Prepared with assistance from Austin Bodetti, Helen Clapp, Colton Cox, and Khulood Fahim.
Contemporary Iranian Photography: Five Perspectives, edited by Abbas Daneshvari. Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 2017. 98 pages. Abbas Daneshvari's collection brings together five essays on different themes in post-1980s Iranian photography. His own essay explores photographer Mohammad Ghazali's work on daily life in Iran. Deanna Kashani examines the Tehran Mon-oxide Project exhibition's use of space in Tehran. Hamid Keshmirshekan writes about the new trend in Iranian photography of focusing on the contemporary politics and the lived reality of Iranian society. Andrea Fitzpatrick's essay aims to debunk the Western idea of "the Muslim woman" by exploring the concerns and voices of women and girls. Finally, Staci Gem Scheiwiller writes about how the modern Iranian female body can be used to understand the past. Daneshvari uses these five essays to argue that Iranian photography has become an important repository of contemporary social and political values. (HC)
The Formation of Turkish Republicanism, by Banu Turnaoğlu. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017. 296 pages. This book examines the development of republicanism in Turkey. Contrary to other histories that portray the republic as an invention of President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk or the ideology of Kemalism, Banu Turnaoğlu argues that republicanism was the result of centuries-old Turkish intellectual debates around Islamic and liberal ideas. In arguing thus, Turnaoğlu seeks to separate Turkish republicanism from Kemalism and its amalgamation nationalism, revolutionary populism, secularism, statism, and Westernization. (AB)
AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND MEMOIRS
Three Days in Damascus, by Kim Shultz. London: Palewell Press, 2016. 277 pages. This memoir explores how an American woman travelling through Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria fell in love with an Iraqi man, carrying the tagline, "This isn't supposed to be a love story." Describing her quest to interview Iraqi refugees scattered across the Middle East, actress and writer Kim Shultz recounts her story with a deft narrative, even including some of her online conversations with Iraqis. Three Days in Damascus's fast-paced dialogue will keep readers engaged while detailing the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the prelude to the Syrian Civil War. (AB)
MODERN HISTORY AND POLITICS
The Arab Spring: The Hope and Reality of the Uprisings, by Mark L. Haas and David W. Lesch. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2016. 305 pages. This edited volume explores the multifaceted nature of the 2011 "Arab Spring" uprisings. Divided into two sections, the book's first set of chapters address internal dynamics within Arab countries that elucidate the socioeconomic and political complexities underlying the revolts that spread across the Arab World. The contributors explore questions such as, how the issue of "dignity" helped to spark social change in Tunisia and how Syrian president Bashar al-Asad's reactions to popular protests engendered civil conflict. The book's latter chapters discuss how the various Arab governments responded to the uprisings in neighboring states. (CC)
Islamism: A New Totalitarianism, by Mehdi Mozaffari. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc., 2017. 345 pages. In Islamism, Mehdi Mozaffari examines the ideology's place in history and the modern global stage. Beginning with a discussion of Islamism's ideological roots, Mozaffari then tracks its evolution throughout European totalitarian movements into its current Sunni and Shi'i forms. He discusses Islamists' goals and the methods they use to achieve them. Mozaffari argues that the differences in Islamists' beliefs divide them, rendering them unable to organize and perpetrate a large-scale attack. While he believes Islamists do not pose a threat to global order, he argues that they do threaten Middle Eastern stability. (HC)
PHILOSOPHY, RELIGION, AND SCIENCE
The Story of Reason in Islam, by Sari Nusseibeh. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2017. 234 pages. Through his historical chronicling and philosophical explanations, Palestinian intellectual and politician Sari Nusseibeh paints an elegant picture of the Islamic intellectual tradition in The Story of Reason in Islam. Nusseibeh's analysis of Qur'anic wisdom and the works of Islamic philosophers reveal that the philosophical virtue of "reason" existed as a component of the Islamic faith from its very inception in the Arabian Peninsula. The crux of Nusseibeh's argument is...