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New Texts Out Now: Vijay Prashad, Letters to Palestine: Writers Respond to War and Occupation

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Vijay Prashad, editor, Letters to Palestine: Writers Respond to War and Occupation. London and New York: Verso, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this collection? Vijay Prashad (VP): Slowly, surely, the apparent consensus around US support for Israel’s occupation of Palestine seems to be breaking. There was a time when it was impossible to have a rational conversation about Israeli policy in the US, with large sections of people taking the view that criticism of Israel was off-limits. My friend Alexander Cockburn used to say that censure of Israeli policy was the third rail of US politics. Only on the very margins of US life was such a political ...

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New Texts Out Now: Ran Greenstein, Zionism and its Discontents: A Century of Radical Dissent in Israel/Palestine

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Ran Greenstein, Zionism and its Discontents: A Century of Radical Dissent in Israel/Palestine. London: Pluto Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Ran Greenstein (RG): History is frequently written from a skewed perspective, as we tend to look at developments in retrospect, knowing already what their outcomes were. A better approach would be to look at events and responses as they unfolded in time, from the point of view of actors located within their own context, rather than from the vantage point of the present. None of the political actors discussed in this book managed to achieve their primary goals, but all of them made valuable ...

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New Texts Out Now: Noura Erakat, Palestinian Refugees and the Syrian Uprising

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Noura Erakat, “Palestinian Refugees and the Syrian Uprising: Filling the Protection Gap During Secondary Forced Displacement.” Oxford International Journal of Refugee Law 26.4 (2014). [Full text available online until June 2015.] Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this article? Noura Erakat (NE): I began to write this article as an LLM student in National Security at the Georgetown University Law Center. In the spring of 2012, I was enrolled in a research seminar on refugees, and at that point there had been very little discussion of Palestinian refugees caught in the middle of the Syrian Uprising, now civil war, which began in March 2011. That was largely attributed ...

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New Texts Out Now: Khalil Bendib, Too Big To Fail

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Khalil Bendib, Too Big To Fail. Washington, DC: Tadween Books, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What was the idea behind putting together this collection of political cartoons?  Khalil Bendib (KB): It struck me at some point after the Arab Spring and the nuclear disaster in Fukushima—both following closely in the footsteps of the Wall Street meltdown—that epochal changes seemed to be finally happening all around us. The hubris of so many tyrannies, whether they be political, economic, or ecological, was starting to be challenged by large masses of people in so many different countries at the same time, and it occurred to me that the title Too Big to Fail would fit ...

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New Texts Out Now: Joseph A. Massad, Islam in Liberalism

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Joseph A. Massad, Islam in Liberalism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Joseph Massad (JM): I had been thinking for a while about a different book, namely one that traces genealogically the transformation in the semantic uses of the term “Islam” since the eighteenth century in Europe and among Muslims and Arabs in Asia and Africa. The project is an intellectual and semantic history of a term and the peregrinations it has made and undergone since its insertion in a modern “European” lexicon that depicted it as the opposite of an emergent “Europe” and an emergent “liberalism,” let alone the historic enemy of ...

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New Texts Out Now: Anthony Downey, Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in the Middle East and North Africa

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Anthony Downey, editor, Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in the Middle East and North Africa. London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this collection of essays on new media and critical practices in the Middle East? Anthony Downey (AD): Ibraaz was launched in 2011 by the Kamel Lazaar Foundation. It became immediately clear to us, as an online research and publishing forum, that one of the key issues affecting cultural production across North Africa and the Middle East was new and social media and, in particular, how they were being utilized in contemporary art practices. This concern resulted in the ...

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New Texts Out Now: Smadar Lavie, Wrapped in the Flag of Israel: Mizrahi Single Mothers and Bureaucratic Torture

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Smadar Lavie, Wrapped in the Flag of Israel: Mizrahi Single Mothers and Bureaucratic Torture. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Smadar Lavie (SL): In February 1999 I was a star academic, on the eve of becoming a full tenured professor at University of California, Davis. I had to pack two suitcases, the family dog, and my son’s cello, and flee with him from Berkeley to save our lives. We were both victims of domestic violence that I kept secret from my colleagues. The California courts had proven unable to help us. So I fled to Israel-Palestine, where my family resides. Upon arrival, our Israeli and US passports ...

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New Texts Out Now: Elisabeth Anker, Orgies of Feeling: Melodrama and the Politics of Freedom

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Elisabeth R. Anker, Orgies of Feeling: Melodrama and the Politics of Freedom. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Elisabeth Anker (EA): There are two answers to this question. The first is political: the idea for the book came out of anger at both the extensively violent response by the US to the 9/11 events, and the widespread support given to these operations by a vast majority of the US populace. I wondered why a narrative of good and evil mobilized such intense national sentiment to legitimate aggressive state power, while it also depoliticized this power by claiming it was a moral obligation upon injured victims. The ...

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New Texts Out Now: Toby Matthiesen, The Other Saudis: Shiism, Dissent, and Sectarianism

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Toby Matthiesen, The Other Saudis: Shiism, Dissent, and Sectarianism. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Toby Matthiesen (TM): I became interested in the issue of sectarianism in Syria and Lebanon, where I studied Arabic and spent several summers. I wanted to understand the historical context of sect-formation and at what times these markers of identity became important in the political process. During my MA at the School of Oriental and African Studies, when I was looking for a dissertation topic, I started to read about the Shi‘a in the Gulf. There was hardly any literature at the time on the Shi‘a ...

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New Texts Out Now: Francesco Cavatorta and Paola Rivetti, EU–MENA Relations from the Barcelona Process to the Arab Uprisings

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Francesco Cavatorta and Paola Rivetti, “EU–MENA Relations from the Barcelona Process to the Arab Uprisings: A New Research Agenda.” Journal of European Integration 36.6 (2014). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this article? Francesco Cavatorta and Paola Rivetti (FC & PR): The process of rethinking “Arab politics” after the uprisings led us to look at how the European Union and its policies had influenced, if at all, the politics of the region. The EU has been engaged formally with countries of the southern bank of the Mediterranean for over two decades, and we wanted to see how the policy instruments employed affected the relations between the EU and the MENA and ...

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NEWTON 2014 Year in Review

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Once again this year, as the editors of the New Texts Out Now (NEWTON) Page, we have been honored to have the opportunity to feature an astonishing range of books, articles, special issues of journals, and films for Jadaliyya readers in 2014. With authors generously agreeing to discuss their new works, offer background information on their research, and allow us to post excerpts from their books and articles, we have been able to offer first looks at some of the most important new work in the field, from established names and rising stars alike. Here on the eve of 2015, with a new set of texts on the horizon, we have an opportune moment to look back at the previous ...

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New Texts Out Now: Isabelle Werenfels, Beyond Authoritarian Upgrading: The Re-Emergence of Sufi Orders in Maghrebi Politics

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Isabelle Werenfels, "Beyond Authoritarian Upgrading: The Re-Emergence of Sufi Orders in Maghrebi Politics." The Journal of North African Studies 19.3 (2014). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this article? Isabelle Werenfels (IW): It is a mélange of reasons. First and foremost, I was struck by how little research has been done by political scientists on the contemporary relationship between Sufi orders, the state, and politics in Algeria and Tunisia. Even in Morocco, this relationship has not received the scholarly attention it deserves. There is some excellent work by anthropologists touching upon the political dimension of Sufism, but very little by ...

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Answering the Call: Popular Islamic Activism in Sadat's Egypt: A STATUS/الوضع Conversation between Abdullah Al-Arian and Anthony Alessandrini

Abdullah Al-Arian, a founding editor of Jadaliyya's Critical Currents in Islam page, discusses his new book, Answering the Call: Popular Islamic Activism in Sadat's Egypt, and how it speaks to popular Islamic activism in Egypt today. The interview below includes three parts that you can click on separately. Abdullah Al-Arian is an assistant professor of History at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Qatar. He is the author of Answering the Call: Popular Islamic Activism in Sadat's ...

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New Texts Out Now: Noam Chomsky, Ilan Pappe, and Frank Barat, On Palestine

Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappé, On Palestine, edited by Frank Barat. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this book? Frank Barat (FB): Professor Chomsky, Professor Pappe, and I had already worked on a book together called Gaza in Crisis a few years back. The experience was amazing, but the fact that the interviews between Noam and Ilan weren't interactive left me wanting more. I really wanted a chance for the two professors to have a proper conversation, to be ...

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New Texts Out Now: Don Karl and Basma Hamdy, Walls of Freedom: Street Art of the Egyptian Revolution

Don Karl and Basma Hamdy, editors, Walls of Freedom: Street Art of the Egyptian Revolution. Berlin: From Here to Fame Publishing, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Don Karl and Basma Hamdy (DK & BH): Our main goal in creating the book was for preservation and documentation of the explosive street art of the revolution. But as the project developed, we felt it was not enough to just present photos of the street art, because in this case contextualizing it became important to ...

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NEWTON in Focus: Critical Studies of Islam

Since September 2001, the term “Islam” has proliferated throughout Western media and popular culture. In recent months, there has been a particular level of hysteria to media and cultural discourses surrounding “Islam” in the West. Reports on ISIS, including debates about whether ISIS is “really” Islamic or not really Islamic; analyses of secularism and Islam in France, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack; increased attention to the prevalence and viciousness of hate crimes against Muslims in the US, ...

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New Texts Out Now: David McDonald, Rethinking Corporatization and Public Services in the Global South

David McDonald, editor, Rethinking Corporatization and Public Services in the Global South. London: Zed Books, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? David McDonald (DMD): After three decades of privatization, we observe a growing worldwide trend of governments taking back control of services, or creating new forms of public services, with the overall number of public enterprises globally on the increase. Corporatization is one of the most popular forms of this renewed interest in ...

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New Texts Out Now: Jonathan A.C. Brown, Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenges and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy

Jonathan A.C. Brown, Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenges and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy. London: Oneworld Publications, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Jonathan A.C. Brown (JB): Through my teaching and public speaking, I got the sense that there was a need for a book that brought the history, inner workings, and contributions of the Islamic tradition of scriptural interpretation to a general audience. In particular, I was constantly asked “How should we understand ...

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New Texts Out Now: Andrea Khalil, Gender, Women, and the Arab Spring

Andrea Khalil, editor, Gender, Women, and the Arab Spring. London and New York: Routledge, 2015. [Editors’ Note: This book was originally published as a special issue of The Journal of North African Studies 19.2 (2014). To mark the publication of this special issue as a book, we are reprinting a NEWTON piece written by the editor, Andrea Khalil, in May 2014.] Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this special issue?  Andrea Khalil (AK): During my fieldwork in Tunisia (2011-13) working on a ...

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New Texts Out Now: Mayanthi L. Fernando, The Republic Unsettled: Muslim French and the Contradictions of Secularism

Mayanthi L. Fernando, The Republic Unsettled: Muslim French and the Contradictions of Secularism. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Mayanthi Fernando (MF): When I first went to the field, I imagined a more conventional ethnography of the Islamic revival in France. I was interested in how a French (and more broadly European) context, in which Muslims are a minority, transforms the ritual and hermeneutical practices of the Islamic tradition. I was asking, ...

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New Texts Out Now: Luca Anceschi, Gennaro Gervasio, and Andrea Teti, Informal Power in the Greater Middle East

Luca Anceschi, Gennaro Gervasio, and Andrea Teti, editors, Informal Power in the Greater Middle East: Hidden Geographies. London and New York: Routledge, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this book? Luca Anceschi, Gennaro Gervasio, and Andrea Teti (LA/GG/AT): It seemed to us that a wide variety of informal power dynamics and their interaction with formal institutions were not being taken particularly seriously—at least, beyond general and often Orientalist claims about “culture.” This ...

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New Texts Out Now: Hisham Aidi, Rebel Music: Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture

Hisham Aidi, Rebel Music: Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture. New York: Pantheon, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Hisham Aidi (HA): This book grows out of two experiences. The first: in the early 2000s, I was working as a cultural reporter covering Harlem and the South Bronx, writing about migration, youth culture, and gentrification. Back then, I was also doing some work as a DJ and concert-promoting. Harlem is a cultural cauldron—you have these dizzying flows between ...

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New Texts Out Now: Jean-Claude David et Thierry Boissiere, Alep et ses territoires. Fabrique et politique d’une ville (1868-2011)

Jean-Claude David et Thierry Boissière, dir., Alep et ses territoires. Fabrique et politique d’une ville (1868-2011). Beyrouth-Damas: Presses de l’Ifpo, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): Qu’est-ce qui vous a fait éditer ce livre? Jean-Claude David (JCD) et Thierry Boissière (TB): Le projet de cet ouvrage date de 2008, lorsque Thierry Boissière a été nommé responsable de l’antenne de l’Ifpo à Alep. Nous souhaitions alors profiter de ce séjour pour construire une réflexion commune sur cette ville, à la fois ...

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New Texts Out Now: Abir Hamdar, The Female Suffering Body: Illness and Disability in Modern Arabic Literature

Abir Hamdar, The Female Suffering Body: Illness and Disability in Modern Arabic Literature. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Abir Hamdar (AH): The whole project was triggered by a question from a friend. She was suffering from a chronic illness and said she found solace in reading about the stories of women with similar experiences. As someone who works on Arabic literature, she had asked me to recommend Arabic literary works that narrate the ...

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About NEWTON

Jadaliyya’s NEWTON (New Texts Out Now) section features interviews with writers of recently published and forthcoming books, articles, and translations, along with short excerpts from these new works. The idea of NEWTON is to provide readers with a brief background of a new text, and to help readers to find out about a work that they might not otherwise encounter.

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