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History > Middle Eastern History

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From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean Cover

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From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean

The Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants from New Julfa

Sebouh Aslanian

Drawing on a rich trove of documents, including correspondence not seen for 300 years, this study explores the emergence and growth of a remarkable global trade network operated by Armenian silk merchants from a small outpost in the Persian Empire. Based in New Julfa, Isfahan, in what is now Iran, these merchants operated a network of commercial settlements that stretched from London and Amsterdam to Manila and Acapulco. The New Julfan Armenians were the only Eurasian community that was able to operate simultaneously and successfully in all the major empires of the early modern world—both land-based Asian empires and the emerging sea-borne empires—astonishingly without the benefits of an imperial network and state that accompanied and facilitated European mercantile expansion during the same period. This book brings to light for the first time the trans-imperial cosmopolitan world of the New Julfans. Among other topics, it explores the effects of long distance trade on the organization of community life, the ethos of trust and cooperation that existed among merchants, and the importance of information networks and communication in the operation of early modern mercantile communities.

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Gatekeepers of the Arab Past

Historians and History Writing in Twentieth-Century Egypt

Yoav Di-Capua

This groundbreaking study illuminates the Egyptian experience of modernity by critically analyzing the foremost medium through which it was articulated: history. The first comprehensive analysis of a Middle Eastern intellectual tradition, Gatekeepers of the Past examines a system of knowledge that replaced the intellectual and methodological conventions of Islamic historiography only at the very end of the nineteenth century. Covering more than one hundred years of mostly unexamined historucal literature in Arabic, Yoav Di-Capua explores Egyptian historical thought, examines the careers of numerous critical historians, and traces this tradition's uneasy relationship with colonial forms of knowledge as well as with the post-colonial state.



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The Generalship of Muhammad

Battles and Campaigns of the Prophet of Allah

Russ Rodgers

There are many biographies of the Prophet, and they tend to fall into three categories: pious works that emphasize the virtues of the early Islamic community, general works for non-Muslim or non-specialist readers, and source-critical works that grapple with historiographical problems inherent in early Islamic history. In The Generalship of Muhammad, Russ Rodgers charts a new path by merging original sources with the latest in military theory to examine Muhammad's military strengths and weaknesses.

Incorporating military, political, and economic analyses, Rodgers focuses on Muhammad’s use of insurgency warfare in seventh-century Arabia to gain control of key cities such as Medina. Seeking to understand the operational aspects of these world-changing battles, he provides battlefield maps and explores the supply and logistic problems that would have plagued any military leader at the time.

Rodgers explains how Muhammad organized his forces and gradually built his movement against sporadic resistance from his foes. He draws from the hadith literature to shed new light on the nature of the campaigns. He examines the Prophet's intelligence network and the employment of what would today be called special operations forces. And he considers the possibility that Muhammad received outside support to build and maintain his movement as a means to interdict trade routes between the Byzantine Empire and the Sasanid Persians.

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Geographies of Liberation

The Making of an Afro-Arab Political Imaginary

In this absorbing transnational history, Alex Lubin reveals the vital connections between African American political thought and the people and nations of the Middle East. Spanning the 1850s through the present, and set against a backdrop of major political and cultural shifts around the world, the book demonstrates how international geopolitics, including the ascendance of liberal internationalism, established the conditions within which blacks imagined their freedom and, conversely, the ways in which various Middle Eastern groups have understood and used the African American freedom struggle to shape their own political movements.

Lubin extends the framework of the black freedom struggle beyond the familiar geographies of the Atlantic world and sheds new light on the linked political, social, and intellectual imaginings of African Americans, Palestinians, Arabs, and Israeli Jews. This history of intellectual exchange, Lubin argues, has forged political connections that extend beyond national and racial boundaries.

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Girls of the Factory

A Year with the Garment Workers of Morocco

M. Laetitia Cairoli

In Morocco today, the idea of female laborers is generally frowned upon. Yet despite this, many women are beginning to find work in factories.

Laetitia Cairoli spent a year in the ancient city of Fes; Girls of the Factory tells the story of what life is like for working women. Forced to find a factory job herself so that she could speak more intimately with working women, she was able to learn firsthand why they work, what working means to them, and how important earning a wage is to their sense of self.

Cairoli conveys a general sense of the working life of women in Morocco by describing daily life inside a Moroccan sewing factory. She also reveals the additional work they face inside their homes. More than an ethnography, this volume is also for those who want to better understand what life is like for a new generation of young women just entering the workforce.

Good Arabs Cover

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Good Arabs

The Israeli Security Agencies and the Israeli Arabs, 1948–1967

Hillel Cohen

Based on his reading of top-secret files of the Israeli police and the prime minister's office, Hillel Cohen exposes the full extent of the crucial, and, until now, willfully hidden history of Palestinian collaboration with Israelis—and of the Arab resistance to it. Cohen's previous book, the highly acclaimed Army of Shadows,told how this hidden history played out from 1917 to 1948, and now, in Good Arabs he focuses on the system of collaborators established by Israel in each and every Arab community after the 1948 war. Covering a broad spectrum of attitudes and behaviors, Cohen brings together the stories of activists, mukhtars, collaborators, teachers, and sheikhs, telling how Israeli security agencies penetrated Arab communities, how they obtained collaboration, how national activists fought them, and how deeply this activity influenced daily life. When this book was first published in Hebrew, it became a bestseller and has evoked bitter memories and intense discussions among Palestinians in Israel and prompted the reclassification of many of the hundreds of documents Cohen viewed to uncover a story that continues to unfold to this day.

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Grasping Land

Space and Place in Contemporary Israeli Discourse and Experience

Examines the discourses and experiences associated with space and place in contemporary Israel. This volume explores various processes associated with constructing what has variously been called “The Holy Land,” “Eretz Israel,” “Zion,” Palestine,” or “Israel.” The contributors focus on ways the landscapes of Israel figure in creating and recreating the identity, presence, and history of groups living there. The book critiques the assumptions lying at the base of various spatial practices related to Zionism. It does this through both a theoretical examination and a focus on hitherto little explored phenomena such as pilgrimages of Israelis to their (or their relatives’) native lands abroad, the establishment of Jewish saints’ tombs in Israel, the design of Kibbutz museums, country hikes, and conceptions of territory in mixed (Jewish-Arab) communities.

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The Great Syrian Revolt and the Rise of Arab Nationalism

By Michael Provence

The Great Syrian Revolt of 1925 was the largest and longest-lasting anti-colonial insurgency in the inter-war Arab East. Mobilizing peasants, workers, and army veterans, rather than urban elites and nationalist intellectuals, it was the first mass movement against colonial rule in the Middle East. The revolt failed to liberate Syria from French occupation, but it provided a model of popular nationalism and resistance that remains potent in the Middle East today. Each subsequent Arab uprising against foreign rule has repeated the language and tactics of the Great Syrian Revolt. In this work, Michael Provence uses newly released secret colonial intelligence sources, neglected memoirs, and popular memory to tell the story of the revolt from the perspective of its participants. He shows how Ottoman-subsidized military education created a generation of leaders of modest background who came to rebel against both the French Mandate rulers of Syria and the Syrian intellectuals and landowners who helped the colonial regime to function. This new popular nationalism was unprecedented in the Arab world. Provence shows compellingly that the Great Syrian Revolt was a formative event in shaping the modern Middle East.

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A Guerilla Odyssey

Modernization, Secularism, Democracy, and the Fadai Period of Natinal Liberation in Iran, 1971-1979

Peyman Vahabzadeh

Emerging in the early 1970s, the Organization of Iranian People’s Fadai Guerrillas (OIPFG) became one of the most important secular leftist political organizations in Iran. Despite their lasting influence and the way in which their efforts helped shape the history of Iran for decades to come, little is known about the group. A Guerrilla Odyssey presents the first comprehensive examination of the rise and fall of the Fadai urban guerrilla movement in Iran. Drawing on exhaustive analyses of the published and unpublished works of the Fadai Guerrillas, as well as of archival material and interviews with activists, the author demonstrates historically and sociologically the conditions that surrounded the debut and demise of the urban guerrilla warfare that defined Iranian political life in the 1970s. Vahabzadeh offers a critique of various aspects of the Fadai’s theories of national liberation in an attempt to reconsider the painful relationship among modernization, secularism, and democracy in contemporary Iran. In addition, the author makes a compelling case explaining why older revolutionary social movements of the 1960s and 1970s have transformed into the new democratic social movements that emerged from the 1980s onward in the form of today’s women’s, student, and youth movements in Iran. A Guerilla Odyssey is a meticulously researched and engrossing narrative that promises to be a major contribution to the field of Iranian history.

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Heavenly Serbia

From Myth to Genocide

Branimir Anzulovic

As violence and turmoil continue to define the former Yugoslavia, basic questions remain unanswered: What are the forces behind the Serbian expansionist drive that has brought death and destruction to Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo? How did the Serbs rationalize, and rally support for, this genocidal activity?

Heavenly Serbia traces Serbia's nationalist and expansionist impulses to the legendary battle of Kosovo in 1389. Anzulovic shows how the myth of "Heavenly Serbia" developed to help the Serbs endure foreign domination, explaining their military defeat and the loss of their medieval state by emphasizing their own moral superiority over military victory. Heavenly Serbia shows how this myth resulted in an aggressive nationalist ideology which has triumphed in the late twentieth century and marginalized those Serbs who strive for the establishment of a civil society.

"Modern Serbian nationalism...and its contradictory connections...have been sources of considerable scholarly interest...Branimir Anzulovic's compendium is a good example of the genre, made all the more useful by Anzulovic's excellent command of the literature."
—Ivo Banac, History of Religions

Author interview with CNN: http://www.cnn.com/chat/transcripts/branimir_chat.html

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