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Dispatches from the Arab Spring

Understanding the New Middle East

Paul Amar

The Arab Spring unleashed forces of liberation and social justice that swept across North Africa and the Middle East with unprecedented speed, ferocity, and excitement. Although the future of the democratic uprisings against oppressive authoritarian regimes remains uncertain in many places, the revolutionary wave that started in Tunisia in December 2010 has transformed how the world sees Arab peoples and politics. Bringing together the knowledge of activists, scholars, journalists, and policy experts uniquely attuned to the pulse of the region, Dispatches from the Arab Spring offers an urgent and engaged analysis of a remarkable ongoing world-historical event that is widely misinterpreted in the West.

Tracing the flows of protest, resistance, and counterrevolution in every one of the countries affected by this epochal change—from Morocco to Iraq and Syria to Sudan—the contributors provide ground-level reports and new ways of teaching about and understanding the Middle East in general, and contextualizing the social upheavals and political transitions that defined the Arab Spring in particular. Rejecting outdated and invalid (yet highly influential) paradigms to analyze the region—from depictions of the “Arab street” as a mindless, reactive mob to the belief that Arab culture was “unfit” for democratic politics—this book offers fresh insights into the region’s dynamics, drawing from social history, political geography, cultural creativity, and global power politics. Dispatches from the Arab Spring is an unparalleled introduction to the changing Middle East and offers the most comprehensive and accurate account to date of the uprisings that profoundly reshaped North Africa and the Middle East.

Contributors: Sheila Carapico, U of Richmond; Nouri Gana, UCLA; Toufic Haddad; Adam Hanieh, SOAS/U of London; Toby C. Jones, Rutgers U; Anjali Kamat; Khalid Medani, McGill U; Merouan Mekouar; Maya Mikdashi, NYU; Paulo Gabriel Hilu Pinto, U Federal Fluminense, Brazil; Jillian Schwedler, Hunter College, CUNY; Ahmad Shokr; Susan Slyomovics, UCLA; Haifa Zangana.

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Displaced at Home

Ethnicity and Gender among Palestinians in Israel

Groundbreaking essays by Palestinian women scholars on the lives of Palestinians within the state of Israel. Most media coverage and research on the experience of Palestinians focuses on those living in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, while the sizable minority of Palestinians living within Israel rarely garners significant academic or media attention. Offering a rich and multidimensional portrait of the lived realities of Palestinians within the state of Israel, Palestinians in Israel Revisited gathers a group of Palestinian women scholars who present unflinching critiques of the complexities and challenges inherent in the lives of this understudied but important minority within Israel. The essays here engage topics ranging from internal refugees and historical memory to women’s sexuality and the resistant possibilities of hip hop culture among young Palestinians. Unique in the collection is sustained attention to gender concerns, which have tended to be subordinated to questions of nationalism, statehood, and citizenship. The first collection of its kind in English, Palestinians in Israel Revisited presents on-the-ground examples of the changing political, social and economic conditions of Palestinians in Israel, and examines how global, national, and local concerns intersect and shape their daily lives.

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The Divergence of Judaism and Islam

Interdependence, Modernity, and Political Turmoil

Edited by Michael M. Laskier and Yaacov Lev

A companion volume to The Convergence of Judaism and Islam, this collection of essays explores the Jewish-Muslim relationship from the nineteenth century to the present. While that earlier work focused on the shared cultures and often peaceful relations between the two religions in the medieval and early modern periods, this book reveals how the paths of Jews and Muslims began to diverge two centuries ago.

The essays in this volume examine how each group reacted quite differently to colonial rule, how the Palestine Question and the Arab-Israeli crisis have soured relations, and how the rise of nationalism has contributed to the growing tensions. With contributors from a wide variety of scholarly disciplines, this book offers a broad but in-depth analysis of the Jewish-Muslim relationship in recent times.

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A Documentary History of Modern Iraq

Stacy E. Holden

Previously published histories and primary source collections on the Iraqi experience tend to be topically focused or dedicated to presenting a top-down approach. By contrast, Stacy Holden's A Documentary History of Modern Iraq gives voice to ordinary Iraqis, clarifying the experience of the Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Jews, and women over the past century.

Through varied documents ranging from short stories to treaties, political speeches to memoirs, and newspaper articles to book excerpts, the work synthesizes previously marginalized perspectives of minorities and women with the voices of the political elite to provide an integrated picture of political change from the Ottoman Empire in 1903 to the end of the second Bush administration in 2008. Covering a broad range of topics, this bottom-up approach allows readers to fully immerse themselves in the lives of everyday Iraqis as they navigate regime shifts from the British to the Hashemite monarchy, the political upheaval of the Persian Gulf wars, and beyond. Brief introductions to each excerpt provide context and suggest questions for classroom discussion.

This collection offers raw history, untainted and unfiltered by modern political framework and thought, representing a refreshing new approach to the study of Iraq.

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The Downfall of Abba Hillel Silver and the Foundation of Israel

by Ofer Shiff

In early February 1949 American Jewry’s most popular and powerful leader, Abba Hillel Silver (1893–1963), had summarily resigned from all his official positions within the Zionist movement and had left New York for Cleveland, returning to his post as a Reform rabbi. In the immediate years prior to his resignation, during the second half of the 1940s, Silver was the most outspoken proponent of the founding of a sovereign Jewish state. He was the most instrumental American Jewish leader in the political struggle that led to the foundation of the State of Israel. Paradoxically, this historic victory also heralded Silver’s personal defeat. Soon after Israel’s declaration of independence, he and many of his American Zionist colleagues were relegated to the sidelines of the Zionist movement. Almost overnight the most influential leader—one who was admired and feared by both supporters and opponents—was stripped of his power within both the Zionist and the American Jewish arenas. Shiff’s book discerns the various aspects of the striking turnabout in Silver's political fate, describing both the personal tragic story of a leader who was defeated by his own victory, and the much broader intra-Zionist battle which erupted in full force immediately after the founding of Israel. Drawing extensively on Silver’s personal archival material, Shiff presents an enlightening portrait of a critical episode in Jewish history. This book is most relevant for anyone who attempts to understand the complex homeland- diaspora relations between Israel and American Jewry.

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Dreaming of Baghdad

Haifa Zangana, Foreword by Hamid Dabashi, Afterword by Ferial J. Ghazoul

Haifa Zangana was a member of a left-wing group of Iraqis who organized in the 1970s to oppose the Baath Party and its charismatic leader, Saddam Hussein. Zangana was captured, imprisoned, and tortured in Abu Ghraib. In this memoir that describes her arrest, imprisonment and eventual forced exile, she describes life in an Iraq she can never return to, an Iraq that now no longer exists.

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Education, Empowerment, and Control

The Case of the Arabs in Israel

Education, Empowerment, and Control is about the education of the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel from the establishment of the state of Israel to the present. Using a comparative approach, the study throughout juxtaposes Arab and Hebrew educational systems in terms of administration, resources, curricula contents, and returns. Developments in education are analyzed in conjunction with wide demographic, economic, and sociopolitical changes. Al-Haj explores the expectations of the Palestinian community on the one hand and dominant groups on the other, showing that whereas Palestinians have seen education as a source of empowerment, government groups have seen it as a mechanism of social control. The book also sheds light on the wider issue of education and social change among developing minorities in the postcolonial era. Al-Haj examines modernization, underdevelopment, and control in order to delineate the role education plays among a national minority that is marginalized at the group level and denied access to the national opportunity structure.

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Egypt

A Short History

Robert L. Tignor

This is a sweeping, colorful, and concise narrative history of Egypt from the beginning of human settlement in the Nile River valley 5000 years ago to the present day. Accessible, authoritative, and richly illustrated, this is an ideal introduction and guide to Egypt's long, brilliant, and complex history for general readers, tourists, and anyone else who wants a better understanding of this vibrant and fascinating country, one that has played a central role in world history for millennia--and that continues to do so today.

Respected historian Robert Tignor, who has lived in Egypt at different times over the course of five decades, covers all the major eras of the country's ancient, modern, and recent history. A cradle of civilization, ancient Egypt developed a unique and influential culture that featured a centralized monarchy, sophisticated art and technology, and monumental architecture in the form of pyramids and temples. But the great age of the pharaohs is just the beginning of the story and Egypt: A Short History also gives a rich account of the tumultuous history that followed--from Greek and Roman conquests, the rise of Christianity, Arab-Muslim triumph, and Egypt's incorporation into powerful Islamic empires to Napoleon's 1798 invasion, the country's absorption into the British Empire, and modern, postcolonial Egypt under Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak.

This book provides an indispensable key to Egypt in all its layers--ancient and modern, Greek and Roman, and Christian and Islamic. In a new afterword the author analyzes the recent unrest in Egypt and weighs in on what the country might look like after Mubarak.

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Egypt as a Woman

Nationalism, Gender, and Politics

Beth Baron

This original and historically rich book examines the influence of gender in shaping the Egyptian nation from the nineteenth century through the revolution of 1919 and into the 1940s. In Egypt as a Woman, Beth Baron divides her narrative into two strands: the first analyzes the gendered language and images of the nation, and the second considers the political activities of women nationalists. She shows that, even though women were largely excluded from participation in the state, the visual imagery of nationalism was replete with female figures. Baron juxtaposes the idealization of the family and the feminine in nationalist rhetoric with transformations in elite households and the work of women activists striving for national independence.

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Egypt beyond Tahrir Square

Edited by Bessma Momani and Eid Mohamed

On January 25, 2011, the world's eyes were on Egypt's Tahrir Square as millions of people poured into the city center to call for the resignation of president Hosni Mubarak. Since then, few scholars or journalists have been given the opportunity to reflect on the nationwide moment of transformation and the hope that was embodied by the Egyptian Revolution. In this important and necessary volume, leading Egyptian academics and writers share their eyewitness experiences. They examine how events unfolded in relation to key social groups and institutions such as the military, police, labor, intellectuals, Coptic Christians, and the media; share the mood of the nation; assess what happened when three recent regimes of Egyptian rule came to an end; and account for the dramatic rise and fall of the Muslim Brotherhood. The contributors’ deep engagement with politics and society in their country is evident and sets this volume apart from most of what has been published in English about the Arab Spring. The diversity of views brought together here is a testament to the contradictions and complexities of historical and political changes that affect Egypt and beyond.

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