Memory and Space in a Postwar Arab City
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Texas Press
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A Note on Language
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To transliterate Arabic words, I have used a modified version of the International Journal of Middle East Studies (IJMES). Some of the Arabic words are transliterated using the classical Arabic; others are transliterated using the Lebanese Arabic dialect. Arabic words commonly used in English are spelled the way they appear in English publications (e.g., Hizballah). ...
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This book would not have been possible without the support, guidance, and hospitality of friends and colleagues across multiple cities and spaces. Here I will be able to mention some names, while many others need to Starting with the cuny Graduate Center, I would like to thank my dissertation committee, especially Vincent Crapanzano, my advisor and...
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This book is an ethnographic study of time, place, and memory in the aftermath of the devastating civil war that ravaged Beirut, Lebanon, from 1975 to 1991. It focuses on the rebuilding efforts of the city and describes how the residents of Beirut used individual and collective memories of their celebrated architectural past to compete and negotiate...
Chapter One. Beirut: A City In Transition
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During my first trip to Beirut, in the summer of 1995, I chose the neighborhood of Zqaq el-Blāţ as a fieldsite to conduct my research for a doctoral dissertation.1 At that time, I believed Zqaq el-Blāţ was an ideal site for anthropological inquiry for several reasons. It was one of the oldest and liveliest neighborhoods adjacent to the downtown area, then under...
Chapter Two. Downtown in "The Ancient City of the Future"
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This chapter discusses the discourses surrounding Solidere’s reconstruction project in Beirut’s Central District (BCD). After a brief description of Solidere’s plans to reconstruct the downtown area, I present the responses of two groups who were excluded from participating in defining the future of the city. The first group consisted of intellectuals, historians...
Chapter Three. 'Ayn El-Mreisse: The Global Market and the Apartment Unit
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In the previous chapter I discussed debates that emerged in response to Solidere’s plans to rebuild Beirut’s Central District. I now trace the effects of reconstruction on the daily lives of the residents of ʿAyn el-Mreisse, an adjacent neighborhood. This chapter illustrates the postwar temporality at the local community level. ...
Chapter Four. "Beirut Is Ours, Not Theirs": Neighborhood Sites and Struggles in 'Ayn El-Mreisse
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In Chapter Three, I mapped out the major postwar power actors who organized and appropriated space in ʿAyn el-Mreisse. In this chapter, I describe the formal and informal collectives organized to advocate for the rights of the less powerful residents to continue to have access to the spaces they had frequented before and during the war. ...
Chapter Five. Caf
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This chapter examines the relationships of Beirutis to specific urban public spaces and the sense of place they provided before, during, and after the war. In particular, it analyzes the ways the social understanding of time and place is expressed through memory at a time when competition over space reached its height in the unpredictable postwar environment. ...
Chapter Six. Placing the War-Displaced
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In an attempt to establish legitimacy after the chaos of the long war in Beirut, the Hariri government tried to restore state institutions and re-claim its role as a legitimate authority. The new government, in addition to the functions of its day-to-day operations, had to resolve a host of byproducts of the war, including giving financial aid to the thousands...
Afterword. Reclaiming Downtown Again
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Although the rebuilding of Beirut’s Central District has been completed, life in the city has not returned to normal. The recent turmoil that resulted from the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005,1 the Cedar Revolution in March 2005, the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon in April 2005, and the Israeli bombing of Beirut in...
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Page Count: 190
Illustrations: 15 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2010