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STATUS/الوضع: Issue 4.1 is Live!
Our 4.1 Issue of Status Audio Magazine is live! So much to go through! Click!
STATUS/الوضع: Issue 4.1 is Live!
This issue was curated to locate the voices that speak to communities in flux and see the local for what it is—simultaneously rooted & uprooted.
STATUS/الوضع: Issue 4.1 is Live!
Status does not observe radio silence on Yemen! We constantly speak to Yemeni journalists and activists about conditions in their country

Des bidonvilles aux villes de béton : une somme sur l’évolution urbaine d’Alger

Recensé: Rachid Sidi Boumedine, Bétonvilles contre bidonvilles. Cent ans de bidonvilles à Alger (Alger : APIC éditions, 2016) Il est rare, en Europe ou aux Etats-Unis, que les professionnels de l'urbanisme soient en même temps des chercheurs occupant une position centrale dans le champ académique des études urbaines[1]. Tel est en revanche le cas en Tunisie d'un Morched Chabbi, et en Algérie d'un Rachid Sidi Boumedine, tous deux à la fois sociologues et urbanistes praticiens. Ayant alterné responsabilités officielles et travaux d'études à titre de consultants, ils ont en même temps enseigné, pris part aux débats de leur temps et écrit une œuvre constituée ...

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Barbara Harlow: The Formative Egyptian Period

[Barbara Harlow with Mia Carter in Azhar Park, Cairo. Image by Mia Carter, via the author.]

In her late twenties, she arrived in Egypt of the late 1970s looking like a teenager who lost her way and ended up in teeming Cairo. Doris Shoukri, then chair of the department of English and Comparative Literature (ECLT) at the American University in Cairo (AUC), had interviewed her in Berlin in 1977 for her first teaching position as an assistant professor. Doris recalls Barbara, looking like a twelve-year-old blond waif with flowers in her hands. The animated discussion that followed at dinner persuaded Doris of Barbara’s talent and suitability for the position. Cairo at the time was bubbling with political and cultural crosscurrents—Sadat’s open door policy which ...

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Poetry and Partition: Barbara Harlow’s Insistence on the ‘Here-and-Now’ of Historical Reality

[Barbara Harlow at a protest at the University of Texas against Israeli settlement construction near Beit Sahour. Image by Sheila Contreras, via the author.]

Barbara Harlow held a visiting position at the National University of Ireland in Galway in the spring of 1992. That same year, she published an essay in Polygraph titled “Drawing the Line: Cultural Politics and the Legacy of Partition,” which offered comparative readings of literature across three colonial contexts: Ireland, India, and Palestine.[1] During the fall semester, upon her return from Ireland to the University of Texas, Austin, where she had been employed since 1985, she taught an English graduate seminar under the heading “Poetry and Partition.” Required readings included a wide variety of pre- and post-partition texts; among them were W. B. Yeats’s “Easter ...

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The Occupation of Literature and Books That Are Difficult to Get

[Barbara Harlow and Joseph Slaughter in Beirut. Image via the author.]

When I was one of Barbara Harlow’s beginning PhD students in Ethnic and Third World Literatures at the University of Texas at Austin, I had the temerity one day to ask her in her office how she justified sitting behind a desk, reading and writing, when she was so acutely aware of all the terrible things going on in this world, was so attuned to the “imperative to take sides,” as she would insist on any number of occasions. “We can’t afford to give up any space,” was her very quick reply, through her wry mischievous smile, as if she’d responded a thousand and one times to such impertinent questions from college kids puffed up with the smugness of their own inexperience. ...

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Arabian Tragedy, or Noir?

The first page of the preface to Farah Al-Nakib’s Kuwait Transformed: A History of Oil and Urban Life (Stanford University Press, 2016) begins with the author sitting in a community garden in Kuwait. She is chatting with one Maryam, who is explaining the garden’s origins by recalling that some years ago she wondered to herself that something was missing in this city she lived in. In stark contrast to the preface’s rather bucolic and ponderous mood, the book’s introduction begins very differently. It recounts shocking violence in that same city. A murder: the stabbing of a Kuwaiti-Lebanese (my term) dentist with a meat cleaver in the parking lot of Kuwait’s largest ...

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Making History in Iran: Education, Nationalism, and Print Culture

Farzin Vejdani, Making History in Iran: Education, Nationalism, and Print Culture. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014. [This review was first published in the Spring 2017 issue of the Arab Studies Journal. For more information or to subscribe, click here.] Making History in Iran is a much-needed examination of how various social and institutional changes during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries shaped how the people of Iran wrote about, taught, and understood the past. Farzin Vejdani traces the gradual formation of modern historiography in Iran through periods of shifting patronage networks, the expansion of reading publics, and the ...

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The Origins of the Lebanese National Idea, 1840-1920

Carol Hakim, The Origins of the Lebanese National Idea, 1840–1920. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. [This review was orginally published in the Spring 2017 issue of the Arab Studies Journal. For more information on the issue, or to subscribe to ASJ, click here.] Against teleological accounts that locate the origins of national ideas in a distant past and trace their evolution along a linear path into the present, Carol Hakim’s Origins of the Lebanese National Idea cautiously refrains from foreclosing on the historical narrative by attending to the cleavages and conflicting interests within continuously shifting nationalist alignments. In Hakim’s ...

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Foucault, the Iranian Revolution, and the Politics of Collective Action

[Cover of Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment]

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is part five of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] In Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi presents a comprehensive overview of Michel Foucault’s writings on the revolutionary wave that swept across Iran, culminating in February 1979 with the ...

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Foucault: Against the Ideology of Enlightenment

[Cover of Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment]

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is part three of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] At various points throughout Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi’s excellent account of Foucault and the Iranian Revolution one finds a term not typically associated with Foucault, that of ideology. This term, much more at home in Marxist social analyses, ...

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Foucault and Iran

[Cover of Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi,

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is part one of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] In his remarkable book, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi presents an important analysis of Michel Foucault’s journalistic writings penned for the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera during ...

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Critical Readings in Political Economy: Apartheid

Andy Clarno, Neoliberal Apartheid (University of Chicago Press, 2017). In some of the earliest editions of Al-Hadaf, the journal of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, there is explicit mention of the myriad similarities between the “racist, settler colonial regimes” occupying the antipodes of Africa and the crossroads of the Levant. The Popular Front in theory and practice understood their struggle as linked to that of the South African liberation movement. It is against that rich trove of reflection, penned by revolutionaries fighting for their lives, that Andy Clarno deliberately situates his important study of the post-Oslo/post-Apartheid systems ...

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Critical Readings in Political Economy: Mechanisms of Imperialism

Utsa Patnaik and Prabhat Patnaik, A Theory of Imperialism (Columbia University Press: 2016). Exactly 70 years ago, Hubert Humphrey stated, “If you are looking for a way to get people to lean on you and to be dependent on you, in terms of their co-operation with you, it seems to me that food dependence would be terrific.” Humphrey expressed something simple: the centrality of food production to dependence and independence, sovereignty and servitude. Of course, the United States and other temperate countries have always had a problem. It is often cold. When it is cold they cannot grow many crops, and some crops they cannot grow at all, be it warm or cold. As much as ...

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Introduction: Remembering Barbara Harlow

In the opening pages of her 1996 book After Lives: Legacies of Revolutionary Writing, a book that focuses on Ghassan Kanafani, Roque Dalton, and Ruth First—all of them revolutionary writers, all of them assassinated—Barbara Harlow notes that all three of these writers were also “committed critics…at a time and place when criticism and commitment often challenged each other’s practices.” She goes on to suggest that “in their own work, as in their persistent example,” such writers “continue to give ...

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Generations of Resistance

Barbara would understand that the task of remembering her is harder without a cat curled on my lap, perched on the desk, or emanating a spirit of companionship from somewhere in the house. "Scratches to the cats" was Barbara's sign-off to me on email exchanges. When she said no—shockingly, if rightly—to my first request that she supervise my dissertation, Barbara sent me home with the advice to crawl into bed with my two cats and to come back with a revised prospectus for her to reconsider. My ...

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Barbara Harlow and the Necessity of ‘Renewed Histories of the Future’

[Editors’ Note: This essay will appear in Volume 13:3 of the Journal of Middle Eastern Women’s Studies, a themed issue on the gender and sexuality of borders and margins, in November 2017. It was first posted on the JMEWS website, and is reposted here with permission of the author and the journal’s editors.] Barbara Harlow’s commitment to struggles for liberation and justice was always at the same time a commitment to academic inquiry. She entwined them and located emancipatory potential in each even as ...

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Art and Liberty: Redefining the Canon or the Next Record Sales?

In October 2016, two exhibitions were inaugurated in Cairo and Paris respectively, commemorating an Egyptian surrealist art and literature group, Art et Liberté.  I. Art et Liberté was co-founded by surrealist author Georges Henein in 1939. At the advent of World War II, artists and writers rallied around Henein and painter and writer Ramses Younan in their call for a perpetual revolution in art. The group aimed at gearing public opinion in Egypt away from the notion of modernization—regarded as a ...

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Between the World and Algeria: International Histories of the Algerian War of Independence

Darcie Fontaine, Decolonizing Christianity: Religion and the End of Empire in France and Algeria. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. Jennifer Johnson, The Battle of Algeria: Sovereignty, Health Care, and Humanitarianism. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016. Jeffrey James Byrne, Mecca of Revolution: Algeria, Decolonization, and the Third World Order. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. [This review essay was first published in the Spring 2017 issue ...

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Revisiting ‘Foucault in Iran’: A Response

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is the final installment of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] First, I would like to thank SCTIW Review for organizing this ...

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A Letter to Foucault: Selectively Narrating the Stories of Secular Iranian Feminists

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is part six of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi’s Foucault in Iran builds a chapter-by-chapter defense ...

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Foucault’s Folly: Iran, Political Spirituality, and Counter-Conduct

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is part four of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] Foucault’s folly! That, of course, is the common indictment against Foucault’s ...

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Rescuing the Revolution from Its Outcome

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is part two of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi’s Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the ...

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Straight Lines

Living Cities, Tate Modern. Barjeel Art Foundation Collection: Imperfect Chronology – Mapping the Contemporary II, Whitechapel Gallery, 23 August 2016 – 8 January 2017 Gideon Mendel: Dzhangal, Rivington Palace, 6 January - 11 February 2017   In a corner of the Living Cities display, at Tate Modern’s Switch House, hangs a photograph of the Swiss-French architect, writer, and civic planner, Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known as Le Corbusier. The modernist—dressed in a heavy black coat ...

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Power, Sect, and State in Syria

A. Maria A. Kastrinou, Power, Sect and State in Syria: The Politics of Marriage and Identity amongst the Druze. London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2016. How has Syria, a country that was deemed “stable” by analysts only years ago, become engulfed in an utterly brutal war? Under what circumstances does intercommunal cohesion turn into sectarian strife? Focusing on the fine line between violence and intimacy in a variety of different settings in pre-war Syria, Maria Kastrinou’s Power, Sect and State ...

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De l’impuissance des citoyens libanais face au système. "Powerless," les ambiguïtés d'un documentaire

Compte rendu: Powerless ('Indama ya’ti al-zhalam), documentaire réalisé par Cynthia Choucair (2012) (arabe, sous titré en anglais) La fin de l’année 2016 a été porteuse de nombreuses déceptions pour les militants libanais qui luttent pour la préservation du littoral et son accès libre à tous les publics, avec la construction d’un complexe touristique sur une partie de la plage de Ramlet el-Bayda à Beyrouth. De même, la (ré)ouverture de décharges sur la mer à Borj Hammoud et à Costa Brava, ...

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