From the Editors
Jens Hanssen, “Kafka and Arabs.” Critical Inquiry (Autumn 2012). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this article? Jens Hanssen (JH): I have been carrying a dog-eared photocopy of Kafka’s three-page animal story “Schakale und Araber” in my luggage ever since a friend of mine at the German Institute in Beirut handed it to me to read. This was back in 1998, and I remember that when I read it I knew I ...Keep Reading »
Jens Hanssen is an Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean History at the University of Toronto. He has held junior research fellowships at the American University of Beirut and the Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft in Beirut, and served on the academic advisory committee at the Lebanese Ministry of Culture and Higher Education to host Beirut as the cultural capital of the Arab world. He was Socrates Fellow at La Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme, University of Aix-en-Provence/Marseille, and held a postdoctoral fellowship from the Thyssen Foundation to study the Arab renaissance. He is the author of Fin de Siècle Beirut: The Making of an Ottoman Provincial Capital, and the co-author of History, Space and Social Conflict in Beirut and co-editor of Empire in the City: Arab Provincial Capitals in the Late Ottoman Empire. During his visit to Baghdad in June 2003, he filmed a short documentary (posted on youtube) on academic life in Iraq after the US invasion. His research has been published in The New Cambridge History of Islam (2010) and in the International Journal of Middle East Studies (2011). He is currently conducting research on German-Jewish and Arab intellectual histories.
The upshot of all this is to say, alongside a veritable chorus of academics, activists, policymakers, and citizens in Lebanon and beyond, that sectarianism has been forged over time through specific institutional and discursive practices and, therefore, could be modified or undone.click | email | tweet