CENTRAL ASIA AND THE CAUCASUS
Cinema of Armenia: An Overview, by Siranush Galstyan. Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 2016. 242 pages. $65. Cinema historian, film critic, and screenwriter Siranush Galstyan delivers a comprehensive history and analysis of Armenian cinema in which she considers its unique qualities and how it has fit into the larger picture of Armenian cultural heritage, national identity, and history. Cinema of Armenia details the cinematic and cultural achievements of major films, directors, actors, writers, composers, and cameramen, placing their advancements within historical contexts such as World War II and the end of Soviet rule. Vivid photographs on each page allow the reader a clearer and more colorful understanding of the concepts and examples presented. The views of film critics and historians are taken into account in Galstyan’s analyses in addition to illustrative anecdotes and accounts of the filmmaking experience. (HSH)
Prozak Diaries: Psychiatry and Generational Memory in Iran, by Orkideh Behrouzan. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2016. 328 pages. $27.95. In Prozak Diaries, Orkideh Behrouzan investigates the discourses and perceptions of psychiatry in Iran and how these are formed and affect the lives and identities of Iranians across generations. Behrouzan adopts statistical and ethnographic approaches, consulting cultural, media, and virtual materials. She interviews both psychiatric professionals and Iranian youth in order to understand how mental illness, specifically depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is addressed in Iran. Behrouzan also examines the way in which the psychiatric discourses are influenced by policy, education, and media and how they can be understood through various historical contexts, such as the Iran-Iraq War. These concepts are exemplified and designed around personal narratives of Iranians across generations, granting the reader a diverse arrangement of lenses and analyses. (HSH)
Iran’s Constitutional Revolution of 1906 and Narratives of the Enlightenment, edited by Ali Ansari. Gringko Library, 2016. 336 pages. $85.00. Ali Ansari, a leading scholar of Iranian history, has produced a feat that challenges past intellectual histories of the 19th and early 20th centuries in Iran. Ansari brings together varying scholars to produce multidisciplinary works on the many influences and outcomes of the Constitutional Revolution, delving into topics such as the influence of European ideals, the role of the burgeoning use of photography and modernity, and even the role of a secret society in the city of Tabriz. The Constitutional Revolution began a new era in Iranian’s revolutionary history, and the book will reveal to readers the repercussions of the events in 1906 and the values that persist today in modern Iran. (NK)
PALESTINE AND PALESTINIANS
Protection amid Chaos: The Creation of Property Rights in Palestinian Refugee Camps, by Nadya Hajj. New York: Columbia University Press, 2017. 232 pages. $50.00. Nadya Hajj in Protection amid Chaos explores how Palestinian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon preserve their apportioned stake of land in refugee camps through property entitlements. Although refugees live within an improvised society with weak political and legal institutions, this book demonstrates how Palestinians refugees have developed formal property rights by utilizing legal practices from their former homeland. Through personal accounts and her extensive research on the legal documents, Hajj tracks how the communal property rights system within the Palestinian refugee camps became an enforceable legal practice. The Palestinian experience exhibited by their organic creation of property protections underscores human ingenuity and the ability to create a community, even amid chaos. (NK)
The Gaza Strip: the Political Economy of De-Development, third edition, by Sara Roy. Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 2016. 377 pages. $29.95. In this third edition of her book, The Gaza Strip, Sara Roy adds an introduction and epilogue that highlight the most recent Israeli efforts to disassemble the Gazan economy, environment, and infrastructure. Though a number of conflicts have occurred since she published her last edition in 2000, Roy argues that Israel’s disengagement from and subsequent blockade of the Gaza Strip proved to be the most devastating. According to her assessment, constant isolation has caused famine, malnutrition, energy and water shortages, overcrowding, and high unemployment and infant mortality rates, which...