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History > Middle Eastern History

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Foodways and Daily Life in Medieval Anatolia Cover

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Foodways and Daily Life in Medieval Anatolia

A New Social History

By Nicolas Trépanier

Bringing to life an overlooked aspect of the dawn of the Ottoman empire, this illuminating study uses the prism of food—from farming to mealtimes, religious rituals, and commerce—to understand how Anatolian society gave rise to a superpower.

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Foreign Workers in Israel

Global Perspectives

Explores how the entry of migrant workers into Israel raises questions beyond just those of the labor market. Explores how the entry of migrant workers into Israel raises questions beyond just those of the labor market. In this account of a social experiment gone awry, Israel Drori exposes a little-known and recent phenomenon: the importation of foreign workers from Third World economies to Israel. Focusing on Romanian, Thai, and Filipina migrants brought to Israel for specified periods of employment, Drori examines the effect of migrants on Israeli society, particularly the issue of national identity. What began as a political corrective—avoiding the danger of hiring Palestinians to do work that Jewish Israelis would not—has developed into a social and economic problem the state does not know how to handle. In addition to examining the work experiences and social lives of these workers, Drori also situates the Israeli case within a global context, where many affluent nations have significant populations of marginalized, undocumented workers. Israel Drori is Professor at the School of Business Administration, College of Management, Israel, and also teaches at the Department of Public Policy at Tel Aviv University. He is the author of The Seam Line: Arab Workers and Jewish Managers in the Israeli Textile Industry and coauthor (with Izhak Schnell and Michael Sofer) of Arab Industrialization in Israel: Ethnic Entrepreneurship in the Periphery.

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Founding Gods, Inventing Nations

Conquest and Culture Myths from Antiquity to Islam

William F. McCants

From the dawn of writing in Sumer to the sunset of the Islamic empire, Founding Gods, Inventing Nations traces four thousand years of speculation on the origins of civilization. Investigating a vast range of primary sources, some of which are translated here for the first time, and focusing on the dynamic influence of the Greek, Roman, and Arab conquests of the Near East, William McCants looks at the ways the conquerors and those they conquered reshaped their myths of civilization's origins in response to the social and political consequences of empire.

The Greek and Roman conquests brought with them a learned culture that competed with that of native elites. The conquering Arabs, in contrast, had no learned culture, which led to three hundred years of Muslim competition over the cultural orientation of Islam, a contest reflected in the culture myths of that time. What we know today as Islamic culture is the product of this contest, whose protagonists drew heavily on the lore of non-Arab and pagan antiquity.

McCants argues that authors in all three periods did not write about civilization's origins solely out of pure antiquarian interest--they also sought to address the social and political tensions of the day. The strategies they employed and the postcolonial dilemmas they confronted provide invaluable context for understanding how authors today use myth and history to locate themselves in the confusing aftermath of empire.

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Fratricide in the Holy Land

A Psychoanalytic View of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Avner Falk

    This is the first English-language book ever to apply psychoanalytic knowledge to the understanding of the most intractable international struggle in our world today—the Arab-Israeli conflict. Two ethnic groups fight over a single territory that both consider to be theirs by historical right—essentially a rational matter. But close historical examination shows that the two parties to this tragic conflict have missed innumerable opportunities for a rational partition of the territory between them and for a permanent state of peace and prosperity rather than perennial bloodshed and misery.
    Falk suggests that a way to understand and explain such irrational matters is to examine the unconscious aspects of the conflict. He examines large-group psychology, nationalism, group narcissism, psychogeography, the Arab and Israeli minds, and suicidal terrorism, and he offers psychobiographical studies of Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat, two key players in this tragic conflict today.

From Ambivalence to Betrayal Cover

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From Ambivalence to Betrayal

The Left, the Jews, and Israel

Robert S. Wistrich

From Ambivalence to Betrayal is the first study to explore the transformation in attitudes on the Left toward the Jews, Zionism, and Israel since the origins of European socialism in the 1840s until the present. This pathbreaking synthesis reveals a striking continuity in negative stereotypes of Jews, contempt for Judaism, and negation of Jewish national self-determination from the days of Karl Marx to the current left-wing intellectual assault on Israel. World-renowned expert on the history of antisemitism Robert S. Wistrich provides not only a powerful analysis of how and why the Left emerged as a spearhead of anti-Israel sentiment but also new insights into the wider involvement of Jews in radical movements.

There are fascinating portraits of Marx, Moses Hess, Bernard Lazare, Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Trotsky, and other Jewish intellectuals, alongside analyses of the darker face of socialist and Communist antisemitism. The closing section eloquently exposes the degeneration of leftist anti-Zionist critiques into a novel form of “anti-racist” racism.

From Empire to Empire Cover

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From Empire to Empire

Jerusalem Between Ottoman and British Rule

Abigail Jacobson

The history of Jerusalem as traditionally depicted is the quintessential history of conflict and strife, of ethnic tension, and of incompatible national narratives and visions. It is also a history of dramatic changes and moments, one of the most radical ones being the replacement of the Ottoman regime with British rule in December 1917. From Empire to Empire challenges these two major dichotomies, ethnic and temporal, which shaped the history of Jerusalem and its inhabitants. It links the experiences of two ethnic communities living in Palestine, Jews and Arabs, as well as bridging two historical periods, the Ottoman and British administrations. Drawing upon a variety of sources, Jacobson demonstrates how political and social alliances are dynamic, context-dependent, and purpose-driven. She also highlights the critical role of foreign intervention, governmental and nongovernmental, in forming local political alliances and in shaping the political reality of Palestine during the crisis of World War I and the transition between regimes.

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.

Geographies of Liberation Cover

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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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