[The Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI) brings you the ninth in a series of "Peer-Reviewed Articles Review" in which we present a collection of journals and their articles concerned with the Middle East and Arab world. This series will be published seasonally. Each issue will comprise one-to-three parts, depending on the number of articles included.]
Arab Law Quarterly (Volume 33, Issue 3)
The Effects of the Trade-related Investment Measures Agreement on the Egyptian Economy
By: Lourna El-Deeb, Ahmed Labeeb
Abstract: The Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) Agreement aims to balance the interests of developed countries seeking to protect their investments as well as developing countries trying to attract more foreign investments to finance national projects. This article assesses the TRIMs Agreement and the compatibility of Egyptian economic legislation, especially the provisions of the Investment Law No. 72/2017, alongside the impact of this agreement on the Egyptian economy. We conclude that Egyptian legislation as a whole is in line with the TRIMs Agreement, with the exception of some provisions enacted under exceptional circumstances in Egypt since January 2011. As a result of these circumstances, it is impossible accurately to assess the extent to which the Egyptian economy was affected by the implementation of TRIMs during the current period, since the policies adopted by the Government of Egypt have succeeded in increasing the volume of foreign direct investment to Egypt.
The Protection of Minors in UAE Law as Persons in Need: An Analytical Study
By: Iyad Mohammad Jadalhaq, Ibrahim Sulaiman al-Qatawnah
Abstract: This article reviews the legal regime for the protection of minors in the UAE. First, the rights of minors protected under threat of criminal sanctions, as enshrined in the UAE Children Rights Law 2016, is addressed. Subsequently, the protection of minors in civil legislation, especially with regard to financial transactions, is considered by examining the legal effects of acts performed by minors themselves or by agents on their behalf. The legal authority of a minor’s agent to act on his/her behalf is outlined and the consequences of acts performed by the minor or his/her agent beyond legal limits is presented. Finally, the role of the Social Care and Minors Affairs Foundation (SCMAF) is considered when caring for minors and protecting their property. The article concludes with an assessment of the legal regime for the protection of minors, especially in connection with financial transactions, evaluates the guarantees and safeguards included therein, and issues some additional recommendations.
Fundamental Legal Treatment of Trafficking in Women on a Lebanese and International Level
By: Jamal Barafi
Abstract: Throughout history, many women have lived in slave-like conditions and have suffered oppression, coercion and disrespect, as well as being deprived of their social, political, and essential natural rights. Therefore, the aim of this research is to focus on the role of international legislation in combating the crime of trafficking in women and in reducing its effects. This article first examines multiple forms of trafficking in women and how this heinous crime is facilitated. Thereafter solutions to the crime of trafficking in women are covered under international law, narrowing its focus to Lebanese legislation and its compatibility with international legislation. Organisations working in this regard in Lebanon are examined, alongside the most important cases of trafficking in women in this country.
Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (Volume 82, Issue 2)
Internal or external evil: a merism in Luwian incantations
By: Alice Mouton, Ilya Yakubovich
Abstract The paper addresses the frequent collocation /ir(hu)waliyan parittarwaliyan/, which occurs in Luwian incantations embedded in Hittite cuneiform ritual texts. Despite the relatively clear context, the meanings of this and similar collocations have remained obscure. Using combinatory and etymological methods, we intend to demonstrate that it hides the merism “internal (or) external”, which modifies various sorts of supernatural negative phenomena. Furthermore, we intend to argue that such an interpretation is compatible with the Late Bronze Age Anatolian beliefs about potential sources of evil. A collateral result of our demonstration is the elucidation of a number of additional contexts in the Hittite, Luwian, Lydian, and official Aramaic languages.:
Transferring performativity from speech to writing: illocutionary acts and incantation bowls
By: Daniel James Waller
Abstract: This article considers the interface between orality and textuality in the Aramaic incantation bowls, as well as the use of performative utterances in the texts of their spells. It demonstrates that writing and writtenness were central to bowl praxis as a whole, and argues that the bowls reflect a growing understanding of writing as performative in itself. In light of this, it suggests that the use of illocutionary acts in the bowl texts reflects the (gradual and ongoing) transfer of performativity from speech to writing in Sasanian Mesopotamia. Such acts of “word magic” in the bowls as oaths and curses are more likely to represent transitional language or a kind of “oral residue” than the verbatim representation of speech or spoken acts.
Indo-Persian historian and Sindho-Persian intermediary: the Tarikh-i Maʿsumi of Mir Muhammad Maʿsum Bhakkari (d. 1606)
By: Ali Anooshahr
Abstract: Studies of Indo-Persian historiography tend to focus on the monumental compositions created at the behest of the Mughal court. This has unfortunately led to the neglect of texts from “regional” settings. The present article intends to expand the field of inquiry by studying Mir Muhammad Maʿsum's Tarikh-i Maʿsumi (completed c. 1600) which was the first Mughal-era Persian history of Sindh. I will argue that the author used the new the literary models developed by Mughal chroniclers in order to both facilitate and contest imperial domination.
“The Grace of God” as evidence for a written Uthmanic archetype: the importance of shared orthographic idiosyncrasies
By: Marijn van Putten
Abstract: This paper takes a novel approach to the question of when and how the text of the Quran was codified into its present form, usually referred to as the Uthmanic text type. In the Quran the phrase niʿmat allāh/rabbi-ka “the grace of god/your lord” can spell niʿmat “grace” either with tāʾ or tāʾ marbūṭah. By examining 14 early Quranic manuscripts, it is shown that this phrase is consistently spelled using only one of the two spellings in the same position in all of these different manuscripts. It is argued that such consistency can only be explained by assuming that all these manuscripts come from a single written archetype, meaning there must have been a codification project sometime in the first century. The results also imply that these manuscripts, and by extension, Quran manuscripts in general, were copied from written exemplars since the earliest days.
Samāǧa performances in third/ninth-century Abbasid courts
By: Massimiliano Borroni
Abstract: Literary sources from the Abbasid period record few descriptions of courtly masquerades and plays called samāǧa, which closely resemble sumozhe plays from eighth-century China. On the basis of these samāǧa descriptions, the present paper argues that it is possible to understand how samāǧa plays were carried out. Moreover, I argue that samāǧa performances were a Central Asian custom imported to the Abbasid court with the establishment of the Turkish corps, and that its disappearance after the caliphate of al-Muʿtaḍid signals a substantial shift in the nature of the Turkish presence in the Abbasid heartland, marked by the establishment of the mamlūk system.
Contemporary Arab Affairs (Volume 12, Issue 2)
Socialism or Neoliberal Barbarism: Reconstructing Nasser’s Arab Socialism
By: Seif Da’na
Abstract: Over the past sixty years, contemporary Arab political history has witnessed two significant shifts, each of which has resulted in enormous social, economic, cultural, and ideological transformations. The experience of the Arab world is not unique; rather, it is part of the contemporary “world story” in general, and experience of “the societies of the South” in particular, despite the uniqueness of the Arab experience, in general, and the experience of individual country. This review reconstructs the Arab experience since the early 1950s and distinguishes two historical stages economically, politically, and ideologically. The first stage is the era of decolonization and the rise of Arab socialism (1952–70); the second stage is the era of globalization of colonialism or neoliberal capitalism (1980–2011), which in the opinion of the author is responsible for the unfolding of events in the Arab world since the end of 2010. The goal of this comparison is intended as political and historical criticism of the current Arab condition. Comparing and contrasting both stages, and reconsidering the model and experience presented by President Gamal Abdel Nasser, it is concluded that the Arab nation is facing the choice between two critical options: socialism or neoliberal barbarism.
Social Media and Urban Social Movements: The Anatomy of Continued Protest in Authoritarian Contexts
By: Magdalena Karolak
Abstract: The goal of this research is to explore the opportunities brought about by the use of new media in urban protests. Specifically, it investigates the use of the Internet in modern protest movements that failed to bring about the changes they sought, using Bahrain as a case study. The focus is put on urban movements that continue revolutionary activism off- and online in the sixth year after the failure of the Bahraini uprising. This research assesses the need to maintain an online presence for these cities and explains the goals of their online presence. The paper also aims to understand what type of variations exist within these urban movements; and analyzes the interplay between such online manifestations and online censorship. This research is based on the critical discourse analysis of web content and graphic representations produced by Bahraini activists on particular online sites pertaining to each city in question.
“We Speak the Truth!”: Knowledge and Politics in Friday’s Sermons in Lebanon
By: Sari Hanafi
Abstract: This study investigates the preachers and their Friday sermons in Lebanon, raising the following questions: What are the profiles of preachers in Lebanon and their academic qualifications? What are the topics evoked in their sermons? In instances where they diagnosis and analyze the political and the social, what kind of arguments are used to persuade their audiences? What kind of contact do they have with the social sciences? It draws on forty-two semi-structured interviews with preachers and content analysis of 210 preachers’ Friday sermons, all conducted between 2012 and 2015 among Sunni and Shia mosques. Drawing from Max Weber’s typology, the analysis of Friday sermons shows that most of the preachers represent both the saint and the traditional, but rarely the scholar. While they are dealing extensively with political and social phenomena, rarely do they have knowledge of social science
Political Division and Social Destruction: Generalized Trust in Palestine
By: Abdalhadi Alijla
Abstract: This article discusses the effect of the political division between Fatah and Hamas on the level of generalized trust in Palestine. It argues that the level of trust in Palestinian society has been shaped and influenced by the ongoing political division since 2007. As the level of trust has been declining since 2007, this research suggests that distrust in the political system, the deteriorated healthcare and education services, the high level of unemployment, corruption, and the violation of human rights in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank have led to the decline of the level of generalized trust in society at large. This study uses statistical test results to support the main argument. Data available from 2007, 2011, 2014, and 2017 from the Arab Barometer are used to examine how institutional and contextual factors affect the level of generalized trust in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The article discusses the results and how creating a hybrid society has contributed to lowering the level of trust generally. It seeks to understand the change in social trust among Palestinians over the years of the ongoing division, and examines how the political division, directly or indirectly, has led to the current low level of trust that has left remarkable changes and deep polarization in Palestinian society.
The Trap of Urban Planning Development in Jerusalem
By: Rasim Khamaisi
Abstract: The question of Palestinians’ right for urban planning and development in East Jerusalem is one of many challenges Arab Jerusalemites face over the right to the city. While Palestinians search for the reasons for the impaired urban reality of East Jerusalem, some of the answers lie in the planning systems itself and its allowances. This brief paper describes, analyzes, and critiques urban planning policies that constitute a trap and an indictment mechanism impeding the issuance of a building permit and land titles. The planning trap is part of a sophisticated complex matrix of control systems, with hard and soft, visible and invisible components that are practiced by the Israeli authorities in an effort to bring about the geopolitical, demographic policies, and urban changes desired by the state in Jerusalem.
A Floating Commercial Stronghold: The Increasing Role of Chinese Hong Kong in the Middle East
By: Shirzad Azad
Abstract: The port city of Hong Kong has played a very crucial role in facilitating a whole host of commercial and financial interactions between East Asia and the greater Middle East region over the past several decades. Even after the strategic city became an integral part of China in 1997, the Special Administrative Region (SAR) continued to oil the wheels of the multifaceted relationship between East Asian countries, China in particular, and their partners in the Middle East. Besides its conventional function of smoothing the way for an array of economic and financial ties, the SAR is increasingly contributing to various cultural and recreational activities involving the two regions.
An Assessment of Turkish and Saudi Policy towards the Gulf Crisis: Three Levels of Analysis
By: Sinem Cengiz
Abstract: This paper investigates the policies of both Ankara and Riyadh toward the ongoing crisis between Qatar and the Saudi-led quartet since mid-2017. The crisis has shaken the balance in the region and laid the foundation for new understandings regarding Gulf unity and regional order. On these grounds, it is worth examining the stances of regional actors through different approaches of foreign policy. By using the “three-dimensional” methodology of Kenneth Waltz, this paper analyzes the rationale behind Turkish and Saudi policy toward the Gulf crisis on individual-, state-, and international-based levels since these two countries are among the most influential actors in the region. It argues that Turkish and Saudi approaches can confront each other if the regional developments carry an ideological nature, as in the case of the Gulf crisis.
Journal of Arabic Literature (Volume 50, Issue 2)
Allegories of Ruin: Architecture and Knowledge in Early Arabic Poetry
by: Hassanaly Ladha
Abstract: This study examines the architectural lexicon (ṭalal, dār, rasm, bayt) of early Arabic poetry, interrogating the relation between built and linguistic form in the nasīb. I argue that the interpenetration of the aṭlāl and khayāl motifs and of other structural elements of the qaṣīdah allegorizes the fleeting and phantasmatic nature of all linguistic and material structures. In the early Arabic episteme, poetic forms materialize history, delineating realities even as they fall endlessly into ruin. The implied theories of language and knowledge may inflect our understanding of the entire tradition of Arabo-Islamic expression emerging from this literary milieu.
Andalusi Contests, Syrian Media Content: the Poetic Ritual Ijāzah
By: Samuel England
Abstract: This article moves the poetic ijāzah from the periphery, where modern scholars have generally placed it, to a central position in Arabic poetry and mass media. The ijāzah was well developed before its adoption in the western Mediterranean, but Cordoban, Sevillian, and expatriate Sicilian poets distinguished the competitive improvised poem from corollary works in the Middle East, where it had first been invented. I argue that it is precisely the Andalusi innovations to the ijāzah’s formal development that have allowed traditional criticism to minimize its importance, against a larger trend of popular audiences appreciating performed ijāzahs, on stage and in mass media. Modern Arabic theatre and television have found enthusiastic audiences for the Andalusi poetic dialogue, a phenomenon that frames my Classical research. Media outlets, including those working closely with government officials, stage the ijāzah in ways that maximize its ideological value. As they use it to promote secularism and putatively benevolent dictatorship, propelling Andalusi literature into current Middle Eastern politics, we critics should seek to understand the dialogic form in its contemporary, insistently political phase of development.
In the Shadows of the Middle East’s Wars, Oil, and Peace: the Construction of Female Desires and Lesbianism in Middlebrow Egyptian Literature
By: Hanan Hammad
Abstract: This article employs the fictional writings of the Egyptian author Iḥsān ‘Abd al-Quddūs (1919–1990) to analyze the textually tangled anxiety over women’s sexuality and rapid political and socioeconomic changes in postcolonial Egypt and the Arab-East. Arguably one of the most prolific writers in Arabic in the twentieth century, ‘Abd al-Quddūs has achieved wide readership, and producers have adapted his books to popular commercial films and TV shows. Breaking taboos on women’s sexual desires, ‘Abd al-Quddūs’s work has been influential in shaping the popular notion about lesbian love wherein frustration with the postcolonial realities—inscribed by the Arab-Israeli conflict, Oil Boom, and globalization—have become entangled with the fear of women’s mobility and liberation.
Allegiance Performed: Waṭaniyyah Poetry on the Stage of the Shāʿir al-Milyūn Competition
By: Katrien Vanpee
Abstract: This article examines the understudied political dynamics of the televised nabaṭī poetry competition Shāʿir al-Milyūn (“Million’s Poet”) to offer a new understanding of the program. Media coverage has focused on the participation of a single female participant, while scholars have assessed Shāʿir al-Milyūn as primarily an experiment in the wedding of local tradition to modern technology, overlooking the central and complex negotiations of ruler-ruled relationships taking place on the show’s stage. Shāʿir al-Milyūn’s political aspect becomes particularly apparent in the regular performances of waṭaniyyah verse, i.e. poetry for the waṭan or homeland. Reading a waṭaniyyah poem performed during the fifth season of Shāʿir al-Milyūn by Emirati poet Aḥmad bin Hayyāy al-Manṣūrī, I argue that Shāʿir al-Milyūn, rather than merely celebrating local poetic tradition, operates as a political technology that provides both poetry contestants and the show’s princely patron with opportunities to articulate and enact expectations of proper citizenship.
Middle East Critique (Volume 28, Issue 3)
Democratization beyond Capitalist Time: Temporalities of Transition in the Middle East after the Arab Uprisings
By: Roberto Roccu
Abstract: Trapped in the premises of the transition ‘paradogma,’ democratization and authoritarian persistence literature are limited by a linear and continuous understanding of time, a gradualist view of transition, and a procedural definition of democracy. These analytical and normative strictures are compounded by a methodological nationalism that prevents an appreciation of how global factors shape the parameters for political transformation in the contemporary Middle East. Inspired by Gramsci’s theory of history, this article seeks to move beyond these limitations and explore the prospect of transition as rupture, away from democratization as strategy for ensuring duration of capitalist time, and toward democratic transition as epochal change beyond capitalism. By counterposing the effects of the two globalizations and the decolonization in between on the prospects of political transformation in the Middle East, this article argues that the Arab uprisings provide an opportunity for thinking globally and rupturally about political time, transition and democracy in the region.
Re-remembering Third Worldism: An Affirmative Critique of National Liberation in Algeria
By: Alina Sajed
Abstract: This article re-examines Third Worldism as a political ideology, with a specific focus on a number of Algerian intellectuals. By taking Algeria as a privileged locus of investigation, the discussion zooms into a specific context of Third Worldism, the Algerian War and the decade after, therefore focusing on the period between the 1950s and the 1970s. Here I understand Third Worldism to mean more than the instantiation of the postcolonial state through anticolonial liberation struggles. Rather, I take into consideration (Algerian) voices that push against the rigid boundaries of methodological nationalism and postcolonial theory. By embracing the ethos of ‘affirmative critique,’ the analysis aims to bring to light those ‘forgotten, hidden or invisible acts of critique’ that expose under-currents of Third Worldism not usually discussed or engaged. Thus, I engage writings of rarely considered Third World intellectuals, such as Kateb Yacine, Jean Amrouche, Jean Senac. These are all Algerian intellectuals; the reason behind this focus is the following: their involvement in Algeria’s decolonization struggles translated into translocal solidarity with other decolonization projects, whether in Vietnam or in Palestine. Aside from gesturing toward a translocal spatiality, their writings also embody a more genuine retrieval of dignity by the colonized, and an alternative memory of a different Algerian nation, intrinsically plural and hospitable to difference. Put differently, these voices both attempt a kind of diagnosis (however partial and incomplete) for the reductionism into which the Third World liberation state (inevitably) fell, while suggesting an alternative political horizon that comes closer to Fanon’s idea of ‘national consciousness’, especially in its attention to the ‘international dimension.’
Haunted Histories: Nasserism and The Promises of the Past
By: Sara Salem
Abstract: This article revisits the Nasserist project through the lens of haunting. It explores the afterlives of Nasserism, in particular in relation to Egypt’s move toward a free market economy from the 1970s onwards. To do this, I explore the Nasserist project in order to excavate some of the promises that were made and to trace the legacies these created. I argue that both these promises—only partially fulfilled—and the social violence they at times contained—continued to act as powerful political memories that limited Egyptian politics in the decades that followed. Thinking of Nasserism as a form of haunting allows for a deeper understanding of how different political projects seep into one another, problematizing the notion of a linear teleological or providential trajectory consisting of distinct eras. In distinction to work that has mobilized the concept of haunting (originally theorized by Jacques Derrida) in order to elaborate on the historical manifestation of damaging or violent legacies in the present, I argue that Nasserist forms of haunting should be read as both a productive and destructive normative force in the present. This article puts forward examples of both, particularly in relation to questions of social justice, socialism, and anti-imperialism.
Memory Studies in the Middle East: Where Are We Coming From and Where Are We Going?
By: Sune Haugbolle
Abstract: This article takes stock of the field of memory studies and where it has moved since the Arab uprisings. If the 1990s marked the first interest in memory studies, the 2000s opened the floodgates to a variety of approaches and localities. The aim is not to present a complete catalogue of memory studies in the Middle East, but rather to highlight some of the trends and patterns in the field and its development over time. It does so both by discussing key works and by focusing on an examination of memory studies about contemporary Lebanon. The article argues that memory studies in the 1990s drew on a particular understanding of transition that came to an abrupt end with the Arab Uprisings. 2011 marked a turning point both in the way the uprisings made scholars question the national framework previously privileged, and by stoking an interest in memories and histories of revolts other than those connected to the anti-colonial struggle. The latest wave of memory studies investigates the uses of online archives and the archive as metaphor for how storage functions for human memory, introducing new methodologies and theoretical directions.
Smoke and Mirrors: Rising Israeli ‘Fascism’ or Forgetting the Labour Zionist Past
By: Sai Englert
Abstract: The Israeli right—an alliance of neoliberal parties and settler organizations—has become the undisputed and seemingly undisplaceable political leadership of the state over recent decades. This transformation has been associated, both in Israel and internationally, with successive Likud-led governments in general, and their allies within the settler movement. A recurrent theme within analyses of this rise is the claim, made by journalists, academics and activists alike, that fascism is rearing its head in Israel, both in government and on the streets. This article argues that an analysis of Israel’s Labour Zionist history and confronting the claims made by its contemporary supporters, in the face of the Zionist right’s dominance, in fact highlights long-term political continuities and undermines claims of rising fascism. By building on critical literature on the politics of memory, this paper further discusses how a romanticized vision of the past, is central to current attempts by Labour Zionism to re-organize itself while whitewashing its own history. Finally, this article shows that a focus on history, and an analysis of the construction of collective memory, uncovers the ways in which the contemporary Zionist right has emerged from the foundations built by Labour Zionism itself.
The Graveyard of Empires: Haunting, Amnesia and Afghanistan’s Construction as a Burial Site
By: Nivi Manchanda
Abstract: Afghanistan appears to exist in a different time from ‘us.’ Modernization theory, linear narratives of progress, teleological tales of growth and common sense stories of development seem to have met their match when it comes to this landlocked country. This paper considers the ubiquitous construction of Afghanistan as the ‘Graveyard of Empires’ to explore the ways in which representation, memory-making, and an allegory of mythic import perform a constitutive function and help suture an otherwise disjointed history of Afghanistan. Conducting a sustained inquiry into the political valence of the Graveyard trope, the paper reveals that it is especially ill-chosen on three counts. (i) It is ahistorical, relying on a selective evocation of history. Related to this ahistoricism, it sets up the past as the ‘key’ to understanding the Afghan present. On this account, another future is not possible. (ii) It is geographically or at least ‘physically’ deterministic: Afghanistan is constructed as a land of unconquerable terrain, its topography menacing and ultimately unassailable. Not only does this present the physical environment as an immutable entity, it also feeds into representations of Afghans as rugged warriors, bred to be weathered and connately austere. (iii) It is racialized: Afghans as inhabitants, creators and living relics of this graveyard are constructed as inured to hardship, belligerent and always already girded for combat. Thus the ‘graveyard of empires’ becomes a politically charged trope that is engaged in a continual re-inscription of the Afghan population as an alien other.
Staging the State: Commemoration, Urban Space and the National Symbolic Order in 1970s Cairo
By: Aya Nassar
Abstract: This article investigates how commemorating practices are deployed to fix and affirm sovereignty and its ordering. Through conceptualizing commemorating practices as ‘national symbolic order’, this article focuses on Cairo’s monument of the Unknown Soldier as a tangled cluster of shifting attempts to signify urban space. Built shortly after the 1973 war, the monument expressed an approach to nationalist symbolism that was in line with how the Sadat regime came into its own because of the war. The article traces the influences on the style of the monument and the narrative of its construction. Ironically, six years later, the same monument became the resting place of Sadat after his assassination on the same site. How is urban space implicated in the construction of a national symbolic order? How is politics as death and mortality navigated and scripted in city space? In answering these questions, the article relies on interviews with the designer of the post-independence Monument of the Unknown Soldier conducted in 2015 and 2016, and his photographic collection. It proceeds in four sections discussing the significance of the October war of 1973 in shoring up the legitimacy of Sadat, imagining the monument, constructing the monument and, finally, the monument’s mediation of death and sovereignty. From the materiality and entanglements of one site, the article analyzes ‘state-making’ via ‘city-making’ after 1952 and well into 1970s. Ultimately, it follows the hesitations of deploying a national symbolic order in post-independence Egypt and of attempts at shoring up a shaky state apparatus in a common political space.
War Memory, Confessional Imaginaries, and Political Contestation in Postwar Lebanon
By: Bassel F. Salloukh
Abstract: How does sectarianism intersect with war memories to subvert the political balance of power in postwar Lebanon? This article examines this complex dynamic along two levels. On one level, it demonstrates how war memory is deployed selectively from above by members of the political elite to sabotage the national war memory sanctioned officially and corresponding to a particular postwar confessional balance of power. At another level is the confessional or sectarian use of memory to resist this postwar political balance of power perceived as unjustly tipped against the subnational community. The argument advances in two steps. I first examine how war memory is invoked during crucial political battles that impact the postwar confessional balance of power. I take the debate around the promulgation of a new electoral law, and the 2018 parliamentary elections, in the context of the regional repercussions of the explosion of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the spillover effects of the Syrian war on Lebanon, as a case study of how different elites not only invoke war memories to contest or defend the postwar confessional balance of power but also to advance intra-sectarian political prerogatives. I then consider political memory as part of a complex and variegated confessional imaginary that survives at the private level in the form of resistance by substantial sectors of the Christian community to the postwar political balance of power and to the official national narrative of the war, one that refuses to revisit some of its most sordid moments, namely, its massacres. The article closes by underscoring the importance of reconciling dissonant memories of the war as a prerequisite for achieving genuine justice, peace, and reconciliation in postwar Lebanon.
Middle Eastern Studies (Volume 55, Issue 5)
Imagining modernity: the language and genealogy of modernity in nineteenth-century Arabic
By: Wael Abu-ʿUksa
Abstract: This article employs the methodology of conceptual history to contest two of the most common theoretical approaches dominating our understanding of modernity in the field of Middle Eastern studies. The first approach relies on the assumption of incompatibility between modernity and Islam and captures Arab modernity using concepts such as ‘adoption’. The second understands Arab modernity through concepts such as ‘imitation’, contending that it is a legacy of Western imperialism. This article challenges both theories by examining the genealogy of tamaddun (civilization, being civilized), a pivotal concept used in nineteenth-century Arabic to imagine modernity. The genealogy of tamaddun elucidates that medieval paradigms derived from the concept of madina (polity) were rediscovered, reimagined, and reused in the context of the rise of the nation-state and the challenge of Western imperialism. The article suggests understanding Arab modernity and its critique from within, rather than outside of, the temporality of the historical condition.
Ottoman apprentices and their experiences
By: Nalan Turna
Abstract: "In this article, I analyze craft and trade apprentices in the late Ottoman Empire in order to add a new dimension to the existing literature on guilds and artisans. Rather than presenting an ideal picture, I discuss the apprentices' actions and experiences, which I argue did not take place in isolation.
First, I briefly discuss Ottoman guilds and artisans, including a literature review, define and explain both the system of apprenticeship and who apprentices were.
After focusing on the dialectical relationship between the upper and lower ranks, which presented itself through the authority - obedience or autonomy - disobedience relationship, I explain how the lower rank attempted to gain autonomy. I also question whether guild harmony was real or not and explore how some apprentices changed the direction of their life path, away from mastership to something else entirely. The hidden and unhidden resistance of apprentices will be shown through acts of theft, assault with a knife, and absconding, and through survival strategies which included running away. In the final part of the article, I describe how new institutions filled the gap left by the traditional guild system, which had been on the decline since the nineteenth century.
Photographs of Ataturk in the early Republican Press: how his image was used to visualize events?
By: Idil Cetin
Abstract: Since its invention, photography has been seen as representing reality as it was, as a result of which an evidential quality has been attributed to it. This quality comes more to the fore in certain contexts, one of them being press photography. Photographs in a newspaper are meant to testify to the event described in the news. This article looks at the photographs of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, which were circulated in the early Republican Press. Many photographs of Ataturk which were published in the periodicals at that time did not testify to the actualization of an event and henceforth did not provide any evidence for the events. They nevertheless have an evidential quality, which they acquire not from what they show, but from what they signify.
The exile of Husayn b. Ali, ex-sharif of Mecca and ex-king of the Hijaz, in Cyprus (1925–1930)
By: Martin Strohmeier
Abstract: This article deals with the exile of Husayn ibn Ali, ex-sharif of Mecca and ex-king of the Hijaz, in Cyprus (1925–1930). It was not politics, but the adversities of everyday life that shaped the ex-king’s stay in the British colony. Loss of prestige, estrangement, uncertainty about the future, lawsuits, financial problems and the death of his wife contributed to failing health which ultimately led to his relocation to Amman. A special, perhaps unique feature of Husayn’s enforced residence in the island is that the power which exiled him also granted him asylum. This article examines his living conditions, experience with and image in the local community, relations with his sons as well as his dealings with British authorities. In this way the progressive isolation and marginalization of an ex-monarch in exile becomes evident.
Changing Israeli perceptions of the relations with the International Committee of the Red Cross in the wake of the June 1967 war: from coexistence to open hostility
By: Alexander Bligh, Gadi Hitman
Abstract: Since 1948/1949 The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been synonymous in the Arab–Israeli context with processes of exchanging prisoners and caring for human lives. After the 1967 war the ICRC changed in status from that of a mediator to that of the executive arm of larger forces. The processes leading to the partial demise of the ICRC are clearly identified in retrospect. It has to do with the asymmetry of perceptions between Israel and the organisation. Israel did not agree to the application of the Fourth Convention in the territories. The ICRC believed that this population fell under the Convention and therefore under the ICRC. Furthermore, the ICRC failed in getting the Israeli POWs back home, especially after the conclusion of the War of Attrition in 1970. The resulting feelings eliminated in the Israeli decision makers' minds the role that the ICRC saw for itself in future POW exchange deals. After the 1973 war the ICRC would lose its position as a negotiator, leaving that arena to other international actors.
Mission impossible: William Rogers (Secretary of State, 1969–1973) and the attempt to reach a peace accord between Israel and Egypt
By: Moshe Gat
Abstract: Since entering office, William Rogers had undertaken to advance the peace process between Israel and the Arab states, particularly Egypt. He believed an agreement would serve the American interests at a time when extremism was spreading in the Arab world, and Soviet influence had grown. However, his actions on the political front went unsupported by President Nixon. Moreover, the National Security Advisor had embraced a different policy vis à vis Israel and the Arab world. Rogers' failure to secure an interim agreement and his previous failure to persuade Israel and Egypt to accept his plan, led the entire region back to stagnation, from which it emerged only after the October 1973 Yom Kippur War.
The development of Kuwaiti Islamists’ political ideology: the administration of the Kuwaiti Supreme Committee and the Free Kuwait campaign during the Second Gulf Crisis 1990–91
By: Ali A. Alkandari
Abstract: This article aims to explore how the intellectual thinking and political actions of an Islamist could be developed and changed toward a more realistic view. The Kuwaiti Islamic Students’ movement in the UK was led by the youth of the Muslim Brotherhood under the Free Kuwait Campaign during the Second Gulf Crisis in 1990-91. This movement went through a significant development and change of ideas and practices with other political and societal groups. Dealing with all segments of Kuwait’s society as partners in the country and its destiny, and not as intellectual or party opponents, was the main change in ideas. Moreover, a qualitative leap in realistic political thought emerged among these young people and affected the future of the movement. In the immediate post-invasion era, this action was not invested towards building an open national platform. However, the students’ actions were influenced by the event, and pro Islam al-’i’tilafiyah became more accepting of others, leading to many students from other ideologies joining the ranks. Moreover, nationalistic ideas crept into Islamic thoughts in the post-invasion era, leading to a mixture of ideologies rendering one ‘moderate’ or ‘conservative’ that was described by stricter Islamists as ‘lenient’.
Framing the fall of Sinjar: Kurdish media’s coverage of the Yazidi genocide
By: Hawre Hasan Hama
Abstract: In the early morning of 3 August 2014, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attacked the Sinjar district in the vicinity of Mosul. The area was largely under the control of Kurdish forces at the time, especially those associated with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). Those forces could not defend the district and ISIS was able to take control of the area. Consequently, a considerable number of Yazidi people were killed or displaced, while female Yazidis were raped and kidnapped. This study, based on framing theory, attempts to explain how two major Kurdish media organizations, Rudaw, which is loyal to KDP, and the Kurdish News Network (KNN), which is loyal to the Gorran (Change) Movement, each covered the event in their news reports. By performing a content analysis of 222 news stories covering the event, the key finding of the research is that, in instances of assigning responsibility for the fall of Sinjar, political considerations are the determining factor in how the narrative was framed. Taken as part of a growing literature on media in Kurdistan, the research outlined in this article supports the conclusion that the framing of media coverage in the Kurdistan Region is subject to strong political bias and media organizations support the political narratives advanced by their political patrons, as it is the case in many other Middle Eastern countries.
Determinants of Arab public opinion on the Caliphate: Islamist elites, religiosity and socioeconomic conditions
By: Amir Abdul Reda
Abstract: What are the determinants of public opinion on the issue of the Caliphate in the Arab world? My answer to this question outlines the key role played by Islamist elites, religiosity and age in influencing Arab opinion on the issue of the Caliphate in three countries during the early Age of Islamism (1980s–1990s). I do so by using Binary Logistic Regression Models on observations that I found in survey data collected in 1988 in Egypt and Kuwait, and an Ordinal Logistic Regression Model for data collected in Palestine in 1995. My results suggest that elites play a key role in spreading Islamist ideas in Egypt and Palestine, while age and religiosity are most salient in Kuwait.
The council of expediency: crisis and statecraft in Iran and beyond
By: Maziyar Ghiabi
Abstract: Giorgio Agamben argues that in contemporary governance the use of ‘emergency’ is no longer provisional, but ‘constitutes a permanent technology of government’ and has produced the extrajudicial notion of crisis. The engendering of ‘zones of indistinction’ between the law and its practice is what Agamben defines as a ‘state of exception’. This article adopts the notion enunciated by Agamben and revisits it in the Islamic Republic of Iran. There, the category of crisis has been given, firstly, a juridical status through the institution of maslahat, ‘expediency’, interpreted in a secular encounter between Shica theological exegesis and modern statecraft. Secondly, crisis has not led to the production of a ‘state of exception’ as Agamben argues. Instead, since the late 1980s, a sui generis institution, the Expediency Council, has presided and decided over matters of crisis. Instead of leaving blind spots in the production of legislative power, the Expediency Council takes charge of those spheres of ambiguity where the ‘normal’ – and normative – means of the law would have otherwise failed to deliver. This is a first study of this peculiar institution, which invites further engagement with political phenomena through the deconstruction and theorization of crisis politics.
Near Eastern Archaeology (Volume 82, Issue 2)
By: Carlos Gracia Zamacona
Abstract: The Middle Kingdom Theban Project, begun in 2014 under the auspices of the Freie Universität Berlin, represents the resumption of the archaeological activities in the Middle Kingdom necropolis of Deir el-Bahari and Asasif. The site had previously been excavated under the auspices of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, initiated by Herbert Eustis Winlock in 1912 with survey activities followed by excavations from 1921–1922 until 1928 (Arnold 1996: 59). Winlock’s excavations had been preceded by Howard Carter’s in 1910–1911 (Morales et al. 2016: 258). The current excavations began in 2015, and have continued annually through 2018 (Morales et al. 2016, 2017, and 2018) under the auspices of the Universidad de Alcalá (Madrid, Spain), with a fifth season scheduled for October 2019.
Two Punic Stelae Rediscovered in Philadelphia
By: Jean MacIntosh Turfa
Abstract: In the University of Pennsylvania Museum, Philadelphia, two small, fragmentary Punic stelae were found in storage by Asian Section Keeper Stephen Lang.1 They were remnants from a large donation, made over a century ago, of part of the variegated collection of Maxwell Sommerville, perhaps best known for engraved gems of all kinds, and also much Asian material. Sommerville (1829–1904) was an affluent Philadelphia businessman who devoted his later life (and funds) to world travel and the collection of antiquities in Europe, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, and North Africa as well as China, Japan, India, Burma, and Thailand. He published memoirs of his travels and catalogues and discussions of the gems and seals. His collection, originally exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (1888–1891), was placed in the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania (1891) and remained there upon his bequest (see Berges 2002: 11–19). Although Sommerville’s memoir Sands of Sahara (1901) describes some of his North African travels, there is no reference to his acquisition of the Punic artifacts.
A New Jewelry Hoard from Eleventh-Century BCE Megiddo
By: Eran Arie, Elisabetta Boaretto, Mario A. S. Martin, Dvory Namdar, Orit Shamir, Naama Yahalom-Mack
Abstract: A magnificent new jewelry hoard was uncovered on July 11, 2010 in Area H of the northwestern sector of Tel Megiddo. This site in the Jezreel Valley (Israel) is one of the most important in the southern Levant thanks to four archaeological expeditions that have thoroughly excavated the mound and rapidly published the results of their digs (Ussishkin 2018). All expeditions unearthed hoards of different types from the Late Bronze and Iron Ages (Hall 2016). This new hoard was unearthed in a destruction debris, securely dated to the Early Iron Age I, ca. 1070 BCE (local Level H-11, which equals University of Chicago’s Stratum VIIA). During this period, part of a building (remnants of two rooms and an inner courtyard surrounded by three large open courtyards) was found in this area (figs. 1–2; Finkelstein et al. 2017: 267–69). The building is positioned only about 30 m from Canaanite Palace 2041 of the city of Stratum VIIA. This article offers a preliminary publication of the hoard; a full report will soon be published in the Megiddo VI volume (Arie forthcoming a).
Identifying a Dionysian Community in Ashkelon’s Eastern Cemetery
By: Davida Eisenberg-Degen, Ilan Peretz, Eriola Jakoel
Abstract: Ashkelon’s Eastern Cemetery was in continuous use for more than half a millennium, from the Hellenistic through Late Byzantine periods (fig. 1). Several excavations carried out in Ashkelon’s Eastern Cemetery reveal simple hewn graves alongside burial structures (Eisenberg-Degen 2017; Peretz 2017 and references listed there). Grave goods were found in several burials dating to the Roman period. Depositing funerary offerings was a common practice in the Roman era. Roughly a third of the excavated Eastern Cemetery (fig. 2, n=24) contained grave goods (Eisenberg-Degen 2017). Taking into account that some pilfering and plundering most likely took place, this figure is consistent with percentages noted in other Roman-period burials (Findlater et al. 2013: 69–80; Winter 2015: 82–87).
Joseph’s Tomb: A Model of Traditional Islamic Shrines in Palestine
By: Loay Abu Alsaud, Amer Al-Qobbaj
Abstract: Joseph’s Shrine is located on the outskirts of the eastern side of the city of Nablus (fig. 1), near Tell Balatah, the site of the Canaanite City of Shechem, and 300 m northwest of Jacob’s Well (Pummer 1993: 139; Bruce 1994: 102). Joseph’s tomb has been venerated throughout the ages by Samaritans (for whom it is the second-holiest site), Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The total area of Joseph’s Shrine is 661 m² and it is located in Block 5, parcel 10, according to early Islamic Immovable Property Records from the Department of Al Awqaf Al Islamyah (Jordanian Islamic Endowments), Nablus (fig. 2). Originally situated on an agricultural plain, it is now surrounded by buildings, due to expansion of housing and schools in central Balata.