From the Editors
We are pleased to announce the upcoming release of the latest issue of Arab Studies Journal, Jadaliyya's sister organization under the umbrella of the Arab Studies Institute, and its peer-reviewed research publication arm. For more information about the Arab Studies Journal, please visit our About page here.
Revolutions, uprisings, demonstrations and protests have unfolded in ways both exultant and heartbreaking across North Africa and the Middle East in the last several months. As individuals, communities, citizenries, and populations tired of decades of a manipulation of history, a usurpation of resources, and a corruption of rulers finally said “enough!”, they have been continuously shattering archaic and problematic narratives whose time has long passed. The slow construction of new visions of citizenship and society illustrate both the depth of the fissures and the profound resilience of people who are disgusted with monarchical power and the sacrifices that go with it, neocolonial indigenous regimes, the increasing severity of Palestinian dispossession, and emerging sub-narratives being written by non-state actors. From a thirteenth century chronicle to twenty-first century refugees, to new configurations of Islam and authority in places as different as Morocco and Lebanon, the four articles featured in this issue of ASJ attend to the manner in which historical and political narratives play out in ways that resonate with what we are witnessing throughout the Middle East and North Africa today.
Our Spring 2011 issue (vol. 19, no.1) features the following articles: Mona Harb and Lara Deeb, “Culture as History and Landscape: Hizballah’s Efforts to Shape an Islamic Milieu in Lebanon”; Nadia Latif, “Fellahin, Fida’iyyin, Laji’in: Palestinian Camp Refugees in Lebanon as Authochtons”; Stacy Holden, “Pomp and Circumstance: Royal Symbolism and the ‘Id al-Kabir Sacrifice in Morocco”; and Prashant Keshavmurthy, “Finitude and the Authorship of Fiction: Muhammad ‘Awfi’s Preface to His Chronicle, Lubab al-Albab (The Piths of Intellects).”
This issue’s book review section attends to the materiality of cultural production and consumption, and attunes us to local and global politics, the power of economic interests, and the persistent presence of history. The section covers such diverse subjects as nineteenth-century Tunisia, masculinity in a Uyghur community in Xinjiang China, the US military’s devastating sieges of al-Falluja in 2004, and the scholarly networks of eighteenth-century polymath Murtada al-Zabidi. Many of the books reviewed examine the connections between neoliberalism, state violence, colonialism, and anti-colonial nationalism: Laleh Khalili and Jillian Schwedler’s edited volume, Policing and Prisons in the Middle East: Formations of Coercion; Hishaam D. Aidi’s Redeploying the State: Corporatism, Neoliberalism, and Coalition Politics; Richard C. Keller’s Colonial Madness: Psychiatry in French North Africa; Erez Manela’s The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism; Jennifer M. Dueck’s The Claims of Culture at Empire’s End: Syria and Lebanon under French Rule; and Hanan Kholoussy’s For Better, For Worse: The Marriage Crisis That Made Modern Egypt. Together, these reviews show what historical and political economic analyses can bring to current understandings of the recent uprisings across the Middle East and the challenges to come. The contested terrain of culture comes to the fore in reviews of Samia Mehrez’s Egypt’s Culture Wars: Politics and Practice; Suzanne Kassab’s Contemporary Arab Thought: Cultural Critique in Comparative Perspective; Rasha Salti and Ziad Antar’s Beirut Bereft: The Architecture of the Forsaken and Map of the Derelict; and Waleed Hazbun’s Beaches, Ruins, Resorts: The Politics of Tourism in the Arab World.
Sherene Seikaly and Nadya Sbaiti
Co-Editors, Arab Studies Journal
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