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New Texts Out Now: Mehammed Mack, Sexagon: Muslims, France, and the Sexualization of National Culture

Mehammed Amadeus Mack. Sexagon: Muslims, France, and the Sexualization of National Culture. New York: Fordham University Press, 2017. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Mehammed Mack (MM): I wrote this book out of frustration that was both of a personal and academic nature. As a Gender Studies researcher who investigates sexual alterity and homo-eroticism in the Arab diaspora, and more importantly, as a human being familiar with queer Arab spaces, I felt there were huge holes, as well as blatant mischaracterizations, in the Euro-American media portrait of Arab/Muslim men and women. They are always portrayed as either never queer, incapable of sexual ...

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Art and Liberty: Redefining the Canon or the Next Record Sales?

[​Abdel Hadi El Gazzar,

In October 2016, two exhibitions were inaugurated in Cairo and Paris respectively, commemorating an Egyptian surrealist art and literature group, Art et Liberté.  I. Art et Liberté was co-founded by surrealist author Georges Henein in 1939. At the advent of World War II, artists and writers rallied around Henein and painter and writer Ramses Younan in their call for a perpetual revolution in art. The group aimed at gearing public opinion in Egypt away from the notion of modernization—regarded as a product of western imperialism—towards that of modernity, which saw art and daily life as malleable in their constant potential for improvement, “dans la mêlée,” as ...

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A Letter to Foucault: Selectively Narrating the Stories of Secular Iranian Feminists

[Cover of Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment]

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is part six of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi’s Foucault in Iran builds a chapter-by-chapter defense against critics skeptical of Foucault’s engagement with the Iranian Revolution of 1979. But the pit stop the author takes in the fourth chapter linking Iran’s women’s ...

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Foucault’s Folly: Iran, Political Spirituality, and Counter-Conduct

[Cover of Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment]

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is part four of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] Foucault’s folly! That, of course, is the common indictment against Foucault’s trips to Iran in late September and again in early November of 1978 and the “reportage of ideas” that he produced about the revolution that was then taking place there. ...

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Rescuing the Revolution from Its Outcome

[Cover of Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi,

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is part two of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi’s Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment is an exemplary book in a number of ways, but perhaps first and foremost because of what the book does not do. While it represents the most extensive and ...

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Turkiye'nin Anayasa Referandumu: Elestirel Bir Forum

[Pazar günkü referandumunun içerdiği Anayasa değişiklikleri TBMM'de oylanırken, Ocak 2017, Yıldız Yazıcıoğlu.]

Foruma Giriş Büyük gün yakın. Önümüzdeki Pazar günü Türkiye hükümetinin yapısını baştan aşağı değiştirecek olan anayasa referandumu oylanacak. Önerilen 18 maddeden oluşan bu referandumun esas hedefi yürütme erkini elden geçirmek olup, en dikkat çeken değişim hedefi ise Başbakanlığı tamamıyla yok etmektir. Dolayısıyla Cumhurbaşkanlığı sadece sembolik bir pozisyonda kalmayıp, tam aksine yürütme erkinin tek liderine dönüşecek. Önerilen maddeler kapsamında, Cumhurbaşkanı tek başına bakan, yargıç ve diğer hükümet yetkililerini seçme ve çıkarma hakkı kazanacak. Muhalif siyasetçiler ve gazetecilere göre bu referandum Erdoğan’ın tek adam iktidarını pekiştirmeyi hedefliyor. ...

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A Damp Squib in Paris

As representatives of seventy nations gather in Paris this morning to discuss the moribund Middle East peace process, a healthy dose of scepticism is in order. Not so much about the conference’s prospects for success—it is not designed to succeed beyond the fact of being convened and producing a communiqué —but rather about the purpose of this exercise. According to its French convenors, the objective of the conference is to re-affirm the international community’s collective commitment to a two-state settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and—presumably with an eye towards the incoming Trump administration—emphasise that there is no alternative to this ...

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What the West Owes Syrians: US and European Arms Sales to the Middle East 2011-2014

The last two years have seen heated debates within Europe and the United States about the costs of hosting Syrian and other refugees. However, there has been almost complete silence about another aspect of their involvement in the conflict: the extent of arms sales to the Middle East. Between 2011 and 2014, and based on conservative estimates, Europe earned twenty-one billion euros from the arms trade to the Middle East while it spent nineteen billion euros on hosting approximately one million Syrian refugees. During that same period, the United States earned at least eighteen billion euros from arms sales, while accepting about eleven thousand refugees.  Aware of ...

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A Brief History of Fortress Europe

[Image of European Union flag. Image by Rock Cohen/Flickr]

Three days into 2016, the European border crisis claimed its first victim: a two-year-old boy who drowned off the coast of the Greek island of Agathonisi. Compared with the public outcry that the photos of Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body on a Turkish beach provoked the previous August, the reaction to the fact that European border policies had killed another innocent toddler was tepid to say the least. While it may be the case that the lack of a tragic image attesting to the fact served to insulate many from the visceral reaction that such stark visual realities often stimulate, it is also true that a broader shift had occurred across Europe in the interim. While there ...

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الإرث الفكري لفرانز فانون

[صورة الكاتب الثوري فرانز فانون]

تُوُفّيَ فرانز فانون قبل أشهر قليلة من استقلال الجزائر في شهر يوليو عام 1962، ولم يعش ليرى بنفسه تحرر بلده بالتبني من الهيمنة الاستعمارية الفرنسية، وهو شيء كان يعتقد أنه أصبح أمرًا حتميًا. وكان هذا المفكر الراديكالي والثوري قد كرّس نفسه وجسده وروحه للتحرر الوطني الجزائري، وكان يُعَدّ مرآة من خلالها فهِم عدد كبير من الثوريين الموجودين في الخارج الجزائر ، وأحد الأسباب التي ساهمت في أن تصبح البلاد مرادفًا لثورات العالم الثالث. وبفضل ثِقَل نضالها في الماضي القريب، وعلى وجه الخصوص نضالها الطويل لنيل الاستقلال الذي مثّل نموذجًا يحتذى به للعديد من جبهات التحرير في شتى أنحاء العالم، ونظرًا لدبلوماسيتها الحازمة وسياستها الخارجية الجريئة في عقد الستينيات والسبعينيات من القرن ...

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The Fantasies of Kamel Daoud

[Screenshot from France Inter interview with Kamel Daoud. Image from Youtube]

[This collective letter, translated by Muriam Haleh Davis, was originally a response to Kamel Daoud’s piece, “Cologne, lieu de fantasmes,” in which he purports to analyze the allegations of sexual violence committed by refugees in Germany that occurred on New Year’s Eve. Both articles – Daoud’s piece and the collective response – appeared in the French newspaper Le Monde on the 31 January and 11 February, respectively. Subsequent to their publication, German investigations have shown that most of the perpetrators were neither refugees nor new arrivals in Europe. Moreover, given Daoud’s piece in the New York Times this past Friday, entitled “The Sexual Misery of the Arab ...

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A Muslim Future to Come?

[This article was first published on Public Books.]  Michel Houellebecq, Submission. Translated from the French by Lorin Stein. New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2015. The devastating attacks of 13 November on Paris’s tenth and eleventh arrondissements viciously targeted the “progressive” heart of the city. When I am there, that is where I live. Like many other inhabitants and observers, I find it difficult to comprehend why the militants assaulted this historically working-class, vibrant, multicultural, and youthful neighborhood—admittedly often characterized as gentrifying and “bobo”—and not the manicured and touristy “beaux quartiers” to the ...

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رسالة إلى كامو

عزيزي السيد كامو، تحيات طيبة وبعد، لي الشرف أن أكون ضمن هذا الجمع، وأن أتحدّث عنك وعن أعمالك في هذا المحفل. فلقد قرأتك بإعجاب عندما كنتُ شابّاً يحلم بأن يكون هو الآخر كاتباً في يوم ما. كالعادة عند التحدّث أو الكتابة عن أي موضوع، فإن المرء يفكّر بالشكل الأنسب. وكما ترى، فقد قررت أن الرسالة قد تكون خياراً جيّداً لمحاولة قول شيء مختلف، أو قول ما قد قيل، ولكن بصيغة مختلفة. حين قرأت عنوان هذه الحلقة لأول مرة «كيف يمكن لأفكار كامو أن تقودنا إلى مستقبل هادئ؟» ولاحظت ثيمة المؤتمر «المتوسطيّة»، شعرت أنّني ...

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Revisiting ‘Foucault in Iran’: A Response

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is the final installment of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] First, I would like to thank SCTIW Review for organizing this ...

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Foucault, the Iranian Revolution, and the Politics of Collective Action

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is part five of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] In Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment Behrooz ...

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Foucault: Against the Ideology of Enlightenment

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is part three of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] At various points throughout Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi’s excellent account of ...

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Foucault and Iran

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is part one of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] In his remarkable book, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the ...

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Turkey’s Constitutional Referendum: A Roundtable

Roundtable Introduction The day is near. This coming Sunday, 16 April 2017, citizens of Turkey will make their way to the polls to vote on a constitutional referendum that will inexorably alter the Turkish government. The referendum, which consists of eighteen proposed amendments to the Constitution of Turkey, has as its main goal the overhaul of the executive branch; perhaps most drastically, it would do away with the position of prime minister, thereby transforming the presidency from being a ...

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Quick Thoughts: Dorothée Myriam Kellou on French Cement Giant Lafarge's Operations in Syria

[In June 2016, French journalist Dorothée Myriam Kellou published the results of her groundbreaking investigation of the French cement giant Lafarge’s operations in Syria, replete with payoffs to armed groups and indications of covert dealings with the Islamic State (IS) movement in order to facilitate the continuation of operations at the company’s plant in northern Syria. Her work was additionally featured on the France 24 television station. Jadaliyya interviewed Kellou to learn further details of how ...

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Media on Media Roundup (August 30)

This week’s Jadaliyya "Media on Media" roundup features a host of articles about the Jordan Arab Media Festival which discussed the hurdles and opportunities facing Arab media as well as counterterrorism efforts.   On social media, there was ado about the recent controversy of banning the burkini on French shores. Arabs went online to either vociferously denounce such human rights violations or to throw their support behind the French government’s decision. On the other hand, ...

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Ici les corps politiques

Place de la République, on se crie «  plus fort ! » « micro !». Ici a lieu la parole, la parole diverse, dissonante, hésitante, lyrique, café du commerce, réfléchie. Depuis le 31 mars la place est jour après jour investie par une parole citoyenne. Des voix qui s’élèvent des quatre coins de la place, des chants, des cris, des slogans, des bêtises, des vers, des jeux de mots, des voix assurées, des voix qui s’éteignent, qui bafouillent, qui se brisent, qui vrillent, partent dans ...

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Kamel Daoud: Sexual Demonization and the Secularist Select

In a controversial NYT op-ed, the Algerian journalist and prize-winning author Kamel Daoud weighed in on the infamous events of last New Year’s Eve in Cologne, Germany. He wrote of the sexual harassment and rape authored by Muslim migrants and refugees as symptoms of a “sick” relationship with sex and women in general, and that this “disease” was now spreading to Western lands. This spectacular episode of sexual violence had managed to turn what had been general sympathy for refugees fleeing terrorism ...

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« Les organisations policières se trouvent en position de force » entretien avec Emmanuel Blanchard

[Emmanuel Blanchard est historien, spécialiste des pratiques policières en situation coloniale. Il est également engagé de longue date dans la défense des droits des étrangers en France et dans l'Union Européenne. Il a accepté de s'entretenir avec Jadaliyya au sujet de la sécuritisation des politiques migratoires européennes, de l'instauration de l'état d'urgence en France, des dimensions sociales et raciales de la répression, et du renforcement du poids de la police.] Thomas Serres (TS) : Donc cela ...

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A Moveable Feast? Reflections on the French Coverage of the Paris Attacks

Writing on the relationship between acts of terror and the mystification of liberalism in 1947, Maurice Merleau-Ponty wrote that, “cunning, violence, propaganda, and realpolitik” appeared “in the guise of liberal principles” and were “the substance of foreign or colonial politics, and even of domestic politics.” [1] He was not writing about religious fanatics, but he was rather concerned with another specter that once faced Europe: Communism. Unlike the Cold War, if France is indeed “at war,” one is at a ...

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