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New Texts Out Now: Madawi Al-Rasheed, Muted Modernists: The Struggle Over Divine Politics in Saudi Arabia

Madawi Al-Rasheed, Muted Modernists: The Struggle over Divine Politics in Saudi Arabia (Hurst and Oxford University Press, 2015). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Madawi Al-Rasheed (MA): My interest in Islam and politics in Saudi Arabia has been ongoing for a couple of decades. The project engaging this focus started with a historical account about how the relationship gave birth to several attempts to create a state. From history, I moved to a more social science approach to look at the contemporary period. Most observers of Saudi politics assume that Wahhabiyya, the eighteenth century religious movement, was simply a pretext to establish ...

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New Texts Out Now: Nelida Fuccaro, Violence and the City in the Modern Middle East

Nelida Fuccaro, ed. Violence and the City in the Modern Middle East (Stanford University Press, 2016). Jadaliyya (J) What made you write this book? Nelida Fuccaro (NF) This edited volume is the result of a long-standing collective effort. It arises form a conference held at SOAS in February 2013 which I organised with Rasmus Elling as part of an international collaborative project on urban violence in the modern Middle East. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Deutsch Forschungsgemeinschaft this project ran between 2011 and 2014 and was led by myself and Ulrike Freitag. It supported a team of researchers based at SOAS and the Zentrum ...

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New Texts Out Now: Fatma Muge Gocek, Denial of Violence: Ottoman Past, Turkish Present, and the Collective Violence against the Armenians, 1789-2009

[Cover of Fatma Müge Göçek,

Fatma Müge Göçek, Denial of Violence: Ottoman Past, Turkish Present, and the Collective Violence against the Armenians, 1789-2009. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.  Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Fatma Müge Göçek (FMG): I wrote this book to understand why my country of origin, Turkey, could never become truly democratic. Realizing that violence had been naturalized and normalized in both Turkish state and society, I decided to trace back the point of origin of when such collective violence first occurred. I surmised that violence would be normalized into social practice if its perpetrators were not held accountable for the ...

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New Texts Out Now: Thea Renda Abu El-Haj, Unsettled Belonging: Educating Palestinian American Youth After 9/11

[Cover of Thea Renda Abu El-Haj,

Thea Renda Abu El-Haj, Unsettled Belonging: Educating Palestinian American Youth After 9/11. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Thea Renda Abu El-Haj (TRAEH): Unsettled Belonging is a deeply personal book. I came to the US to attend Swarthmore College in the early 1980s. Having grown up in Iran and Lebanon, and traveled often to spend time with my family in Palestine, my political consciousness was shaped by ongoing fallout from legacies of colonialism. It was not an easy time to articulate a political commitment to justice in Palestine. Even among the many left-leaning political activists who were working hard to ...

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New Texts Out Now: Jacob Mundy, Imaginative Geographies of Algerian Violence: Conflict Science, Conflict Management, Antipolitics

[Cover of Jacob Mundy,

Jacob Mundy, Imaginative Geographies of Algerian Violence: Conflict Science, Conflict Management, Antipolitics. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Jacob Mundy (JM): At first, I wanted to write a book about the unanswered questions surrounding the violence in 1990s Algeria, particularly the extraordinary massacres of late 1997 and early 1998. The typical question asked in response to those atrocities, even today, is: “Who killed who?” That is, who conducted the massacres? Islamsits? The state? Private actors? Some combination of these? These questions persist into the present, and I now agree with Hugh Roberts that ...

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New Texts Out Now: Caecilia Pieri, Bagdad. La construction d'une capitale moderne, 1914-1960

[Cover of Caecilia Pieri,

Caecilia Pieri, Bagdad. La construction d'une capitale moderne, 1914-1960. Beyrouth : Presses de l’Ifpo, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Caecilia Pieri (CP): Having seized an opportunity to go to Baghdad in June 2003,[1] I unexpectedly discovered an interesting modern vernacular landscape, which remains important to this day—in terms of quality and, still today, in terms of quantity. Instead of the black hole of information and of desolation with which the city’s name was associated due to the war(s) and sanctions, I saw a modern city which possessed a human shape, whose brickwork and concrete architecture revealed a civilian life, a ...

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New Texts Out Now: Joel Beinin, Workers and Thieves: Labor Movements and Popular Uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt

[Cover of Joel Beinin,

Joel Beinin, Workers and Thieves: Labor Movements and Popular Uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Joel Beinin (JB): I lived in Cairo for most of the time between September 2004 and December 2008. During this period, the wave of strikes and collective actions by Egyptian workers escalated dramatically. Workers invited me to visit factories and other workplaces where strikes were underway and asked that I write about what they were doing. So I began writing journalistic articles for Middle East Report, Le Monde Diplomatique, and similar outlets. I also wrote a report for the AFL-CIO ...

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New Texts Out Now: Nadine Bekdache, Evicting Sovereignty: Lebanon's Housing Tenants from Citizens to Obstacles

[Cover of Arab Studies Journal (Vol. XXIII No. 1), Fall 2015]

Nadine Bekdache, “Evicting Sovereignty: Lebanon's Housing Tenants from Citizens to Obstacles,” in Arab Studies Journal (Vol. XXIII No. 1), Fall 2015: 320-51. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this article? Nadine Bekdache (NB): I started by researching the urban transformation of ‘Ain al Mraysseh, the seaside neighborhood in which I grew up, and mapping the demolition of old buildings, as well as buildings awaiting demolition whose residents live in a state of uncertainty and are constantly expecting eviction. Prime land-—a label that haunts almost all built and un-built land in Municipal Beirut-—is subsequently made available for real estate investment. I looked for ...

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New Texts Out Now: Eckart Woertz, Oil for Food: The Global Food Crisis and the Middle East

[Cover of Eckart Woertz,

Eckart Woertz, Oil for Food: The Global Food Crisis and the Middle East. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, paperback edition 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Eckart Woertz (EW): In 2007-08, at the height of the global food crisis, I was living in Dubai, working for the Gulf Research Center. Food price inflation became a hot topic, and in 2008 Gulf countries started to make all these announcements about agro-investments in food-insecure countries like Sudan and Pakistan. So it was an intriguing topic to deal with and it tied into other topics such as development issues, management of sovereign wealth fund assets, heavy reliance on ...

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New Texts Out Now: Ward Vloeberghs, Architecture, Power, and Religion in Lebanon

[Cover of Ward Vloeberghs,

Ward Vloeberghs, Architecture, Power, and Religion in Lebanon: Rafiq Hariri and the Politics of Sacred Space in Beirut. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Ward Vloeberghs (WV): While studying in Beirut in the early 2000s, I witnessed a construction site on the corner of Martyrs’ Square. Back then, contrasting rumors circulated as to what exactly was emerging on this central location, and who was in charge of the project. I became intrigued by this saga, and decided to trace the origins of the construction process once I received funding for my PhD project. By then, the Muhammad al-Amin Mosque had been almost ...

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New Texts Out Now: Haytham Bahoora, Writing the Dismembered Nation: The Aesthetics of Horror in Iraqi Narratives of War

[Cover of Arab Studies Journal (Vol. XXIII No. 1), Fall 2015]

Haytham Bahoora, “Writing the Dismembered Nation: The Aesthetics of Horror in Iraqi Narratives of War,” in Arab Studies Journal (Vol. XXIII No. 1), Fall 2015: 184-209. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this article? Haytham Bahoora (HB): The article came out of a conference at Haverford College, organized by Professor Zainab Saleh, commemorating the tenth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, titled “Shades of Occupation: Iraq After Ten Years.” I was interested in how Iraqi fiction and art have represented the 2003 US invasion of Iraq and its residual effects on the Iraqi population. Since 2003, Iraqi writers and artists have undertaken a wide-ranging cultural ...

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New Texts Out Now: Paul Aarts and Carolien Roelants, Saudi Arabia: A Kingdom in Peril

[Cover of Paul Aarts and Carolien Roelants,

Paul Aarts and Carolien Roelants, Saudia Arabia: A Kingdom in Peril. London: Hurst, 2015. J: What made you write this book? Paul Aarts (PA): Two years ago I had a chance to visit Saudi Arabia again (after many years). My co-author Carolien Roelants also managed to get a visa—which is not easy—and separately we interviewed quite a few Saudis, from different backgrounds. I travelled to Jeddah, Riyadh, and the Eastern Province (al-Khobar, Dammam, and Qatif). In Jeddah and in the capital city I talked to Saudi youngsters, bloggers, human-rights activists (among them Waleed Abu al-Khair, now in prison), journalists, and academics. In the Eastern Province I mainly ...

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New Texts Out Now: Farah Al-Nakib, Kuwait Transformed: A History of Oil and Urban Life

Farah Al-Nakib, Kuwait Transformed: A History of Oil and Urban Life (Stanford University Press, 2016). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Farah Al-Nakib (FA): This book is the culmination of nearly ten years of research on Kuwait’s urban social history, which I began working on in 2006 for my doctoral dissertation. But in many ways, I have been thinking about the kinds of urban and social transformations that I address in this book for much longer, ever since I was a teenager. Kuwait in the ...

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New Texts Out Now: Deen Sharp and Claire Panetta, Beyond the Square: Urbanism and the Arab Uprisings

Deen Sharp and Claire Panetta, eds. Beyond the Square: Urbanism and the Arab Uprisings (New York: Urban Research, 2016).  Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Deen Sharp (DS): The idea for this book grew out of two articles that I wrote for Jadaliyya in 2012.  The first was published in August 2012 and entitled “Urbanism and the Arab Uprisings: Downtown Cairo and the Fall of Mubarak.”  This article noted how, at the very moment the rich and powerful had created a ...

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New Texts Out Now: Joseph Sassoon, Anatomy of Authoritarianism in the Arab Republics

Joseph Sassoon, Anatomy of Authoritarianism in the Arab Republics. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Joseph Sassoon (JS): While researching my previous book (Saddam Hussein’s Ba‘th Party: Inside an Authoritarian Regime), which was based on the archives of the Ba‘th Party regime in Iraq (1968–2003), I kept asking whether the other Arab republics were similar to Iraq and to each other. Answering that question would ideally require ...

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New Texts Out Now: Ala'a Shehabi and Marc Owen Jones, Bahrain's Uprising: Resistance and Repression in the Gulf

Alaʾa Shehabi and Marc Owen Jones, editors, Bahrain's Uprising: Resistance and Repression in the Gulf. London: Zed Books, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this book? Alaʾa Shehabi and Marc Owen Jones (AS & MOJ): Bahrain is small, but significant. Sadly though, it is often overlooked when it comes to writing on the region. We wanted to address the relative gap in the literature on Bahrain, and write a book that analyzed the recent uprising from multiple points of view, yet ...

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New Texts Out Now: Ramy Aly, Becoming Arab in London: Performativity and the Undoing of Identity

Ramy Aly, Becoming Arab in London: Performativity and the Undoing of Identity. London, Pluto Press, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Ramy Aly (RA): My motivations were both personal and political, but at the outset the personal was more compelling. I was born and raised in London to Egyptian immigrant parents. It is a beautifully complex city that I love, but all too often I was made to feel that being brought into this world in Hammersmith Hospital in 1977 was some kind of ...

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New Texts Out Now: Kishwar Rizvi, The Transnational Mosque: Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East

Kishwar Rizvi, The Transnational Mosque: Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East (University of North Carolina Press, 2015). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Kishwar Rizvi (KR): The idea for this book emerged through my research travels in Europe and the Middle East, where I would encounter monumental mosques that looked historical in design but were built in the past thirty years. I wondered why a community of immigrant Turks in Germany, for example, chose to ...

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New Texts Out Now: Abir Saksouk-Sasso, Making Spaces for Communal Sovereignty: The Story of Beirut's Dalieh

AbirSaksouk-Sasso, “Making Spaces for Communal Sovereignty: The Story of Beirut's Dalieh,” in Arab Studies Journal(Vol. XXIII No. 1), Fall 2015: 296-319. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this article? AbirSaksouk-Sasso(AS): When I started working on this article back in 2012, I had just finished a collaborative project entitled “This Sea Is Mine” about the coast of Beirut. The project had triggered a series of questions in relation to the coast and public space in Beirut. In fact, in a debate ...

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New Texts Out Now: Mona Harb and Sami Atallah, Local Governments and Public Goods: Assessing Decentralization in the Arab World

Mona Harb and Sami Atallah, editors, Local Governments and Public Goods: Assessing Decentralization in the Arab World. Beirut: LCPS-OSF, 2015.  Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this book? Mona Harb and Sami Atallah (MH and SA): We wanted to write this book since we first met at a conference on local governments at the current Institut Français du Proche-Orient of Beirut in 2000, which led to a publication that remains a reference on the topic. Mona was presenting her work on local ...

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New Texts Out Now: Cedric de Leon, Manali Desai, and Cihan Tugal, Building Blocs: How Parties Organize Society

Cedric de Leon, Manali Desai, and Cihan Tuğal, editors, Building Blocs: How Parties Organize Society. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this book? Cihan Tuğal (CT): Why did “moderate” Islamists fail so miserably throughout the Arab Spring? Why did the Turkish Islamists first stumble, but then re-emerge even more powerful (even if, in the way, they dropped their “moderation”)? Our edited volume allows us to answer these questions by drawing ...

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New Texts Out Now: Mike de Seve and Daniel Burwen, Operation Ajax: The Story of the CIA Coup that Remade the Middle East

Mike de Seve and Daniel Burwen, Operation Ajax: The Story of the CIA Coup that Remade the Middle East. Foreword by Stephen Kinzer. London and New York: Verso, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Mike de Seve (MdS): Well, being an American gets stranger the more you know about our covert history. Having grown up in a time and place where America stood for peace and democracy, and Iran was considered the devil (in my town, Khomeini dart boards were a big seller) I was fascinated to find ...

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New Texts Out Now: Ella Shohat, The Question of Judeo-Arabic

Ella Shohat, “The Question of Judeo-Arabic,” Opening Essay for Arab Studies Journal Vol. XXIII No. 1 (Fall 2015). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this article? Ella Shohat (ES): This essay revolves around a very personal question for me—the name of the language I spoke with my grandparents and parents. Baghdadi-Jews like my family spoke the language, first in Iraq, then in Israel, and later in the US. For us, it was simply Arabic, although we also knew of course that it was a dialect, a specific ...

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New Texts Out Now: Lara Deeb and Jessica Winegar, Anthropology’s Politics: Disciplining the Middle East

Lara Deeb and Jessica Winegar, Anthropology’s Politics: Disciplining the Middle East. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Lara Deeb and Jessica Winegar (LD & JW): Fundamentally, we chose to write this book because we need a much better on-the-ground understanding of how US domestic politics and foreign policy shapes higher education, including our day to day lives as academics and the choices we make in research, teaching, and public outreach. In ...

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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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