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

[Cover of Khalil Bendib,

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

[Cover of Joseph A. Massad,

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

[Cover of Smadar Lavie,

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

[Cover of Elisabeth R. Anker,

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

[Cover of Toby Matthiesen,

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

[NEWTON logo]

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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New Texts Out Now: Nimer Sultany, Religion and Constitutionalism: Lessons from American and Islamic Constitutionalism

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Nimer Sultany, “Religion and Constitutionalism: Lessons from American and Islamic Constitutionalism.” Emory International Law Review Volume 28, Issue 1 (2014). Jadaliyya: What made you write this article? Nimer Sultany (NS): The article is part of a larger project that originates in my dissatisfaction with both the English-speaking scholarship on shari’a and constitutionalism in Muslim-majority states, as well as the post-Arab Spring debates on constitution-making, specifically in Egypt. As a secular Arab person, I found little space for a discussion that eschews the binary polarizations that dominate these discussions. Existing scholarship vacillates between those who ...

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New Texts Out Now: Lina Khatib, Dina Matar, and Atef Alshaer, The Hizbullah Phenomenon: Politics and Communication

[Cover of Lina Khatib, Dina Matar, and Atef Alshaer,

Lina Khatib, Dina Matar, and Atef Alshaer, The Hizbullah Phenomenon: Politics and Communication. London: Hurst UK and New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Lina Khatib, Dina Matar, and Atef Alshaer (LK/DM/AA): The idea for the book was born out of an intellectual as well as methodological interest in the relationship between politics and communication in non-Western contexts, and particularly in relation to Islamist movements and non-state actors. When we conceived the idea for the research on which this book is based, Hizbullah had just emerged from the 2006 war with Israel. The group and its media billed the war as a ...

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New Texts Out Now: Hani Bawardi, The Making of Arab Americans: From Syrian Nationalism to US Citizenship

[Cover of Hani Bawardi,

Hani Bawardi, The Making of Arab Americans: From Syrian Nationalism to US Citizenship. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Hani Bawardi (HB): My intellectual pursuits began when I set out to understand the dominance of my peers in small business ownership in Flint, Michigan. My research led me to Roy (Rushd) Farah, the son of Ameen Farah, the man who started a hundred-year-long business dynasty built on patron-client relationships and clan migration. I discovered that Rushd Farah, who emigrated from Nazareth to the US in 1913, was at the center of the first known organized political work on behalf of his beloved ...

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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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New Texts Out Now: Maha Abdelrahman, Egypt's Long Revolution: Protest Movements and Uprisings

Maha Abdelrahman, Egypt's Long Revolution: Protest Movements and Uprisings. London and New York: Routledge, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Maha Abdelrahman (MA): The idea for the book began to crystallize in the second half of the 2000s, but the book I started writing was not the same as the one I finished! At the time, I was one of a group of researchers that was studying the rise of new forms of activism and a new political culture of resistance in Egypt during this tumultuous ...

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New Texts Out Now: Rula Jurdi Abisaab and Malek Abisaab, The Shi‘ites of Lebanon: Modernism, Communism, and Hizbullah’s Islamists

Rula Jurdi Abisaab and Malek Abisaab, The Shi‘ites of Lebanon: Modernism, Communism, and Hizbullah’s Islamists. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Rula Jurdi Abisaab and Malek Abisaab (RJA & MA): There were several reasons for writing the book. In the last two decades we had read several books on Shi`i Islamist movements, particularly Hizbullah, which presented secular ideologies and Communism simply as those forces and ideas that the Islamists ...

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New Texts Out Now: Elisabeth Longuenesse et Cyril Roussel, Developper en Syrie. Retour sur une experience historique

Élisabeth Longuenesse et Cyril Roussel (dir.), Développer en Syrie. Retour sur une expérience historique. Beyrouth : Presses de l’Ifpo, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): Qu’est-ce qui vous a fait publier ce livre? Elisabeth Longuenesse (EL) et Cyril Roussel (CR): Ce livre est issu du programme Tanmia, le développement: La fabrique de l’action publique qui a associé, entre 2007 et 2010, une trentaine de chercheurs et doctorants, et trois institutions, l’Institut français du Proche-Orient (basé à ...

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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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