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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 Egypt (Oxford, 2014). During the fall of 2014, when this interview was conducted, he served as a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Middle East Studies at the Josef Korbel ...

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

[Cover of

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 able to argue and debate. I spoke to Ilan about this last year and he was totally for it. We then asked Noam, who, despite his crazy schedule (not that Ilan's is that ...

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

[Cover of Don Karl and Basma Hamdy,

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 understanding it. We wanted to expose the transformation of citizens into artists and artists into activists, but also to shed light on the larger framework of the revolution. ...

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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, especially following the murder of Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, Deah Shaddy Barakat, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha in Chapel Hill, North Carolina last month; commentaries on ...

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

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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 government ownership, but it raises some tricky questions about the nature of what it means to be “public.” Technically, corporatized agencies are fully owned and ...

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

[Cover of Jonathan A. C. Brown,

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 such and such a Quranic verse or such and such a Hadith?” Then, of course, there were the ubiquitous questions around “Islam and Violence,” “Islam and Gender,” etc. ...

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

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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 book, I was sensitized to the profound problems that women in Tunisia were facing since the Revolution, and more generally, the urgency to address gender issues and ...

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

[Cover of Mayanthi L. Fernando,

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, essentially, what effect does the fact that Muslims born and raised in France are, quite literally, schooled in French republican epistemologies and values have on their ...

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

[Cover of 'Informal Power in the Greater Middle East: Hidden Geographies']

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 lack of attention is perhaps rooted in Political Science’s focus on formal allocation processes through institutionalized decision-making channels—Lasswell and Easton, for ...

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

[Cover of Hisham Aidi,

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 West Africa, Western Europe, the Caribbean, and elsewhere. I was witnessing up close the making, remaking, and globalization of black culture. I was struck by the ...

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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 Boissiere,

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 carrefour commercial et capitale régionale, réflexion qui devait s’ouvrir non seulement à des chercheurs confirmés, mais aussi à de jeunes doctorants dont les problématiques ...

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

[Cover of Abir Hamdar,

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 experiences of women with a physical illness and that she could read—except that I couldn’t think of a single novel or short story. I had readily available a list of Arabic ...

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

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 ...

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

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 ...

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

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 ...

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

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 ...

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

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 ...

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

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 ...

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

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 ...

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

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 ...

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

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 ...

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NEWTON 2014 Year in Review

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, ...

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

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 ...

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

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 ...

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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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