamship with suitcases stuffed with French francs, Philippine pesos, or Salvadoran colones. They returned with news of mysterious lands and strange inventions—clocks, trains, and other devices that both befuddled and bewitched the Bethlehemites. With newfound wealth, these merchants built shimmering pink mansions that transformed Bethlehem. At the center of these extraordinary occurrences lived Jubrail Dabdoub. The Lives and Deaths of Jubrail Dabdoub tells the story of Jubrail's encounters, from his childhood in rural Bethlehem to later voyages across Europe, East Asia, and the Americas, culminating in a recorded miracle: in 1909, Jubrail was brought back from the dead. To tell such a tale is to delve into the realms of the fantastic and improbable—realms in which the historian rarely treads. Through the story of Jubrail's life, Jacob Norris explores the porous lines between history and fiction, the normal and the paranormal, the everyday and the extraordinary. Drawing on aspects of magical realism combined with elements of Palestinian folklore, Norris recovers the atmosphere of late nineteenth-century Bethlehem: a mood of excitement, disorientation, and wonder surrounding the scores of young men setting off for faraway lands. As the book offers an original approach to historical writing, it captures a fantastic story of global encounter and exchange.
Losing Istanbul offers an intimate history of empire, following the rise and fall of a generation of Arab-Ottoman imperialists living in Istanbul. Mostafa Minawi shows how these men and women negotiated their loyalties and guarded their privileges through a microhistorical study of the changing social, political, and cultural currents between 1878 and the First World War. He narrates lives lived in these turbulent times—the joys and fears, triumphs and losses, pride and prejudices—while focusing on the complex dynamics of ethnicity and race in an increasingly Turco-centric imperial capital. Drawing on archival records, newspaper articles, travelogues, personal letters, diaries, photos, and interviews, Minawi shows how the loyalties of these imperialists were questioned and their ethnic identification weaponized. As the once diverse empire comes to an end, they are forced to give up their home in the imperial capital. An alternative history of the last four decades of the Ottoman Empire, Losing Istanbul frames global pivotal events through the experiences of Arab-Ottoman imperial loyalists who called Istanbul home, on the eve of a vanishing imperial world order.
Practicing Sectarianism explores the imaginative and contradictory ways that people live sectarianism. The book's essays use the concept as an animating principle within a variety of sites across Lebanon and its diasporas and over a range of historical periods. With contributions from historians and anthropologists, this volume reveals the many ways sectarianism is used to exhibit, imagine, or contest power: What forms of affective pull does it have on people and communities? What epistemological work does it do as a concept? How does it function as a marker of social difference? Examining social interaction, each essay analyzes how people experience sectarianism, sometimes pushing back, sometimes evading it, sometimes deploying it strategically, to a variety of effects and consequences. The collection advances an understanding of sectarianism simultaneously constructed and experienced, a slippery and changeable concept with material effects. And even as the book's focus is Lebanon, its analysis fractures the association of sectarianism with the nation-state and suggests possibilities that can travel to other sites. Practicing Sectarianism, taken as a whole, argues that sectarianism can only be fully understood—and dismantled—if we first take it seriously as a practice.
On Salafism offers a compelling new understanding of this phenomenon, both its development and contemporary manifestations. Salafism became associated with fundamentalism when the 9/11 Commission used it to explain the terror attacks and has since been connected with the violence of the so-called Islamic State. With this book, Azmi Bishara critically deconstructs claims of continuity between early Islam and modern militancy and makes a counterargument: Salafism is a wholly modern construct informed by specific sociopolitical contexts. Bishara offers a sophisticated account of various movements—such as Wahabbism and Hanbalism—frequently collapsed into simplistic understandings of Salafism. He distinguishes reformist from regressive Salafism, and examines patterns of modernization in the development of contemporary Islamic political movements and associations. In deconstructing the assumptions of linear continuity between traditional and contemporary movements, Bishara details various divergences in both doctrine and context of modern Salafisms, plural. On Salafism is a crucial read for those interested in Islamism, jihadism, and Middle East politics and history.
Alternative Iran offers a unique contribution to the field of contemporary art, investigating how Iranian artists engage with space and site amid the pressures of the art market and the state's regulatory regimes. Since the 1980s, political, economic, and intellectual forces have driven Iran's creative class toward increasingly original forms of artmaking not meant for official venues. Instead, these art forms appear in private homes with "trusted" audiences, derelict buildings, leftover urban zones, and remote natural sites. While many of these venues operate independently, others are fully sanctioned by the state. Drawing on interviews with over a hundred artists, gallerists, theater experts, musicians, and designers, Pamela Karimi throws into sharp relief the extraordinary art and performance activities that have received little attention outside Iran. Attending to nonconforming curatorial projects, independent guerrilla installations, escapist practices, and tacitly subversive performances, Karimi discloses the push-and-pull between the art community and the authorities, and discusses myriad instances of tentative coalition as opposed to outright partnership or uncompromising resistance. Illustrated with more than 120 full-color images, this book provides entry into unique artistic experiences without catering to voyeuristic curiosity around Iran's often-perceived "underground" culture.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians migrated to the Americas in the final decades of the nineteenth century and early decades of the twentieth. By 1936, an estimated 40,000 Palestinians lived outside geographic Palestine. Transnational Palestine is the first book to explore the history of Palestinian immigration to Latin America, the struggles Palestinian migrants faced to secure Palestinian citizenship in the interwar period, and the ways in which these challenges contributed to the formation of a Palestinian diaspora and to the emergence of Palestinian national consciousness. Nadim Bawalsa considers the migrants' strategies for economic success in the diaspora, for preserving their heritage, and for resisting British mandate legislation, including citizenship rejections meted out to thousands of Palestinian migrants. They did this in newspapers, social and cultural clubs and associations, political organizations and committees, and in hundreds of petitions and pleas delivered to local and international governing bodies demanding justice for Palestinian migrants barred from Palestinian citizenship. As this book shows, Palestinian political consciousness developed as a thoroughly transnational process in the first half of the twentieth century—and the first articulation of a Palestinian right of return emerged well before 1948.
This book, the first-ever collection of primary documents on North African history and the Holocaust, gives voice to the diversity of those involved—Muslims, Christians, and Jews; women, men, and children; black, brown, and white; the unknown and the notable; locals, refugees, the displaced, and the interned; soldiers, officers, bureaucrats, volunteer fighters, and the forcibly recruited. At times their calls are lofty, full of spiritual lamentation and political outrage. At others, they are humble, yearning for medicine, a cigarette, or a pair of shoes. Translated from French, Arabic, North African Judeo-Arabic, Spanish, Hebrew, Moroccan Darija, Tamazight (Berber), Italian, and Yiddish, or transcribed from their original English, these writings shed light on how war, occupation, race laws, internment, and Vichy French, Italian fascist, and German Nazi rule were experienced day by day across North Africa. Though some selections are drawn from published books, including memoirs, diaries, and collections of poetry, most have never been published before, nor previously translated into English. These human experiences, combined, make up the history of wartime North Africa.
A new history of twentieth-century North Africa, that gives voice to the musicians who defined an era and the vibrant recording industry that carried their popular sounds from the colonial period through decolonization. If twentieth-century stories of Jews and Muslims in North Africa are usually told separately, Recording History demonstrates that we have not been listening to what brought these communities together: Arab music. For decades, thousands of phonograph records flowed across North African borders. The sounds embedded in their grooves were shaped in large part by Jewish musicians, who gave voice to a changing world around them. Their popular songs broadcast on radio, performed in concert, and circulated on disc carried with them the power to delight audiences, stir national sentiments, and frustrate French colonial authorities. With this book, Christopher Silver provides the first history of the music scene and recording industry across Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, and offers striking insights into Jewish-Muslim relations through the rhythms that animated them. He traces the path of hit-makers and their hit records, illuminating regional and transnational connections. In asking what North Africa once sounded like, Silver recovers a world of many voices—of pioneering impresarios, daring female stars, cantors turned composers, witnesses and survivors of war, and national and nationalist icons—whose music still resonates well into our present.
The November 1970 coup that brought Hafiz al-Asad to power fundamentally transformed cultural production in Syria. A comprehensive intellectual, ideological, and political project—a Ba'thist cultural revolution—sought to align artistic endeavors with the ideological interests of the regime. The ensuing agonistic struggle pitted official aesthetics of power against alternative modes of creative expression that could evade or ignore the effects of the state. With this book, Max Weiss offers the first cultural and intellectual history of Ba'thist Syria, from the coming to power of Hafiz al-Asad, through the transitional period under Bashar al-Asad, and continuing up through the Syria War. Revolutions Aesthetic reconceptualizes contemporary Syrian politics, authoritarianism, and cultural life. Engaging rich original sources—novels, films, and cultural periodicals—Weiss highlights themes crucial to the making of contemporary Syria: heroism and leadership, gender and power, comedy and ideology, surveillance and the senses, witnessing and temporality, and death and the imagination. Revolutions Aesthetic places front and center the struggle around aesthetic ideology that has been key to the constitution of state, society, and culture in Syria over the course of the past fifty years.
Palestinians living on different sides of the Green Line make up approximately one-fifth of Israeli citizens and about four-fifths of the population of the West Bank. In both groups, activists assert that they share a single political struggle for national liberation. Yet, obstacles inhibit their ability to speak to each other and as a collective. Geopolitical boundaries fragment Palestinians into ever smaller groups. Crossing a Line enters these distinct environments for political expression and action of Palestinians who carry Israeli citizenship and Palestinians subject to Israeli military occupation in the West Bank, and considers how Palestinians are differently impacted by dispossession, settler colonialism, and militarism. Amahl Bishara looks to sites of political practice—journalism, historical commemorations, street demonstrations, social media, in prison, and on the road—to analyze how Palestinians create collectivities in these varied circumstances. She draws on firsthand research, personal interviews, and public media to examine how people shape and reshape meanings in circumstances of constraint. In considering these different environments for political expression and action, Bishara illuminates how expression is always grounded in place—and how a people can struggle together for liberation even when they cannot join together in protest.
The Lebanese state is structured through religious freedom and secular power sharing across sectarian groups. Every sect has specific laws that govern kinship matters like marriage or inheritance. Together with criminal and civil laws, these laws regulate and produce political difference. But whether women or men, Muslims or Christians, queer or straight, all people in Lebanon have one thing in common—they are biopolitical subjects forged through bureaucratic, ideological, and legal techniques of the state. With this book, Maya Mikdashi offers a new way to understand state power, theorizing how sex, sexuality, and sect shape and are shaped by law, secularism, and sovereignty. Drawing on court archives, public records, and ethnography of the Court of Cassation, the highest civil court in Lebanon, Mikdashi shows how political difference is entangled with religious, secular, and sexual difference. She presents state power as inevitably contingent, like the practices of everyday life it engenders, focusing on the regulation of religious conversion, the curation of legal archives, state and parastatal violence, and secular activism. Sextarianism locates state power in the experiences, transitions, uprisings, and violence that people in the Middle East continue to live.
Muhtars, the lowest level elected political position in Turkey, hold an ambiguously defined place within the administrative hierarchy. They are public officials, but local citizens do not always associate them with the central government. Street-Level Governing is the first book to investigate how muhtars carry out their role—not only what they are supposed to do, but how they actually operate—to provide an ethnographic study of the state as viewed from its margins. It starts from the premise that the seeming "margin" of state administration is not peripheral at all, but instructive as to how it functions. As Elise Massicard shows, muhtars exist at the intersection of everyday life and the exercise of power. Their position offers a personalized point of contact between citizens and state institutions, enabling close oversight of the citizenry, yet simultaneously projecting the sense of an accessible state to individuals. Challenging common theories of the state, Massicard outlines how the position of the muhtar throws into question an assumed dichotomy between domination and social resistance, and suggests that considerations of circumvention and accommodation are normal attributes of state-society functioning.
This book provides a multidimensional analysis of Iran's struggle for development between 1970 and 2020, focusing on fundamentals, institutions, and socioeconomic trends. The past several decades in Iran have been a period of sluggish and noninclusive economic growth, ill-fated social engineering with an Islamic template, political repression, and extensive environmental degradation. The intellectual discourse surrounding the impediments of growth in Iran has been dominated by an exaggerated notion of the role of ideology, class struggles, imperialism, and historical contingencies, overlooking the profound impacts of institutions and fundamental socioeconomic trends. This book aims to fill this gap using positive economics and data-driven analysis to cover a wide array of topics, such as governance, corruption, macroeconomy, population dynamics, labor, financial systems, energy, water scarcity, and food security. Illustrating clearly the complex interactions among different dimensions of Iran's development, this book will be essential for researchers, policy makers, and journalists.
A biography of the "Cinderella" of Egyptian cinema—the veneration and rumors that surrounded an unparalleled career, and the gendered questions that unsettled Egyptian society. Layla Murad (1918-1995) was once the highest-paid star in Egypt, and her movies were among the top-grossing in the box office. She starred in 28 films, nearly all now classics in Arab musical cinema. In 1955 she was forced to stop acting—and struggled for decades for a comeback. Today, even decades after her death, public interest in her life continues, and new generations of Egyptians still love her work. Unknown Past recounts Murad's extraordinary life—and the rapid political and sociocultural changes she witnessed. Hanan Hammad writes a story centered on Layla Murad's persona and legacy, and broadly framed around a gendered history of twentieth-century Egypt. Murad was a Jew who converted to Islam in the shadow of the first Arab-Israeli war. Her career blossomed under the Egyptian monarchy and later gave a singing voice to the Free Officers and the 1952 Revolution. The definitive end of her cinematic career came under Nasser on the eve of the 1956 Suez War. Egyptians have long told their national story through interpretations of Murad's life, intertwining the individual and Egyptian state and society to better understand Egyptian identity. As Unknown Past recounts, there's no life better than Murad's to reflect the tumultuous changes experienced over the dramatic decades of the mid-twentieth century.
A powerful examination of soulful journeys made to recover memory and recuperate stolen pasts in the face of unspeakable histories. Survivors of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 took refuge across the globe. Traumatized by unspeakable brutalities, the idea of returning to their homeland was unthinkable. But decades later, some children and grandchildren felt compelled to travel back, having heard stories of family wholeness in beloved homes and of cherished ancestral towns and villages once in Ottoman Armenia, today in the Republic of Turkey. Hoping to satisfy spiritual yearnings, this new generation called themselves pilgrims—and their journeys, pilgrimages. Carel Bertram joined scores of these pilgrims on over a dozen pilgrimages, and amassed accounts from hundreds more who made these journeys. In telling their stories, A House in the Homeland documents how pilgrims encountered the ancestral house, village, or town as both real and metaphorical centerpieces of family history. Bertram recounts the moving, restorative connections pilgrims made, and illuminates how the ancestral house, as a spiritual place, offers an opening to a wellspring of humanity in sites that might otherwise be defined solely by tragic loss. As an exploration of the powerful links between memory and place, house and homeland, rupture and continuity, these Armenian stories reflect the resilience of diaspora in the face of the savage reaches of trauma, separation, and exile in ways that each of us, whatever our history, can recognize.
Media of the Masses investigates the social life of an everyday technology—the cassette tape—to offer a multisensory history of modern Egypt. Over the 1970s and 1980s, cassettes became a ubiquitous presence in Egyptian homes and stores. Audiocassette technology gave an opening to ordinary individuals, from singers to smugglers, to challenge state-controlled Egyptian media. Enabling an unprecedented number of people to participate in the creation of culture and circulation of content, cassette players and tapes soon informed broader cultural, political, and economic developments and defined "modern" Egyptian households. Drawing on a wide array of audio, visual, and textual sources that exist outside the Egyptian National Archives, Andrew Simon provides a new entry point into understanding everyday life and culture. Cassettes and cassette players, he demonstrates, did not simply join other twentieth century mass media, like records and radio; they were the media of the masses. Comprised of little more than magnetic reels in plastic cases, cassettes empowered cultural consumers to become cultural producers long before the advent of the Internet. Positioned at the productive crossroads of social history, cultural anthropology, and media and sound studies, Media of the Masses ultimately shows how the most ordinary things may yield the most surprising insights.
Protest has been a key method of political claim-making in Jordan from the late Ottoman period to the present day. More than moments of rupture within normal-time politics, protests have been central to challenging state power, as well as reproducing it—and the spatial dynamics of protests play a central role in the construction of both state and society. With this book, Jillian Schwedler considers how space and geography influence protests and repression, and, in challenging conventional narratives of Hashemite state-making, offers the first in-depth study of rebellion in Jordan. Based on twenty-five years of field research, Protesting Jordan examines protests as they are situated in the built environment, bringing together considerations of networks, spatial imaginaries, space and place-making, and political geographies at local, national, regional, and global scales. Schwedler considers the impact of time and temporality in the lifecycles of individual movements. Through a mixed interpretive methodology, this book illuminates the geographies of power and dissent and the spatial practices of protest and repression, highlighting the political stakes of competing narratives about Jordan's past, present, and future.
On any given day in Jordan, more than nine million residents eat approximately ten million loaves of khubz 'arabi—the slightly leavened flatbread known to many as pita. Some rely on this bread to avoid starvation; for others it is a customary pleasure. Yet despite its ubiquity in accounts of Middle East politics and society, rarely do we consider how bread is prepared, consumed, discussed, and circulated—and what this all represents. With this book, José Ciro Martínez examines khubz 'arabi to unpack the effects of the welfare program that ensures its widespread availability. Drawing on more than a year working as a baker in Amman, Martínez probes the practices that underpin subsidized bread. Following bakers and bureaucrats, he offers an immersive examination of social welfare provision. Martínez argues that the state is best understood as the product of routine practices and actions, through which it becomes a stable truth in the lives of citizens. States of Subsistence not only describes logics of rule in contemporary Jordan—and the place of bread within them—but also unpacks how the state endures through forms, sensations, and practices amid the seemingly unglamorous and unspectacular day-to-day.
The Unsettled Plain studies agrarian life in the Ottoman Empire to understand the making of the modern world. Over the course of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the environmental transformation of the Ottoman countryside became intertwined with migration and displacement. Muslim refugees, mountain nomads, families deported in the Armenian Genocide, and seasonal workers from all over the empire endured hardship, exile, and dispossession. Their settlement and survival defined new societies forged in the provincial spaces of the late Ottoman frontier. Through these movements, Chris Gratien reconstructs the remaking of Çukurova, a region at the historical juncture of Anatolia and Syria, and illuminates radical changes brought by the modern state, capitalism, war, and technology. Drawing on both Ottoman Turkish and Armenian sources, Gratien brings rural populations into the momentous events of the period: Ottoman reform, Mediterranean capitalism, the First World War, and Turkish nation-building. Through the ecological perspectives of everyday people in Çukurova, he charts how familiar facets of quotidian life, like malaria, cotton cultivation, labor, and leisure, attained modern manifestations. As the history of this pivotal region hidden on the geopolitical map reveals, the remarkable ecological transformation of late Ottoman society configured the trajectory of the contemporary societies of the Middle East.
In April 1909, two waves of massacres shook the province of Adana, located in the southern Anatolia region of modern-day Turkey, killing more than 20,000 Armenians and 2,000 Muslims. The central Ottoman government failed to prosecute the main culprits, a miscarriage of justice that would have repercussions for years to come. Despite the significance of these events and the extent of violence and destruction, the Adana Massacres are often left out of historical narratives. The Horrors of Adana offers one of the first close examinations of these events, analyzing sociopolitical and economic transformations that culminated in a cataclysm of violence. Bedross Der Matossian provides voice and agency to all involved in the massacres—perpetrators, victims, and bystanders. Drawing on primary sources in a dozen languages, he develops an interdisciplinary approach to understand the rumors and emotions, public spheres and humanitarian interventions that together informed this complex event. Ultimately, through consideration of the Adana Massacres in micro-historical detail, this book offers an important macrocosmic understanding of ethnic violence, illuminating how and why ordinary people can become perpetrators.
The Discovery of Iran examines the history of Iranian nationalism afresh through the life and work of Taghi Arani, the founder of Iran's first Marxist journal, Donya. In his quest to imagine a future for Iran open to the scientific riches of the modern world and the historical diversity of its own people, Arani combined Marxist materialism and a cosmopolitan ethics of progress. He sought to reconcile Iran to its post-Islamic past, rejected by Persian purists and romanticized by their traditionalist counterparts, while orienting its present toward the modern West in all its complex and conflicting facets. As Ali Mirsepassi shows, Arani's cosmopolitanism complicates the conventional wisdom that racial exclusivism was an insoluble feature of twentieth-century Iranian nationalism. In cultural spaces like Donya, Arani and his contemporaries engaged vibrant debates about national identity, history, and Iran's place in the modern world. In exploring Arani's short but remarkable life and writings, Ali Mirsepassi challenges the image of Interwar Iran as dominated by the Pahlavi state to uncover fertile intellectual spaces in which civic nationalism flourished.
More than one million Indians travel annually to work in oil projects in the Gulf, one of the few international destinations where men without formal education can find lucrative employment. Between Dreams and Ghosts follows their migration, taking readers to sites in India, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, from villages to oilfields and back again. Engaging all parties involved—the migrants themselves, the recruiting agencies that place them, the government bureaucrats that regulate their emigration, and the corporations that hire them—Andrea Wright examines labor migration as a social process as it reshapes global capitalism. With this book, Wright demonstrates how migration is deeply informed both by workers' dreams for the future and the ghosts of history, including the enduring legacies of colonial capitalism. As workers navigate bureaucratic hurdles to migration and working conditions in the Gulf, they in turn influence and inform state policies and corporate practices. Placing migrants at the center of global capital rather than its periphery, Wright shows how migrants are not passive bodies at the mercy of abstract forces—and reveals through their experiences a new understanding of contemporary resource extraction, governance, and global labor.
The compelling true story of Nelly Benatar—a hero of the anti-Fascist North African resistance and humanitarian who changed the course of history for the "last million" escaping the Second World War. When France fell to Hitler's armies in June 1940, a flood of refugees fleeing Nazi terror quickly overwhelmed Europe's borders and spilled across the Mediterranean to North Africa, touching off a humanitarian crisis of dizzying proportions. Nelly Benatar, a highly regarded Casablancan Jewish lawyer, quickly claimed a role of rescuer and almost single-handedly organized a sweeping program of wartime refugee relief. But for all her remarkable achievements, Benatar's story has never been told. With this book, Susan Gilson Miller introduces readers to a woman who fought injustice as an anti-Fascist resistant, advocate for refugee rights, liberator of Vichy-run forced labor camps, and legal counselor to hundreds of Holocaust survivors. Miller crafts a gripping biography that spins a tale like a Hollywood thriller, yet finds its truth in archives gathered across Europe, North Africa, Israel, and the United States and from Benatar's personal collection of eighteen thousand documents now housed in the US Holocaust Museum. Years of Glory offers a rich narrative and a deeper understanding of the complex currents that shaped Jewish, North African, and world history over the course of the Second World War. The traumas of genocide, the struggle for anti-colonial liberation, and the eventual Jewish exodus from Arab lands all take on new meaning when reflected through the interstices of Benatar's life. A courageous woman with a deep moral conscience and an iron will, Nelly Benatar helped to lay the groundwork for crucial postwar efforts to build a better world over Europe's ashes.
Nearly 90 percent of residents in Dubai are foreigners with no Emirati nationality. As in many global cities, those who hold Western passports share specific advantages: prestigious careers, high salaries, and comfortable homes and lifestyles. With this book, Amélie Le Renard explores how race, gender and class backgrounds shape experiences of privilege, and investigates the processes that lead to the formation of Westerners as a social group. Westernness is more than a passport; it is also an identity that requires emotional and bodily labor. And as they work, hook up, parent, and hire domestic help, Westerners chase Dubai's promise of socioeconomic elevation for the few. Through an ethnography informed by postcolonial and feminist theory, Le Renard reveals the diverse experiences and trajectories of white and non-white, male and female Westerners to understand the shifting and contingent nature of Westernness—and also its deep connection to whiteness and heteronormativity. Western Privilege offers a singular look at the lived reality of structural racism in cities of the global South.
The Oldest Guard tells the story of Zionist settler memory in and around the private Jewish agricultural colonies (moshavot) established in late nineteenth-century Ottoman Palestine. Though they grew into the backbone of lucrative citrus and wine industries of mandate Palestine and Israel, absorbed tens of thousands of Jewish immigrants, and became known as the "first wave" (First Aliyah) of Zionist settlement, these communities have been regarded—and disregarded—in the history of Zionism as sites of conservatism, lack of ideology, and resistance to Labor Zionist politics. Treating the "First Aliyah" as a symbol created and deployed only in retrospect, Liora R. Halperin offers a richly textured portrait of commemorative practices between the 1920s and the 1960s. Drawing connections to memory practices in other settler societies, The Oldest Guard demonstrates how private agriculturalists and their advocates in the Zionist center and on the right celebrated and forged the "First Aliyah" past, revealing the centrality of settlement to Zionist collective memory and the politics of Zionist settler "firstness."
A multivocal account of why Egypt's defeated revolution remains a watershed in the country's political history. Bread and Freedom offers a new account of Egypt's 2011 revolutionary mobilization, based on a documentary record hidden in plain sight—party manifestos, military communiqués, open letters, constitutional contentions, protest slogans, parliamentary debates, and court decisions. A rich trove of political arguments, the sources reveal a range of actors vying over the fundamental question in politics: who holds ultimate political authority. The revolution's tangled events engaged competing claims to sovereignty made by insurgent forces and entrenched interests alike, a vital contest that was terminated by the 2013 military coup and its aftermath. Now a decade after the 2011 Arab uprisings, Mona El-Ghobashy rethinks how we study revolutions, looking past causes and consequences to train our sights on the collisions of revolutionary politics. She moves beyond the simple judgments that once celebrated Egypt's revolution as an awe-inspiring irruption of people power or now label it a tragic failure. Revisiting the revolutionary interregnum of 2011–2013, Bread and Freedom takes seriously the political conflicts that developed after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, an eventful thirty months when it was impossible to rule Egypt without the Egyptians.
Each year, billions of dollars are spent on global humanitarian health initiatives. These efforts are intended to care for suffering bodies, especially those of distressed children living in poverty. But as global medical aid can often overlook the local economic and political systems that cause bodily suffering, it can also unintentionally prolong the very conditions that hurt children and undermine local aid givers. Investigating medical humanitarian encounters in Egypt, Paradoxes of Care illustrates how child aid recipients and local aid experts grapple with global aid's shortcomings and its paradoxical outcomes. Rania Kassab Sweis examines how some of the world's largest aid organizations care for vulnerable children in Egypt, focusing on medical efforts with street children and out-of-school village girls. Her in-depth ethnographic study reveals how global medical aid fails to "save" these children according to its stated aims, and often maintains—or produces new—social disparities in children's lives. Foregrounding vulnerable children's responses to medical aid, Sweis moves past the unquestioned benevolence of global health to demonstrate how children must manage their own bodies and lives in the absence of adult care. With this book, she challenges readers to engage with the question of what medical caregivers and donors alike gain from such global humanitarian transactions.
Taha Hussein (1889–1973) is one of Egypt's most iconic figures. A graduate of al-Azhar, Egypt's oldest university, a civil servant and public intellectual, and ultimately Egyptian Minister of Public Instruction, Hussein was central to key social and political developments in Egypt during the parliamentary period between 1922 and 1952. Influential in the introduction of a new secular university and a burgeoning press in Egypt—and prominent in public debates over nationalism and the roles of religion, women, and education in making a modern independent nation—Hussein remains a subject of continued admiration and controversy to this day. The Last Nahdawi offers the first biography of Hussein in which his intellectual outlook and public career are taken equally seriously. Examining Hussein's actions against the backdrop of his complex relationship with the Egyptian state, the religious establishment, and the French government, Hussam R. Ahmed reveals modern Egypt's cultural influence in the Arab and Islamic world within the various structural changes and political processes of the parliamentary period. Ahmed offers both a history of modern state formation, revealing how the Egyptian state came to hold such a strong grip over culture and education—and a compelling examination of the life of the country's most renowned intellectual.
Over the last three decades, a new generation of conceptual artists has come to the fore in the Arab Middle East. As wars, peace treaties, sanctions, and large-scale economic developments have reshaped the region, this cohort of cultural producers has also found themselves at the center of intergenerational debates on the role of art in society. Central to these cultural debates is a steady stream of support from North American and European funding organizations—resources that only increased with the start of the Arab uprisings in the early 2010s. The Politics of Art offers an unprecedented look into the entanglement of art and international politics in Beirut, Ramallah, and Amman to understand the aesthetics of material production within liberal economies. Hanan Toukan outlines the political and social functions of transnationally connected and internationally funded arts organizations and initiatives, and reveals how the production of art within global frameworks can contribute to hegemonic structures even as it is critiquing them—or how it can be counterhegemonic even when it first appears not to be. In so doing, Toukan proposes not only a new way of reading contemporary art practices as they situate themselves globally, but also a new way of reading the domestic politics of the region from the vantage point of art.
A new history of Middle East oil and the deep roots of American violence in Iraq. Iraq has been the site of some of the United States' longest and most sustained military campaigns since the Vietnam War. Yet the origins of US involvement in the country remain deeply obscured—cloaked behind platitudes about advancing democracy or vague notions of American national interests. With this book, Brandon Wolfe-Hunnicutt exposes the origins and deep history of US intervention in Iraq. The Paranoid Style in American Diplomacy weaves together histories of Arab nationalists, US diplomats, and Western oil execs to tell the parallel stories of the Iraq Petroleum Company and the resilience of Iraqi society. Drawing on new evidence—the private records of the IPC, interviews with key figures in Arab oil politics, and recently declassified US government documents—Wolfe-Hunnicutt covers the arc of the twentieth century, from the pre-WWI origins of the IPC consortium and decline of British Empire, to the beginnings of covert US action in the region, and ultimately the nationalization of the Iraqi oil industry and perils of postcolonial politics. American policy makers of the Cold War era inherited the imperial anxieties of their British forebears and inflated concerns about access to and potential scarcity of oil, giving rise to a "paranoid style" in US foreign policy. Wolfe-Hunnicutt deconstructs these policy practices to reveal how they fueled decades of American interventions in the region and shines a light on those places that America's covert empire builders might prefer we not look.
In the last two decades, amid the global spread of smartphones, state killings of civilians have increasingly been captured on the cameras of both bystanders and police. Screen Shots studies this phenomenon from the vantage point of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Here, cameras have proliferated as political tools in the hands of a broad range of actors and institutions, including Palestinian activists, Israeli soldiers, Jewish settlers, and human rights workers. All trained their lens on Israeli state violence, propelled by a shared dream: that advances in digital photography—closer, sharper, faster—would advance their respective political agendas. Most would be let down. Drawing on ethnographic work, Rebecca L. Stein chronicles Palestinian video-activists seeking justice, Israeli soldiers laboring to perfect the military's image, and Zionist conspiracy theorists accusing Palestinians of "playing dead." Writing against techno-optimism, Stein investigates what camera dreams and disillusionment across these political divides reveal about the Israeli and Palestinian colonial present, and the shifting terms of power and struggle in the smartphone age.
The Taliban made piety a business of the state, and thereby intervened in the daily lives and social interactions of Afghan women. Pious Peripheries examines women's resistance through groundbreaking fieldwork at a women's shelter in Kabul, home to runaway wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters of the Taliban. Whether running to seek marriage or divorce, enduring or escaping abuse, or even accused of singing sexually explicit songs in public, "promiscuous" women challenge the status quo—and once marked as promiscuous, women have few resources. This book provides a window into the everyday struggles of Afghan women as they develop new ways to challenge historical patriarchal practices. Sonia Ahsan-Tirmizi explores how women negotiate gendered power mechanisms, notably those of Islam and Pashtunwali. Sometimes defined as an honor code, Pashtunwali is a discursive and material practice that women embody through praying, fasting, oral and written poetry, and participation in rituals of hospitality and refuge. In taking ownership of Pashtunwali and Islamic knowledge, in both textual and oral forms, women create a new supportive community, finding friendship and solidarity in the margins of Afghan society. So doing, these women redefine the meanings of equality, honor, piety, and promiscuity in Afghanistan.
The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the Arab uprisings of 2010–11 left indelible imprints on the Middle East. Yet, these events have not reshaped the region as pundits once predicted. With this volume, top experts on the region offer wide-ranging considerations of the characteristics, continuities, and discontinuities of the contemporary Middle East, addressing topics from international politics to political Islam, hip hop to human security. This book engages six themes to understand the contemporary Middle East—the spread of sectarianism, abandonment of principles of state sovereignty, the lack of a regional hegemonic power, increased Saudi-Iranian competition, decreased regional attention to the Israel-Palestine conflict, and fallout from the Arab uprisings—as well as offers individual country studies. With analysis from historians, political scientists, sociologists, and anthropologists, and up-to-date discussions of the Syrian Civil War, impacts of the Trump presidency, and the 2020 uprisings in Lebanon, Algeria, and Sudan, this book will be an essential guide for anyone seeking to understand the current state of the region.
Completed in 1938, the Trans-Iranian Railway connected Tehran to Iran's two major bodies of water: the Caspian Sea in the north and the Persian Gulf in the south. Iran's first national railway, it produced and disrupted various kinds of movement—voluntary and forced, intended and unintended, on different scales and in different directions—among Iranian diplomats, tribesmen, migrant laborers, technocrats, railway workers, tourists and pilgrims, as well as European imperial officials alike. Iran in Motion tells the hitherto unexplored stories of these individuals as they experienced new levels of mobility. Drawing on newspapers, industry publications, travelogues, and memoirs, as well as American, British, Danish, and Iranian archival materials, Mikiya Koyagi traces contested imaginations and practices of mobility from the conception of a trans-Iranian railway project during the nineteenth-century global transport revolution to its early years of operation on the eve of Iran's oil nationalization movement in the 1950s. Weaving together various individual experiences, this book considers how the infrastructural megaproject reoriented the flows of people and goods. In so doing, the railway project simultaneously brought the provinces closer to Tehran and pulled them away from it, thereby constantly reshaping local, national, and transnational experiences of space among mobile individuals.
In 1948, a war broke out that would result in Israeli independence and the erasure of Arab Palestine. Over twenty months, thousands of Jews and Arabs came from all over the world to join those already on the ground to fight in the ranks of the Israel Defense Forces and the Arab Liberation Army. With this book, the young men and women who made up these armies come to life through their letters home, writing about everything from daily life to nationalism, colonialism, race, and the character of their enemies. Shay Hazkani offers a new history of the 1948 War through these letters, focusing on the people caught up in the conflict and its transnational reverberations. Dear Palestine also examines how the architects of the conflict worked to influence and indoctrinate key ideologies in these ordinary soldiers, by examining battle orders, pamphlets, army magazines, and radio broadcasts. Through two narratives—the official and unofficial, the propaganda and the personal letters—Dear Palestine reveals the fissures between sanctioned nationalism and individual identity. This book reminds us that everyday people's fear, bravery, arrogance, cruelty, lies, and exaggerations are as important in history as the preoccupations of the elites.
Household anthologies of seventeenth-century Isfahan collected everyday texts and objects, from portraits, letters, and poems to marriage contracts and talismans. With these family collections, Kathryn Babayan tells a new history of the city at the transformative moment it became a cosmopolitan center of imperial rule. Bringing into view people's lives from a city with no extant state or civic archives, Babayan reimagines the archive of anthologies to recover how residents shaped their communities and crafted their urban, religious, and sexual selves. Babayan highlights eight residents—from king to widow, painter to religious scholar, poet to bureaucrat—who anthologized their city, writing their engagements with friends and family, divulging the many dimensions of the social, cultural, and religious spheres of life in Isfahan. Through them, we see the gestures, manners, and sensibilities of a shared culture that configured their relations and negotiated the lines between friendship and eroticism. These entangled acts of seeing and reading, desiring and writing converge to fashion the refined urban self through the sensual and the sexual—and give us a new and enticing view of the city of Isfahan.
How to Make A Wetland tells the story of two Turkish coastal areas, both shaped by ecological change and political uncertainty. On the Black Sea coast and the shores of the Aegean, farmers, scientists, fishermen, and families grapple with livelihoods in transition, as their environment is bound up in national and international conservation projects. Bridges and drainage canals, apartment buildings and highways—as well as the birds, water buffalo, and various animals of the regions—all inform a moral ecology in the making. Drawing on six years of fieldwork in wetlands and deltas, Caterina Scaramelli offers an anthropological understanding of sweeping environmental and infrastructural change, and the moral claims made on livability and materiality in Turkey, and beyond. Beginning from a moral ecological position, she takes into account the notion that politics is not simply projected onto animals, plants, soil, water, sediments, rocks, and other non-human beings and materials. Rather, people make politics through them. With this book, she highlights the aspirations, moral relations, and care practices in constant play in contestations and alliances over environmental change.
The Middle East plays a major role in the history of genetic science. Early in the twentieth century, technological breakthroughs in human genetics coincided with the birth of modern Middle Eastern nation-states, who proclaimed that the region's ancient history—as a cradle of civilizations and crossroads of humankind—was preserved in the bones and blood of their citizens. Using letters and publications from the 1920s to the present, Elise K. Burton follows the field expeditions and hospital surveys that scrutinized the bodies of tribal nomads and religious minorities. These studies, geneticists claim, not only detect the living descendants of biblical civilizations but also reveal the deeper past of human evolution. Genetic Crossroads is an unprecedented history of human genetics in the Middle East, from its roots in colonial anthropology and medicine to recent genome sequencing projects. It illuminates how scientists from Turkey to Yemen, Egypt to Iran, transformed genetic data into territorial claims and national origin myths. Burton shows why such nationalist appropriations of genetics are not local or temporary aberrations, but rather the enduring foundations of international scientific interest in Middle Eastern populations to this day.
Between Empire and Nation tells the story of the transformation of the Muslim community in modern Bulgaria during a period of imperial dissolution, conflicting national and imperial enterprises, and the emergence of new national and ethnic identities. In 1878, the Ottoman empire relinquished large territories in the Balkans, with about 600,000 Muslims remaining in the newly-established Bulgarian state. Milena B. Methodieva explores how these former Ottoman subjects, now under Bulgarian rule, navigated between empire and nation-state, and sought to claim a place in the larger modern world. Following the Russo-Ottoman war of 1877–1878, a movement for cultural reform and political mobilization gained momentum within Bulgaria's sizable Muslim population. From 1878 until the 1908 Young Turk revolution, this reform movement emerged as part of a struggle to redefine Muslim collective identity while engaging with broader intellectual and political trends of the time. Using a wide array of primary sources and drawing on both Ottoman and Eastern European historiographies, Methodieva approaches the question of Balkan Muslims' engagement with modernity through a transnational lens, arguing that the experience of this Muslim minority provides new insight into the nature of nationalism, citizenship, and state formation.
This book offers the first critical engagement with the political economy of the Middle East and North Africa. Challenging conventional wisdom on the origins and contemporary dynamics of capitalism in the region, these cutting-edge essays demonstrate how critical political economy can illuminate both historical and contemporary dynamics of the region and contribute to wider political economy debates from the vantage point of the Middle East. Leading scholars, representing several disciplines, contribute both thematic and country-specific analyses. Their writings critically examine major issues in political economy—notably, the mutual constitution of states, markets, and classes; the co-constitution of class, race, gender, and other forms of identity; varying modes of capital accumulation and the legal, political, and cultural forms of their regulation; relations among local, national, and global forms of capital, class, and culture; technopolitics; the role of war in the constitution of states and classes; and practices and cultures of domination and resistance. Visit politicaleconomyproject.org for additional media and learning resources.
This book offers a provocative retelling of Palestinian political history through an examination of the international commissions that have investigated political violence and human rights violations. More than twenty commissions have been convened over the last century, yet no significant change has resulted from these inquiries. The findings of the very first, the 1919 King-Crane Commission, were suppressed. The Mitchell Committee, convened in the heat of the Second Intifada, urged Palestinians to listen more sympathetically to the feelings of their occupiers. And factfinders returning from a shell-shocked Gaza Strip in 2008 registered their horror at the scale of the destruction, but Gazans have continued to live under a crippling blockade. Drawing on debates in the press, previously unexamined UN reports, historical archives, and ethnographic research, Lori Allen explores six key investigative commissions over the last century. She highlights how Palestinians' persistent demands for independence have been routinely translated into the numb language of reports and resolutions. These commissions, Allen argues, operating as technologies of liberal global governance, yield no justice—only the oppressive status quo. A History of False Hope issues a biting critique of the captivating allure and cold impotence of international law.
The Sultan's Communists uncovers the history of Jewish radical involvement in Morocco's national liberation project and examines how Moroccan Jews envisioned themselves participating as citizens in a newly-independent Morocco. Closely following the lives of five prominent Moroccan Jewish Communists (Léon René Sultan, Edmond Amran El Maleh, Abraham Serfaty, Simon Lévy, and Sion Assidon), Alma Rachel Heckman describes how Moroccan Communist Jews fit within the story of mass Jewish exodus from Morocco in the 1950s and '60s, and how they survived oppressive post-independence authoritarian rule under the Moroccan monarchy to ultimately become heroic emblems of state-sponsored Muslim-Jewish tolerance. The figures at the center of Heckman's narrative stood at the intersection of colonialism, Arab nationalism, and Zionism. Their stories unfolded in a country that, upon independence from France and Spain in 1956, allied itself with the United States (and, more quietly, Israel) during the Cold War, while attempting to claim a place for itself within the fraught politics of the post-independence Arab world. The Sultan's Communists contributes to the growing literature on Jews in the modern Middle East and provides a new history of twentieth-century Jewish Morocco.
Most violent jihadi movements in the twentieth century focused on removing corrupt, repressive secular regimes throughout the Muslim world. But following the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, a new form of jihadism emerged—global jihad—turning to the international arena as the primary locus of ideology and action. With this book, Glenn E. Robinson develops a compelling and provocative argument about this violent political movement's evolution. Global Jihad tells the story of four distinct jihadi waves, each with its own program for achieving a global end: whether a Jihadi International to liberate Muslim lands from foreign occupation; al-Qa'ida's call to drive the United States out of the Muslim world; ISIS using "jihadi cool" to recruit followers; or leaderless efforts of stochastic terror to "keep the dream alive." Robinson connects the rise of global jihad to other "movements of rage" such as the Nazi Brownshirts, White supremacists, Khmer Rouge, and Boko Haram. Ultimately, he shows that while global jihad has posed a low strategic threat, it has instigated an outsized reaction from the United States and other Western nations.
Following the 1979 revolution, the Iranian government set out to Islamize society. Muslim piety had to be visible, in personal appearance and in action. Iranians were told to pray, fast, and attend mosques to be true Muslims. The revolution turned questions of what it means to be a true Muslim into a matter of public debate, taken up widely outside the exclusive realm of male clerics and intellectuals. Say What Your Longing Heart Desires offers an elegant ethnography of these debates among a group of educated, middle-class women whose voices are often muted in studies of Islam. Niloofar Haeri follows them in their daily lives as they engage with the classical poetry of Rumi, Hafez, and Saadi, illuminating a long-standing mutual inspiration between prayer and poetry. She recounts how different forms of prayer may transform into dialogues with God, and, in turn, Haeri illuminates the ways in which believers draw on prayer and ritual acts as the emotional and intellectual material through which they think, deliberate, and debate.
When European powers carved political borders across the Middle East following World War I, a curious event in the international drug trade occurred: Palestine became the most important hashish waystation in the region and a thriving market for consumption. British and French colonial authorities utterly failed to control the illicit trade, raising questions about the legitimacy of their mandatory regimes. The creation of the Israeli state, too, had little effect to curb illicit trade. By the 1960s, drug trade had become a major point of contention in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and drug use widespread. Intoxicating Zion is the first book to tell the story of hashish in Mandatory Palestine and Israel. Trafficking, use, and regulation; race, gender, and class; colonialism and nation-building all weave together in Haggai Ram's social history of the drug from the 1920s to the aftermath of the 1967 War. The hashish trade encompassed smugglers, international gangs, residents, law enforcers, and political actors, and Ram traces these flows through the interconnected realms of cross-border politics, economics, and culture. Hashish use was and is a marker of belonging and difference, and its history offers readers a unique glimpse into how the modern Middle East was made.
Staggering skylines and boastful architecture make Dubai famous—this book traces them back to a twentieth-century plan for survival. In 1959, experts agreed that if Dubai was to become something more than an unruly port, a plan was needed. Specifically, a town plan was prescribed to fortify the city from obscurity and disorder. With the proverbial handshake, Dubai's ruler hired British architect John Harris to design Dubai's strategy for capturing the world's attention—and then its investments. Showpiece City recounts the story of how Harris and other hired professionals planned Dubai's spectacular transformation through the 1970s. Drawing on exclusive interviews, private archives, dog-eared photographs, and previously overlooked government documents, Todd Reisz reveals the braggadocio and persistence that sold Dubai as a profitable business plan. Architecture made that plan something to behold. Reisz highlights initial architectural achievements—including the city's first hospital, national bank, and skyscraper—designed as showpieces to proclaim Dubai's place on the world stage. Reisz explores the overlooked history of a skyline that did not simply rise from the sands. In the city's earliest modern architecture, he finds the foundations of an urban survival strategy of debt-wielding brinkmanship and constant pitch making. Dubai became a testing ground for the global city—and prefigured how urbanization now happens everywhere.
The production of history is premised on the selective erasure of certain pasts and the artifacts that stand witness to them. From the elision of archival documents to the demolition of sacred and secular spaces, each act of destruction is also an act of state building. Following the 1991 Gulf War, political elites in Saudi Arabia pursued these dual projects of historical commemoration and state formation with greater fervor to enforce their postwar vision for state, nation, and economy. Seeing Islamist movements as the leading threat to state power, they sought to de-center religion from educational, cultural, and spatial policies. With this book, Rosie Bsheer explores the increasing secularization of the postwar Saudi state and how it manifested in assembling a national archive and reordering urban space in Riyadh and Mecca. The elites' project was rife with ironies: in Riyadh, they employed world-renowned experts to fashion an imagined history, while at the same time in Mecca they were overseeing the obliteration of a thousand-year-old topography and its replacement with commercial megaprojects. Archive Wars shows how the Saudi state's response to the challenges of the Gulf War served to historicize a national space, territorialize a national history, and ultimately refract both through new modes of capital accumulation.
With the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Iraqis abroad, hoping to return one day to a better Iraq, became uncertain exiles. Return to Ruin tells the human story of this exile in the context of decades of U.S. imperial interests in Iraq—from the U.S. backing of the 1963 Ba'th coup and support of Saddam Hussein's regime in the 1980s, to the 1991 Gulf War and 2003 invasion and occupation. Zainab Saleh shares the experiences of Iraqis she met over fourteen years of fieldwork in Iraqi London—offering stories from an aging communist nostalgic for the streets she marched since childhood, a devout Shi'i dreaming of holy cities and family graves, and newly uprooted immigrants with fresh memories of loss, as well as her own. Focusing on debates among Iraqi exiles about what it means to be an Iraqi after years of displacement, Saleh weaves a narrative that draws attention to a once-dominant, vibrant Iraqi cultural landscape and social and political shifts among the diaspora after decades of authoritarianism, war, and occupation in Iraq. Through it all, this book illuminates how Iraqis continue to fashion a sense of belonging and imagine a future, built on the shards of these shattered memories.
The history of capitalism in Egypt has long been synonymous with cotton cultivation and dependent development. From this perspective, the British occupation of 1882 merely sealed the country's fate as a vast plantation for European textile mills. All but obscured in such accounts, however, is Egypt's emergence as a colonial laboratory for financial investment and experimentation. Egypt's Occupation tells for the first time the story of that financial expansion and the devastating crises that followed. Aaron Jakes offers a sweeping reinterpretation of both the historical geography of capitalism in Egypt and the role of political-economic thought in the struggles that raged over the occupation. He traces the complex ramifications and the contested legacy of colonial economism, the animating theory of British imperial rule that held Egyptians to be capable of only a recognition of their own bare economic interests. Even as British officials claimed that "economic development" and the multiplication of new financial institutions would be crucial to the political legitimacy of the occupation, Egypt's early nationalists elaborated their own critical accounts of boom and bust. As Jakes shows, these Egyptian thinkers offered a set of sophisticated and troubling meditations on the deeper contradictions of capitalism and the very meaning of freedom in a capitalist world.
Poetry has long dominated the cultural landscape of modern Iraq, simultaneously representing the literary pinnacle of high culture and giving voice to the popular discourses of mass culture. As the favored genre of culture expression for religious clerics, nationalist politicians, leftist dissidents, and avant-garde intellectuals, poetry critically shaped the social, political, and cultural debates that consumed the Iraqi public sphere in the twentieth century. The popularity of poetry in modern Iraq, however, made it a dangerous practice that carried serious political consequences and grave risks to dissident poets. The Dangers of Poetry is the first book to narrate the social history of poetry in the modern Middle East. Moving beyond the analysis of poems as literary and intellectual texts, Kevin M. Jones shows how poems functioned as social acts that critically shaped the cultural politics of revolutionary Iraq. He narrates the history of three generations of Iraqi poets who navigated the fraught relationship between culture and politics in pursuit of their own ambitions and agendas. Through this historical analysis of thousands of poems published in newspapers, recited in popular demonstrations, and disseminated in secret whispers, this book reveals the overlooked contribution of these poets to the spirit of rebellion in modern Iraq.
Within the broad contours of Islamic traditions, Muslims are enjoined to fast during the month of Ramadan, they are invited to a disciplined practice of prayer, and they are offered the Quran as the divine revelation in the most beautiful verbal form. But what happens if Muslims choose not to fast, or give up prayer, or if the Quran's beauty seems inaccessible? When Muslims do not take up the path of piety, what happens to their relationships with more devout Muslims who are neighbors, friends, and kin? Between Muslims provides an ethnographic account of Iraqi Kurdish Muslims who turn away from devotional piety yet remain intimately engaged with Islamic traditions and with other Muslims. Andrew Bush offers a new way to understand religious difference in Islam, rejecting simple stereotypes about ethnic or sectarian identities. Integrating textual analysis of poetry, sermons, and Islamic history into accounts of everyday life in Iraqi Kurdistan, Between Muslims illuminates the interplay of attraction and aversion to Islam among ordinary Muslims.
As the twentieth century roared on, transformative technologies—from trains, trams, and automobiles to radios and loudspeakers—fundamentally changed the sounds of the Egyptian streets. The cacophony of everyday life grew louder, and the Egyptian press featured editorials calling for the regulation of not only mechanized and amplified sounds, but also the voices of street vendors, the music of wedding processions, and even the traditional funerary wails. Ziad Fahmy offers the first historical examination of the changing soundscapes of urban Egypt, highlighting the mundane sounds of street life, while "listening" to the voices of ordinary people as they struggle with state authorities for ownership of the streets. Interweaving infrastructural, cultural, and social history, Fahmy analyzes the sounds of modernity, using sounded sources as an analytical tool for examining the past. Street Sounds also reveals a political dimension of noise by demonstrating how the growing middle classes used sound to distinguish themselves from the Egyptian masses. This book contextualizes sound, layering historical analysis with a sensory dimension, bringing us closer to the Egyptian streets as lived and embodied by everyday people.
Forging Ties, Forging Passports is a history of migration and nation-building from the vantage point of those who lived between states. Devi Mays traces the histories of Ottoman Sephardi Jews who emigrated to the Americas—and especially to Mexico—in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the complex relationships they maintained to legal documentation as they migrated and settled into new homes. Mays considers the shifting notions of belonging, nationality, and citizenship through the stories of individual women, men, and families who navigated these transitions in their everyday lives, as well as through the paperwork they carried. In the aftermath of World War I and the Mexican Revolution, migrants traversed new layers of bureaucracy and authority amid shifting political regimes as they crossed and were crossed by borders. Ottoman Sephardi migrants in Mexico resisted unequivocal classification as either Ottoman expatriates or Mexicans through their links to the Sephardi diaspora in formerly Ottoman lands, France, Cuba, and the United States. By making use of commercial and familial networks, these Sephardi migrants maintained a geographic and social mobility that challenged the physical borders of the state and the conceptual boundaries of the nation.
Hotter and dryer than most parts of the world, the Middle East could soon see climate change exacerbate food and water shortages, aggravate social inequalities, and drive displacement and political destabilization. And as renewable energy eclipses fossil fuels, oil rich countries in the Middle East will see their wealth diminish. Amidst these imminent risks is a call to action for regional leaders. Could countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates harness the region's immense potential for solar energy and emerge as vanguards of global climate action? The Power of Deserts surveys regional climate models and identifies the potential impact on socioeconomic disparities, population movement, and political instability. Offering more than warning and fear, however, the book highlights a potentially brighter future—a recent shift across the Middle East toward renewable energy. With his deep knowledge of the region and knack for presenting scientific data with clarity, Dan Rabinowitz makes a sober yet surprisingly optimistic investigation of opportunity arising from a looming crisis.
A bracing corrective to the myths that have shaped economic, military, and diplomatic policy, dispelling our oil-soaked fantasies of dependence. There is a conventional wisdom about oil—that the U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf is what guarantees access to this strategic resource; that the "special" relationship with Saudi Arabia is necessary to stabilize an otherwise volatile market; and that these assumptions in turn provide Washington enormous leverage over Europe and Asia. Except, the conventional wisdom is wrong. Robert Vitalis debunks the myths to reveal "oilcraft," a line of magical thinking closer to witchcraft than statecraft. Oil is a commodity like any other: bought, sold, and subject to market forces. Thus, the first goal of this book is to expose the suspect fears of oil scarcity and conflict. The second goal is to investigate the significant geopolitical impact of these false beliefs. In particular, Vitalis shows how we can reconsider the question of the U.S.–Saudi special relationship, which confuses and traps many into unnecessarily accepting what they imagine is a devil's bargain. The House of Saud does many things for U.S. investors, firms, and government agencies, but guaranteeing the flow of oil, making it cheap, or stabilizing the price isn't one of them. Freeing ourselves from the spell of oilcraft won't be easy—but the benefits make it essential.
Tawfiq Zayyad (1929–94) was a renowned Palestinian poet and a committed communist activist. For four decades, he was a dominant figure in political life in Israel, as a local council member, mayor of Nazareth, and member of the Israeli parliament. Zayyad personified the collective struggle of the Palestinian citizens of Israel, challenging the military government following the creation of the state of Israel, leading the 1976 nationwide strike against land confiscation, and tirelessly protesting Israeli military occupation after 1967. With this book, Tamir Sorek offers the first biography of this charismatic figure. Zayyad's life was one of balance and contradiction—between his revolutionary writings as Palestinian patriotic poet and his pragmatic political work in the Israeli public sphere. He was uncompromising in his protest of injustices against the Palestinian people, but always committed to a universalist vision of Arab-Jewish brotherhood. It was this combination of traits that made Zayyad an exceptional leader—and makes his biography larger than the man himself to offer a compelling story about Palestinians and the state of Israel.
The inside story of political protest in Saudi Arabia—on the ground, in the suburbs, and in the face of increasing state repression. Graveyard of Clerics takes up two global phenomena intimately linked in Saudi Arabia: urban sprawl and religious activism. Saudi suburbia emerged after World War II as citizens fled crowded inner cities. Developed to encourage a society of docile, isolated citizens, suburbs instead opened new spaces for political action. Religious activists in particular turned homes, schools, mosques, and summer camps into resources for mobilization. With the support of suburban grassroots networks, activists won local elections and found opportunities to protest government actions—until they faced a new wave of repression under the current Saudi leadership. Pascal Menoret spent four years in Saudi Arabia in the places where today's Islamic activism first emerged. With this book, he tells the stories of the people actively countering the Saudi state and highlights how people can organize and protest even amid increasingly intense police repression. This book changes the way we look at religious activism in Saudi Arabia. It also offers a cautionary tale: the ongoing repression by Saudi elites—achieved often with the complicity of the international community—is shutting down grassroots political movements with significant consequences for the country and the world.
In the mid-nineteenth century, Jerusalem was rich with urban texts inscribed in marble, gold, and cloth, investing holy sites with divine meaning. Ottoman modernization and British colonial rule transformed the city; new texts became a key means to organize society and subjectivity. Stone inscriptions, pilgrims' graffiti, and sacred banners gave way to street markers, shop signs, identity papers, and visiting cards that each sought to define and categorize urban space and people. A City in Fragments tells the modern history of a city overwhelmed by its religious and symbolic significance. Yair Wallach walked the streets of Jerusalem to consider the graffiti, logos, inscriptions, official signs, and ephemera that transformed the city over the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As these urban texts became a tool in the service of capitalism, nationalism, and colonialism, the affinities of Arabic and Hebrew were forgotten and these sister-languages found themselves locked in a bitter war. Looking at the writing of—and literally on—Jerusalem, Wallach offers a creative and expansive history of the city, a fresh take on modern urban texts, and a new reading of the Israel/Palestine conflict through its material culture.
Argentina lies at the heart of the American hemisphere's history of global migration booms of the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century: by 1910, one of every three Argentine residents was an immigrant—twice the demographic impact that the United States experienced in the boom period. In this context, some one hundred and forty thousand Ottoman Syrians came to Argentina prior to World War I, and over the following decades Middle Eastern communities, institutions, and businesses dotted the landscape of Argentina from bustling Buenos Aires to Argentina's most remote frontiers. Argentina in the Global Middle East connects modern Latin American and Middle Eastern history through their shared links to global migration systems. By following the mobile lives of individuals with roots in the Levantine Middle East, Lily Pearl Balloffet sheds light on the intersections of ethnicity, migrant–homeland ties, and international relations. Ranging from the nineteenth century boom in transoceanic migration to twenty-first century dynamics of large-scale migration and displacement in the Arabic-speaking Eastern Mediterranean, this book considers key themes such as cultural production, philanthropy, anti-imperial activism, and financial networks over the course of several generations of this diasporic community. Balloffet's study situates this transregional history of Argentina and the Middle East within a larger story of South-South alliances, solidarities, and exchanges.
Egypt has undergone significant economic liberalization under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, USAID, and the European Commission. Yet after more than four decades of economic reform, the Egyptian economy still fails to meet popular expectations for inclusive growth, better standards of living, and high-quality employment. While many analysts point to cronyism and corruption, Amr Adly finds the root causes of this stagnation in the underlying social and political conditions of economic development. Cleft Capitalism offers a new explanation for why market-based development can fail to meet expectations: small businesses in Egypt are not growing into medium and larger businesses. The practical outcome of this missing middle syndrome is the continuous erosion of the economic and social privileges once enjoyed by the middle classes and unionized labor, without creating enough winners from market making. This in turn set the stage for alienation, discontent, and, finally, revolt. With this book, Adly uncovers both an institutional explanation for Egypt's failed market making, and sheds light on the key factors of arrested economic development across the Global South.
The Ottoman Empire enforced imperial rule through its management of diversity. For centuries, non-Muslim religious institutions, such as the Armenian Church, were charged with guaranteeing their flocks' loyalty to the sultan. Rather than being passive subjects, Armenian elites, both the clergy and laity, strategically wove the institutions of the Armenian Church, and thus the Armenian community itself, into the fabric of imperial society. In so doing, Armenian elites became powerful brokers between factions in Ottoman politics—until the politics of nineteenth-century reform changed these relationships. In Brokers of Faith, Brokers of Empire, Richard E. Antaramian presents a revisionist account of Ottoman reform, relating the contention within the Armenian community to broader imperial politics. Reform afforded Armenians the opportunity to recast themselves as partners of the state, rather than as brokers among factions. And in the course of pursuing such programs, they transformed the community's role in imperial society. As the Ottoman reform program changed how religious difference could be employed in a Muslim empire, Armenian clergymen found themselves enmeshed in high-stakes political and social contests that would have deadly consequences.
From Ramallah to New York, Tel Aviv to Porto Alegre, people around the world celebrate a formidable, transnational Palestinian LGBTQ social movement. Solidarity with Palestinians has become a salient domain of global queer politics. Yet LGBTQ Palestinians, even as they fight patriarchy and imperialism, are themselves subjected to an "empire of critique" from Israeli and Palestinian institutions, Western academics, journalists and filmmakers, and even fellow activists. Such global criticism has limited growth and led to an emphasis within the movement on anti-imperialism over the struggle against homophobia. With this book, Sa'ed Atshan asks how transnational progressive social movements can balance struggles for liberation along more than one axis. He explores critical junctures in the history of Palestinian LGBTQ activism, revealing the queer Palestinian spirit of agency, defiance, and creativity, in the face of daunting pressures and forces working to constrict it. Queer Palestine and the Empire of Critique explores the necessity of connecting the struggles for Palestinian freedom with the struggle against homophobia.
For centuries, Persian was the language of power and learning across Central, South, and West Asia, and Persians received a particular basic education through which they understood and engaged with the world. Not everyone who lived in the land of Iran was Persian, and Persians lived in many other lands as well. Thus to be Persian was to be embedded in a set of connections with people we today consider members of different groups. Persianate selfhood encompassed a broader range of possibilities than contemporary nationalist claims to place and origin allow. We cannot grasp these older connections without historicizing our conceptions of difference and affiliation. Mana Kia sketches the contours of a larger Persianate world, historicizing place, origin, and selfhood through its tradition of proper form: adab. In this shared culture, proximities and similarities constituted a logic that distinguished between people while simultaneously accommodating plurality. Adab was the basis of cohesion for self and community over the turbulent eighteenth century, as populations dispersed and centers of power shifted, disrupting the circulations that linked Persianate regions. Challenging the bases of protonationalist community, Persianate Selves seeks to make sense of an earlier transregional Persianate culture outside the anachronistic shadow of nationalisms.
By the turn of the twentieth century, the eastern Mediterranean port city of Izmir had been home to a vibrant and substantial Sephardi Jewish community for over four hundred years, and had emerged as a major center of Jewish life. The Jews of Ottoman Izmir tells the story of this long overlooked Jewish community, drawing on previously untapped Ladino archival material. Across Europe, Jews were often confronted with the notion that their religious and cultural distinctiveness was somehow incompatible with the modern age. Yet the view from Ottoman Izmir invites a different approach: what happens when Jewish difference is totally unremarkable? Dina Danon argues that while Jewish religious and cultural distinctiveness might have remained unquestioned in this late Ottoman port city, other elements of Jewish identity emerged as profound sites of tension, most notably those of poverty and social class. Through the voices of both beggars on the street and mercantile elites, shoe-shiners and newspaper editors, rabbis and housewives, this book argues that it was new attitudes to poverty and class, not Judaism, that most significantly framed this Sephardi community's encounter with the modern age.
At the turn of the twentieth century, thousands of Central Asians made the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. Traveling long distances, many lived for extended periods in Ottoman cities dotting the routes. Though technically foreigners, these Muslim colonial subjects often blurred the lines between pilgrims and migrants. Not quite Ottoman, and not quite foreign, Central Asians became the sultan's spiritual subjects. Their status was continually negotiated by Ottoman statesmen as attempts to exclude foreign Muslim nationals from the body politic were compromised by a changing international legal order and the caliphate's ecumenical claims. Spiritual Subjects examines the paradoxes of nationality reform and pan-Islamic politics in late Ottoman history. Lâle Can unravels how imperial belonging was wrapped up in deeply symbolic instantiations of religion, as well as prosaic acts and experiences that paved the way to integration into Ottoman communities. A complex system of belonging emerged—one where it was possible for a Muslim to be both, by law, a foreigner and a subject of the Ottoman sultan-caliph. This panoramic story informs broader transregional and global developments, with important implications for how we make sense of subjecthood in the last Muslim empire and the legacy of religion in the Turkish Republic.
No contemporary figure is more demonized than the Islamist foreign fighter who wages jihad around the world. Spreading violence, disregarding national borders, and rejecting secular norms, so-called jihadists seem opposed to universalism itself. In a radical departure from conventional wisdom on the topic, The Universal Enemy argues that transnational jihadists are engaged in their own form of universalism: these fighters struggle to realize an Islamist vision directed at all of humanity, transcending racial and cultural difference. Anthropologist and attorney Darryl Li reconceptualizes jihad as armed transnational solidarity under conditions of American empire, revisiting a pivotal moment after the Cold War when ethnic cleansing in the Balkans dominated global headlines. Muslim volunteers came from distant lands to fight in Bosnia-Herzegovina alongside their co-religionists, offering themselves as an alternative to the US-led international community. Li highlights the parallels and overlaps between transnational jihads and other universalisms such as the War on Terror, United Nations peacekeeping, and socialist Non-Alignment. Developed from more than a decade of research with former fighters in a half-dozen countries, The Universal Enemy explores the relationship between jihad and American empire to shed critical light on both.
Waste Siege offers an analysis unusual in the study of Palestine: it depicts the environmental, infrastructural, and aesthetic context in which Palestinians are obliged to forge their lives. To speak of waste siege is to describe a series of conditions, from smelling wastes to negotiating military infrastructures, from biopolitical forms of colonial rule to experiences of governmental abandonment, from obvious targets of resistance to confusion over responsibility for the burdensome objects of daily life. Within this rubble, debris, and infrastructural fallout, West Bank Palestinians create a life under settler colonial rule. Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins focuses on waste as an experience of everyday life that is continuous with, but not a result only of, occupation. Tracing Palestinians' own experiences of wastes over the past decade, she considers how multiple authorities governing the West Bank—including municipalities, the Palestinian Authority, international aid organizations, NGOs, and Israel—rule by waste siege, whether intentionally or not. Her work challenges both common formulations of waste as "matter out of place" and as the ontological opposite of the environment, by suggesting instead that waste siege be understood as an ecology of "matter with no place to go." Waste siege thus not only describes a stateless Palestine, but also becomes a metaphor for our besieged planet.
Los Angeles is home to the largest population of people of Middle Eastern origin and descent in the United States. Since the late nineteenth century, Syrian and Lebanese migration, in particular, to Southern California has been intimately connected to and through Latin America. Arab Routes uncovers the stories of this Syrian American community, one both Arabized and Latinized, to reveal important cross-border and multiethnic solidarities in Syrian California. Sarah M. A. Gualtieri reconstructs the early Syrian connections through California, Texas, Mexico, and Lebanon. She reveals the Syrian interests in the defense of the Mexican American teens charged in the 1942 Sleepy Lagoon murder, in actor Danny Thomas's rise to prominence in LA's Syrian cultural festivals, and in more recent activities of the grandchildren of immigrants to reclaim a sense of Arabness. Gualtieri reinscribes Syrians into Southern California history through her examination of powerful images and texts, augmented with interviews with descendants of immigrants. Telling the story of how Syrians helped forge a global Los Angeles, Arab Routes counters a long-held stereotype of Arabs as outsiders and underscores their longstanding place in American culture and in interethnic coalitions, past and present.
At the turn of the twentieth century, Alexandria, Egypt, was a bustling transimperial port city, under nominal Ottoman and unofficial British imperial rule. Thousands of European subjects lived, worked, and died there. And when they died, the machinery of empire had to negotiate for space, resources, and control with the nascent national state. Imperial Bodies shows how the mechanisms of death became a tool for exerting both imperial and national governance. Shana Minkin investigates how French and British power asserted itself in Egypt through local consular claims of belonging manifested within the mundane caring for dead bodies. European communities corralled imperial bodies through the bureaucracies and rituals of death—from hospitals, funerals, and cemeteries to autopsies and death registrations. As they did so, imperial consulates pushed against the workings of both the Egyptian state and each other, expanding their governments' material and performative power. Ultimately, this book reveals how European imperial powers did not so much claim Alexandria as their own, as they maneuvered, manipulated, and cajoled their empires into Egypt.
The Arab-Israeli conflict constituted a serious problem for the American Left in the 1960s: pro-Palestinian activists hailed the Palestinian struggle against Israel as part of a fundamental restructuring of the global imperialist order, while pro-Israeli leftists held a less revolutionary worldview that understood Israel as a paragon of democratic socialist virtue. This intra-left debate was in part doctrinal, in part generational. But further woven into this split were sometimes agonizing questions of identity. Jews were disproportionately well-represented in the Movement, and their personal and communal lives could deeply affect their stances vis-à-vis the Middle East. The Movement and the Middle East offers the first assessment of the controversial and ultimately debilitating role of the Arab-Israeli conflict among left-wing activists during a turbulent period of American history. Michael R. Fischbach draws on a deep well of original sources—from personal interviews to declassified FBI and CIA documents—to present a story of the left-wing responses to the question of Palestine and Israel. He shows how, as the 1970s wore on, the cleavages emerging within the American Left widened, weakening the Movement and leaving a lasting impact that still affects progressive American politics today.
In recent decades, Palestinian heritage organizations have launched numerous urban regeneration and museum projects across the West Bank in response to the enduring Israeli occupation. These efforts to reclaim and assert Palestinian heritage differ significantly from the typical global cultural project: here it is people's cultural memory and living environment, rather than ancient history and archaeology, that take center stage. It is local civil society and NGOs, not state actors, who are "doing" heritage. In this context, Palestinian heritage has become not just a practice of resistance, but a resourceful mode of governing the Palestinian landscape. With this book, Chiara De Cesari examines these Palestinian heritage projects—notably the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, Riwaq, and the Palestinian Museum—and the transnational actors, practices, and material sites they mobilize to create new institutions in the absence of a sovereign state. Through their rehabilitation of Palestinian heritage, these organizations have halted the expansion of Israeli settlements. They have also given Palestinians opportunities to rethink and transform state functions. Heritage and the Cultural Struggle for Palestine reveals how the West Bank is home to creative experimentation, insurgent agencies, and resourceful attempts to reverse colonial violence—and a model of how things could be.
An inside look at what it means to be pro-regime in Iran, and the debates around the future of the Islamic Republic. More than half of Iran's citizens were not alive at the time of the 1979 Revolution. Now entering its fifth decade in power, the Iranian regime faces the paradox of any successful revolution: how to transmit the commitments of its political project to the next generation. New media ventures supported by the Islamic Republic attempt to win the hearts and minds of younger Iranians. Yet members of this new generation—whether dissidents or fundamentalists—are increasingly skeptical of these efforts. Iran Reframed offers unprecedented access to those who wield power in Iran as they debate and define the future of the Republic. Over ten years, Narges Bajoghli met with men in Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Ansar Hezbollah, and Basij paramilitary organizations to investigate how their media producers developed strategies to court Iranian youth. Readers come to know these men—what the regime means to them and their anxieties about the future of their revolutionary project. Contestation over how to define the regime underlies all their efforts to communicate with the public. This book offers a multilayered story about what it means to be pro-regime in the Islamic Republic, challenging everything we think we know about Iran and revolution.
There are more than 700,000 Bulgaristanlı migrants residing in Turkey. Immigrants from Bulgaria who are ethnically Turkish, they assume certain privileges because of these ethnic ties, yet access to citizenship remains dependent on the whims of those in power. Through vivid accounts of encounters with the police and state bureaucracy, of nostalgic memories of home and aspirations for a more secure life in Turkey, Precarious Hope explores the tensions between ethnic privilege and economic vulnerability and rethinks the limits of migrant belonging among those for whom it is intimated and promised—but never guaranteed. In contrast to the typical focus on despair, Ayşe Parla studies the hopefulness of migrants. Turkish immigration policies have worked in lockstep with national aspirations for ethnic, religious, and ideological conformity, offering Bulgaristanlı migrants an advantage over others. Their hope is the product of privilege and an act of dignity and perseverance. It is also a tool of the state, reproducing a migration regime that categorizes some as desirable and others as foreign and dispensable. Through the experiences of the Bulgaristanlı, Precarious Hope speaks to the global predicament in which increasing numbers of people are forced to manage both cultivation of hope and relentless anxiety within structures of inequality.
Sayyid Fadl, a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, led a unique life—one that spanned much of the nineteenth century and connected India, Arabia, and the Ottoman Empire. For God or Empire tells his story, part biography and part global history, as his life and legacy afford a singular view on historical shifts of power and sovereignty, religion and politics. Wilson Chacko Jacob recasts the genealogy of modern sovereignty through the encounter between Islam and empire-states in the Indian Ocean world. Fadl's travels in worlds seen and unseen made for a life that was both unsettled and unsettling. And through his life at least two forms of sovereignty—God and empire—become apparent in intersecting global contexts of religion and modern state formation. While these changes are typically explained in terms of secularization of the state and the birth of rational modern man, the life and afterlives of Sayyid Fadl—which take us from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Indian Ocean worlds to twenty-first century cyberspace—offer a more open-ended global history of sovereignty and a more capacious conception of life.
In October 1902, the reservoir of the first Aswan Dam filled, and Egypt's relationship with the Nile River forever changed. Flooding villages of historical northern Nubia and filling the irrigation canals that flowed from the river, the perennial Nile not only reshaped agriculture and the environment, but also Egypt's colonial economy and forms of subjectivity. Jennifer L. Derr follows the engineers, capitalists, political authorities, and laborers who built a new Nile River through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The river helped to shape the future of technocratic knowledge, and the bodies of those who inhabited rural communities were transformed through the environmental intimacies of their daily lives. At the root of this investigation lies the notion that the Nile is not a singular entity, but a realm of practice and a set of temporally, spatially, and materially specific relations that structured experiences of colonial economy. From the microscopic to the regional, the local to the imperial, The Lived Nile recounts the history and centrality of the environment to questions of politics, knowledge, and the lived experience of the human body itself.
In 1943, Lebanon gained its formal political independence from France; only after two more decades did the country finally establish a national central bank. Inaugurated on April 1, 1964, the Banque du Liban (BDL) was billed by Lebanese authorities as the nation's primary symbol of economic sovereignty and as the last step towards full independence. In the local press, it was described as a means of projecting state power and enhancing national pride. Yet the history of its founding—stretching from its Ottoman origins in mid-nineteenth century up until the mid-twentieth—tells a different, more complex story. Banking on the State reveals how the financial foundations of Lebanon were shaped by the history of the standardization of economic practices and financial regimes within the decolonizing world. The system of central banking that emerged was the product of a complex interaction of war, economic policies, international financial regimes, post-colonial state-building, global currents of technocratic knowledge, and private business interests. It served rather than challenged the interests of an oligarchy of local bankers. As Hicham Safieddine shows, the set of arrangements that governed the central bank thus was dictated by dynamics of political power and financial profit more than market forces, national interest or economic sovereignty.
Kirkuk is Iraq's most multilingual city, for millennia home to a diverse population. It was also where, in 1927, a foreign company first struck oil in Iraq. Over the following decades, Kirkuk became the heart of Iraq's booming petroleum industry. City of Black Gold tells a story of oil, urbanization, and colonialism in Kirkuk—and how these factors shaped the identities of Kirkuk's citizens, forming the foundation of an ethnic conflict. Arbella Bet-Shlimon reconstructs the twentieth-century history of Kirkuk to question the assumptions about the past underpinning today's ethnic divisions. In the early 1920s, when the Iraqi state was formed under British administration, group identities in Kirkuk were fluid. But as the oil industry fostered colonial power and Baghdad's influence over Kirkuk, intercommunal violence and competing claims to the city's history took hold. The ethnicities of Kurds, Turkmens, and Arabs in Kirkuk were formed throughout a century of urban development, interactions between communities, and political mobilization. Ultimately, this book shows how contentious politics in disputed areas are not primordial traits of those regions, but are a modern phenomenon tightly bound to the society and economics of urban life.
The end of World War II heralded a new global order. Decolonization swept the world and the United Nations, founded in 1945, came to embody the hopes of the world's colonized people as an instrument of freedom. North Africa became a particularly contested region and events there reverberated around the world. In Morocco, the emerging nationalist movement developed social networks that spanned three continents and engaged supporters from CIA agents, British journalists, and Asian diplomats to a Coca-Cola manager and a former First Lady. Globalizing Morocco traces how these networks helped the nationalists achieve independence—and then enabled the establishment of an authoritarian monarchy that persists today. David Stenner tells the story of the Moroccan activists who managed to sway world opinion against the French and Spanish colonial authorities to gain independence, and in so doing illustrates how they contributed to the formation of international relations during the early Cold War. Looking at post-1945 world politics from the Moroccan vantage point, we can see fissures in the global order that allowed the peoples of Africa and Asia to influence a hierarchical system whose main purpose had been to keep them at the bottom. In the process, these anticolonial networks created an influential new model for transnational activism that remains relevant still to contemporary struggles.
Justice in the Question of Palestine is often framed as a question of law. Yet none of the Israel-Palestinian conflict's most vexing challenges have been resolved by judicial intervention. Occupation law has failed to stem Israel's settlement enterprise. Laws of war have permitted killing and destruction during Israel's military offensives in the Gaza Strip. The Oslo Accord's two-state solution is now dead letter. Justice for Some offers a new approach to understanding the Palestinian struggle for freedom, told through the power and control of international law. Focusing on key junctures—from the Balfour Declaration in 1917 to present-day wars in Gaza—Noura Erakat shows how the strategic deployment of law has shaped current conditions. Over the past century, the law has done more to advance Israel's interests than the Palestinians'. But, Erakat argues, this outcome was never inevitable. Law is politics, and its meaning and application depend on the political intervention of states and people alike. Within the law, change is possible. International law can serve the cause of freedom when it is mobilized in support of a political movement. Presenting the promise and risk of international law, Justice for Some calls for renewed action and attention to the Question of Palestine.
The compelling life story of Armenian ceramicist David Ohannessian, whose work changed the face of Jerusalem—and a granddaughter's search for his legacy. Along the cobbled streets and golden walls of Jerusalem, brilliantly glazed tiles catch the light and beckon the eye. These colorful wares—known as Armenian ceramics—are iconic features of the Holy City. Silently, these works of ceramic art—art that also graces homes and museums around the world—represent a riveting story of resilience and survival: In the final years of the Ottoman Empire, as hundreds of thousands of Armenians were forcibly marched to their deaths, one man carried the secrets of this age-old art with him into exile toward the Syrian desert. Feast of Ashes tells the story of David Ohannessian, the renowned ceramicist who in 1919 founded the art of Armenian pottery in Jerusalem, where his work and that of his followers is now celebrated as a local treasure. Ohannessian's life encompassed some of the most tumultuous upheavals of the modern Middle East. Born in an isolated Anatolian mountain village, he witnessed the rise of violent nationalism in the waning years of the Ottoman Empire, endured arrest and deportation in the Armenian Genocide, founded a new ceramics tradition in Jerusalem under the British Mandate, and spent his final years, uprooted, in Cairo and Beirut. Ohannessian's life story is revealed by his granddaughter Sato Moughalian, weaving together family narratives with newly unearthed archival findings. Witnessing her personal quest for the man she never met, we come to understand a universal story of migration, survival, and hope.
Kate Millett was already an icon of American feminism when she went to Iran in 1979. She arrived just weeks after the Iranian Revolution, to join Iranian women in marking International Women's Day. Intended as a day of celebration, the event turned into a week of protests. Millett, armed with film equipment and a cassette deck to record everything around her, found herself in the middle of demonstrations for women's rights and against the mandatory veil. Listening to the revolutionary soundscape of Millett's audio tapes, Negar Mottahedeh offers a new interpretive guide to Revolutionary Iran, its slogans, habits, and women's movement—a movement that, many claim, Millett never came to understand. Published with the fortieth anniversary of the Iranian Revolution and the women's protests that followed on its heels, Whisper Tapes re-introduces Millett's historic visit to Iran and lays out the nature of her encounter with the Iranian women's movement.
In 2010, the world's wealthiest art institution, the J. Paul Getty Museum, found itself confronted by a century-old genocide. The Armenian Church was suing for the return of eight pages from the Zeytun Gospels, a manuscript illuminated by the greatest medieval Armenian artist, Toros Roslin. Protected for centuries in a remote church, the holy manuscript had followed the waves of displaced people exterminated during the Armenian genocide. Passed from hand to hand, caught in the confusion and brutality of the First World War, it was cleaved in two. Decades later, the manuscript found its way to the Republic of Armenia, while its missing eight pages came to the Getty. The Missing Pages is the biography of a manuscript that is at once art, sacred object, and cultural heritage. Its tale mirrors the story of its scattered community as Armenians have struggled to redefine themselves after genocide and in the absence of a homeland. Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh follows in the manuscript's footsteps through seven centuries, from medieval Armenia to the killing fields of 1915 Anatolia, the refugee camps of Aleppo, Ellis Island, and Soviet Armenia, and ultimately to a Los Angeles courtroom. Reconstructing the path of the pages, Watenpaugh uncovers the rich tapestry of an extraordinary artwork and the people touched by it. At once a story of genocide and survival, of unimaginable loss and resilience, The Missing Pages captures the human costs of war and persuasively makes the case for a human right to art.
Iraq was the first postcolonial state recognized as legally sovereign by the League of Nations amid the twentieth-century wave of decolonization movements. It also emerged as an early laboratory of development projects designed by Iraqi intellectuals, British colonial officials, American modernization theorists, and postwar international agencies. Familiar Futures considers how such projects—from the country's creation under British mandate rule in 1920 through the 1958 revolution to the first Ba'th coup in 1963—reshaped Iraqi everyday habits, desires, and familial relations in the name of a developed future. Sara Pursley investigates how Western and Iraqi policymakers promoted changes in schooling, land ownership, and family law to better differentiate Iraq's citizens by class, sex, and age. Peasants were resettled on isolated family farms; rural boys received education limited to training in agricultural skills; girls were required to take home economics courses; and adolescents were educated on the formation of proper families. Future-oriented discourses about the importance of sexual difference to Iraq's modernization worked paradoxically, deferring demands for political change in the present and reproducing existing capitalist relations. Ultimately, the book shows how certain goods—most obviously, democratic ideals—were repeatedly sacrificed in the name of the nation's economic development in an ever-receding future.
In 1869, Hayyim Habshush, a Yemeni Jew, accompanied the European orientalist Joseph Halévy on his archaeological tour of Yemen. Twenty years later, Habshush wrote A Vision of Yemen, a memoir of their travels, that provides a vivid account of daily life, religion, and politics. More than a simple travelogue, it is a work of trickster-tales, thick anthropological descriptions, and reflections on Jewish–Muslim relations. At its heart lies the fractious and intimate relationship between the Yemeni coppersmith and the "enlightened" European scholar and the collision between the cultures each represents. The book thus offers a powerful indigenous response to European Orientalism. This edition is the first English translation of Habshush's writings from the original Judeo-Arabic and Hebrew and includes an accessible historical introduction to the work. The translation maintains Habshush's gripping style and rich portrayal of the diverse communities and cultures of Yemen, offering a potent mixture of artful storytelling and cultural criticism, suffused with humor and empathy. Habshush writes about the daily lives of men and women, rich and poor, Jewish and Muslim, during a turbulent period of war and both Ottoman and European imperialist encroachment. With this translation, Alan Verskin recovers the lost voice of a man passionately committed to his land and people.
Teach for Arabia offers an ethnographic account of the experiences of students, faculty, and administrators in Education City, Qatar. Education City, home to the branch campuses of six elite American universities, represents the Qatari government's multibillion dollar investment over the last two decades in growing a local knowledge-based economy. Though leaders have eagerly welcomed these institutions, not all citizens embrace the U.S. universities in their midst. Some critics see them as emblematic of a turn away from traditional values toward Westernization. Qatari students who attend these schools often feel stereotyped and segregated within their spaces. Neha Vora considers how American branch campuses influence notions of identity and citizenship among both citizen and non-citizen residents and contribute to national imaginings of the future and a transnational Qatar. Looking beyond the branch campus, she also confronts mythologies of liberal and illiberal peoples, places, and ideologies that have developed around these universities. Supporters and detractors alike of branch campuses have long ignored the imperial histories of American universities and the exclusions and inequalities that continue to animate daily academic life. From the vantage point of Qatar, Teach for Arabia challenges the assumed mantle of liberalism in Western institutions and illuminates how people can contribute to decolonized university life and knowledge production.
The 1967 Arab–Israeli War rocketed the question of Israel and Palestine onto the front pages of American newspapers. Black Power activists saw Palestinians as a kindred people of color, waging the same struggle for freedom and justice as themselves. Soon concerns over the Arab–Israeli conflict spread across mainstream black politics and into the heart of the civil rights movement itself. Black Power and Palestine uncovers why so many African Americans—notably Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Muhammad Ali, among others—came to support the Palestinians or felt the need to respond to those who did. Americans first heard pro-Palestinian sentiments in public through the black freedom struggle of the 1960s and 1970s. Michael R. Fischbach uncovers this hidden history of the Arab–Israeli conflict's role in African American activism and the ways that distant struggle shaped the domestic fight for racial equality. Black Power's transnational connections between African Americans and Palestinians deeply affected U.S. black politics, animating black visions of identity well into the late 1970s. Black Power and Palestine allows those black voices to be heard again today. In chronicling this story, Fischbach reveals much about how American peoples of color create political strategies, a sense of self, and a place within U.S. and global communities. The shadow cast by events of the 1960s and 1970s continues to affect the United States in deep, structural ways. This is the first book to explore how conflict in the Middle East shaped the American civil rights movement.
The Holocaust is usually understood as a European story. Yet, this pivotal episode unfolded across North Africa and reverberated through politics, literature, memoir, and memory—Muslim as well as Jewish—in the post-war years. The Holocaust and North Africa offers the first English-language study of the unfolding events in North Africa, pushing at the boundaries of Holocaust Studies and North African Studies, and suggesting, powerfully, that neither is complete without the other. The essays in this volume reconstruct the implementation of race laws and forced labor across the Maghreb during World War II and consider the Holocaust as a North African local affair, which took diverse form from town to town and city to city. They explore how the Holocaust ruptured Muslim–Jewish relations, setting the stage for an entirely new post-war reality. Commentaries by leading scholars of Holocaust history complete the picture, reflecting on why the history of the Holocaust and North Africa has been so widely ignored—and what we have to gain by understanding it in all its nuances. Published in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Iran is home to the largest Jewish population in the Middle East, outside of Israel. At its peak in the twentieth century, the population numbered around 100,000; today about 25,000 Jews live in Iran. Between Iran and Zion offers the first history of this vibrant community over the course of the last century, from the 1905 Constitutional Revolution through the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Over this period, Iranian Jews grew from a peripheral community into a prominent one that has made clear impacts on daily life in Iran. Drawing on interviews, newspapers, family stories, autobiographies, and previously untapped archives, Lior B. Sternfeld analyzes how Iranian Jews contributed to Iranian nation-building projects, first under the Pahlavi monarchs and then in the post-revolutionary Islamic Republic. He considers the shifting reactions to Zionism over time, in particular to religious Zionism in the early 1900s and political Zionism after the creation of the state of Israel. And he investigates the various groups that constituted the Iranian Jewish community, notably the Jewish communists who became prominent activists in the left-wing circles in the 1950s and the revolutionary Jewish organization that participated in the 1979 Revolution. The result is a rich account of the vital role of Jews in the social and political fabric of twentieth-century Iran.
The 1923 Greek-Turkish population exchange forcibly relocated one and a half million people: Muslims in Greece were resettled in Turkey, and Greek Orthodox Christians in Turkey were moved to Greece. This landmark event set a legal precedent for population management on the basis of religious or ethnic difference. Similar segregative policies—such as creating walls, partitions, and apartheids—have followed in its wake. Strikingly, the exchange was purportedly enacted as a means to achieve peace. Humanism in Ruins maps the links between liberal discourses on peace and the legacies of this forced migration. Aslı Iğsız weaves together past and present, making visible the effects in Turkey across the ensuing century, of the 1923 exchange. Liberal humanism has responded to segregative policies by calling for coexistence and the acceptance of cultural diversity. Yet, as Iğsız makes clear, liberal humanism itself, with its ahistorical emphasis on a shared humanity, fails to confront an underlying racialized logic. This far-reaching and multilayered cultural history investigates what it means to be human—historically, socially, and politically. It delivers an urgent message about the politics of difference at a time when the reincarnation of fascism in different parts of the world invites citizens to participate in perpetuating a racialized and unequal world.
Beirut is a city divided. Following the Green Line of the civil war, dividing the Christian east and the Muslim west, today hundreds of such lines dissect the city. For the residents of Beirut, urban planning could hold promise: a new spatial order could bring a peaceful future. But with unclear state structures and outsourced public processes, urban planning has instead become a contest between religious-political organizations and profit-seeking developers. Neighborhoods reproduce poverty, displacement, and urban violence. For the War Yet to Come examines urban planning in three neighborhoods of Beirut's southeastern peripheries, revealing how these areas have been developed into frontiers of a continuing sectarian order. Hiba Bou Akar argues these neighborhoods are arranged, not in the expectation of a bright future, but according to the logic of "the war yet to come": urban planning plays on fears and differences, rumors of war, and paramilitary strategies to organize everyday life. As she shows, war in times of peace is not fought with tanks, artillery, and rifles, but involves a more mundane territorial contest for land and apartment sales, zoning and planning regulations, and infrastructure projects.
Hamas rules Gaza and the lives of the two million Palestinians who live there. Demonized in media and policy debates, various accusations and critical assumptions have been used to justify extreme military action against Hamas. The reality of Hamas is, of course, far more complex. Neither a democratic political party nor a terrorist group, Hamas is a multifaceted liberation organization, one rooted in the nationalist claims of the Palestinian people. Hamas Contained offers the first history of the group on its own terms. Drawing on interviews with organization leaders, as well as publications from the group, Tareq Baconi maps Hamas's thirty-year transition from fringe military resistance towards governance. He breaks new ground in questioning the conventional understanding of Hamas and shows how the movement's ideology ultimately threatens the Palestinian struggle and, inadvertently, its own legitimacy. Hamas's reliance on armed struggle as a means of liberation has failed in the face of a relentless occupation designed to fragment the Palestinian people. As Baconi argues, under Israel's approach of managing rather than resolving the conflict, Hamas's demand for Palestinian sovereignty has effectively been neutralized by its containment in Gaza. This dynamic has perpetuated a deadlock characterized by its brutality—and one that has made permissible the collective punishment of millions of Palestinian civilians.