The African Renaissance and the Afro-Arab Spring addresses the often unspoken connection between the powerful call for a political-cultural renaissance that emerged with the end of South African apartheid and the popular revolts of 2011 that dramatically remade the landscape in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. Looking between southern and northern Africa, the transcontinental line from Cape to Cairo that for so long supported colonialism, its chapters explore the deep roots of these two decisive events and demonstrate how they are linked by shared opposition to legacies of political, economic, and cultural subjugation. As they work from African, Islamic, and Western perspectives, the book’s contributors shed important light on a continent’s difficult history and undertake a critical conversation about whether and how the desire for radical change holds the possibility of a new beginning for Africa, a beginning that may well reshape the contours of global affairs.
Contemporary mass media descriptions of Muslims often suggest that Islam and Muslims are fundamentally undemocratic. Policy-makers in the West have weaponized these descriptions in attempts to legitimize anti-Muslim right-wing policy developments across the West and in the United States in particular, from surveillance in the aftermath of 9/11 to the anti-Islamic travel ban of 2017. But are Muslims undemocratic? Ahmed Khanani argues that this is not the case. In All Politics are God's Politics, Khanani shows that in fact, the opposite holds true: for socially conservative, politically active Muslims (Islamists), democracy or dimuqrāṭiyya reflects and extends their religious values. By drawing on conversations with over 100 Islamists in Morocco, this book enables readers to understand and appreciate the significance of dimuqrāṭiyya as a concept alongside new prospects for Islam and democracy in the Arab Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Khanani's in-depth analysis of the Moroccan case brings these Islamists and their attending political views to the forefront.
On television, the Arab Spring took place in Cairo, Tunis, and the city-states of the Persian Gulf. Yet the drama of 2010, and the decade of subsequent activism, extended beyond the cities—indeed, beyond Arabs. Bruce Maddy-Weitzman brings to light the sustained post–Arab Spring political movement of North Africa’s Amazigh people.
The Amazigh movement did not begin with the Arab Spring, but it has changed significantly since then. Amazigh Politics in the Wake of the Arab Spring details the increasingly material goals of Amazigh activism, as protest has shifted from the arena of ethnocultural recognition to that of legal and socioeconomic equality. Amazigh communities responded to the struggles for freedom around them by pressing territorial and constitutional claims while rejecting official discrimination and neglect. Arab activists, steeped in postcolonial nationalism and protective of their hegemonic position, largely refused their support, yet flailing regimes were forced to respond to sharpening Amazigh demands or else jeopardize their threadbare legitimacy. Today the Amazigh question looms larger than ever, as North African governments find they can no longer ignore the movement’s interests.
A new movement is emerging in Egyptian literature—urban in its energies; cosmopolitan in its national, Arabic, and western influences; and independent and rowdy in its voice. For centuries, Arabic literature mandated traditional, unchanging, highly structured language and forms. In the 1960s and 1970s, writers rebelled to write in a variety of vernaculars. Now, young Egyptian poets are inventing new ways of writing. Rejecting both traditional Arabic formalism and the vernacular rebellion—and, contradictorily, drawing equally on these traditions and others—they radically combine and recombine influences and bring new experiences into their poetry. They embrace experimentation. Rejected at first by the literary establishment, these poets founded their own magazines, one of which appropriated a derisive term that had been used to dismiss them: Locusts. Now one of Egypt's most honored translators and writers has joined with one of those Locusts to gather a selection of this postmodern writing in one place for the first time. With its edginess and play of styles, this collection showcases a dynamic, emergent scene.
How did Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood win power so quickly after the dramatic “Arab Spring” uprising that ended President Hosni Mubarak’s thirty-year reign in February 2011? And why did the Brotherhood fall from power even more quickly, culminating with the popular “rebellion” and military coup that toppled Egypt’s first elected president, Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi, in July 2013? In Arab Fall, Eric Trager examines the Brotherhood’s decision making throughout this critical period, explaining its reasons for joining the 2011 uprising, running for a majority of the seats in the 2011–2012 parliamentary elections, and nominating a presidential candidate despite its initial promise not to do so. Based on extensive research in Egypt and interviews with dozens of Brotherhood leaders and cadres including Morsi, Trager argues that the very organizational characteristics that helped the Brotherhood win power also contributed to its rapid downfall. The Brotherhood’s intensive process for recruiting members and its rigid nationwide command-chain meant that it possessed unparalleled mobilizing capabilities for winning the first post-Mubarak parliamentary and presidential elections.
Yet the Brotherhood’s hierarchical organizational culture, in which dissenters are banished and critics are viewed as enemies of Islam, bred exclusivism. This alienated many Egyptians, including many within Egypt’s state institutions. The Brotherhood’s insularity also prevented its leaders from recognizing how quickly the country was slipping from their grasp, leaving hundreds of thousands of Muslim Brothers entirely unprepared for the brutal crackdown that followed Morsi’s overthrow. Trager concludes with an assessment of the current state of Egyptian politics and examines the Brotherhood’s prospects for reemerging.
The first book to present an analysis of Arab response to fascism and Nazism from the perspectives of both individual countries and the Arab world at large, this collection problematizes and ultimately deconstructs the established narratives that assume most Arabs supported fascism and Nazism leading up to and during World War II. Using new source materials taken largely from Arab memoirs, archives, and print media, the articles reexamine Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese, Palestinian, and Iraqi responses in the 1930s and throughout the war.
While acknowledging the individuals, forces, and organizations that did support and collaborate with Nazi Germany and fascist Italy, Arab Responses to Fascism and Nazism focuses on the many other Arab voices that identified with Britain and France and with the Allied cause during the war. The authors argue that many groups within Arab societies—elites and non-elites, governing forces, and civilians—rejected Nazism and fascism as totalitarian, racist, and, most important, as new, more oppressive forms of European imperialism. The essays in this volume argue that, in contrast to prevailing beliefs that Arabs were de facto supporters of Italy and Germany—since “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”—mainstream Arab forces and currents opposed the Axis powers and supported the Allies during the war. They played a significant role in the battles for control over the Middle East.
Comparing Arabic in Israel to Arabic in the Levant and across the diaspora, this book illuminates the unique socio-political conditions and features of speaking Arabic in Israel.
Drawing on both ethnographic fieldwork and sociolinguistics, Arabic Between State and Nation analyzes the political conditions of Arabic in Israel. While linguists often treat Arabic speakers of the Levant as belonging to one dialect group, this book makes a novel contribution by studying the unique sociopolitical situation of the use of Arabic in the Jewish state, and particularly in East Jerusalem. That perspective is important in light of the removal of Arabic as an official language in Israel in 2018. The book’s study of Arabic in Israel is enhanced through comparisons to the political conditions of Arabic found in the Levant and among the Arabic-speaking diaspora in communities such as Dearborn, Michigan. These comparisons consider both large- and small-scale factors, ranging from the role of nation-state building to daily public usage of Arabic. Arabic Between State and Nation reaches far beyond linguistic differences to go to the heart of the political, social, and economic despair faced by multiple communities.
What is an Arab? Though many in the West would answer that question with simplistic stereotypes, the reality is far more complex and interesting. Arabs themselves have been debating Arab identity since pre-Islamic times, coming to a variety of conclusions about the nature and extent of their “Arabness.” Likewise, Westerners and others have attempted to analyze Arab identity, reaching mostly negative conclusions about Arab culture and capacity for self-government. To bring new perspectives to the question of Arab identity, Iraqi-born scholar Nissim Rejwan has assembled this fascinating collection of writings by Arab and Western intellectuals, who try to define what it means to be Arab. He begins with pre-Islamic times and continues to the last decades of the twentieth century, quoting thinkers ranging from Ibn Khaldun to modern writers such as al-Ansari, Haykal, Ahmad Amin, al-'Azm, and Said. Through their works, Rejwan shows how Arabs have grappled with such significant issues as the influence of Islam, the rise of nationalism, the quest for democracy, women's status, the younger generation, Egypt's place in the Arab world, Israel's role in Middle Eastern conflict, and the West's “cultural invasion.” By letting Arabs speak for themselves, Arabs in the Mirror refutes a prominent Western stereotype—that Arabs are incapable of self-reflection or self-government. On the contrary, it reveals a rich tradition of self-criticism and self-knowledge in the Arab world.
Islamic literature is rich, varied, and abundant, as befits the literature of a civilization which once controlled an empire as great as that of the Romans. In Aspects of Islamic Civilization, A. J. Arberry has chosen and translated passages from the most highly regarded works of Islamic literature in order to illustrate the development of Islamic civilization from its origins in the sixth century to the present.
This anthology is made up of selections from Arabic and Persian writers who have given world renown to Islamic literature—such as Hafiz, Sa'di, Jalal al-Din Rumi, Omar Khayyam, Ibn al-Farid, Avicenna, Ibn Hazm—and from such works as the Koran, the Masnavi, and the Moorish Anthology. It is an invaluable collection of sources for anyone interested in the Moslem world and a fascinating volume to browse in.
Working with stylized typographic and calligraphic forms, Egyptian-Lebanese street artist Bahia Shehab brings creative presentations of language and culture to public spaces around the world. During the Egyptian revolution of 2011, she began taking to the streets to paint. Starting in Cairo, Shehab began creating large-scale public art as a form of resistance against military rule and violence. With her spray can in hand, this artist, designer, and historian set out to spread beautiful and empowering images in the face of tumultuous times. Now she has taken her peaceful resistance to the streets of the world, creating works in cities from New York to Tokyo, Amsterdam, and Honolulu. Engaging with identity and the preservation of cultural heritage, Shehab creates work that investigates Islamic art history and reinterprets contemporary Arab politics, feminist discourse, and social issues. Internationally renowned, Shehab’s work has been on display in exhibitions, galleries, and city streets across the world and has earned her a number of international recognitions and awards, including the BBC 100 Women list, TED Senior fellowship, and a Prince Claus Award. In 2016, she became the first Arab woman to receive the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture.
At the Corner of a Dream offers extensive documentation of Shehab’s powerful street paintings. It also chronicles the stories of the people she meets along her journeys and includes her observations from the streets of each new city she visits. Shehab’s work is a manifesto, a cry for freedom and dignity, and a call to never stop dreaming.
"Pamuk is a writer who shares my reverence for the great art of the novel. He takes the novel seriously in a way that is perhaps no longer possible for Western writers, boldly describing it as European civilization’s greatest invention."—Michael McGaha
Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk is a prominent voice in Turkish literature, speaking to the country’s history, culture, and politics. In 2006, he became the first Turkish writer to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Autobiographies of Orhan Pamuk is the first book-length study of the life and writings of Pamuk. It provides both a historical and cultural context that will help readers better understand and appreciate both the man and his work. It begins with a brief biography, outlines Pamuk’s contributions to Turkish literature and history, examines how his art has evolved over the past thirty years, and discusses some of the writers who provided inspiration. Though his books deal with specifically Turkish issues, like all great literature the themes they explore are universal. In addition to a thorough analysis of his seven published novels, including Snow and My Name is Red, an entire chapter is devoted to his first two novels, Cevdet Bey and Sons and The Silent House, which have yet to be translated into English.
This is a comprehensive examination of the Nobel laureate’s work, free of jargon and of interest to anyone who enjoys good literature.