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New Texts Out Now: Sinan Antoon, The Corpse Washer

[Cover of Sinan Antoon,

Sinan Antoon, The Corpse Washer. Translated from the Arabic by the author. London and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What led you to write this novel? Sinan Antoon (SA): In March 2004, a year after the invasion and occupation of Iraq, I was reading the New York Times one morning and came across a story about men and women who made their living by washing the dead. Thanks to the military occupation and the violence it unleashed, corpses were piling up every day in record numbers. It was taking a heavy toll even on those already accustomed to confronting and dealing with death so often. One of the men interviewed indicated that he was going to ...

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New Texts Out Now: Ray Bush, Turmoil in North Africa

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New Texts Out Now: Adel Iskandar, Egypt in Flux: Essays on an Unfinished Revolution

[Cover of Adel Iskandar,

Adel Iskandar, Egypt in Flux: Essays on an Unfinished Revolution. Cairo and New York: The American University in Cairo Press, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Adel Iskandar (AI): The book was not written with the intention of becoming a single contiguous narrative that coheres. In fact, it wasn’t even written to be a book. Instead, it was a collection of standalone articles composed at various junctures in the tumultuous life of revolutionary Egypt. As events unfolded, my modest musings served as a means of reflecting, at least for personal contemplation, about the outrageous contradictions that had become an endemic part of contemporary ...

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New Texts Out Now: Derya Bayir, Minorities and Nationalism in Turkish Law

[Cover of Derya Bayir,

Derya Bayir, Minorities and Nationalism in Turkish Law. London: Ashgate, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Derya Bayir (DB): Turkey’s uneasy relation with its multi-ethnic and multi-religious diversity is well known. The resurgence of the Kurdish minority over the last three decades has sharpened this uneasy relation. When I began writing this book, the initial question was to locate Turkey’s position in light of developments and trends in international law regarding the protection of minorities. This initial question soon proved too immature, since it became difficult to understand and present Turkey’s dilemmas regarding minorities prior to ...

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New Texts Out Now: Erdag Goknar, Orhan Pamuk, Secularism and Blasphemy: The Politics of the Turkish Novel

[Cover of Erdağ Göknar,

Erdağ Göknar, Orhan Pamuk, Secularism and Blasphemy: The Politics of the Turkish Novel. London and New York: Routledge, 2013.  Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Erdağ Göknar (EG): I have both an academic and personal interest in Pamuk. I first met him when I was a graduate student and have known him for fifteen years. I am also the translator of his historical novel My Name Is Red, a book that ushered him onto a world literary stage. The translation won the International Dublin IMPAC Literary Award in 2003; Pamuk was awarded the Nobel Prize three years later. Despite the acclaim he has received, there were no books that introduced and analyzed ...

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New Texts Out Now: Lori Allen, The Rise and Fall of Human Rights: Cynicism and Politics in Occupied Palestine

[Cover of Lori Allen,

Lori Allen, The Rise and Fall of Human Rights: Cynicism and Politics in Occupied Palestine. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? How does it connect to and/or depart from your previous research?    Lori Allen (LA): My original research question focused on the generative capacities of violence and suffering, which I hoped to illuminate through investigating Palestinian human rights NGOs. I understood these institutions to be a central source by which Palestinian suffering and the victimization of Palestinians by the occupation were turned into tools of resistance against the occupation.  The ...

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New Texts Out Now: Neha Vora, Impossible Citizens: Dubai's Indian Diaspora

[Cover of Neha Vora,

Neha Vora, Impossible Citizens: Dubai's Indian Diaspora. Durham: Duke University Press, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Neha Vora (NV): I have always had an interest in South Asian diasporas, particularly in the forms of identification, cultural production, and belonging that occur as people move from “homeland” to new locales—how they imagine home and how they imagine themselves and their communities in relation to others. When I entered my PhD program in anthropology in 2002, I was searching for a non-Western field site in which to study South Asian migration and diaspora, because I felt the literature was too centered on experiences of ...

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New Texts Out Now: Evelyn Alsultany and Ella Shohat, Between the Middle East and the Americas: The Cultural Politics of Diaspora

[Cover of Evelyn Alsultany and Ella Shohat,

Evelyn Alsultany and Ella Shohat, editors, Between the Middle East and the Americas: The Cultural Politics of Diaspora. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this book? Evelyn Alsultany and Ella Shohat (EA & ES): Growing up in the wake of our families’ displacement from Iraq, and having lived in multiple geographies as part of complex familial mixing, we see this project as an attempt to connect what otherwise would be perceived as disparate and disjointed worlds. Gathering essays on seemingly unrelated cultural geographies under one “roof” corresponds to the various diasporic worlds we have been familiar with, or ...

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New Texts Out Now: Markus Dressler, Writing Religion: The Making of Turkish Alevi Islam

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Markus Dressler, Writing Religion: The Making of Turkish Alevi Islam. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Markus Dressler (MD): I have been working on Alevism and religion in modern Turkey on and off for more than fifteen years. During this time, I became more and more interested in the way that contemporary discourses on Alevism are informed by modern ideologies, in particular nationalism and secularism. I realized just how deeply most scholarship on Alevism is also indebted to these narratives. My initial goal was thus to write a genealogy of the concept of Alevism that could shed critical light on ...

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New Texts Out Now: Daniel Neep, Occupying Syria under the French Mandate

[Cover of Daniel Neep,

Daniel Neep, Occupying Syria under the French Mandate: Insurgency, Space, and State Formation. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Daniel Neep (DN): Scholars who work on state formation have tended to have little to say about the phenomenon of colonial violence. This seemed to me curious, given that violence is arguably the most central, and certainly the most visceral, dimension of the colonial encounter. In historical sociology, that line of scholarship on war and the state most often associated with the name of Charles Tilly has largely studied war-making and state-making in European colonies at the ...

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New Texts Out Now: Mounira Soliman and Walid El Hamamsy, Popular Culture in the Middle East and North Africa

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Mounira Soliman and Walid El Hamamsy, editors, Popular Culture in the Middle East and North Africa: A Postcolonial Outlook. London and New York: Routledge, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this collection? Mounira Soliman and Walid El Hamamsy (MS & WH): The idea for this book came from our perceived awareness of an emerging body of popular culture in the Middle East and North Africa that needed to be examined, analyzed, and theorized. We felt that work on popular culture in this region was at best scattered, and looked down upon-- popular culture itself as being locked in that binarism of high and low culture where it is constantly perceived as the ...

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New Texts Out Now: Mark Fathi Massoud, Law's Fragile State: Colonial, Authoritarian, and Humanitarian Legacies in Sudan

[Cover of Mark Fathi Massoud,

Mark Fathi Massoud, Law's Fragile State: Colonial, Authoritarian, and Humanitarian Legacies in Sudan. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Mark Fathi Massoud (MFM): I wrote this book to investigate the nature of the law and how law is used both to develop and to disrupt authority. I also wrote the book to understand Sudan. Sudan was the first sub-Saharan African country to achieve colonial independence from the British. Its post-independence period has been wracked by warfare, slaughter, and instability. One of its many interconnected civil wars was Africa’s longest. It ignited in 1983 and by ...

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New Texts Out Now: Nathan Schneider, Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse

Nathan Schneider, Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Nathan Schneider (NS): I couldn't not. I happened to be the first reporter allowed to cover the planning meetings that led to Occupy Wall Street, and when the movement became a tremendous media sensation in the fall of 2011, I felt an immense responsibility to communicate the wisdom and mayhem I witnessed up close to a world bombarded by ...

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New Texts Out Now: Christiane Gruber and Sune Haugbolle, Visual Culture in the Modern Middle East

Christiane Gruber and Sune Haugbolle, editors, Visual Culture in the Modern Middle East: Rhetoric of the Image. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this collection? Christiane Gruber and Sune Haugbolle (CG & SH): When we first met at a memory studies workshop in 2007, we talked about the need to bring visual culture as an emergent discipline into communication with media studies of the Middle East. In our discussions, we agreed that it would be ...

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New Texts Out Now: Toby Matthiesen, Sectarian Gulf: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the Arab Spring That Wasn't

Toby Matthiesen, Sectarian Gulf: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the Arab Spring That Wasn't. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Toby Matthiesen (TM): I wanted to show how the Arab Spring impacted the Gulf countries and how they tried to counter the challenges arising from the revolutions spreading across the region. I felt that this was a story that was generally under-reported and under-studied, and my book is a small attempt to try to change ...

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New Texts Out Now: Madawi Al-Rasheed, Carool Kersten, and Marat Shterin, Demystifying the Caliphate

Madawi Al-Rasheed, Carool Kersten, and Marat Shterin, editors, Demystifying the Caliphate: Historical Memory and Contemporary Contexts. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this book? Madawi al-Rasheed (MAR): The concept of the caliphate has become a scary term invoked by both politicians and activists. Since 9/11, politicians in the West and the Muslim world invoke the word to scare constituencies or justify certain policies that often lead ...

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New Texts Out Now: Selma Dabbagh, Out of It: A Novel

Selma Dabbagh, Out of It: A Novel. London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2012. Selected as a Guardian Book of the Year, 2011-2012. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Selma Dabbagh (SD): All writers are driven by a sense of compulsion. This compulsion has component elements of arrogance and vanity, as well as an artistic desire to put the messy rush of everyday life into a dignified, meaningful form. Out of It was my first novel, although I had published short stories previously, and the seeds ...

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Morsi and the Army: The Illusive Power

[The following excerpts are taken from Gilbert Achcar’s recently published book The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising, translated by G. M. Goshgarian (London: Saqi Books and Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013). The book will be featured in an upcoming NEWTON post. These selections were chosen by the author in light of the present situation in Egypt; for more on some of these points, click here.] On 12 August 2012, [Mohamed Morsi] the new Egyptian president sent the ...

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New Texts Out Now: Andrew Gardner and Autumn Watts, Constructing Qatar: Migrant Narratives from the Margins of the Global System

Andrew Gardner and Autumn Watts, editors, Constructing Qatar: Migrant Narratives from the Margins of the Global System. Smashwords, 2012. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this book? Andrew Gardner (AG): Migrants in the Gulf states have been a central focal point in my research for more than a decade now. Over that decade, I definitely noticed that the portions of my research and my presentations that truly resonated with my audience were oftentimes not the scholarly and theoretical acrobatics ...

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New Texts Out Now: Rabab Abdulhadi, Evelyn Alsultany, and Nadine Naber, Arab and Arab American Feminisms

Rabab Abdulhadi, Evelyn Alsultany, and Nadine Naber, editors, Arab and Arab American Feminisms: Gender, Violence, and Belonging. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2011. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this collection? Rabab Abdulhadi, Evelyn Alsultany, Nadine Naber (RA, EA, NN): It was a year after 11 September 2001, and the three of us were on the same panel at the American Anthropological Association in New Orleans. As we sat at Café du Monde, we noted how Arab American and Arab ...

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New Texts Out Now: Thomas Pierret, Religion and State in Syria

Thomas Pierret, Religion and State in Syria: The Sunni Ulama from Coup to Revolution. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Thomas Pierret (TP): The main incentive was the dearth of scholarly literature on two issues I am interested in: the role of the ulama in contemporary societies, and Islam in Syria. Until the late 1990s, common wisdom had it that the ulama had suffered a significant decline throughout the twentieth century, to the ...

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New Texts Out Now: Eyad Houssami, Doomed by Hope: Essays on Arab Theatre

Eyad Houssami, editor. Doomed by Hope: Essays on Arab Theatre. Foreword by Elias Khoury. London: Pluto Press, 2012. Innana Mahkoumoun Bil Amal: Kitabat Fi Al Masrah. Beirut: Dar Al Adab, 2012. Jadaliyya (J): What led you to commission and compile this collection? Eyad Houssami (EH): As a theater director, I am always thinking about why we make theater, what plays matter where, and how to stage drama today. I also think about how characters, stories, and public dialogue—intimate, immediate, ...

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Summer Readings from NEWTON

The New Texts Out Now (NEWTON) page has greatly expanded over the past year, in large part thanks to the recommendations and contributions from many of Jadaliyya’s readers. We would like to provide you with ample summer reading material by reminding you of several new texts that we have featured in recent months. This compilation of works spans a wide range of topics and disciplines by prominent authors in the field of Middle East studies. We hope this list will be pedagogically useful for readers ...

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New Texts Out Now: Ayca Cubukcu, The Responsibility to Protect: Libya and the Problem of Transnational Solidarity

Ayça Çubukçu, “The Responsibility to Protect: Libya and the Problem of Transnational Solidarity,” Humanitarianism and Responsibility, special issue of Journal of Human Rights 12 (2013). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this article? Ayça Çubukçu (AÇ): This article originated in a piece I wrote for Jadaliyya during the vitalizing days of the Arab Spring, in the heat of debate about the virtues of an international military intervention in Libya. As Jadaliyya readers would recall, following the February ...

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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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