Indiana University Press

Public Cultures of the Middle East and North Africa

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Public Cultures of the Middle East and North Africa

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Anthropology of the Middle East and North Africa

Into the New Millennium

Edited by Sherine Hafez and Susan Slyomovics

This volume combines ethnographic accounts of fieldwork with overviews of recent anthropological literature about the region on topics such as Islam, gender, youth, and new media that are of particular relevance for understanding the "Arab Spring" of 2011. It addresses contemporary debates about modernity, nation building, and the link between the ideology of power and the production of knowledge. Contributors include established and emerging scholars known for the depth and quality of their ethnographic writing and for their interventions in current theory.

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The Arab Revolts

Dispatches on Militant Democracy in the Middle East

Edited by David McMurray and Amanda Ufheil-Somers

The 2011 eruptions of popular discontent across the Arab world, popularly dubbed the Arab Spring, were local manifestations of a regional mass movement for democracy, freedom, and human dignity. Authoritarian regimes were either overthrown or put on notice that the old ways of oppressing their subjects would no longer be tolerated. These essays from Middle East Report-–the leading source of timely reporting and insightful analysis of the region–cover events in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Syria, and Yemen. Written for a broad audience of students, policymakers, media analysts, and general readers, the collection reveals the underlying causes of the revolts by identifying key trends during the last two decades leading up to the recent insurrections.

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The Calls of Islam

Sufis, Islamists, and Mass Mediation in Urban Morocco

Emilio Spadola

The sacred calls that summon believers are the focus of this study of religion and power in Fez, Morocco. Focusing on how dissemination of the call through mass media has transformed understandings of piety and authority, Emilio Spadola details the new importance of once–marginal Sufi practices such as spirit trance and exorcism for ordinary believers, the state, and Islamist movements. The Calls of Islam offers new ethnographic perspectives on ritual, performance, and media in the Muslim world.

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Connected in Cairo

Growing up Cosmopolitan in the Modern Middle East

Mark Allen Peterson

For members of Cairo's upper classes, cosmopolitanism is a form of social capital, deployed whenever they acquire or consume transnational commodities, or goods that are linked in the popular imagination to other, more "modern" places. In a series of thickly described and carefully contextualized case studies -- of Arabic children's magazines, Pokémon, private schools and popular films, coffee shops and fast-food restaurants -- Mark Allen Peterson describes the social practices that create class identities. He traces these processes from childhood into adulthood, examining how taste and style intersect with a changing educational system and economic liberalization. Peterson reveals how uneasy many cosmopolitan Cairenes are with their new global identities, and describes their efforts to root themselves in the local through religious, nationalist, or linguistic practices.

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Encountering Morocco

Fieldwork and Cultural Understanding

Afterword by Kevin Dwyer. Edited by David Crawford and Rachel Newcomb

Encountering Morocco introduces readers to life in this North African country through vivid accounts of fieldwork as personal experience and intellectual journey. We meet the contributors at diverse stages of their careers–from the unmarried researcher arriving for her first stint in the field to the seasoned fieldworker returning with spouse and children. They offer frank descriptions of what it means to take up residence in a place where one is regarded as an outsider, learn the language and local customs, and struggle to develop rapport. Moving reflections on friendship, kinship, and belief within the cross-cultural encounter reveal why study of Moroccan society has played such a seminal role in the development of cultural anthropology.

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Jaffa Shared and Shattered

Contrived Coexistence in Israel/Palestine

Daniel Monterescu

Binational cities play a pivotal role in situations of long-term conflict, and few places have been more marked by the tension between intimate proximity and visceral hostility than Jaffa, one of the "mixed towns" of Israel/Palestine. In this nuanced ethnographic and historical study, Daniel Monterescu argues that such places challenge our assumptions about cities and nationalism, calling into question the Israeli state’s policy of maintaining homogeneous, segregated, and ethnically stable spaces. Analyzing everyday interactions, life stories, and histories of violence, he reveals the politics of gentrification and the circumstantial coalitions that define the city. Drawing on key theorists in anthropology, sociology, urban studies, and political science, he outlines a new relational theory of sociality and spatiality.

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Learning in Morocco

Language Politics and the Abandoned Educational Dream

Charis Boutieri

Learning in Morocco offers a rare look inside public education in the Middle East. While policymakers see a crisis in education based on demographics and financing, Moroccan high school students point to the effects of a highly politicized Arabization policy that has never been implemented coherently. In recent years, national policies to promote the use of Arabic have come into conflict with the demands of a neoliberal job market in which competence in French is still a prerequisite for advancement. Based on long-term research inside and outside classrooms, Charis Boutieri describes how students and teachers work within, or try to circumvent, the system, whose contradictory demands ultimately lead to disengagement and, on occasion, to students taking to the streets in protest.

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Memorials and Martyrs in Modern Lebanon

Lucia Volk

Lebanese history is often associated with sectarianism and hostility between religious communities, but by examining public memorials and historical accounts Lucia Volk finds evidence for a sustained politics of Muslim and Christian co-existence. Lebanese Muslim and Christian civilians were jointly commemorated as martyrs for the nation after various episodes of violence in Lebanese history. Sites of memory sponsored by Maronite, Sunni, Shiite, and Druze elites have shared the goal of creating cross-community solidarity by honoring the joint sacrifice of civilians of different religious communities. This compelling and lucid study enhances our understanding of culture and politics in the Middle East and the politics of memory in situations of ongoing conflict.

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The Middle East and Brazil

Perspectives on the New Global South

Edited by Paul Amar

Connections between Brazil and the Middle East have a long history, but the importance of these interactions has been heightened in recent years by the rise of Brazil as a champion of the global south, mass mobilizations in the Arab world and South America, and the cultural renaissance of Afro-descendant Muslims and Arab ethnic identities in the Americas. This groundbreaking collection traces the links between these two regions, describes the emergence of new South-South solidarities, and offers new methodologies for the study of transnationalism, global culture, and international relations.

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Moroccan Noir

Police, Crime, and Politics in Popular Culture

Jonathan Smolin

Facing rising demands for human rights and the rule of law, the Moroccan state fostered new mass media and cultivated more positive images of the police, once the symbol of state repression, reinventing the relationship between citizen and state for a new era. Jonathan Smolin examines popular culture and mass media to understand the changing nature of authoritarianism in Morocco over the past two decades. Using neglected Arabic sources including crime tabloids, television movies, true-crime journalism, and police advertising, Smolin sheds new light on politics and popular culture in the Middle East and North Africa.

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