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Showing papers in "International Journal of Middle East Studies in 2012"


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors argue that doubt and non-religiosity are not necessarily a child of a Christian genealogy of the secular and definitely not alien to Muslims, and they also offer a perspective on the problematic of secularism that focuses on issues of belief and existential trust rather than governmentality and discursive power.
Abstract: Looking at the trajectories of people of Muslim origin in Egypt who express religious doubts, I argue in this article that doubt and nonreligiosity are not necessarily a child of a Christian genealogy of the secular and definitely not alien to Muslims. Instead, we have to understand them as an intimate moral discontent with the contemporary age of Islamic revival, even if their shape and some of their positive claims are borrowed from notions of Western origin and global currency—most notably, human rights and feminism. There are reasons and ways to become a nonbeliever in a society profoundly affected by a religious revival, and these reasons and ways can be telling about the nature of doubt and certainty in general. They also offer a perspective on the problematic of secularism that focuses on issues of belief and existential trust rather than governmentality and discursive power.

79 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors investigate how vote trafficking works in Lebanese elections and examine how electoral rules and practices contribute to wide and lively vote markets, using original survey data from the 2009 parliamentary elections, they study vote selling with a list experiment, a question technique designed to elicit truthful answers to sensitive questions.
Abstract: Vote buying and vote selling are prominent features of electoral politics in Lebanon. This article investigates how vote trafficking works in Lebanese elections and examines how electoral rules and practices contribute to wide and lively vote markets. Using original survey data from the 2009 parliamentary elections, it studies vote selling with a list experiment, a question technique designed to elicit truthful answers to sensitive questions. The data show that over half of the Lebanese sold their votes in 2009. Moreover, once we come to grips with the sensitivity of the topic, the data show that members of all sectarian communities and political alliances sold their votes at similar rates.

59 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors explore what they call "online experiments in ethical affect" through an analysis of one popular Islamic genre: the short video segments of Friday sermons placed on the video-sharing website YouTube.
Abstract: This paper explores what I call “online experiments in ethical affect” through an analysis of one popular Islamic genre: the short video segments of Friday sermons ( khuṭub , s. khuṭba ) placed on the video-sharing website YouTube. In my discussion of this media form, I give particular attention to the kind of devotional discourse and ethical socius that is enacted online around these taped performances: notably, the practices of appending written comments to specific videos, offering responses to comments left by others or criticisms directed at either the preacher or other commentators, and the act of creating links between khuṭba pages and other web-based content. In examining these practices, I want to look at the way some of the norms of ethical and devotional comportment associated with the khuṭba in the mosque carry over to the Internet context of khuṭba listening/viewing while also engendering novel forms of pious interaction, argument, and listening.

38 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors investigate the historical roots of transnational networks in the colonial and post-colonial periods as well as to integrate Tunisia within the global 1968, and argue that ties with the former metropole shaped students' demands and that a strictly national perspective of events is insufficient.
Abstract: This article examines the activism of Tunisian university students in the late 1960s. During the series of events surrounding the student protests of March 1968 at the University of Tunis, political activists across Tunisia and France forged communication networks or drew upon existing ones in order to further their political claims. The objectives of this article are to investigate the historical roots of these transnational networks in the colonial and postcolonial periods as well as to integrate Tunisia within the “global 1968.” Through an analysis of student protests and government reactions, I argue that ties with the former metropole shaped students’ demands and that a strictly national perspective of events is insufficient. In response to state repression, Tunisian activists shifted their struggle from global anti-imperialism toward the expansion of human rights on the national level. The networks proliferated over the course of 1968 and beyond as concrete realities shaped the direction of new claims.

36 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, which Iranian uprising does the Arab Spring bring to mind? The Green Movement of 2009, which challenged the pillars of the Islamic Republic of Iran, or the Iranian Revolution of 1979, which brought the Iranian Republic to power?
Abstract: Which Iranian uprising does the Arab Spring bring to mind? The Green Movement of 2009, which challenged the pillars of the Islamic Republic of Iran, or the Iranian Revolution of 1979, which brought the Islamic Republic to power?

32 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The concept of al-walāʾ wa-l-baraaʾ (loyalty to Islam, Muslims, and God and disavowal of everything else) has developed in various ways in Wahhabi discourse since the 19th century as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: The concept of al-walāʾ wa-l-barāʾ (loyalty to Islam, Muslims, and God and disavowal of everything else) has developed in various ways in Wahhabi discourse since the 19th century. This can partly be ascribed to the civil war that caused the collapse of the second Saudi state (1824–91) and the lessons that both quietist and radical Wahhabi scholars have drawn from that episode. In this article, I contend that Wahhabi contestations of al-walāʾ wa-l-barāʾ can be divided into two distinct trends—one social and the other political—and that both show the enduring legacy of the second Saudi state, which can still be discerned in Wahhabi scholarly writings on the subject of al-walāʾ wa-l-barāʾ today.

31 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors explored how the introduction of sound reproduction technologies inflects what were previously considered authoritative, standardized, and gender-specific forms of religious leadership and how these changes affect in turn the (gendered) subjects of media practice.
Abstract: This article explores how the introduction of sound reproduction technologies inflects what were previously considered authoritative, standardized, and gender-specific forms of religious leadership and how these changes affect in turn the (gendered) subjects of media practice. Examining the recent, controversial public presence of female radio preachers in Mali, the article elucidates the often ambivalent reactions to their radio-mediated dissociation of voice and physical presence, ambivalences that are expressed in the form of gender-specific evaluations of the acceptability of preaching on radio. The article thus argues that analyses of the controversial position of Muslim women in religious debates might benefit from a close scrutiny of the media technologies that enable these women's public mediation and also from paying sustained attention to cultural constructions of the voice as a medium of transmitting religious knowledge.

26 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper argued that centralized theories of pedagogy, the sociological category of class, and the assumed dichotomy between state agendas and international patronage are unsatisfactory frames for the interpretation of the phenomena in question.
Abstract: Notwithstanding its promotion as a vehicle for the decolonization and modernization of knowledge in Morocco, the policy of Arabization has been caught in an ongoing competition with the pedagogical visions of the French Protectorate—visions that have been recycled by nationalist and international development agendas. This competition has subtly classified the sciences and the humanities into Francophone and Arabophone disciplines, respectively, at a moment when national development is understood as technological advancement. School participants endure this linguistic, disciplinary, and, effectively, social hierarchy and put their awareness of the system at the service of its circumvention. The anxiety of teachers over the future of state-educated youth indicates that the legitimacy of the school itself has become highly doubted. This article approaches both the public school and its relationship to knowledge through a historically informed ethnographic lens, arguing that centralized theories of pedagogy, the sociological category of class, and the assumed dichotomy between state agendas and international patronage are unsatisfactory frames for the interpretation of the phenomena in question.

24 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors examine the Syrian refugee camp cum shrine town of Sayyida Zaynab and analyze questions of religious authority, ritual practice, and pious devotion to SayyIDA Zayeb.
Abstract: According to Giorgio Agamben, a “state of exception” is established by the sovereign's decision to suspend the law, and the archetypical state of exception is the Nazi concentration camp. At the same time, Agamben notes that boundaries have become blurred since then, such that even spaces like refugee camps can be thought of as states of exception because they are both inside and outside the law. This article draws on the notion of the state of exception in order to examine the Syrian refugee camp cum shrine town of Sayyida Zaynab as well as to analyze questions of religious authority, ritual practice, and pious devotion to Sayyida Zaynab. Though Sayyida Zaynab and many of her Twelver Shiʿi devotees resemble Agamben's figure of homo sacer, who marked the origin of the state of exception, they also defy Agamben's theory that humans necessarily become animal-like, leading nothing more than “bare lives” (or zoē) in states of exception.

19 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The role of medicine and health care in the conduct of the Algerian War of Independence (1954-62) is explored in this article, where the authors argue that Algerian nationalists employed the powerful language of health and healing to legitimize their claims for national sovereignty and used medical organizations to win local support, obtain financial and material aid from abroad, and recast themselves as humanitarians to an increasingly sympathetic international audience.
Abstract: This article explores the vitally important yet often neglected role of medicine and health care in the conduct of the Algerian War of Independence (1954–62). Using French, Swiss, and recently opened Algerian archival materials, it demonstrates how Algerian nationalists developed a health-service infrastructure that targeted the domestic and international arenas. It argues that they employed the powerful language of health and healing to legitimize their claims for national sovereignty and used medical organizations to win local support, obtain financial and material aid from abroad, and recast themselves as humanitarians to an increasingly sympathetic international audience. This research aims to situate Algerian efforts into a broader history of decolonization and humanitarianism and contributes to rethinking the process through which political claims were made at the end of empire.

15 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors argue that the production, circulation, and reception of Jewish-themed Moroccan films is diagnostic of the state's ability to open new spaces of public representation and debate that foster precisely those images of state and nation promoted by the current regime in regional and global contexts.
Abstract: In this historically and anthropologically oriented article, we situate the recent wave of Jewish-themed Moroccan films within the context of the liberalizing transformations and associated nationalist narratives promoted by the current Moroccan regime. Reflecting Mohammed VI's commitment to widening the space of civil society, the task of enacting these transformations and producing these narratives devolves increasingly to nonstate agents in the public sphere. Previously monopolized and managed more comprehensively by the state, the “Jewish Question”—that is, contestations over representations of Jews as authentic members of the Moroccan body politic—is now taken up in a range of public media less subject to direct government control. We demonstrate that the role of cinema in this process reflects the shifting relationship between state and civil society in the late postcolonial period. More specifically, we argue that the production, circulation, and reception of Jewish-themed films is diagnostic of the state's ability to open new spaces of public representation and debate that foster precisely those images of the state and nation promoted by the current regime in regional and global contexts.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article used the story of one such pseudo-Algerian, Masʿud Amoyal, to explore the phenomenon of Moroccans who assumed the legal identities of Algerians.
Abstract: After France's 1830 invasion of Algeria, Algerians residing outside of the new French colony could potentially be considered French subjects. A number of Moroccans, eager to partake of the legal and financial advantages of foreign nationality, crossed the border into Algeria and obtained documentation falsely attesting to their Algerian origins; they then returned to Morocco, where they convinced French consular authorities to register them as French subjects. This article uses the story of one such pseudo-Algerian, Masʿud Amoyal, to explore the phenomenon of Moroccans who assumed the legal identities of Algerians. In Morocco and elsewhere in the Middle East, the responses of individuals like Amoyal to new legal categories created by European colonization point to the importance of expanding colonial historiography beyond the borders of imperial states. Examining the strategies of pseudo-Algerians in Morocco demonstrates the value of a transnational approach for understanding the full impact of European imperialism.

Journal ArticleDOI
Amir Idris1
TL;DR: In this article, the authors discuss what citizenship entails, particularly in a multicultural context; how the current state reconciles competing claims of citizenship; and what kinds of viable institutional mechanisms are required for an effective relationship between the state, its citizens, and local power structures.
Abstract: Since its political independence in 1956, Sudan has witnessed the rise of armed ethnic and regional protest movements that have resulted in great human suffering and the largest number of refugees and displaced peoples in Africa. These protest movements have challenged the legitimacy of the independent Sudanese state, led by Arabized and Islamized elites at the pinnacle of power, to extend and define citizenship rights and responsibilities. In Darfur, Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile, these movements are not only currently demanding equal citizenship rights, but they are also demanding recognition of special rights including claims to land, autonomous government, and the maintenance of ethno-national identities. They are thus opening up a debate about what citizenship entails, particularly in a multicultural context; how the current state reconciles competing claims of citizenship; and what kinds of viable institutional mechanisms are required for an effective relationship between the state, its citizens, and local power structures.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It has become something of a commonplace to argue that music played an important role in the revolutionary upheavals that overthrew the Bin ʿAli regime in Tunisia and forced Husni Mubarak from power in Egypt as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: It has become something of a commonplace to argue that music played an important role in the revolutionary upheavals that overthrew the Bin ʿAli regime in Tunisia and forced Husni Mubarak from power in Egypt. This recognition let the larger scholarly community—indeed, the world—in on a secret that a small group of MENA scholars have for decades been trying to share: it's not merely that music is society, as Jonathan Shannon argues in his contribution to this roundtable; it's society in “Real 3D,” at once a microcosm, mirror, and prism of “all the social forces and contradictions of culture, politics, and history.” As a mirror, music reflects society's contending forces back onto itself. Under the right conditions it also refracts them prismatically, acting as a filter and an amplifier that brings (and sometimes forces) subaltern sentiments into the public consciousness. Music, like other art forms, can help foster and sustain social and political change.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper analyzed two accounts of the Hispano-Moroccan War of 1859-60 in light of scholarly debates about historiography, translation, and modernity in the colonial context.
Abstract: This article analyzes two accounts of the Hispano-Moroccan War of 1859–60 in light of scholarly debates about historiography, translation, and modernity in the colonial context. The first text is Ahmad b. Khalid al-Nasiri's Kitab al-Istiqsa (1895), which explores the organization of the Spanish army in an effort to understand the military technology and state apparatus behind colonial domination. The second text, Clemente Cerdeira's Version arabe de la Guerra de Africa (1917), is framed as an annotated Spanish translation of al-Nasiri's text, but Cerdeira suppresses key passages from al-Nasiri's account in order to undermine any hint that the Moroccan historian's thinking is reformist or modern. By comparing these two accounts of the same war, the article aims to situate al-Nasiri's text within the reform movements that spread through the Muslim Mediterranean in the 19th century and to use al-Nasiri's historical thinking as a model for theorizing Moroccan modernity.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors studied the early 20th-century Algerian revival of Andalusi music, a high-prestige urban performance tradition linked to medieval Muslim Spain, and found that Yafil's experiments with printing, transcription, audio recording, amateur associations, concert-hall performance, and new composition helped transform the production, consumption, and circulation of Algiersi music.
Abstract: Edmond Yafil was a key figure in the early 20th-century Algerian revival of Andalusi music, a high-prestige urban performance tradition linked to medieval Muslim Spain. Yafil's experiments with printing, transcription, audio recording, amateur associations, concert-hall performance, and new composition helped transform the production, consumption, and circulation of Andalusi music. Although Yafil was widely respected, his reputation was fraught with ambiguity during his lifetime and has remained so since. While not divorced from his position as a Jew in turn of the century Algiers, Yafil's ambiguity is best understood within the context of the complex Andalusi musical milieu of his day. This study of Yafil shows revival to have been a gloss for a partial but far-reaching shift in the social basis of Andalusi music making and calls for a broader rethinking of the familiar concept of revival in North Africa and the Middle East and beyond.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the emergence of professional attorneys in the Ottoman legal profession is analyzed, emphasizing two developments: first, the Nizamiye courts advanced a formalist legal culture, exhibited, inter alia, by the expansion of legal procedure, which limited the legibility of the judicial experience to legal experts, rendering legal counseling almost indispensible in civil and criminal litigation.
Abstract: Professional attorneyship emerged in the Ottoman Empire in tandem with the consolidation of the Nizamiye (“regular”) court system during the late 19th century. This article analyzes the emergence of an Ottoman legal profession, emphasizing two developments. First, the Nizamiye courts advanced a formalist legal culture, exhibited, inter alia, by the expansion of legal procedure. Whereas the pre-19th century court of law was highly accessible to lay litigants, the proceduralization of court proceedings in the 19th century limited the legibility of the judicial experience to legal experts, rendering legal counseling almost indispensible in civil and criminal litigation. Second, the reformers made efforts to render state-granted legal license a sign of professional competence, presenting a formal distinction between the old “agents” (vekils), who lacked formal legal training, and the professional “trial attorneys” (dava vekils). In practice, however, lawyers of both categories had to adapt to the Nizamiye formalist culture.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Abdel-Malek Anouar, 2007, LEANANION, F. W., 1994, CRITICAL RECONSTRUCT; said Edward, 1979, ORIENTALISM; Salem Paul, 1994, BITTER LEGACY IDEOLO; David, 2004, CONSCRIPTS MODERNITY as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: Abdel-Malek Anouar, 1984, CONT ARAB POLITICAL; Abu-Rabi Ibrahim M., 2003, CONT ARAB THOUGHT ST, P318; Ajami F., 1992, ARAB PREDICAMENT ARA; Aksikas Jaafar, 2009, ARAB MODERNITIES ISL; al-Azm, 1995, JHAQAFAT AL KHUMAYNI; Al-Azm Sadik Jala, 1981, KHAMSIN, V8, P5; al-Hafiz Yasin, 2005, AL AMAL AL KAMILA LI, P1117; al-Hafiz Yasin, 2005, AL AMAL AL KAMILA LI, P321; Amil, 1974, CINQ ETUDES MAT HIST; Amil, 1990, AL NAZARIYYA FI AL M; [Anonymous], 2003, FI AL DAWLA AL TAIFI; [Anonymous], 1973, FI AL TANAQUD; [Anonymous], 1976, FI NAMAT AL INTAJ AL; [Anonymous], 2001, FI TAMARHUL AL TARIK; [Anonymous], 1989, MADKHAL ILA NAQD AL; [Anonymous], 2000, PROPOS CHAMP POLITIQ, P67; 'Amil Mahdi, 1989, NAQD AL FIKR AL YAWM; 'Amil Mahdi, 2002, AZMAT AL HADARA AL A, P220; 'Amil Mahdi, 2006, HAL AL QALB LI L SHA, P7; 'Amil Mahdi, 1990, MUNAQASHAT WA AHADIT, P241; Bardawil Fadi A., 2010, ALL THIS REVOLUTION; Binder L., 1988, ISLAMIC LIBERALISM C; Browers ML, 2009, CAMB MIDDLE E STUD, P1, DOI 10.1017-CBO9780511626814; Callinicos Alex, 1978, ALTHUSSERS MARXISM; Chakrabarty Dipesh, 2000, PROVINCIALIZING EURO, P9; Christofferson Michael Scott, 2004, FRENCH INTELLECTUALS, P19; Christopt Schumann, 2008, LIBERAL THOUGHT E ME; Dahir Mas'ud, 1986, AL USUS AL TARIKHIYY; Firro Kais M., 2003, INVENTING LEBANON NA, P60; Frank Andre Gunder, 1966, MON REV, V18, P17; Gershoni Israel, 2006, MIDDLE E HISTORIOGRA, P131; Hourani Albert, 1983, ARABIC THOUGHT LIBER; Ismael Tareq Y., 1998, COMMUNIST MOVEMENT S; Ismael Tareq Y., 1976, ARAB LEFT; Ismael Tareq Y., 2005, COMMUNIST MOVEMENT A, P102; Jessops Bob, 1982, CAPITALIST STATE MAR, P163; Kassab Elizabeth S., 2009, CONT ARAB THOUGHT CU; Laroui Abdallah, 1976, CRISIS ARAB INTELLEC; Laroui Abdallah, 1982, IDEOLOGIE ARABE CONT; MAKDISI S, 1995, BOUNDARY TWO, V22, P85, DOI 10.2307-303663; Makdisi Ussama, 2000, CULTURE SECTARIANISM; Meijer Roel, 2002, QUEST MODERNITY SECU; Mignolo Walter, 2000, LOCAL HIST GLOBAL DE, P173; Said E. W., 1983, WORLD TEXT CRITIC; Said E. W., 1994, CRITICAL RECONSTRUCT; Said Edward, 1979, ORIENTALISM; Salem Paul, 1994, BITTER LEGACY IDEOLO; Scott David, 2004, CONSCRIPTS MODERNITY, P3; Scott David, 1999, REFASHIONING FUTURES, P4; Sivan E., 1985, INTERPRETATIONS ISLA; Traboulsi F., 2007, HIST MODERN LEBANON

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors explores the responses of Sephardi Jews to two moments of heightened tension and politicized violence in the Ottoman Empire during the late 19th century, and argues that many of the strategies of representation that Jewish elites employed during these moments speak to their ability and willingness to work within a framework of Islamic Ottomanism.
Abstract: This article explores the responses of Sephardi Jews to two moments of heightened tension and politicized violence in the Ottoman Empire during the late 19th century—the massacres of Armenians in Istanbul in 1896 and the Greco–Ottoman War of 1897. It argues that many of the strategies of representation that Jewish elites employed during these moments speak to their ability and willingness to work within a framework of Islamic Ottomanism. Recognizing this pattern complicates scholarly assumptions about the relationship of religious minorities to the deployment of state religion in general and about the responses of non-Muslims to the Hamidian regime's mobilization of Islam more specifically. Identifying the pattern is not to celebrate it, however. Sephardi Jews' relationship with Islamic Ottomanism was in many cases deeply ambivalent. Finding themselves torn between civic and Islamic forms of imperial identification during this period, Ottoman Jews soon learned that both positions could entail uncomfortable choices and disturbing consequences.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors traces the emergence of folklore studies and ethnography in interwar Iran and argues that these disciplines were part of larger nationalist projects of representing and speaking for the “masses.”
Abstract: This paper traces the emergence of folklore studies and ethnography in interwar Iran. It argues that these disciplines were part of larger nationalist projects of representing and speaking for the “masses.” The first part of the paper explores how and why a number of Iranian intellectuals engaged in folklore studies after a period of prolonged political activism in the first few decades of the 20th century. The second part of the paper examines cultural institutions established by the state, mainly in the late 1930s, in an attempt to appropriate and institutionalize folklore studies and ethnography for the purposes of nation building. These efforts were fraught with ambivalences because the “masses” were simultaneously praised as repositories of “authenticity” and looked down upon as a potential source of “backwardness.”

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In the thirty-two years from 1979 to 2011 there have been numerous mass movements in Iran and several Arab countries that have overthrown or threatened rulers who seemed secure for several decades as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: In the thirty-two years from 1979 to 2011 there have been numerous mass movements in Iran and several Arab countries that have overthrown or threatened rulers who seemed secure for several decades. By September 2011, the shah of Iran and the presidents of Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya had been overthrown; of those, only the anti-Qaddafi revolt had outside (NATO) help. Major popular movements had also threatened the rulers of Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria. Iran had seen the massive Green Movement in 2009, aimed primarily at fraud in that year's presidential elections. Among the questions that emerge regarding these movements are the following: Why did they arise when they did? Why were they not predicted? How much influence did one or more of these movements have on the others? Why were some movements successful and others, thus far, not? Some of these questions will demand long study and analysis, which may not lead to a consensus. Here will be a preliminary brief discussion of a few of them, with stress on the question of influence.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors examines how a transregional reformist discourse could be vulnerable to local interpretation and begins to unpack the transformation of Salafi activism from a broad, doctrinaire, and, above all, foreign ideology to an integral part of local religious discourse.
Abstract: The Islamic reformist movement known as Salafism is generally portrayed as a relentlessly literalist and rigid school of religious thought. This article pursues a more nuanced picture of a historical Salafism that is less a movement with a single, linear origin than a dynamic intellectual milieu continually shaped by local contexts. Using 1930s Aden as a case study, the article examines how a transregional reformist discourse could be vulnerable to local interpretation and begins to unpack the transformation of Salafi activism from a broad, doctrinaire, and, above all, foreign ideology to an integral part of local religious discourse. It situates reform within an evolving Islamic discursive tradition that in part developed as a result of its own theological logic but was equally shaped by local and historically contingent institutions, social practices, and power structures. It thus explores Salafism as a dynamic tradition that could be adapted by local intellectuals to engage the problems facing their own communities.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The story of the Oran-based Jewish merchant Jacob Lasry (1793-1869) illustrates how preexisting North African business practices survived and adapted to the radical dislocations of the French conquest of Algeria as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: The story of the Oran-based Jewish merchant Jacob Lasry (1793–1869) illustrates how preexisting North African business practices survived and adapted to the radical dislocations of the French conquest of Algeria. In the 1830s, French political turmoil and indecision helped foster a chaotic situation where French generals with nebulous goals “outsourced” financing and even military campaigns to local experts in Algeria. Lasry's business success in the economy of the early conquest invested him with a degree of power vis-a-vis the French administration, whose other proxies sometimes ended up in severe debt to him. With the rise of a “civilizing mission” discourse in the 1840s and 1850s, aspects of this mission, too, were outsourced to local experts. Despite his Moroccan birth, Gibraltarian family, and British subjecthood, Lasry used his stature to secure the official position of president of the province's consistoire israelite, charged with advancing French civilization among Oran's indigenous Jews.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors explore the roots of cemetery violence by examining the dynamics of apostasy and the experiences and challenges Babi and Bahaʾi converts faced in their interment practices in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Abstract: Violence toward corpses and graves, especially the unusual practice of exhuming and burning remains, persisted sporadically through the 20th century in Iran but found new dimensions in the form of mass graves and a systematic desecration of cemeteries in the period following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. This paper seeks to explore the roots of cemetery violence by examining the dynamics of apostasy and the experiences and challenges Babi and Bahaʾi converts faced in their interment practices in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This period witnessed a significant change in communal identities. Unconventional self-definitions expressed in religious conversions and in fluid or multiple communal affiliations and religious convictions defied traditional boundaries and led to tension between nonconformists and religious authorities. One way for Shiʿi ʿulamaʾ and Jewish rabbis to reassert a conventional center was through the control of cemeteries, including by not allowing converts to be buried in these semisacred spaces.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors examines the administration of Haci Mustafa Pasha, the military governor of Belgrade from 1793 to 1801, who was at odds with the contemporary trend in Ottoman provincial politics.
Abstract: This article examines the administration of Haci Mustafa Pasha, the military governor of Belgrade from 1793 to 1801. His appointment to this strategically located post was at odds with the contemporary trend in Ottoman provincial politics. Unlike most high-ranking provincial officials at this time, especially in the Balkans, Mustafa Pasha was not among the wealthy and militarily powerful ayan (local notables) but rather a career bureaucrat. His tumultuous and ultimately tragic administration reveals that his appointment was part of the attempt by Sultan Selim III (r. 1789–1807) to recentralize provincial governance. This study also provides a sociopolitical portrait of Belgrade and the surrounding region during the 18th century, as well as a brief look at the dangerous alliance of ayan and the janissaries.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: However, when one considers the recent uprisings in the Arab world through the prism of Iran's experiences in 1979, the parallels are not so evident as mentioned in this paper, and it would appear that in broad terms, and beyond superficial similarities, there is little in common between the events of Iran in 1979 and what has happened in the past year in the Middle East.
Abstract: Revolutions are by nature unpredictable and unsettling. That the wave of revolutions in North Africa and the Arab Middle East began so unexpectedly and spread with such speed, leading to the fall of the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, has added to the concern regarding the “new order” that is to come after the initial euphoria. From the outset, the fear has been that these revolutions will follow the same trajectory as Iran did in 1979—in other words, that they will marginalize those who launched the revolutions and provide the grounds for the rise to power of the most savvy, purposeful, and best organized of the opposition groups, namely, the Islamists. Yet when one considers the recent uprisings in the Arab world through the prism of Iran's experiences in 1979, the parallels are not so evident. Mindful of the variations and distinctions between each of the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, it would appear that in broad terms, and beyond superficial similarities, there is little in common between the events of Iran in 1979 and what has happened in the past year in the Arab world.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The post-colonial approach has become influential in the humanities and the social sciences as mentioned in this paper, and it has been applied in the Middle East to the study of the region and then contextualized eight recent works within that framework.
Abstract: During the last decade, the postcolonial approach has become influential in the humanities and the social sciences. Tracing its own historical origin to interaction with Western European modernity, it focuses on contemporary power inequality, which it intends to eliminate by demonstrating the connection between power and knowledge. Hence, this approach not only puts the present in conversation with the past but also poses power inequality as the analytical lens through which to approach states and societies. In the last decades, a number of scholars working on the Middle East have adopted the postcolonial approach. In this review essay, I initially discuss its application in the study of the region and then contextualize eight recent works within that framework.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The economic history of the medieval Middle East has been extensively studied in the literature as discussed by the authors, including tax systems and tax rates, but not very thorough coverage of landholding patterns, and almost no studies of productivity rates.
Abstract: One may say that our field has had a respectable crop of scholars engaged in research and numerous important publications to its credit. Past investigations of the agricultural sector have included excellent coverage of taxation systems and tax rates, good coverage of cultivation methods and crops, not very thorough coverage of landholding patterns, and almost no studies of productivity rates. For the manufacturing sector we have very good coverage of manufacturing techniques and good coverage of labor organization and division of labor but little on the productivity rates of individual sectors such as textiles, on apprenticeship and wages for either skilled or unskilled labor, or on the relationship of wages to prices. We have important studies on both regional and long-distance trade and commerce, including on routes and trade-related institutions and on tools of trade such as credit and investment partnerships (qirād/commenda), and related studies regarding urbanization, exchange, and markets. The auxiliary fields of numismatics and archeology have yielded important studies on coinage and minting and on settlement patterns that are likely to improve our grasp of the economic history of the medieval Middle East. We also have at our disposal volumes of statistical data, collected from literary and documentary sources, on prices, wages, commodities, weights, measures, and coins. Several online projects scrutinizing data from primary sources, mainly papyri and Geniza documents, yield more figures, though mostly on the economic history of early Islamic societies. Among the lacunae are studies related to topics such as economic institutions, property rights, standards of living and inequality, GDP estimations, sector productivity, market integration, exogenous shocks, and economic growth.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: For the majority of Iranians who went through the Islamic Revolution of 1979 with high hopes, the "Spring of Freedom" (Bahar-i Azadi) never really bloomed except perhaps on the specially minted gold coins issued in March 1979 by the Provisional Government of Mahdi Bazargan.
Abstract: For the majority of Iranians who went through the Islamic Revolution of 1979 with high hopes, the “Spring of Freedom” (Bahar-i Azadi) never really bloomed except perhaps on the specially minted gold coins issued in March 1979 by the Provisional Government of Mahdi Bazargan. Revolutionary optimism quickly died out and gave way to a long winter of discontent. For the peoples of the Arab world who are presently witnessing an “Arab Spring,” the turn of events may be different. Though the current movement has yet to fully unfold, potentially taking months or even years, and though it is unrealistic to generalize about all Arab countries as if they were one monolithic unit, there are features that set today's movements apart from the 1979 Iranian Revolution as much as there are striking parallels.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: For the last several years, events in Sudan have been changing more rapidly than we Sudanists can analyze them or than Sudanese themselves can process them as discussed by the authors, and the dividing lines of art, language, customs, and religion are, at best, dubious.
Abstract: How can scholars of Sudan now write about the landmass still called “Sudan”? What do we mean when we use the word? How can the name, which denotes a whole, encompass the fragments that make up its official boundaries? For the last several years, events in Sudan have been changing more rapidly than we Sudanists can analyze them or than Sudanese themselves can process them. Now, in its truncated form, delineating national identity—always problematic in the past—becomes far more complex. Considering extant cultural flows of art, language, customs, and religion, the dividing lines are, at best, dubious. A number of events are transpiring at the moment of writing this brief essay that have changed and will continue to change the future of not just one country but now two. For example, nothing is resolved in Darfur (in western Sudan), with peace talks stalled, more violence being perpetrated by the northern central government and its proxies, guerilla groups proliferating and battling among themselves, and a probable link among some Darfur groups and South Sudan forces.