New Books in Middle Eastern Studies

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Interviews with Scholars of the Middle East about their New Books

Marshall Poe


    • Sep 22, 2022 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekdays NEW EPISODES
    • 58m AVG DURATION
    • 717 EPISODES


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    Latest episodes from New Books in Middle Eastern Studies

    Dario Miccoli, "A Sephardi Sea: Jewish Memories Across the Modern Mediterranean" (Indiana UP, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2022 69:51


    A Sephardi Sea: Jewish Memories Across the Modern Mediterranean (Indiana UP, 2022) tells the story of Jews from the southern shore of the Mediterranean who, between the late 1940s and the mid-1960s, migrated from their country of birth for Europe, Israel, and beyond. It is a story that explores their contrasting memories of and feelings for a Sephardi Jewish world in North Africa and Egypt that is lost forever but whose echoes many still hear. Surely, some of these Jewish migrants were already familiar with their new countries of residence because of colonial ties or of Zionism, and often spoke the language. Why, then, was the act of leaving so painful and why, more than fifty years afterward, is its memory still so tangible? Dario Miccoli examines how the memories of a bygone Sephardi Mediterranean world became preserved in three national contexts—Israel, France, and Italy—where the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa and their descendants migrated and nowadays live. A Sephardi Sea explores how practices of memory- and heritage-making—from the writing of novels and memoirs to the opening of museums and memorials, the activities of heritage associations and state-led celebrations—has filled an identity vacuum in the three countries and helps the Jews from North Africa and Egypt to define their Jewishness in Europe and Israel today but also reinforce their connection to a vanished world now remembered with nostalgia, affection, and sadness. Roberto Mazza is currently an independent scholar. He is the host of the Jerusalem Unplugged Podcast and to discuss and propose a book for interview can be reached at robbymazza@gmail.com. Twitter and IG: @robbyref Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Sara Ronis, "Demons in the Details: Demonic Discourse and Rabbinic Culture in Late Antique Babylonia" (U California Press, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 19, 2022 64:30


    The Babylonian Talmud is full of stories of demonic encounters, and it also includes many laws that attempt to regulate such encounters. In Demons in the Details: Demonic Discourse and Rabbinic Culture in Late Antique Babylonia (University of California Press, 2022), Sara Ronis takes the reader on a journey across the rabbinic canon, exploring how late antique rabbis imagined, feared, and controlled demons. Ronis contextualizes the Talmud's thought within the rich cultural matrix of Sasanian Babylonia, placing rabbinic thinking in conversation with Sumerian, Akkadian, Ugaritic, Syriac Christian, Zoroastrian, and Second Temple Jewish texts about demons to delve into the interactive communal context in which the rabbis created boundaries between the human and the supernatural, and between themselves and other religious communities. Demons in the Details explores the wide range of ways that the rabbis participated in broader discussions about beliefs and practices with their neighbors, out of which they created a profoundly Jewish demonology. Sara Ronis is Associate Professor of Theology at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas. Schneur Zalman Newfield is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, and the author of Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Temple University Press, 2020). Visit him online at ZalmanNewfield.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Lara Sheehi and Stephen Sheehi, "Psychoanalysis Under Occupation: Practicing Resistance in Palestine" (Routledge, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 19, 2022 77:55


    On this episode, J.J. Mull interviews co-authors Lara and Stephen Sheehi about their book, Psychoanalysis Under Occupation: Practicing Resistance in Palestine (Routledge, 2021). As they discuss in the interview, the book represents years of research, engagement, and relationship-building with and alongside psychoanalytically oriented Palestinian clinicians working throughout historic Palestine. These relationships and solidarities form the base from which the authors start to think about the intersection of psychoanalysis, decoloniality, and liberatory practice. J.J. Mull is a poet, training clinician, and fellow in the Program for Psychotherapy at Cambridge Health Alliance. Originally from the west coast, he currently lives and bikes in Somerville, MA. He can be reached at: jay.c.mull@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Corinne E. Blackmer, "Queering Anti-Zionism: Academic Freedom, LGBTQ Intellectuals, and Israel/Palestine Campus Activism" (Wayne State UP, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 19, 2022 32:59


    Why do some scholars sacrifice truth and logic to political ideology and peer acceptance? With courage and intellectual integrity, queer scholar-activist Corinne Blackmer stages a pointed critique of scholars whose anti-Israel bias pervades their activism as well as their academic work. In contrast to the posturing that characterizes her colleagues' work, this work demonstrates true scholarship and makes an important contribution to the field of Israel studies. In Queering Anti-Zionism: Academic Freedom, LGBTQ Intellectuals, and Israel/Palestine Campus Activism (Wayne State UP, 2022), Blackmer demonstrates how the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to delegitimize and isolate Israel has become a central part of social justice advocacy on campus, particularly within gender and sexuality studies programs. The chapters focus on the intellectual work of Sarah Schulman, Jasbir Puar, Angela Davis, Dean Spade, and Judith Butler, demonstrating how they misapply critical theory in their discussions of the State of Israel. Blackmer shows how these LGBTQ intellectuals mobilize queer theory and intersectionality to support the BDS movement at the expense of academic freedom, open discourse, and intellectual integrity. Send comments and suggestions to: reneeg@vanleer.org.il Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Kimberley Czajkowski and Benedikt Eckhardt, "Herod in History: Nicolaus of Damascus and the Augustan Context" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 12, 2022 90:24


    Most of our information about Herod the Great derives from the accounts found in Josephus' Jewish War and Jewish Antiquities. Together they constitute a unique resource on one of the most famous personalities of ancient history. But from where did Josephus get his information? It is commonly agreed that his primary source was Nicolaus of Damascus, Herod's court historian, though the extent to which Josephus adapted his material remains disputed.  Herod in History: Nicolaus of Damascus and the Augustan Context (Oxford UP, 2021) takes a modern, source-critical approach to Josephus' extensive account of Herod's reign to suggest that Josephus did indeed rely heavily on Nicolaus's work, but that previous scholarship was mistaken in seeing Nicolaus as a mere propagandist. Nicolaus may have begun his Universal History while Herod was alive, but he finished it after his death and so had no reason to write propaganda. This makes his work all the more interesting, for what we have instead is something rather different: a Syrian intellectual claiming a place in Augustan Rome, by telling a story about what the Augustan World looks like on the Eastern periphery. Kimberley Czajkowski and Benedikt Eckhardt delineate Nicolaus' approach to various critical topics in Herod's reign in order to reveal his perception of client kingship, the impact of empire, and the difficulties involved in ruling Judaea. This study uncovers an Eastern intellectual's view on how to succeed and how to fail in the new Augustan world order. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Jonathan Wyrtzen, "Worldmaking in the Long Great War: How Local and Colonial Struggles Shaped the Modern Middle East" (Columbia UP, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 9, 2022 62:10


    It is widely believed that the political problems of the Middle East date back to the era of World War I, when European colonial powers unilaterally imposed artificial borders on the post-Ottoman world in postwar agreements. This book offers a new account of how the Great War unmade and then remade the political order of the region. Ranging from Morocco to Iran and spanning the eve of the Great War into the 1930s, it demonstrates that the modern Middle East was shaped through complex and violent power struggles among local and international actors. Jonathan Wyrtzen shows how the cataclysm of the war opened new possibilities for both European and local actors to reimagine post-Ottoman futures. After the 1914–1918 phase of the war, violent conflicts between competing political visions continued across the region. In these extended struggles, the greater Middle East was reforged. Wyrtzen emphasizes the intersections of local and colonial projects and the entwined processes through which states were made, identities transformed, and boundaries drawn. This book's vast scope encompasses successful state-building projects such as the Turkish Republic and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well as short-lived political units—including the Rif Republic in Morocco, the Sanusi state in eastern Libya, a Greater Syria, and attempted Kurdish states—that nonetheless left traces on the map of the region. Drawing on a wide range of sources, Worldmaking in the Long Great War: How Local and Colonial Struggles Shaped the Modern Middle East (Columbia UP, 2022) retells the origin story of the modern Middle East. Ronay Bakan is a Ph.D. student at the Department of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    L. L. Wynn and Angel M. Foster, "Sex in the Middle East and North Africa" (Vanderbilt UP, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 8, 2022 65:10


    L. L. Wynn and Angel M. Foster,'s edited volume Sex in the Middle East and North Africa (Vanderbilt UP, 2022) examines the sexual practices, politics, and complexities of the modern Arab world. Short chapters feature a variety of experts in anthropology, sociology, health science, and cultural studies. Many of the chapters are based on original ethnographic and interview work with subjects involved in these practices and include their voices. The book is organized into three sections: Single and Dating, Engaged and Married, and It's Complicated. The allusion to categories of relationship status on social media is at once a nod to the compulsion to categorize, recognition of the many ways that categorization is rarely straightforward, and acknowledgment that much of the intimate lives described by the contributors is mediated by online technologies. Mathew Gagné is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Dalhousie University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Tilde Rosmer, "The Islamic Movement in Israel" (U Texas Press, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 7, 2022 80:13


    Since its establishment in the late 1970s, Israel's Islamic Movement has grown from a small religious revivalist organization focused on strengthening the faith of Muslim Palestinian citizens of Israel to a countrywide sociopolitical movement with representation in the Israeli legislature. But how did it get here? How does it differ from other Islamic movements in the region? Particularly, what are the differences and connections – if any – with Hamas? And why does its membership continue to grow? Tilde Rosmer examines these issues in The Islamic Movement in Israel (U Texas Press, 2022) as she tells the story of the movement, its identity, and its activities. Using interviews with movement leaders and activists, their documents, and media reports from Israel and beyond, she traces the movement's history from its early days to its 1996 split over the issue of its relationship to the state. She then tell us how the two factions have functioned since, revealing that while leaders of the two branches have pursued different approaches to the state, until the outlawing of the Northern Branch in 2015, both remained connected and dedicated to providing needed social, education, and health services in Israel's Palestinian towns and villages. The first book in English on this group, The Islamic Movement in Israel is a timely study about how an Islamist movement operates within the unique circumstances of the Jewish state that may also help the listeners to make sense of the upcoming Israeli elections. Roberto Mazza is visiting professor at Northwestern University. He is the host of the Jerusalem Unplugged Podcast and to discuss and propose a book for interview can be reached at robbymazza@gmail.com. Twitter and IG: @robbyref Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Dylan Baun, "Winning Lebanon: Youth Politics, Populism, and the Production of Sectarian Violence, 1920–1958" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 2, 2022 63:57


    By the mid-twentieth century, youth movements around the globe ruled the streets. In Lebanon, young people in these groups attended lectures, sang songs, and participated in sporting events; their music tastes, clothing choices and routine activities shaped their identities. Yet scholars of modern Lebanon often focus exclusively on the sectarian makeup and violent behaviors of these socio-political groupings, obscuring the youth cultures that they forged. Using unique sources to highlight the daily lives of the young men and women of Lebanon's youth politics, Dylan Baun traces the political and cultural history of a diverse set of youth-centric organizations from the 1920s to 1950s to reveal how these youth movements played significant roles in the making of the modern Middle East.  Outlining how youth movements established a distinct type of politics and populism, Winning Lebanon: Youth Politics, Populism, and the Production of Sectarian Violence, 1920–1958 (Cambridge UP, 2020) reveals that these groups both encouraged the political socialization of different types of youth, and, through their attempts to 'win' Lebanon - physically and metaphorically - around the 1958 War, helped produce sectarian violence. This book can be read in multiple ways, one focusing on youth and one focusing on Lebanese politics – these are not at all mutually exclusive – offering the readers a fascinating entry into the complex history of Lebanon of the post Mandatory state. Roberto Mazza is visiting professor at Northwestern University. He is the host of the Jerusalem Unplugged Podcast and to discuss and propose a book for interview can be reached at robbymazza@gmail.com. Twitter and IG: @robbyref Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Matthew Teller, "Nine Quarters of Jerusalem: A New Biography of the Old City" (Other Press, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 1, 2022 51:40


    Jerusalem's Old City is normally understood to be split into four quarters: the Jewish Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, the Christian Quarter, and the Muslim Quarter. Those designations can be found on maps, on guidebooks, on news articles, and countless other pieces of writing about the city. But as Matthew Teller points out in his latest book, Nine Quarters of Jerusalem: A New Biography of the Old City (Profile Books / Other Press, 2022): the idea of the “four quarters” is entirely a nineteenth century creation, invented by a couple of British mapmakers. Instead, Teller explores Jerusalem and all its myriad peoples–not just the Israelis and the Palestinians, but the Africans, Syrians, and other peoples that call the holy city their home. In this interview, Matthew and I talk about how we should actually think about Jerusalem, and all the different people that make the city what it is today. Matthew Teller writes for the BBC, The Guardian, Times of London, Financial Times, and other global media. He has produced and presented documentaries for BBC Radio and has reported for the BBC's From Our Own Correspondent program from around the Middle East and beyond. He is the author of several travel guides, including the Rough Guide to Jordan (Rough Guides: 2012). He is also the author of Quite Alone: Journalism from the Middle East 2008–2019. He can be followed on Twitter at @matthewteller. You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of Nine Quarters of Jerusalem. Follow on Facebook or on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia. Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at@nickrigordon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Hussein Aboubakr Mansour, "Minority Of One: The Unchaining of an Arab Mind" (2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 30, 2022 43:34


    “Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.” ― George Orwell, 1984 How do people change? How does someone living in a closed and oppressive society develop insights and a worldview at odds with everything around them and everyone they know? This is the journey of change for one such person. Hussein Aboubakr Mansour, born in 1989 in Cairo, Egypt received a conservative Muslim education and grew up religiously devout, originally wanting to become a jihadist. While witnessing the creeping radicalization of society, he developed his own personal beliefs, pursuing with strength and determination the right to live freely. He participated in the Arab Spring protests in 2011 and soon afterward sought political asylum in the United States which was granted in 2014. Hussein has since served as an Assistant Professor of Hebrew Language at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, become a U.S citizen in 2017, served in the U.S Army Reserve, and is currently a public speaker, a blogger and an advocate for peace and education. Through a very circuitous route, Hussein Aboubakr grew to challenge the all-pervasive propaganda in his native Egypt, driving its citizens to hate the West and all Infidels, in particular The United States, the state of Israel and the Jewish people. His deeply inquisitive intellect led him to suffer interrogations, imprisonments and torture, until finally being granted political asylum in the U.S. Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, writer, Middle East television commentator and host of The New Books Network's Van Leer Jerusalem Series on Ideas. Write her at reneeg@vanleer.org.il Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Shaul Adar, "On the Border: The Rise and Decline of the Most Political Club in the World" (Pitch Publishing, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 29, 2022 68:01


    In December 2020, an Israeli football club made worldwide headlines. The news that a UAE royal had bought 50 per cent of Beitar's shares shook Israel and the football world. Beitar, proclaimed by some of its own fans as 'the most racist club in the country', is a club like no other in Israel. While Israeli football as a whole is a space where Israelis of all ethnicities and foreigners can co-exist, Beitar won't even sign a Muslim player for fear of its own far-right supporters' group, La Familia.  On the Border: The Rise and Decline of the Most Political Club in the World (Pitch Publishing, 2022) is the fascinating tale of a club that began as a sports movement of a liberal national Zionism party and became an overt symbol of right-wing views, Mizrahi identity and eventually hardcore racism and nationalism. The book explores the radicalisation of Beitar and the fight for the soul of the club between the racists and open-minded fans. It is also a story of Jerusalem, the most volatile place on Earth, and how the holy city and the influence of religion have shaped Beitar. Founded in 1936, the club took its name from a Zionist organization set up in 1923 by students in the capital of Latvia, Riga, following a visit by Ze'ev Jabotinsky, the Zionist Revisionist and founder of the para­military group Irgun. Beitar's story mirrors that of its city. For thirty years, under the British Mandate, impoverished young Mizrahim (Jews from Arab countries) had kicked a ball around Jerusalem's Musrara neighbourhood with Arab friends. The war of 1948 changed that. Subsequent events sharpened the divide, leading to the unrepentant racism of La Familia, Beitar “ultras” who began by making monkey noises at a player from Cameroon and graduated to chants threatening death to Arabs. Employing violence and intimi­dation, they ensured no Muslim could play for Beitar, thereby betraying a key element of Jabotinsky's scheme – equality for Arabs. Roberto Mazza is visiting professor at Northwestern University. He is the host of the Jerusalem Unplugged Podcast and to discuss and propose a book for interview can be reached at robbymazza@gmail.com. Twitter and IG: @robbyref Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Greg Woolf, "The Life and Death of Ancient Cities: A Natural History" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 29, 2022 50:53


    The human race is on a 10,000 year urban adventure. Our ancestors wandered the planet or lived scattered in villages, yet by the end of this century almost all of us will live in cities. But that journey has not been a smooth one and urban civilizations have risen and fallen many times in history. The ruins of many of them still enchant us. The Life and Death of Ancient Cities: A Natural History (Oxford University Press, 2020) by Dr. Greg Woolf tells the story of the rise and fall of ancient cities from the end of the Bronze Age to the beginning of the Middle Ages. It is a tale of war and politics, pestilence and famine, triumph and tragedy, by turns both fabulous and squalid. Its focus is on the ancient Mediterranean: Greeks and Romans at the centre, but Phoenicians and Etruscans, Persians, Gauls, and Egyptians all play a part. The story begins with the Greek discovery of much more ancient urban civilizations in Egypt and the Near East, and charts the gradual spread of urbanism to the Atlantic and then the North Sea in the centuries that followed. The ancient Mediterranean, where our story begins, was a harsh environment for urbanism. So how were cities first created, and then sustained for so long, in these apparently unpromising surroundings? How did they feed themselves, where did they find water and building materials, and what did they do with their waste and their dead? Why, in the end, did their rulers give up on them? And what it was like to inhabit urban worlds so unlike our own - cities plunged into darkness every night, cities dominated by the temples of the gods, cities of farmers, cities of slaves, cities of soldiers. Ultimately, the chief characters in the story are the cities themselves. Athens and Sparta, Persepolis and Carthage, Rome and Alexandria: cities that formed great families. Their story encompasses the history of the generations of people who built and inhabited them, whose short lives left behind monuments that have inspired city builders ever since - and whose ruins stand as stark reminders to the 21st century of the perils as well as the potential rewards of an urban existence. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Kareem Rabie, "Palestine Is Throwing a Party and the Whole World Is Invited: Capital and State Building in the West Bank" (Duke UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 26, 2022 62:32


    In 2008, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad invited international investors to the first-ever Palestine Investment Conference, which was designed to jump-start the process of integrating Palestine into the global economy. As Fayyad described the conference, Palestine is “throwing a party, and the whole world is invited.” In Palestine Is Throwing a Party and the Whole World Is Invited: Capital and State Building in the West Bank (Duke UP, 2021), Kareem Rabie examines how the conference and Fayyad's rhetoric represented a wider shift in economic and political practice in ways that oriented state-scale Palestinian politics toward neoliberal globalization rather than a diplomatic two-state solution. Rabie demonstrates that private firms, international aid organizations, and the Palestinian government in the West Bank focused on large-scale private housing development in an effort toward state-scale economic stability and market building. This approach reflected the belief that a thriving private economy would lead to a free and functioning Palestinian state. Yet, as Rabie contends, these investment-based policies have maintained the status quo of occupation and Palestine's subordinate and suspended political and economic relationship with Israel. Adam Bobeck is a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Leipzig. His PhD is entitled “Object-Oriented Azadari: Shi'i Muslim Rituals and Ontology”. For more about his work, see www.adambobeck.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Philip Hollander, "From Schlemiel to Sabra: Zionist Masculinity and Palestinian Hebrew Literature" (Indiana UP, 2019)

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 25, 2022 127:15


    In From Schlemiel to Sabra: Zionist Masculinity and Palestinian Hebrew Literature (Indiana UP, 2019), Philip Hollander examines how masculine ideals and images of the New Hebrew man shaped the Israeli state. In this innovative book, Hollander uncovers the complex relationship that Jews had with masculinity, interrogating narratives depicting masculinity in the new state as a transition from weak, feminized schlemiels to robust, muscular, and rugged Israelis. Turning to key literary texts by S. Y. Agnon, Y. H. Brenner, L. A. Arieli, and Aharon Reuveni, Hollander reveals how gender and sexuality were intertwined to promote a specific Zionist political agenda. A Zionist masculinity grounded in military prowess could not only protect the new state but also ensure its procreative needs and future. Self-awareness, physical power, fierce loyalty to the state and devotion to the land, humility, and nurture of the young were essential qualities that needed to be cultivated in migrants to the state. By turning to the early literature of Zionist Palestine, Hollander shows how Jews strove to construct a better Jewish future. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Yael Halevi-Wise, "The Retrospective Imagination of A. B. Yehoshua" (Penn State UP, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 24, 2022 91:33


    Once referred to by the New York Times as the "Israeli Faulkner," A. B. Yehoshua's fiction invites an assessment of Israel's Jewish inheritance and the moral and political options that the country currently faces in the Middle East. The Retrospective Imagination of A. B. Yehoshua is an insightful overview of the fiction, nonfiction, and hundreds of critical responses to the work of Israel's leading novelist. Instead of an exhaustive chronological-biographical account of Yehoshua's artistic growth, Yael Halevi-Wise calls for a systematic appreciation of the author's major themes and compositional patterns. Specifically, she argues for reading Yehoshua's novels as reflections on the "condition of Israel," constructed multifocally to engage four intersecting levels of signification: psychological, sociological, historical, and historiosophic. Each of the book's seven chapters employs a different interpretive method to showcase how Yehoshua's constructions of character psychology, social relations, national history, and historiosophic allusions to traditional Jewish symbols manifest themselves across his novels. The Retrospective Imagination of A. B. Yehoshua (Penn State UP, 2020) ends with a playful dialogue in the style of Yehoshua's masterpiece, Mr. Mani, that interrogates his definition of Jewish identity. Masterfully written, with full control of all the relevant materials, Halevi-Wise's assessment of Yehoshua will appeal to students and scholars of modern Jewish literature and Jewish studies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    “Returned to Zero”: The Case for Reparations to Civilians in Yemen

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 24, 2022 58:22


    In this episode Ari Barbalat talked to Ali Jameel, a researcher for Mwatana for Human Rights, about "Returned to Zero: The Case for Reparations to Civilians in Yemen." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Karen Bauer and Feras Hamza, "An Anthology of Qur'anic Commentaries (vol. 2): On Women" (Oxford UP, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 19, 2022 77:05


    Karen Bauer and Feras Hamza's co-written book An Anthology of Qur'anic Commentaries (vol. 2): On Women (Oxford UP, 2022) is a collection of historical and contemporary commentaries on the Qur'an. It covers five issues: human creation and the idea of “a single soul”; marital roles, specifically Qur'anic verse 4:34 and women's status in a marriage; Mary, mother of Jesus; women's legal testimony; and Qur'anic ideas of modesty, specifically of veiling. A chapter is devoted to each of these topics, comprising classical, medieval, modern, and contemporary interpretations of these verses. All chapters include various Muslim perspectives, such as Sunni, Twelver Shia, Ismaili, Ibadi, and Sufi; with the exception of the chapter on Mary, each chapter also includes interviews with contemporary scholars, namely amina wadud, Sa'diyya Shaikh, Fariba Alasvand, Yusuf Saanei, and Nasser Ghorbannia. The various and competing perspectives explored in this volume highlight the diversity and plurality of the Islamic exegetical tradition, portraying commentaries as a very human and engaging endeavor. These commentaries are always in conversation with the cultural and political milieu of the commentator's time and place, but they also deeply honor the commentaries of past generations as a way to demonstrate authority and knowledge of the historical male tradition. The book also includes an important and powerful chapter, a prolegomenon, on the Qur'anic lexicon on women, which offers a chronological sequence of women in the Qur'an and which traces the development of the Qur'an's worldview from the earliest Meccan revelations through the later Medinan period. So, for instance, in the early Meccan verses, women are addressed rather implicitly and largely as a part of an anti-pagan polemic, but by the later Medinan verses, women have emerged as active pious and social subjects. In this very engaging and enriching conversation with Karen Bauer and Feras Hamza, we discuss many of these issues and all of the chapters. We talk extensively about Qur'anic verse 4:34 on marital roles and responsibilities, about what it means to read the Qur'an literally—and is it even possible not to?—about tradition and tafsir and the limits of both, and about lived reality and religious authority. The interview was done in video format, and some listeners might enjoy watching it in its original form on my YouTube channel, What the Patriarchy. Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. She earned her PhD in Islamic Studies with a focus on gender from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Her dissertation research explored questions of change and tradition, specifically in the context of gender and sexuality, in Islam. She can be reached at haqqani_s@mercer.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Hussein Banai, "Hidden Liberalism: Burdened Visions of Progress in Modern Iran" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 18, 2022 56:06


    Compared to rival ideologies, liberalism has fared rather poorly in modern Iran. This is all the more remarkable given the essentially liberal substance of various social and political struggles - for liberal legality, individual rights and freedoms, and pluralism - in the century-long period since the demise of the Qajar dynasty and the subsequent transformation of the country into a modern nation-state. The deeply felt but largely invisible purchase of liberal political ideas in Iran challenges us to think more expansively about the trajectory of various intellectual developments since the emergence of a movement for reform and constitutionalism in the late nineteenth century. It complicates parsimonious accounts of Shi'ism, secularism, socialism, nationalism, and royalism as defining or representative ideologies of particular eras. Hidden Liberalism: Burdened Visions of Progress in Modern Iran (Cambridge UP, 2020) offers a critical examination of the reasons behind liberalism's invisible yet influential status, and its attendant ethical quandaries, in Iranian political and intellectual discourses. Hussein Banai is an Associate Professor of International Studies in the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, and a Research Affiliate at the Center for International Studies at MIT. Banai's research interests lie at the intersection of political thought and international relations, with a special focus on topics in democratic theory, non-Western liberal thought, diplomatic history and theory, US-Iran relations, and Iran's political development. He has published on these topics in academic, policy, and popular periodicals. In addition to Hidden Liberalism, he is the co-author of two volumes on US-Iran relations: Republics of Myth: National Narratives and the US-Iran Conflict (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2022); Becoming Enemies: U.S.-Iran Relations and the Iran-Iraq War, 1979–1988 (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012); and co-editor of Human Rights at the Intersections: Transformation through Local, Global, and Cosmopolitan Challenges (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2023).  Amir Sayadabdi is a Lecturer in Anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington. He is mainly interested in anthropology of food and its intersection with gender studies, migration studies, and studies of race, ethnicity, and nationalism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    On T. E. Lawrence's "Seven Pillars of Wisdom"

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 17, 2022 39:01


    Lawrence of Arabia has become one of the most well known films in the world. It inspired Steven Spielberg to become a filmmaker and President Barack Obama considers it one of his favorite films. But few people know the book behind the movie. In this episode, host Zachary Davis speaks with Professor Charles Stang about Seven Pillars of Wisdom; the autobiographical account of British soldier T. E. Lawrence while he fought alongside rebel forces during the Arab Revolt in WWI. Charles Stang is Professor of Early Christian Thought and Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University. See more information on our website, WritLarge.fm. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Sevgi Adak, "Anti-Veiling Campaigns in Turkey: State, Society and Gender in the Early Republic" (I. B. Tauris, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 12, 2022 81:23


    The veiling and unveiling of women have been controversial issues in Turkey since the late-Ottoman period. It was with the advent of local campaigns against certain veils in the 1930s, however, that women's dress turned into an issue of national mobilisation in which gender norms would be redefined.  In Anti-Veiling Campaigns in Turkey: State, Society and Gender in the Early Republic (I. B. Tauris, 2022), Sevgi Adak casts light onto the historical context within which the meanings of veiling and unveiling in Turkey were formed. By shifting the focus from the high politics of the elite to the implementation of state policies, the book situates the anti-veiling campaigns as a space where the Kemalist reforms were negotiated, compromised and resisted by societal actors. Using previously unpublished archival material, Adak reveals the intricacies of the Kemalist modernisation process and provides a nuanced reading of the gender order established in the early republic by looking at the various ways women responded to the anti-veiling campaigns. A major contribution to the literature on the social history of modern Turkey, the book provides a complex analysis of these campaigns which goes beyond a simple binary between liberation and oppression. Reuben Silverman is a PhD candidate at University of California, San Diego. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Helen Pfeifer, "Empire of Salons: Conquest and Community in Early Modern Ottoman Lands" (Princeton UP, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 11, 2022 43:38


    It's the sixteenth century, and the Ottoman Empire has just defeated the Mamluk Sultanate, conquering Damascus and Cairo, important centers of Arab learning and culture. But how did these two groups–Arabs and “Rumis”, a term used to refer to those living in Anatolia, interact? How did Arabs deal with these powerful upstarts–and how did Rumis try to work with their learned, yet defeated, subjects? Dr. Helen Pfeifer studies one venue where Arabs and Rumis in the Ottoman Empire interacted, learned from each other, and jockeyed for status: the salon. Empire of Salons: Conquest and Community in Early Modern Ottoman Lands (Princeton University Press: 2022) looks at how gatherings of “gentlemen” helped to build Ottoman culture. In this interview, Helen and I talk about the Ottoman Empire, the differences between the Arab and Rumi communities, and what exactly people did in the salon. Dr. Helen Pfeifer is the inaugural university lecturer in early Ottoman history at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Christ's College. She has an interest in understanding the empire within larger Islamic, European, and global contexts. Her research focuses on issues of empire, cultural exchange, and Islamic devotional practice in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. She can be followed on Twitter at @krel7. You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of Empire of Salons. Follow on Facebook or on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia. Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Letters from Herzl: Settler Colonialism at work in Palestine

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 9, 2022 81:47


    Today's episode originally aired in May of 2021, while violence was erupting all along the Gaza Strip. Israeli airstrikes had left over 200 Palestinians and a dozen Israelis dead. It was (and is) a continuation of a story of violent settler colonialism. And yet media and academic censorship has consistently silenced or punished those who speak out in support of Palestinians. In the face of that, many radical academics simply remain silent. In an age where ‘decolonization' has become an academic buzzword, we must ask: will we stand by our purported ideals? On this episode, host Gordon Katic says “colonialism is not a metaphor” as he dives into settler colonialism and the costs of resistance, criticizing Israel, and speaking up for Palestine. —————————-SUPPORT THE SHOW—————————- You can support the show for free by following or subscribing on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or whichever app you use. This is the best way to help us out and it costs nothing so we'd really appreciate you clicking that button. If you want to do a little more we would love it if you chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters. Patrons get content early, and occasionally there's bonus material on there too. ——————-ABOUT THE SHOW—————— For a full list of credits, contact information, and more, visit our about page. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Jason A. Staples, "The Idea of 'Israel' in Second Temple Judaism: A New Theory of People, Exile, and Israelite Identity" (Cambridge UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 8, 2022 33:39


    How did the concept of Israel impact early Jewish apocalyptic hopes of restoration? How diverse was Israelite identity in antiquity? Tune in as we talk with Jason A. Staples about his recent book, The Idea of Israel, in which he proposes a new paradigm for how the biblical concept of Israel developed in Early Judaism. Jason A. Staples (Ph.D., UNC-Chapel Hill) is a historian, author, speaker, journalist, voice actor, and American football coach/analyst. He is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at NC State University and the author of The Idea of Israel in Second Temple Judaism: A New Theory of People, Exile, and Israelite Identity (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and numerous articles in ancient Judaism and Christianity. Michael Morales is Professor of Biblical Studies at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and the author of The Tabernacle Pre-Figured: Cosmic Mountain Ideology in Genesis and Exodus (Peeters, 2012), Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord?: A Biblical Theology of Leviticus (IVP Academic, 2015), and Exodus Old and New: A Biblical Theology of Redemption (IVP Academic, 2020). He can be reached at mmorales@gpts.edu Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Kim Haines-Eitzen, "Sonorous Desert: What Deep Listening Taught Early Christian Monks—and What It Can Teach Us" (Princeton UP, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 8, 2022 36:16


    For the hermits and communal monks of antiquity, the desert was a place to flee the cacophony of ordinary life in order to hear and contemplate the voice of God. But these monks discovered something surprising in their harsh desert surroundings: far from empty and silent, the desert is richly reverberant. Sonorous Desert: What Deep Listening Taught Early Christian Monks—and What It Can Teach Us (Princeton UP, 2022) shares the stories and sayings of these ancient spiritual seekers, tracing how the ambient sounds of wind, thunder, water, and animals shaped the emergence and development of early Christian monasticism. Kim Haines-Eitzen draws on ancient monastic texts from Egypt, Sinai, and Palestine to explore how noise offered desert monks an opportunity to cultivate inner quietude, and shows how the desert quests of ancient monastics offer profound lessons for us about what it means to search for silence. Drawing on her own experiences making field recordings in the deserts of North America and Israel, she reveals how mountains, canyons, caves, rocky escarpments, and lush oases are deeply resonant places. Haines-Eitzen discusses how the desert is a place of paradoxes, both silent and noisy, pulling us toward contemplative isolation yet giving rise to vibrant collectives of fellow seekers. Accompanied by Haines-Eitzen's evocative audio recordings of desert environments, Sonorous Desert reveals how desert sounds taught ancient monks about solitude, silence, and the life of community, and how they can help us understand ourselves if we slow down and listen. You can listen to a series of recordings that go with each chapter of the book here.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Emma Ashford, "Oil, the State, and War: The Foreign Policies of Petrostates" (Georgetown UP, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 5, 2022 39:23


    Oil, the State, and War: The Foreign Policies of Petrostates (Georgetown University Press, 2022) by Dr. Emma Ashford presents a comprehensive challenge to prevailing understanding of international implications of oil wealth that shows why it can create bad actors. In a world where oil-rich states are more likely to start war than their oil-dependent counterparts, it's surprising how little attention is still paid to these so-called petrostates. These states' wealth props up the global arms trade, provides diplomatic leverage, and allows them to support violent and nonviolent proxies. In this book, Dr. Ashford explores the many potential links between domestic oil production and foreign policy behavior and how oil production influences global politics. Not all petrostates have the same characteristics or capabilities. To help us conceptualize these differences, Dr. Ashford creates an original classification of three types of petrostates: oil-dependent states (those weakened by the resource curse), oil-wealthy states (those made rich by oil exports), and super-producer states (those that form the backbone of the global oil market). Through a combination of case studies and analysis, she illustrates how oil shapes petrostates' behavior, filling a major gap in our understanding of the international implications of oil wealth. Experts have too often treated oil-rich states as passive objects, subject to the energy security needs of Western importing states. Instead, this book highlights the agency and power enjoyed by petrostates. As the oil market undergoes a period of rapid change, Oil, the State, and War sheds light on the diversity of petrostates and how they shape international affairs. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Maya Mikdashi, "Sextarianism: Sovereignty, Secularism, and the State in Lebanon" (Stanford UP, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 5, 2022 65:39


    The Lebanese state is structured through religious freedom and secular power sharing across sectarian groups. Every sect has specific laws that govern kinship matters like marriage or inheritance. Together with criminal and civil laws, these laws regulate and produce political difference. But whether women or men, Muslims or Christians, queer or straight, all people in Lebanon have one thing in common—they are biopolitical subjects forged through bureaucratic, ideological, and legal techniques of the state. With this book, Maya Mikdashi offers a new way to understand state power, theorizing how sex, sexuality, and sect shape and are shaped by law, secularism, and sovereignty. Drawing on court archives, public records, and ethnography of the Court of Cassation, the highest civil court in Lebanon, Mikdashi shows how political difference is entangled with religious, secular, and sexual difference. She presents state power as inevitably contingent, like the practices of everyday life it engenders, focusing on the regulation of religious conversion, the curation of legal archives, state and parastatal violence, and secular activism. Sextarianism: Sovereignty, Secularism, and the State in Lebanon (Stanford UP, 2022) locates state power in the experiences, transitions, uprisings, and violence that people in the Middle East continue to live. Maya Mikdashi is Associate Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and a Lecturer in the Middle East Studies Program at Rutgers University. Alize Arıcan is an anthropologist whose research focuses on urban renewal, futurity, care, and migration in Istanbul, Turkey. Her work has been featured in Current Anthropology, City & Society, JOTSA, Radical Housing Journal, and entanglements. You can find her on Twitter @alizearican Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Yaniv Voller, "Second-Generation Liberation Wars" (Cambridge UP, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 3, 2022 55:41


    The formation of post-colonial states in Africa, and the Middle East gave birth to prolonged separatist wars. Exploring the evolution of these separatist wars, In Second-Generation Liberation Wars Cambridge UP, 2022), Yaniv Voller examines the strategies that both governments and insurgents employed, how these strategies were shaped by the previous struggle against European colonialism and the practices and roles that emerged in the subsequent period, which moulded the identities, aims and strategies of post-colonial governments and separatist rebels. Based on a wealth of primary sources, Voller focuses on two post-colonial separatist wars; In Iraqi Kurdistan, between Kurdish separatists and the government in Baghdad, and Southern Sudan, between black African insurgents and the government in Khartoum. By providing an account of both conflicts, he offers a new understanding of colonialism, decolonisation and the international politics of the post-colonial world. Dilan Okcuoglu is post-doctoral fellow at American University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Amy E. Grubb and Elisabeth Hope Murray, "British Responses to Genocide: The British Foreign Office and Humanitarianism in the Ottoman Empire, 1918-1923" (Routledge, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 2, 2022 84:38


    When I was an undergrad, the chronology of World War One was simple. The war began in August of 1914 and ended in November of 1918. Now, of course, we know it's not that simple. Perhaps (perhaps) it began in 1914. But the violence lingered on well after the armistices of 1918. So did the complicated questions of how to address that violence and the suffering that accompanied it. Amy E. Grubb and Elisabeth Hope Murray are interested precisely in that moment where the official violence had ended but the real life violence continued. Their book British Responses to Genocide: The British Foreign Office and Humanitarianism in the Ottoman Empire, 1918-1923 (Routledge, 2022) asks a simple question: How did diplomats in London and on the ground in the Ottoman Empire attempt to achieve British goals in the maelstrom of violence following the Armistice of Mudros. Their answer is not quite so simple. They argue that the British response consistently prioritized human rights and human suffering. But in an environment of decreasing resources, interallied tensions and increasingly fierce resistance from Kemalist nationalists, their ability to pursue these priorities steadily shrunk. Eventually in the memorable words of the authors, British policy makers in London decided to embrace ethnic cleansing as a means of stopping genocide--exactly the opposite vision possessed by most modern leaders. Grubb and Murray provide a thorough examination of the ways national leaders can fail to protect human rights despite their own desire to do so. Kelly McFall is Professor of History and Director of the Honors Program at Newman University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Bedross Der Matossian, "The Horrors of Adana: Revolution and Violence in the Early Twentieth Century" (Stanford UP, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 2, 2022 70:53


    In April 1909, two waves of massacres shook the province of Adana, located in the southern Anatolia region of modern-day Turkey, killing more than 20,000 Armenians and 2,000 Muslims. The central Ottoman government failed to prosecute the main culprits, a miscarriage of justice that would have repercussions for years to come. Despite the significance of these events and the extent of violence and destruction, the Adana Massacres are often left out of historical narratives. The Horrors of Adana: Revolution and Violence in the Early Twentieth Century (Stanford UP, 2022) offers one of the first close examinations of these events, analyzing sociopolitical and economic transformations that culminated in a cataclysm of violence. Bedross Der Matossian provides voice and agency to all involved in the massacres—perpetrators, victims, and bystanders. Drawing on primary sources in a dozen languages, he develops an interdisciplinary approach to understand the rumors and emotions, public spheres and humanitarian interventions that together informed this complex event. Ultimately, through consideration of the Adana Massacres in micro-historical detail, this book offers an important macrocosmic understanding of ethnic violence, illuminating how and why ordinary people can become perpetrators. Roberto Mazza is visiting professor at Northwestern University. He is the host of the Jerusalem Unplugged Podcast and to discuss and propose a book for interview can be reached at robbymazza@gmail.com. Twitter and IG: @robbyref Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Vanda Wilcox, "The Italian Empire and the Great War" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 1, 2022 82:03


    The Italian Empire and the Great War (Oxford UP, 2021) by Vanda Wilcox brings an imperial and colonial perspective to the Italian experience of the First World War. Italy's decision for war in 1915 built directly on Italian imperial ambitions from the late nineteenth century onwards, and its conquest of Libya in 1911–12. The Italian empire was conceived both as a system of overseas colonies under Italian sovereignty, and as an informal global empire of emigrants; both were mobilized to support the war in 1915–18. The war was designed to bring about 'a greater Italy' both literally and metaphorically. In pursuit of global status, Italy fought a global war, sending troops to the Balkans, Russia, and the Middle East, though with limited results. Italy's newest colony, Libya, was also a theatre of the war effort, as the anti-colonial resistance there linked up with the Ottoman Empire, Germany, and Austria to undermine Italian rule. Italian race theories underpinned this expansionism: the book examines how Italian constructions of whiteness and racial superiority informed a colonial approach to military occupation in Europe as well as the conduct of its campaigns in Africa. After the war, Italy's failures at the Peace Conference meant that the 'mutilated victory' was an imperial as well as a national sentiment. Events in Paris are analysed alongside the military occupations in the Balkans and Asia Minor as well as efforts to resolve the conflicts in Libya, to assess the rhetoric and reality of Italian imperialism. Lastly, Vanda has answered a few questions about Italy in the war and General Cadorna. Roberto Mazza is visiting professor at Northwestern University. He is the host of the Jerusalem Unplugged Podcast and to discuss and propose a book for interview can be reached at robbymazza@gmail.com. Twitter and IG: @robbyref Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Ghassan Hage, "The Diasporic Condition: Ethnographic Explorations of the Lebanese in the World" (U Chicago Press, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 29, 2022 50:12


    Bridging the gap between migration studies and the anthropological tradition, Ghassan Hage illustrates that transnationality and its attendant cultural consequences are not necessarily at odds with classic theory. In The Diasporic Condition, Ghassan Hage engages with the diasporic Lebanese community as a shared lifeworld, defining a common cultural milieu that transcends spatial and temporal distance—a collective mode of being here termed the “diasporic condition.” Encompassing a complicated transnational terrain, Hage's long-term ethnography takes us from Mehj and Jalleh in Lebanon to Europe, Australia, South America, and North America, analyzing how Lebanese migrants and their families have established themselves in their new homes while remaining socially, economically, and politically related to Lebanon and to each other. At the heart of The Diasporic Condition lies a critical anthropological question: How does the study of a particular sociocultural phenomenon expand our knowledge of modes of existing in the world? As Hage establishes what he terms the “lenticular condition,” he breaks down the boundaries between “us” and “them,” “here” and “there,” showing that this convergent mode of existence increasingly defines everyone's everyday life. Ghassan Hage is professor of anthropology and social theory at the University of Melbourne in Australia. He is the author of several books, including White Nation, Against Paranoid Nationalism, Alter-Politics, and Is Racism an Environmental Threat? Alize Arıcan is an anthropologist whose research focuses on urban renewal, futurity, care, and migration in Istanbul, Turkey. Her work has been featured in Current Anthropology, City & Society, JOTSA, Radical Housing Journal, and entanglements. You can find her on Twitter @alizearican Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Robert W. Tomlinson, "The Influence of Foreign Wars on U.S. Domestic Military Policy: The Case of the Yom Kippur War" (Lexington, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 27, 2022 33:38


    How do military organizations learn? Robert W. Tomlinson's book The Influence of Foreign Wars on U.S. Domestic Military Policy (Lexington, 2022) covers an important instance of military learning in which the United States military systematically examined the lessons of Israel's decisive victory in the 1973 Yom Kippur War and applied those lessons towards major doctrinal and equipment changes. The book relies heavily on Paul Senge's model of learning organizations outlined in his seminal work, The Fifth Dimension. Using Senge's model, the book examines the Departments of the Army, Air Force, and Navy's reactions to the Yom Kippur War and how they organizationally incorporated—or ignored—the lessons of the conflict within their force. Using source documents, including personal memoirs, doctrinal publications, and individual reflections, the book offers a vital examination of how militaries can use foreign conflicts to make substantive and necessary organizational changes. The Yom Kippur War, particularly the Israeli experience in that conflict, provided the American military a battle laboratory in which to develop new warfighting concepts and assess new weapons acquisitions. In its conclusion, the book offers a cautionary tale that suggests learning and change do not come automatically to military organizations. If they are to be successful in the future, military organizations must embrace learning structures. Dr. Robert W. Tomlinson is an associate dean at the Naval War College. The views expressed in this podcast by both participants are their own, and do not reflect the official position of any organization with which they are affiliated. Sam Canter is a policy and strategy analyst, PhD candidate, and Army Reserve intelligence officer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Hanan Hammad, "Unknown Past: Layla Murad, the Jewish-Muslim Star of Egypt" (Stanford UP, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 27, 2022 84:24


    Layla Murad (1918-1995) was once the highest-paid star in Egypt, and her movies were among the top-grossing in the box office. She starred in 28 films, nearly all now classics in Arab musical cinema. In 1955 she was forced to stop acting—and struggled for decades for a comeback. Today, even decades after her death, public interest in her life continues, and new generations of Egyptians still love her work. Unknown Past: Layla Murad, the Jewish-Muslim Star of Egypt (Stanford UP, 2022) recounts Murad's extraordinary life—and the rapid political and sociocultural changes she witnessed. Hanan Hammad writes a story centered on Layla Murad's persona and legacy, and broadly framed around a gendered history of twentieth-century Egypt. Murad was a Jew who converted to Islam in the shadow of the first Arab-Israeli war. Her career blossomed under the Egyptian monarchy and later gave a singing voice to the Free Officers and the 1952 Revolution. The definitive end of her cinematic career came under Nasser on the eve of the 1956 Suez War. Egyptians have long told their national story through interpretations of Murad's life, intertwining the individual and Egyptian state and society to better understand Egyptian identity. As Unknown Past recounts, there's no life better than Murad's to reflect the tumultuous changes experienced over the dramatic decades of the mid-twentieth century. NB: The author would like to stress that Layla Murad died in 1995 and not in 1999 as mistakenly mentioned in the recording; similarly she was arrested in 1955 and not in 1953. Roberto Mazza is visiting professor at Northwestern University. He is the host of the Jerusalem Unplugged Podcast and to discuss and propose a book for interview can be reached at robbymazza@gmail.com. Twitter: @robbyref Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Ali Mirsepassi, "The Discovery of Iran: Taghi Arani, a Radical Cosmopolitan" (Stanford UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 27, 2022 70:17


    The Discovery of Iran: Taghi Arani, a Radical Cosmopolitan (Stanford UP, 2021), opens with a fascinating passage about the 1934 decree whereby foreign delegates were instructed to refer to the country as Iran rather than Persian. In Ali Mirsepassi's view, the event closes a chapter on the long intellectual history of Iranian nationalism, which began in the often overlooked interwar era (1919-1935). Mirsepassi skillfully reconstructs the intellectual history of Iran during the interwar period by providing a holistic picture of the life and thought of Taghi Arani, a multifaceted public intellectual, a scientist, a cosmopolitan, and a Marxist. According to Mirsepassi, Arani's vision of Iran brings together cosmopolitanism with the idea of "civic nationalism" as a viable alternative to Soviet Marxism in the Global South. Arani's nuanced account of Iran as a nation has remained unacknowledged as an autocratic nationalism rises in Iran between 1934 and 1935. Yet, Arani's commitment to upholding the democratic ideals of the Constitutional Revolution (1905-1911), traceable to the Enlightenment, still has relevance today in the struggle against oppression, religious fanaticism, and cultural chauvinism. This study contributes a great deal to the understanding of intellectual history and social movements in the Global South, where demands for democracy and independence as well as oppression have been a part of the nation-building project. Kaveh Rafie is a PhD candidate specializing in modern and contemporary art at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His dissertation charts the course of modern art in the late Pahlavi Iran (1941-1979) and explores the extent to which the 1953 coup marks the recuperation of modern art as a viable blueprint for cultural globalization in Iran. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    John Waterbury, "Missions Impossible: Higher Education and Policymaking in the Arab World" (American U in Cairo Press, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 27, 2022 41:59


    John Waterbury's book Missions Impossible: Higher Education and Policymaking in the Arab World (American U in Cairo Press, 2020) is a rigorous examination of higher education policymaking in the Arab world. None of the momentous challenges Arab universities face is unique either in kind or degree. Other societies exhibit some of the same pathologies--insufficient resources, high drop-out rates, feeble contributions to research and development, inappropriate skill formation for existing job markets, weak research incentive structures, weak institutional autonomy, and co-optation into the political order. But, it may be that the concentration of these pathologies and their depth is what sets the Arab world apart.  Missions Impossible seeks to explain the process of policymaking in higher education in the Arab world, a process that is shaped by the region's politics of autocratic rule. Higher education in the Arab world is directly linked to crises in economic growth, social inequality and, as a result, regime survival. If unsuccessful, higher education could be the catalyst to regime collapse. If successful, it could be the catalyst to sustained growth and innovation--but that, too, could unleash forces that the region's autocrats are unable to control. Leaders are risk-averse and therefore implement policies that tame the universities politically but in the process sap their capabilities for innovation and knowledge creation. The result is sub-optimal and, argues John Waterbury in this thought-provoking study, unsustainable. Skillfully integrating international debates on higher education with rich and empirically informed analysis of the governance and finance of higher education in the Arab world today, Missions Impossible explores and dissects the manifold dilemmas that lie at the heart of educational reform and examines possible paths forward. Shu Cao Mo's interests span continental philosophy, existential psychology and history of performance art. She previously served as the Asia representative for a global traveling university. She holds an Ed.M. in Arts in Education from Harvard and a B.A. in Political Philosophy and Theater from Duke. Her email address is shm785@mail.harvard.edu  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    The Future of Al Qaeda: A Discussion with Nelly Lahoud

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 26, 2022 50:22


    The 9/11 attacks mean Al Qaeda will always have a place in history. But it that it? Or might it have the capacity to endure? Its striking that the UN has issued a report saying that Al-Qaida's haven in Afghanistan means it could make a comeback. The years since 9/11 have seen ever more information about Al Qaeda coming in the public domain not least because of the documents and files seized in Abbottabad, Pakistan where bin Laden was living after 9/11 and where he was killed. Nelly Lahoud, senior fellow in New America's International Security program and has analysed thousands of the Abbottabad documents and describes what she found. She is the author of The Bin Laden Papers: How the Abbottabad Raid Revealed the Truth about Al-Qaeda, Its Leader and His Family (Yale UP, 2022). Owen Bennett-Jones is a freelance journalist and writer. A former BBC correspondent and presenter he has been a resident foreign correspondent in Bucharest, Geneva, Islamabad, Hanoi and Beirut. He is recently wrote a history of the Bhutto dynasty which was published by Yale University Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    The Kushnameh: The Persian Epic of Kush the Tusked

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 21, 2022 39:39


    The Kushnameh is unique, literally. Only one copy of the “Epic of Kush”exists, sitting in the British Library. Hardly anything is known about its author, Iranshah. It features a quite villainous protagonist, the tusked warrior Kush, who carves a swathe of destruction across the region. And it spans nearly half the world, with episodes in Spain, the Maghreb, India, China and even Korea. It was that last reference that encouraged academics in Korea to study the Kushnameh, and bring Kaveh Hemmat to do its first-ever English translation, published by the University of California Press this year.  Kaveh L. Hemmat is assistant professor, professional faculty in History at Benedictine University, scholar of world history and Islamicate culture, director of the NEH-funded Khataynameh Translation Project, an unusually determined cyclist, and a dabbler in sundry pursuits ranging from sourdough bread baking to drawing. He completed his Ph.D at the University of Chicago in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations in 2014. His research focuses on interaction between the Islamic world and East Asia and the importance of this interaction to Islamic political thought and premodern global political history. In this interview, Kaveh and I discuss this unique document and the cultural and political context behind its writing.  You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of the Kushnameh. Follow on Facebook or on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia. Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at@nickrigordon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Anne-Linda Amira Augustin, "South Yemen's Independence Struggle: Generations of Resistance" (American University in Cairo Press, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 18, 2022 56:05


    At its beginning in 2007, the Southern Movement in South Yemen was a loose merger of different people, most of them former army personnel and state employees of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) who were forced from their jobs after the war in 1994, only four years after the unification between the PDRY and the Yemen Arab Republic. In South Yemen's Independence Struggle: Generations Of Resistance (American University of Cairo Press, 2021), Dr. Anna-Linda Amira Augustin presents a bold ethnographic account of a persistent Arab uprising, in a rarely studied corner of the Middle East. She explores why the Southern Movement has grown so tremendously during the last decade, and how it developed from a primarily social movement demanding social rights into a mass protest movement claiming independence for a state that had long vanished from the world map. She asks why so many young people born after 1990 joined the movement and demanded the re-establishment of a state that they had never themselves experienced. At the core of South Yemeni resistance lies the transmission from generation to generation of a dominant counternarrative, which may be seen as the continuation and rehabilitation of the PDRY's national narrative. This narrative, amplified through everyday communication in families and neighborhoods, but also by media-makers, journalists, school and university teachers, civil society actors, and by the movement's activists, opposes the national-unity narrative of the Republic of Yemen and intensifies the demands for an independent state. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Eray Çayli, "Victims of Commemoration: The Architecture and Violence of Confronting the Past in Turkey" (Syracuse UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 15, 2022 67:33


    “Confronting the past” has become a byword for democratization. How societies and governments commemorate their violent pasts is often appraised as a litmus test of their democratization claims. Regardless of how critical such appraisals may be, they tend to share a fundamental assumption: commemoration, as a symbol of democratization, is ontologically distinct from violence. The pitfalls of this assumption have been nowhere more evident than in Turkey whose mainstream image on the world stage has rapidly descended from a regional beacon of democracy to a hotbed of violence within the space of a few recent years. In Victims of Commemoration: The Architecture and Violence of Confronting the Past in Turkey (Syracuse UP, 2021), Eray Çaylı draws upon extensive fieldwork he conducted in the prelude to the mid-2010s when Turkey's global image fell from grace. This ethnography—the first of its kind—explores both activist and official commemorations at sites of state-endorsed violence in Turkey that have become the subject of campaigns for memorial museums. Reversing the methodological trajectory of existing accounts, Çaylı works from the politics of urban and architectural space to grasp ethnic, religious, and ideological marginalization. Victims of Commemoration reveals that, whether campaigns for memorial museums bear fruit or not, architecture helps communities concentrate their political work against systemic problems. Sites significant to Kurdish, Alevi, and revolutionary-leftist struggles for memory and justice prompt activists to file petitions and lawsuits, organize protests, and build new political communities. In doing so, activists not only uphold the legacy of victims but also reject the identity of a passive victimhood being imposed on them. They challenge not only the ways specific violent pasts and their victims are represented, but also the structural violence which underpins deep-seated approaches to nationhood, publicness and truth, and which itself is a source of victimhood. Victims of Commemoration complicates our tendency to presume that violence ends where commemoration begins and that architecture's role in both is reducible to a question of symbolism. Eray Çaylı is the Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow at the European Institute at the London School of Economics. Alize Arıcan is a Postdoctoral Associate at Rutgers University's Center for Cultural Analysis. She is an anthropologist whose research focuses on urban renewal, futurity, care, and migration in Istanbul, Turkey. Her work has been featured in Current Anthropology, City & Society, JOTSA, Radical Housing Journal, and entanglements. You can find her on Twitter @alizearican Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Matt Reingold, "Reenvisioning Israel Through Political Cartoons: Visual Discourses During the 2018-2021 Electoral Crisis" (Lexington, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 11, 2022 57:41


    Reenvisioning Israel Through Political Cartoons: Visual Discourses During the 2018-2021 Electoral Crisis (Lexington Books, 2022) by Matt Reingold, published by Lexington Books as part of its Lexington Studies in Jewish Literature series, offers an incisive—and prescient, given the recent dissolution of the incumbent government—consideration of how political cartoonists in Israel broaden the conversation about the various challenges faced by the country. Organized thematically around issues that emerged at various points across the three-year period under consideration (including political mudslinging, the ultra-Orthodox community, the Coronavirus pandemic, and coverage of Benjamin Netanyahu in the right-leaning press), analysis of the cartoons complemented by interviews with many of the cartoonists whose works feature in the book, Reenvisioning Israel Through Political Cartoons moves the conversation about the Jewish State away from its typically partisan (and thus limiting) vistas. Reingold shows how with humor, satirical nous, and a sophisticated awareness of their audiences, the cartoonists' work often cut across the traditional faultlines of Israeli society (Religious/Secular; Ashkenazi/Mizrachi; Cosmopolitan/Narrow; and of course, “Left”/”Right”), engaging with a more representative (if, of necessity, less tidy) discussion about Israel today. As Israel prepares for its fifth election in three years, following the collapse of the most broad-based coalition government in the country's history (led, not-entirely-incidentally, by the country's first religiously observant prime minister), Reingold's book gives nuance and context to the conversation about Israel in Israel. Matt Reinhold has a PhD in Jewish Education. He teaches Jewish history and Jewish thought at Tanenbaum CHAT, a community Jewish high school in Toronto, Canada. Akin Ajayi (@AkinAjayi) is a writer and editor, based in Tel Aviv. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Shivan Mahendrarajah, "The Sufi Saint of Jam: History, Religion and Politics of a Sunni Shrine in Shi'i Iran" (Cambridge UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 8, 2022 55:32


    Shivan Mahendrarajah's book, The Sufi Saint of Jam: History, Religion, and Politics of a Sunni Shrine in Shi‘i Iran (Cambridge UP, 2021), which explores the history and politics of Ahmad-i-Jam's shrine, which is located in Iran. The shrine is of particular interest and importance today given that Ahmad of Jam (d. 1141 C.E.) was a Sunni-Sufi, while contemporary Iran is majority Shia, and the shrine has lasted and even thrived for 900 years; the renaissance of the shrine in Iran is also of particular relevance given prevailing assumptions about Iran's alleged sectarian and intolerant Shi‘i theocracy. Complete with photographs, this exciting book would appeal to academics, researchers, and others interested in Central Asia, Afghanistan, Sufism, medieval Islam, and Iran. It will also be of use to anyone interested in Islamic art and architecture. In our conversation today, Mahendrarajah discusses the origins of this book, explains why and how Ahmad-i-Jam, whose shrine is the focus of the book, became known as the patron saint of kings, why the shrine has lasted for 900 years including in a contemporary Shia majority, the sorts of services the shrine has provided historically, its funding sources, and the ways the shrine operates today. We also talk about the architecture of the shrine, and the author explains how the book might also appeal to scholars interested in Islamic art and architecture. Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. She earned her PhD in Islamic Studies with a focus on gender from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Her dissertation research explored questions of change and tradition, specifically in the context of gender and sexuality, in Islam. She can be reached at haqqani_s@mercer.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

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