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

[Cover of Kishwar Rizvi,

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 worship in a neo-Ottoman style mosque that appeared anachronistic and out of place (see Figure One); similarly, why were mosques in Dubai copying the Mamluk architecture of ...

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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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Art Dubai: The Shifting Architectures and Expedient Geographies of the Art World

[Art Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah 2015, courtesy: The Studio, Dubai.]

Museums have historically acted to tether artworks and artifacts to territorial conceptions of place. Meanwhile, as conduits to the flow of artworks across borders according to the imperatives of a globalized market, international contemporary art fairs might seem to obey an opposite logic, operating as deterritorializing forces that uproot works of art from their native geographies. Yet assigning museums and art fairs neatly to different sides of a binary that pits rootedness against a world of unhomed objects and convergent cultures obscures a more complex and dynamic reality. If large brick and mortar institutions are restructuring to satisfy new economic ...

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Place as Provisional: Site-Specific Art Commissions in Sharjah

[Carey Young. Body Techniques (after Parallel Stress, Dennis Oppenheim, 1970), 2007.]

Two metaphors, both equally decrepit, are alternately deployed in discussions of “place” in the Gulf Arab states: on the one hand, the notion of a tabula rasa, and, on the other hand, an attachment to a codified narrative of historical and cultural sitedness. Rem Koolhaas exemplified the former stance in his pronouncement in 2007 that the topography along the Persian Gulf provides “the final tabula rasa on which new identities can be inscribed: palms, world maps, cultural capital, and financial centers.”[i] The latter attitude is conveyed by al-Manakh, the self-described inaugural guide to architecture and urbanism in the Gulf, which distinguishes Sharjah by its ...

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The Constant and the Changing 2015: The Gulf and the Other

[The following is the 2015 executive summary of the Gulf Centre for Development Policies' third annual report The Constant and the Changing.] In the third annual volume of The Constant and the Changing publication series, the Gulf Centre for Development Policies renews its call for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to address the chronic disorders that ail their development trajectory. The objective of this series of publications is to contribute to finding a path toward building independent states based on sustainable development, a democratic political culture, and the integration between Gulf Countries.  The four key disorders may be summarized as ...

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AMCA Statement on Artistic Freedom in the United Arab Emirates

[Logo of the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art in the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey]

[The following statement was issued by the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art in the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey on 29 May 2015] The Association for Modern and Contemporary Art in the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey (AMCA) condemns the entry ban UAE authorities have imposed on artists Walid Raad and Ashok Sukumaran and calls on UAE-based art institutions, including in particular the Guggenheim Museum, to convey their disapproval to UAE authorities and vocally dissociate themselves from the action. AMCA further calls on international arts organizations to condemn the complacency of art institutions that seek to benefit from the affluent Gulf region while condoning ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (May 12)

[The Obama administration is thought to have promised to provide the Gulf Arab states with a ballistic missile defense system to appease their fears of Iran’s nuclear deal. Image from US Missile Defense Agency.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.] Crisis in Yemen Al-Qaida in Yemen says US drone killed man who claimed Charlie Hebdo attack A senior member of al-Qa‘ida in the Arabian Peninsula dies in a US drone strikes. UPDATE 1-Senegal to send 2,100 troops to join Saudi-led alliance Senegal announces that it will send troops to Saudi Arabia. Gulf-trained fighters arrive ...

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Letter to the UAE Minister of the Interior Concerning Denial of Entry to the UAE of NYU Professor Andrew Ross

[The following letter was issued by the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association on 25 March 2015] His Excellency Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan Minister of the Interior, United Arab Emirates via fax 971-2-4022762 and 971-2-4415780 His Excellency Yussef Al Otaiba Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States 202-243-2432  Dr. John Sexton President of New York University john.sexton@nyu.edu Dr. Al Bloom Vice-Chancellor of NYU-Abu Dhabi nyuad@nyu.edu Your Excellencies Minister Al Nahyan and Ambassador Al Otaiba, President Sexton, Vice-Chancellor Bloom:  I write to you on behalf of the Committee on Academic ...

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el Seed and Aya Tarek Discuss Calligraffiti

Born to Tunisian parents in the suburbs of Paris, el Seed has risen to the forefront of the Arab graffiti scene over the past few years. He stands out for his unique style which mixes Arabic calligraphy with the modern art of graffiti, relying on poignant messages and unconventional writing styles. el Seed started out as a business consultant and gradually developed his style while learning to read and write in Arabic over the past decade. Last spring, Medrar.TV and Alexandrian street artist Aya Tarek visited el Seed in Dubai's Tashkeel arts center where he was staying for a residency to discuss his sources of inspiration and the ways his work has been received by ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (January 20)

[Riyadh and Doha have asked the US administration to impose a no-fly zone over Syria. Image from Ronny Przysucha.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Relations Jeremy Scahill on Paris Attacks, the al-Qaeda Link & the Secret U.S. War in Yemen Amy Goodman interviews Jeremy Scahill on al-Qa‘ida in Yemen and the attacks on Charlie Hebdo. Al-Qaida in Yemen uses video to claim responsibility for Charlie Hebdo attack Jason Burke and Monica Mark report ...

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UAE-Linked NGO Whitewashes Migrant Abuse

[Construction workers in Dubai. Image from tyglobalist.org]

 [This Migrant Rights report sheds light on the response of Gulf regimes in general and the Geneva-based NGO International Gulf Organization (IGO) in particular to international criticism of migrant labor rights in the region.]  This past year, the crackdown that resulted in the deportation of over a million migrants from Saudi Arabia, the mistreatment of Saadiyat Island construction workers in the United Arab Emirates, and the spotlight on World Cup workers in Qatar has generated significant public criticism of migrant rights in the region. States responded to this intensified scrutiny primarily by intensifying propaganda and public relations stunts, ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (July 22)

[The Bahraini justice ministry has asked a court to suspend the activities of Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, the country's main opposition bloc. Al Jazeera English/Wikimedia Commons.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Relations Attack on Gaza by Saudi Royal Appointment David Hearst analyzes the Saudi support for the attack on Gaza, and argues that the Saudi-Israeli alliance is “forged in blood, Palestinian blood.” Egypt says Qatar, Turkey and Hamas hurt Gaza ceasefire bid The Egyptian foreign minister accuses Qatar, ...

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الفيلم الوثائقي تعز بين المطرقة والسندان

يوثق هذا الفليم الاستثنائي لصفاء الاحمد، والذي عرض على بي بي سي العربية بتاريخ ٢٢ شباط/ فبراير ٢٠١٦ رحلتها الشجاعة إلى مدينة تعز في اليمن. وتعيش هذه المدينة تحت الحصار منذ نيسان/ابريل ٢٠١٥، فرضته الميليشيا الحوثية، مما أدى الى نقص حاد في وصول الاغذية، المساعدات الطبية، والوقود، وزاد الأزمة الانسانية المتفاقمة في البلاد جراء الحصار المفروض من السعودية. ويحتاج أكثر من ثمانين بالمئة من السكان إلى مساعدات انسانية بينما تم تشريد مليونين ونصف يمني. أدى الصراع الجاري حول المدينة بين ...

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المجتمع المدني في الخليج العربي: الواقع والاحتمالات. مقابلة للوضع بين انور الرشيد وفاتح عزام

نقاش حول واقع وانشطة وتاريخ حركات المجتمع المدني في منطقة الخليج العربي. أنور الرشيد رئيس منتدى المجتمع المدني الخليجي منذ 2007. يعمل أيضاً كصحفي ومحلل سياسي، وعضو جمعية الصحفيين الكويتيين، وهو مراقب دولي للانتخابات في المنطقة وكان نائب رئيس مجلس مديري شبكة انتخابات العالم العربي. وهو عضو في منظمة حقوق الإنسان الكويتية، ونسّق عدة “مؤتمرات ظل” للمجتمع المدني بالتوازي مع مؤتمرات قادة مجلس التعاون الخليجي  

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (October 6)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.]   Regional and International Relations Saudi Objections Halt U.N. Inquiry of Yemen War Nick Cumming-Bruce reports on Saudi Arabia’s efforts to halt a UN ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (July 28)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Relations Are Arab Oil Monarchies divided over Iran Deal? Juan Cole examines the Gulf states’ divided position over the nuclear deal ...

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Discussion: Gulf Youth and the City (17 June 2015, AGSIW)

Gulf cities have followed similar paths of urbanization and architecture shaped by state planning and commercial development. While local differences exist, all reflect the demands of government and business, with little attention paid to civic requirements and public spaces. Recent events across the globe, from the Occupy movements to the 2011 Arab uprisings, have brought the role of cities in political life to the forefront. However, with few exceptions, Gulf cities are known more as glittering global ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (May 26)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Relations Saudi Arabia attack: Islamic State claims Shia mosque bombing The Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria claims the attack ...

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Sharjah Biennial 12: Nikhil Chopra's Use like Water

Use like water is a nine-day performance by Indian artist Nikhil Chopra. It starts as a journey he undertakes through the deserts and seaside areas of the UAE and Oman and culminates with a performance, re-presenting his travels to audiences in Sharjah during the biennial's opening week. Chopra explores the layers beneath the region's shiny veneer by focusing on nature and how relationships developed over the centuries. The performance's surprising ending is also meant to send a message as to how things ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (March 17)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Relations Sandhurst and the Sheikhs A video report on the popularity of the British Royal Military Academy Sandhurst with Gulf ...

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Snapshot: Dubai and Abu Dhabi

I felt a strong connection with Dubai beginning with my first visit in 2004. I was captivated by the unique mix of the bustling energy of a young city turned towards its future, eager to compete with international hubs such as New York City and London, combined with a Middle Eastern douceur de vivre. With its surprising contrast between seemingly infinite spaces and the dense tangle of skyscrapers, Dubai was where I needed to be at that time of my life. Unlike where I come from, which is totally turned ...

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Promoting a Rare Breed: Private Nonprofit Housing Developers in the GCC

While working as a Project Manager at the Fenway Community Development Corporation (CDC) in Boston and as a Consultant to Phipps Houses in New York City, I experienced firsthand how nonprofit developers can contribute to preserving housing affordability in central locations. Fenway CDC builds and preserves housing and champions local projects that engage the entire Fenway community in protecting the neighborhood’s economic and racial diversity. It has operated since 1973 and has developed nearly six ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (24 July)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Occupation, Intervention and Law and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the O.I.L. Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each biweekly roundup to OIL@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every other week.]  Palestine-Israel News Gaza Conflict: Palestinian Death Toll Reaches Two Hundred Seventy-Four Amid Fierce Fighting, Harriet Sherwood, Peter ...

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Social Discord and the Power-Capital Nexus in the Gulf

[The following is the executive summary of a study conducted and published by the Gulf Centre for Development Policies. The full report in Arabic can be found here.] The Constant and the Changing 2014: Social Discord and the Power-Capital Nexus in the Gulf Executive Summary The sudden explosion of the 2011 Arab uprisings came as a shock-reminder that societies never remain stationary. Where, then, do the countries of the GCC—pivotal players on the Arab and global landscape—currently stand and what are ...

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