[The Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI) brings you the fourteenth in a series of “Peer-Reviewed Article Reviews” in which we present a collection of journals and their articles concerned with the Middle East and Arab world. This series will be published seasonally. Each issue will comprise one-to-three parts, depending on the number of articles included.]
Arab Studies Journal (Volume 28, Issue 2)
The Ideological Deportation of Foreigners and “Local Subjects of Foreign Extraction” in Interwar Egypt
By: Rim Naguib
Abstract: Not available
“Glitzy” Malls and Coffee Shops: Everyday Places of Belonging and Social Contestation in Dubai
By: Rana AlMutawa
Abstract: Not available
On the State’s Education Apparatus: Zionization and Minoritarianism of Druze Consciousness in Israel
By: Yusri Khaizran
Abstract: Not available
Displacing Queer Refugee Epistemologies: Dreams of Trespass, Queer Kinship, and the Politics of Miseration
By: Sima Shakhsari
Abstract: Not available
British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (Volume 47, Issue 4)
Proliferation of neopatrimonial domination in Turkey
By: Fatih Çağatay Cengiz
Abstract: Literature on Turkey’s post-2011 authoritarian turn – especially after the eruption of the 2013 nationwide Gezi Protests – adopts modern concepts such as ‘dictatorship’, ‘authoritarianism’, ‘totalitarianism’, ‘one-party government’, ‘party-state fusion’, and even ‘fascism’ mainly in order to pin down the nature of the Justice and Development Party (AKP, Turkish acronym) or depict the current character of Turkey’s regime. Through engaging the pre-modern concept of neopatrimonialism, which is derived from Max Weber’s concept of patrimonialism, this paper argues that Turkey’s encounter with authoritarianism is deeply associated with the proliferation of neopatrimonial domination, into which the legacy of patronage politics, fracture of security power, and the metastasis of crony capitalism have been conflated. This article argues that neopatrimonial features have always, to a degree, marked state-society relations in Turkey. Furthermore, this article suggests neopatrimonial characteristics started to dominate Turkey’s modern legal structure under the AKP, which led to a state crisis culminating in the 2016 attempted coup. However, despite the fact that neopatrimonialism cannot be argued as a pathological deviation from modern-legal domination, this paper concludes that tension exists between the crony capitalism-based economic model of neopatrimonalism and Turkey’s decades-long market-based capitalism.
The Egyptian human rights movement and the 2011 Revolution: the implications of a missed opportunity
By: Bosmat Yefet
Abstract: The 2011 uprising that led to the overthrow of Mubarak was perceived as an expression of the awakening of civil society in the face of authoritarian rule, leading to a re-examination of its role as an agent for democratic change. Nevertheless, the re-entrenchment of authoritarianism confirmed prior critical discussions regarding civil society limitations. This paper focuses on the role of the human rights movement during the revolution and its aftermath and reveals the activists’ reflections on its failure. The discussion refers to the limitations of human rights organizations but also exposes the possibilities created by the revolution and the impact of the ‘new civic activism’, which extricated human rights activism from the enclaves of the professional organizations. This analysis requires us to reconsider the definitions of civil society, which focus on formal organizations, and view it as a space in which various actors, including fluid and horizontal forms of activism, engage through contention and cooperation. Such an analysis drew our attention to the activists themselves and exposes the variety of actors working for reform, their various interpretations of the anti-democratic reality, and their potential to establish an anti-hegemonic narrative.
Magical realism and metafiction in Post-Arab spring literature: narratives of discontent or celebration?
By: Abida Younas
Abstract: My study is an attempt to examine recent developments in post-Arab Spring fiction by Anglo-Arab immigrant authors. Instead of conforming to the traditional narrative modes and strategies, post-Arab Spring literature provides a bitter evaluation of the so-called Arab Spring and deconstructs the revolutionary rhetoric that heralds a new era for the Arab world by producing a counter-narrative. The selected novels, Karim Alrawi’s Book of Sands and Youssef Rakha’s The Crocodiles, use peculiar strategies to portray the fractured and cryptic realities of the Arab world. Written within the framework of realism, utilizing the literary strategies of postmodern literature, these writers unsettle the boundaries of literary genres and give rise to diverse phenomenal trends in Arab fiction. Using magical realism, Alrawi expands the traditional realist narrative style by blending realist elements with magical. By employing metafiction, Rakha formally exhibits the precarious scenario of the Arab world. Drawing on the theory of Magical Realism and Metafiction, these works are investigated in order to emphasize how this new writing reflects the unstable reality of the Arab Spring. While it is too early to discern the characteristics of Post-Arab Spring literature, my research is a contribution to developing a framework in which to do so.
Paiens unt dreit? Reversed dichotomy and the East in Boeve de Haumtone and Bevis of Hampton
By: Hulya Tafli Duzgun
Abstract: It is usually accepted that Saracens are evil and Christians are good in medieval narratives. The common medieval thought towards binary opposition can be pointed out by the Chanson de Roland: ‘paiens unt tort e Chrestiens unt dreit’. However, it seems that there is religious prejudice and ignorance towards the Saracens and their geographical location, the East. The Anglo-Norman Boeve de Haumtone is an early medieval narrative that focuses on cross-cultural interaction within a framework that combines political, social and religious events with geographical exploration both in the East and the West. Similarly, Bevis of Hampton is the Middle English version that reshapes the socio historical and religious events on which their sources have focused. The aim of this article is to explore the idea that another East existed during the Middle Ages. This article will address the question of what relation Boeve de Haumtone and Bevis of Hampton might have to crusading geography. It will be argued how and why the East is not portrayed as a scary, evil place as it is in other contemporary romances, and the evidence for this may be presented by the hero’s preference for living in the East for the rest of his life.
Yarmouk minors: their situation and displacement… their agency through cultural forms, psychosocial activities and through daily life actions
By: Buthaina Shaheen
Abstract: This paper focuses on exiled minors from Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp. It elucidates how the trauma of Yarmouk, resulting from the Syrian conﬂict, evokes the Nakba of 1948 and the loss of Palestine. It explains generally how this trauma has aﬀected minors of Yarmouk, but on the other hand how they are able to engage positively in such situations. Therefore, it focuses on the agency of Yarmouk minors, and explores it through investigating their cultural forms such as poem reciting and singing, as well as through focusing on their engagement both in psychosocial activities and daily life actions. Poems that emphasize the displacement from Palestine and Yarmouk as well as illustrate the imagination of the lost land. Daily activities and psychosocial that stress the pursuit for a normal life. Theoretical concepts borrowed from Anderson, Chatterjee and Hage are employed in order to enable us understand in which ways minors demonstrate their agency in order to maintain the daily survival. The data analysed in this paper stems from interviews with Yarmouk residents, both adults and minors, along with visual materials such as videos and photos provided by relief workers and activists.
Revisiting the anti-mushāʿ reforms in the levant: origins, scale and outcomes
By: Amos Nadan
Abstract: The historiography of the abolition of repartitioned mushāʿ—the practice of parcels substitution among cultivators in peasant communities—is mistakenly traced back to the Ottoman Land Code of 1858. Neither that Code, nor Ottoman land registration, attempted the abolition of this type of mushāʿ. It was instead the abolition ordinances of the British and French Mandatory governments during the 1920s which began a conflict over land titles. The common estimates of that time suggest about 50 per cent of the lands in the Levant were held under repartitioned mushāʿ, but this was an exaggeration for most localities. French officials in Syria and Lebanon were not unanimous in opposing mushāʿ and in practice resorted to a laissez-faire policy. The British, however, annulled the legal titles to large areas of repartitioned mushāʿ lands in Palestine and Transjordan, wrongly believing this would increase investment in and productivity of cultivated lands. Their view was backed by Zionist experts, possibly due to the realization that the abolition of mushāʿ would facilitate Jewish land purchases.
Beyond ‘brotherhood’ and the ‘caliphate’: Kurdish relationships to Islam in an era of AKP authoritarianism and ISIS terror
By: William Gourlay
Abstract: Since the rise of the Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP), Islam has come to play a more prominent role in public and political spheres in Turkey. This paper draws on ethnographic data gathered in Istanbul and Diyarbakir between 2013 and 2015 to highlight Kurdish attitudes to Islam. Following the electoral success of the AKP amongst Kurds in the general election of 2007, Kurdish actors have sought to incorporate Islamic sensibilities into their political offering in order to appeal to Kurdish constituents. Amid the AKP’s recent authoritarian turn and instrumentalization of religion, and the rise of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), many Kurds have sought to redefine their relationship with Islam to clearly demarcate distinctly Kurdish religious and political spaces.
Orientalism and binary discursive representations of Tunisia’s democratization: the need for a “continuity and change” paradigm
By: Hanen Keskes, Alexander P. Martin
Abstract: Mainstream analyses of Tunisia’s post-2011 democratic transition have been largely divided along two mutually exclusive narratives. There are those hailing the country as ‘the Arab Spring’s only success story’ on the one hand and those sounding sensationalist alarms about the country’s democratization failure and return to authoritarianism on the other. This is consistent with, and perpetuates, a problematic zero-sum binary in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) scholarship between either a linear democratization process or authoritarian resilience. Furthermore, these reductionist representations highlight the failure of predominant democratization theories to account for the nuances and complexities of democratic transition. This paper critically examines the binary discursive representations of Tunisia’s democratization and explores their underpinning in two competing Orientalisms: the classic Orientalism underscoring an ontological difference (and inferiority) of the ‘Arab world’ to the West, and a liberal civilizing Orientalism which, while acknowledging an ‘essential sameness’ between the West and the ‘Arab world’, places the West as the temporal pinnacle of democracy and the normative monitor of democratic success. This paper thus rejects the binary discursive representations of Tunisia’s transition and advocates for a more nuanced narrative which accounts for the patterns of continuity with and change from authoritarian structures within the democratization process.
Turkey’s Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP): a qualitative review of the literature
By: Arda Bilgen
Abstract: The Southeastern Anatolia Project (Güneydoğu Anadolu Projesi, GAP) is one of the largest regional development projects ever implemented in the Middle East. Launched officially in the 1970s to develop the water and land resources of southeastern Turkey, GAP has over time evolved from a predominantly technical, largely state-led and mainly infrastructural and economic development-oriented project into a primarily social, largely market-friendly and chiefly sustainable and human development-oriented project. Parallel to this evolution, GAP has grown more visible in political and public discourses. The implications of the project, for instance, on the ecology and cultural heritages, on the Kurdish Question, and on water issue among Turkey, Syria and Iraq have become clearer. However, despite growing academic and policy interest on GAP, there has been no attempt to provide a literature review on the project. Even more than 40 years after GAP was begun, a bird’s eye view of researched and under-researched topics in the literature has not been introduced yet. This article seeks to present a qualitative review of GAP-related literature. In this way, it seeks to constitute an initial step to establish a base for more expansive reviews and to provide guidance to interested and involved researchers, practitioners and policymakers.
International Journal of Middle East Studies (Volume 52, Issue 4)
Palestinian Refugees between the City and the Camp
By: Faedah M. Totah
Abstract: The camp and the city are both important for understanding the relationship between space and identity in the refugee experience of exile. In the Palestinian example, the camp has emerged as a potent symbol in the narrative of exile although only a third of refugees registered with UNRWA live in camps. Moreover, the city and urban refugees remain missing in most of the scholarship on the Palestinian experience with space, exile, and identity. Furthermore, there is little attention to how refugees understand the concept of the city and camp in their daily life. This article examines how Palestinian urban refugees in the Old City of Damascus conceptualized the relationship between the camp and the city. It illustrates how the concept of the camp remained necessary for the construction of their collective national identity while in Syria. However, the city was essential in the articulation of individual desires and establishing social distinction from other refugees. Thus, during a protracted exile it is in the interstice between the city and the camp, where most urban refugees in the Old City situated themselves, that informed their national belonging and personal aspirations.
The Idea of Islamic Media: The Qur’an and the Decolonization of Mass Communication
By: Yasmin Moll
Abstract: The emergence of Islamic television in the Arab Middle East is usually explained as part of a Saudi media empire fueled by neoliberal petro-dollars. This article, by contrast, takes seriously the role ideas played alongside changing political economies in the origins of the world’s first Islamic television channel, Iqraa. Focusing on the intellectual and institutional career of “Islamic media” (al-i’lām al-Islāmī) as a category from the late sixties onwards in Egypt, I argue that Islamic television is part of a broader decolonization struggle involving the modern discipline of mass communication. Pioneering Arab communication scholars mounted a quest for epistemic emancipation in which the question of how to mediate Islam became inextricable from the question of what made media Islamic. Drawing on historical and ethnographic research, I show how the idea of Islamic media involved a radical reconceptualization of the Qur’an as mass communication from God and of Islam as a mediatic religion. This positing of an intimate affinity between Islam and media provoked secular skepticism and religious criticism that continue to this day. I conclude by reflecting on how the intellectual history of Islamic media challenges dominant framings of epistemological decolonization as a question of interrogating oppressive universalisms in favor of liberatory pluralisms.
The Multifarious Lives of the Sixth ‘Abbasid Caliph Muhammad al-Amin: Collective Memory Construction, Queer Spaces, and Historical Television Drama in Egypt and Syria
By: Rebecca Joubin
Abstract: A vast array of narratives found in medieval historical chronicles and literary sources have referenced the particular ways in which the culture associated with the ‘Abbasid caliphate diverged from a binary model of gender. Despite debate about the historical accuracy of these early chronicles, the repeated references to the sixth ‘Abbasid caliph Muhammad al-Amin’s non-heteronormativity indicate at least a kernel of truth. This article examines the collective memory construction of al-Amin in the Egyptian series Harun al-Rashid (1997) and two Syrian series, Abna’ al-Rashid: al-Amin wa-l-Ma’mun (The Sons of al-Rashid: al-Amin and al-Ma’mun, 2006) and Harun al-Rashid (2018). These contemporary portrayals of the life of al-Amin simultaneously illustrate the process by which history is altered by authorial perspective and the erasure of nonheteronormative space within the ‘Abbasid caliphate. My own authorial perspective inclines toward an interpretation of al-Amin as queer; through this lens, an inspection of wide-ranging accounts of al-Amin’s life reveals the historical biases of his time and our current moment, too, as historians then and now variably recognize al-Amin’s queerness in constructing collective memory. Some have argued that anti–al-Amin chroniclers may have engaged in historical revisionism and referred to al-Amin as queer to discredit the caliph, but ultimately, whether or not this is true, the current application of those early references by contemporary screenwriters is the most revealing historiographical decision, as his many representations serve as a mirror for our contemporary subjectivities, interests, and agendas. At a time when queer lives and experiences are notably absent from traditional historical narratives, this article proposes that regardless of the accuracy of the original sources, the absence itself in contemporary portrayals is significant, as patterns of exclusion yield tangible meaning. In this particular case, the ready elimination of queerness from contemporary narratives shows the ways in which queerness is vulnerable to erasure in favor of other, more politically expedient identity characteristics and values.
Law and Moral Regulation in Modern Egypt: Ḥisba from Tradition to Modernity
By: Ahmed Ezzat
Abstract: This article examines the historical roots of juridical moral regulation in modern Egypt, assessing the relationship between modern law and shariʿa through the lens of the influence of the Islamic practice of ḥisba on courts and legislators. The article engages critically with scholarship on Islamic law and postcolonial theory regarding the impact of Western colonialism on law in Muslim societies and problematizes the understanding that shariʿa was secularized in the Egyptian legal culture through the translation of Western legal concepts. Instead, a different narrative is offered, one that recognizes the agency of local actors in the process of secularization and considers the influence of shariʿa in the legal development of contemporary Egypt.
Reconsidering Local versus Central: Empire, Notables, and Employment in Ottoman Albania and Kurdistan, 1835–1878
By: Uğur Bayraktar
Abstract: The present article is a study of provincial administration in the nineteenth-century Ottoman Albania and Kurdistan. It examines the transformation of provincial administration in Dibra and Hazro after two towns’ hereditary rulers were exiled. Focusing on the employment patterns of the notables in exile as well as the ones who occupied the posts in the absence of the former, this study challenges the binary framework mostly employed in conceptualizing the making of the modern Ottoman state. Particularly, the employment of the notables exiled to the distant parts of the empire necessitates a revision in the presumptions about the origins of appointed Ottoman officials. By focusing on the partnership operating by means of employment, this study argues that the making of Ottoman state follows a trajectory of flexible centralization based on the partnership between the government and notables, terms of which were constantly negotiated.
Smugglers, Migrants, and Refugees: The Iran–Iraq Border, 1925–1975
By: Shaherzad Ahmadi
Abstract: Due to the illegal movement of goods and people, the Khuzistan-Basra frontier, like many other borderlands in the region, represented a liminal space for border dwellers and the Iranian state. Although scholars have written about the migration that was endemic to the early nation-building period, the consequences of this movement in the latter half of the 20th century require further exploration. Well into the 1970s, Iranian migrants and border dwellers complicated citizenship, evinced by the Pahlavi monarchy’s failure or refusal to offer them their rights. The Iranian archives prove that, decades into the nation-building project, local dynamics continued to exert tremendous influence on Iranians and even superseded national policies.
Israel Studies (Volume 25, Issue 3)
The New Pumbedita
By: Nathan Alterman, Lisa Katz
Abstract: Not available
An Exchange of Views: American Jews and the State of Israel
Abstract: Following are the full texts of the addresses delivered by David Ben Gurion, prime minister of Israel, and Jacob Blaustein, president of the American Jewish Committee, on the subject of the relationship of American Jews to the state of Israel. This exchange of views took place at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on August 23, 1950, at an official luncheon tendered by the prime minister in honor of Mr. Blaustein during the latter’s visit to Israel at the invitation of the government of Israel.
The Ben-Gurion—Blaustein Exchange: Ben-Gurion’s Perspective Between an Ideological Capitulation and A Strategic Alliance
By: Ofer Shiff, Adi Sherzer, Talia Gorodess
Abstract: The article discusses Ben-Gurion’s stance towards American Jewry following the establishment of the State of Israel (1949-1951) with a focus on the Ben-Gurion—Blaustein Exchange of 1950, and specifically on Ben-Gurion’s alignment with the non-Zionist American Jewish Committee (AJC). Our main contention here is that Ben-Gurion’s motivation in aligning with the non-Zionists cannot have been merely political or pragmatic but reflects rather a deliberate ideological position. Contrary to the dominant scholarly view, Ben-Gurion did not make ideological ‘concessions’ to the AJC in the “Exchange”. The “Exchange” was in full accord with Israel’s self-definition both as a nation-state and a Jewish state. The article draws on letters, cables and telegrams exchanged between Ben-Gurion, Blaustein and Proskauer before and after the Ben-Gurion—Blaustein Exchange and relates the correspondence to Ben-Gurion’s momentous speech before a gathering of the American Zionist Committee during his first visit to the US as Prime Minister in 1951. These developments taken together shed light on Ben-Gurion’s ideology as it applies to the Jewish State in relation to the American Jewish Diaspora.
The Ben-Gurion—Blaustein ‘Understanding’ as a Historiographical Yardstick (pp. 33-48)
By: Omri Asscher
Abstract: The significance long assigned to the Ben-Gurion—Blaustein agreement as exemplifying the relationship between Israeli and American Jews makes the ‘understanding’ a useful historiographical yardstick. I shall demonstrate that the reticence of Ben-Gurion and Blaustein to discuss the cultural and religious exchange between the communities is generally mirrored in research about the relationship between the Jews of Israel and America. Like Ben-Gurion and Blaustein, researchers have concentrated on the institutional and political activities of the two societies while largely overlooking the deeper level of acquaintance between them and their cultural and religious meeting points. I shall conclude by noting how an emphasis on their cultural and religious exchanges might contribute to future research on the relationship, and inform and nuance recent perceptions of its decline.
Symbolism and Policy: Reading The Ben-Gurion—Blaustein “Exchange” in Relation to Citizenship Laws in the United States
By: Ben Herzog
Abstract: Scholars usually analyze the Ben-Gurion—Blaustein “Exchange” in the context of the Jewish world. Both David Ben-Gurion and Jacob Blaustein presented views that would enable non-Zionist Jewish Americans to support the Jewish state. In particular, they dealt with the fear of being accused of dual loyalty. Following my analysis of the later correspondence between Blaustein and Israeli leaders, and a re-reading of the Ben-Gurion—Blaustein “Exchange” itself, I shall argue that this event is related to and influenced by US citizenship laws. During the 1950s, the United States forbade dual citizenship or the performing of acts that might signify divided or multiple national identities. Revoking American citizenship was a common policy intended to prevent such duality. “Dual loyalty” had both a symbolic and a legal dimension. Therefore, the Ben-Gurion—Blaustein “Exchange” should also be understood as an attempt to prevent Americans from breaking their own laws.
Beyond Mamlakhtiyut and Halutziyut: The Ben-Gurion—Blaustein Understanding in Light of Ben-Gurion’s Theory of Revolution
By: Tal Elmaliach
Abstract: In the context of David Ben-Gurion’s political thought, the understanding he reached with the American Jewish leader Jacob Blaustein on relations between Israel and the Jews of the United States bears the impact of Ben-Gurion’s view of revolution. When Ben-Gurion thought about revolution, he did not limit it to the Jewish state and the concepts of mamlakhtiyut (statism) and halutziyut (pioneering) that were central to his vision for Israel; it included a vision of universal redemption for the entire Jewish people, and of humankind. Ben-Gurion saw four circles of participants in this revolution: those actively engaged in the projects of mamlakhtiyut and halutziyut, regular citizens, Diaspora Jewry, and other nations. These circles were distinct but linked, and could interact precisely because of their distinctiveness. Thus, the Ben-Gurion—Blaustein understanding underlined the independence of both American Jewry and the State of Israel, independence that enabled partnership.
A Nation that Dwells Alone? Israel in the Discipline of International Relations (pp. 81-105)
By: Brent Sasley
Abstract: The discipline of International Relations (IR) is dominated by American and American-trained scholars, who transmit American priorities, theories, methodologies, and approaches throughout IR departments around the world. Under these conditions, Israel has been used only infrequently as a case study for the development of IR theory. But Israel is rich in variables that can be used to generate new theoretical explanations and comparisons. Doing this requires Israel scholars to give more attention to newer theoretical and epistemological developments in the discipline. To illustrate this, the article discusses a survey of seven IR journals, coded for how Israel was used in the discussion of IR topics, theories, and cases. It then suggests some avenues for future research that Israel scholars who work in IR can use to bring Israel into IR theory development and knowledge generation.
Challenging Contemporary Historiography in Shmuel Yosef Agnon’s Only Yesterday
By: Philip Hollander, Gur Alroey
Abstract: Agnon’s Temol Shilshom (Only Yesterday) masterfully depicts twentieth century Palestinian Jewish life and responds critically to Second Aliyah narratives popular in his day which lauded seasonal workers and stressed their critical role in Yishuv development. Agnon found the Second Aliyah image contrived; his novel presents an alternative view of the period. His protagonist Isaac Kumer, like other Second Aliyah workers, proves unable to resolve the ongoing tension between Zionist commitment and his lingering feelings of familial obligation. When he fails to participate in the grand redemptive narrative that would enable him simultaneously to persevere as a Zionist and aid his family, he is punished, “sacrificed” as a self-absorbed immigrant whose preoccupation with his own needs prevents him from conceiving a grander Zionist vision that would address the needs of European Jewry. In the wake of the Holocaust, Agnon encourages a broadening of the vision to meet the survivors’ needs.
Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies (Volume 16, Issue 3)
Turkish Delights with an Aftertaste: Eroticism and Necropolitics in Turkish Trans Crime Fiction
By: Olivia Landry
Abstract: Hop-Çiki-Yaya Polisiyesi is a Turkish crime novel series by Mehmet Murat Somer that appeared between 2003 and 2004. The series is set in the trans world of Istanbul, and the hero/heroine is a gender-nonbinary sleuth. The present essay explores the paradox at the heart of this series, which on the one hand offers an affirmative portrait of a sex-positive and sociopolitically mobile trans world, and on the other hand exposes the reality of trans murders and the necropolitics as well as bare life politics in practice against the trans community in Turkey. The publication of these novels coincided with the emergence of an LGBTQ+ politics in Turkey but also with the rise to power of the Islamist Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (Justice and Development Party). Drawing on crime fiction theories, trans studies, and recent Turkish history, this essay draws out the significance of this series and its place in the trajectory of LGBTQ+ life in Turkey.
Gender Relations in Racialized Ghagar Communities of Egypt: Between Women Power and Layered Oppressions
By: Alexandra Parrs
Abstract: This article reflects on gender relations among Egyptian Dom/Ghagar. It is based on an examination of the representations of Dom women by European Orientalists in Egyptian movies, Egyptian media, and ethnographic research among Dom communities in Egypt, particularly narratives describing marital practices: bride price, divorce, polygyny, and early marriage. The article confronts the discourse of Ghagar and non-Ghagar about the position of women within Ghagar communities. It hypothesizes that representations of gender specificities among Ghagar communities may be concomitantly anchored in real practices, in perceptions of difference among their practices by members of Ghagar communities, and in external discourse. Egyptian media tend to project an image of the Ghagar as a society in which women are more powerful than men—which has a negative connotation. The article asks if those perceptions and interactions have helped create a dimension of Ghagar identity.
Femicide and the Speaking State: Woman Killing and Woman (Re)making in Turkey
By: Sumru Atuk
Abstract: High rates of gender-based violence and sexist political rhetoric are central features of contemporary Turkey. This article explores the complex relationship between the two by drawing on the literature that investigates the (re)making of the category of “woman” in the Middle East and the scholarship on femicide/feminicide. The article employs critical discourse analysis of ruling politicians’ gender-normative statements and shows how they reconstruct the category of “proper woman” as one with institutional and social consequences that compromise women’s safety. Using John L. Austin’s theory of performative speech acts, the article develops a theory of the speaking state to explain the effects of political speech. Ultimately it argues that the politics of “woman making” is central to “the politics of woman killing.”
The Birth of a Character: The Prostitute and the Early Novels in Twentieth-Century Iran
By: Maryam Zehtabi Sabeti Moqaddam
Abstract: In Iran—as never before in the history of the country—prostitutes gained notorious visibility in twentieth-century Persian literature. Fixation on the image of the prostitute created a wealth of literature beginning in 1924 with the first Persian urban social novel, The Horrible Tehran, by Murtiza Mushfiq Kazimi. Associating prostitution with economic corruption, political and administrative decay, and religious hypocrisy, Iranian male writers directed their attention toward representing the sexually wayward woman. By scrutinizing the image of the prostitute in The Horrible Tehran as well as her inflationary and unparalleled presence in Iranian literature in the early twentieth century, this article not only sheds light on the reasons behind the birth of the prostitute character in the Persian novel but also problematizes the period’s tangled legal, social, and moral attitudes toward female sexuality.
Mediterranean Politics (Volume 25, Issue 5)
Explaining divergent transformation paths in Tunisia and Egypt: The role of inter-elite trust
By: Mazen Hassan, Jasmin Lorch, Annette Ranko
Abstract: This article analyses why the political transformations following the Arab Spring took different paths in Egypt and Tunisia. Based on data from field interviews conducted between 2012 and 2018 as well as press analyses, we argue that a strong factor why Tunisia was more successful in establishing democracy is that it had a higher level of inter-elite trust. Moreover, we show that the establishment of inter-elite trust depends on the presence of functioning trust-building arenas during the transition and the early democratic consolidation period. To investigate the role of inter-elite trust, we develop a theoretical-analytical framework, drawing on Arab Spring literature, transition theory, scholarship on democratic consolidation, and research on trust.
Internet and social media use and political knowledge: Evidence from Turkey
By: Simge Andı, S. Erdem Aytaç, Ali Çarkoğlu
Abstract: What are the implications of citizens turning to online sources for news and information about politics? As the Internet and social media have become popular sources of news and information about politics, there has been a growing interest in understanding how this trend affects political knowledge. In this article, we analyze the effects of the Internet and social media use on the Turkish electorate’s political knowledge drawing on an original, nationally representative survey fielded in 2015. We find that Internet use is positively associated with higher levels of political knowledge among the Turkish electorate, even after controlling for several relevant factors. At the same time, however, social media users are more likely to be misinformed and more likely to be opinionated about politics than non-users. Overall, the effects of the Internet on political knowledge seem to be multi-faceted and depend on which platforms people resort to getting their news.
The changing scope of intercultural dialogue in EU Mediterranean policy
By: Pietro De Perini ORCID Icon
Abstract: This article provides an integrative analysis of European Union efforts to promote intercultural dialogue in the framework of its Mediterranean policy from the early 1990s up to the present day. Over this period, EU promotion of intercultural dialogue has been characterized by vagueness and change. With a view to shed light on the fuzziness surrounding this concept, this article aims to understand why and how the EU has periodically changed its understanding of intercultural dialogue within its Mediterranean policy. It argues that the scope and goals of this cultural tool have gone through three different phases – ‘emergence’, ‘consolidation’, and ‘professionalization’. The main factor that determined this three-phase development is identified in the preferences of EU foreign policymakers in approaching the changing sociocultural divide in Euro-Mediterranean relations following three major turning points for EU policy therein: a) the conclusion of the cold war; b) the 9/11 terror attacks; and c) the outbreak of the Arab uprisings.
The ‘three absences’ of black Africans in European migration debates
By: Marco Zoppi
Abstract: This paper suggests that current policies for the management of migration across the Central Mediterranean route aim more at the physical and metaphysical removal of black African migrants from the public sphere, than at dealing with structural factors. Such process, that the author names ‘absence policy’; is explored in three crucial stages of present migration dynamics: Libya, the Mediterranean Sea and Italy. The author argues that absence is instrumental to claim that migration flows can be and are managed, but in reality, it subsumes only a politics of containment of migration that creates concern for the protection of the migrants’ human rights.
Judges, bribes, and verdicts: How court experience reshapes attitudes about judicial corruption among Morocco’s most marginalized
By: Matt Buehler
Abstract: When do citizens believe in corruption’s effectiveness? Using an original, nationally representative survey of 1201 Moroccan respondents, this article highlights the conditions under which citizens affirm (or deny) the importance of corruption to getting favourable decisions from public officials. Specifically, the survey centres on judicial corruption, finding that 76 per cent of citizens agree that bribing judges produces favourable verdicts. Confirming pre-existing research, this article demonstrates that citizens facing greater material and immaterial marginalization – the poor, the undereducated, and ethnic minorities – were more likely to affirm bribery’s effectiveness. Yet, it makes a novel contribution by highlighting the role of personal court experience, and how it interacts with a citizen’s material marginalization. When taking into account their personal court experiences, poor citizens became no more or less likely than other citizens to affirm bribery’s effectiveness in courts. This finding underscores the need to disaggregate direct personal experiences from indirect perceptions when assessing how poor citizens form attitudes about public institutions. It also suggests, preliminarily, that regime initiatives to improve public institutions and courts serving poor Moroccans may have achieved some limited success.
Middle East Critique (Volume 29, Issue 4)
Underground Music in Tunisia: The Case of Awled AL Manajim Under Ben Ali
By: Mohamed Chamekh
Abstract: Awled AL Manajim musical group was forced to go underground under Ben Ali (1987-2010) as the consequence of regime censorship and restrictions on engaged artists. The post-Ben Ali era experienced the proliferation of other types of underground music, in particular rap and hip-hop which achieved major importance in comparison with the old forms of the underground that managed not only to survive Ben Ali’s dictatorship, but also created a culture of resistance through art. This article argues that Awled AL Manajim contributed to the development of a resistance movement in the Mining Basin and suggests that this musical group managed, to a certain extent, to articulate the causes and concerns of the local populace.
The Role of Bedouin Youth and Women in Resistance to the Israeli Prawer Plans in the Naqab
By: Mansour Nasasra, Emily Bellis
Abstract: Naqab Bedouin resistance and political activism against the Israeli Prawer plans attracted attention in many local and international contexts and became a symbol of sumud [steadfastness] among Palestinians in Israel. In fact, the Bedouin, led at this time by motivated youth and women activists, showed greater creative, tactical and strategic agency and skills than politicians and scholars acknowledged in the past, and they actively contributed to shaping aspects of their own destiny within the state structure. We argue that creative, nonviolent, everyday and political resistance and activism, led by the young Bedouin [al-hirak al-shababi], succeeded in modifying and mitigating the Israeli Prawer Plan policies and strategies to relocate and expel the Bedouin from their historical villages. This study draws on a number of in-depth interviews in the Naqab with male and female youth, activists, and politicians. Specifically, it shows how Bedouin women and youth were key actors in resisting the Prawer Plan using social media tactics, which later led to Israeli withdrawal and freezing of the plan in 2013. The evolution of Bedouin resistance and the prevailing misrepresentation of the Bedouin is identified and tested through the case study of the anti-Prawer campaign and the Naqab Bedouin villagers’ on-going resistance to being forcibly relocated from their historical land in the Naqab.
Suppression of the Female Name in Contemporary Palestine
By: Bilal Hamamra, Nabil Alawi, Ruqqaya Herzallah
Abstract: Palestinian female identity has been constructed and reconstructed as an amalgamation of patriarchal-oriented roles (daughter, wife, mother, sister, grandmother or even aunt), demonstrating women’s exclusion from the realm of men who have proper names to locate them within a family group. This article examines the suppression of the female name and the use of reference and terms of address as euphemisms for women in contemporary, non-urban Palestine. While the exclusion of the female name from the public sphere fuels feminists’ criticism of this patriarchal dehumanization, objectification and commodification of the female, we contend that the possibility of undermining Palestinian patronymic culture is shattered because women publicly advertise themselves as the sister, mother, daughter and wife of someone and, hence, their participation in the conventionally male-dominated sphere of politics upholds their subordination.
Palestinian NGOs’ Changed Work Dynamics: Before, During, and beyond the Oslo Process
By: Michael Schulz, Lina Suleiman
Abstract: Based on data collected from interviews with 41 Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations (PNGOs) this article will show how they endured the dramatic structural changes that occurred with the advent of the Oslo process and consequently have changed the work dynamics of the PNGO sector in a fundamental manner, and thereby negatively affecting the way society at large and in this case, PNGOs work for the gratification of communities. We theorize around the PNGO’s own descriptions which in detail informs how earlier significant voluntary work in territories under Israeli occupation transformed through an NGOization process leading to professionalization and donor dependence of PNGOs.
Middle East Quarterly (Volume 27, Issue 4)
How the Trump Plan Makes Peace Possible
By: Douglas J. Feith, Lewis Libby
Abstract: Not available
Does Jordan Want the West Bank?
By: Michael Sharnoff
Abstract: Not available
Iran’s Advances in Latin America
By: Gabriel Andrade
Abstract: Not available
How Israel’s Jewish Majority Will Grow
By: Yakov Faitelson
Abstract: Not available
Middle Eastern Studies (Volume 56, Issue 5)
A tepid alliance: Britain and Turkey in the post-war and early cold war years
By: Ekavi Athanassopoulou
Abstract: During the transitional period between the end of the Second World War and the beginning of the 1950s London and Ankara left behind the coolness that had crept into their relations as a result of Turkey’s neutrality during the war and reaffirmed their pre-war alliance. However, the strategic interests the two countries shared did not result in a closer political bilateral relationship. Moreover, before long the British government had succeeded by various ill-thought actions in causing the resentment of their Turkish ally. The respective attitudes of the British and the Turks towards each other were informed by the interplay between material interests and ideational factors against the backdrop of the perceived Soviet threat, Britain’s ebbing power and the rising power of the United States. This study narrates a brief but interesting chapter in the course of Turkish-British relations. It also offers interesting insights into the dynamics of great power/small state interaction.
The transformation of Britain-Turkey-United States relations at the advent of the Cold War (1945–1952)
By: Şuhnaz Yılmaz
Abstract: This article explores the intricate dynamics of Turkey’s relations with Britain and the United States at a critical juncture during the early Cold War era (1946–1952). The article analyses the implications of a dual transformation of triangular relations in the aftermath of the Second World War. This transformation was on the one hand marked by an ongoing hegemonic transition from Pax-Britannica to Pax-Americana, and on the other hand a systemic transformation resulting in a bi-polar global order. This article utilises levels of analysis framework for a more systematic analysis of the complex web of triangular relations. While focusing on a comprehensive analysis at the international level, the implication of factors at the decision-maker and domestic levels are also examined. The article argues that in response to these drastic transformations as a strategically located regional actor Turkey struggled to strike a delicate balance between its resilient British and newly increasing US ties, while also aiming to institutionalise its Western alliance, leading to NATO membership in 1952.
British foreign policy and military strategy: the contradictions of declining imperial power and the Baghdad Pact, 1947-55
By: John Kent
Abstract: The post-war contradiction between British foreign policy aiming to become a third world power through Europe and the ‘middle of the planet’, and military strategy focused exclusively on an imperial Middle East presence, began to change in 1949. With reduced military resources only the power of prestige (what the rest of the world thinks of Britain) remained. However, by now exacerbating the contradiction between different Middle Eastern foreign policy goals, the Baghdad Pact, having little to do with countering external threats, produced internal conflicts out of its contradictions. Maintaining British middle eastern prestige became crucial just as it was threatened by the US, (disturbed by the imperial problems left by the British, particularly in Egypt) seeking to construct defence arrangements on the Northern Tier. The Baghdad Pact maintained different but equally false claims that a British military presence was necessary to ensure the defence of the Middle East from the Soviet Union. As Anglo-American relations became ones of ‘competitive cooperation’, the military adapted strategy to political needs. Bases for largely non-existent forces, and deceitfully planning to fight a war with nuclear weapons Britain could not deploy were desperate measures to impress middle eastern allies and avoid losing more prestige. The Arab rivalries and divisions the Baghdad Pact exacerbated were eventually to result in Britain becoming involved in military conflict, putting its prestige and influence on the line with more deceit and disastrous consequences for its Middle East influence.
From indifference to independence: Turkey’s shifting Cyprus policy in the 1950s
By: Seçkin Barış Gülmez
Abstract: This article aims to offer a valid answer to the question why Turkey’s official stance on the Cyprus problem experienced frequent shifts – from indifference (1950) into supporting colonial rule (1954) then into Taksim, or partition (1956) and, finally, into independence (1959). Drawing upon the main assumptions of neoclassical realism, it argues that the existing systemic explanations in the scholarly literature that focus on Cold War rivalry are insufficient to grasp why there were such remarkable shifts in Turkey’s Cyprus policy in the 1950s. Instead, the article will focus on the domestic dynamics to make better sense of these policy changes. Accordingly, it will first discuss the main assumptions of neoclassical realism as a sound theoretical framework. Second, it will scrutinise in detail how Turkey experienced such shifts in its Cyprus policy throughout the 1950s. Third, the article will discuss the extant literature that overwhelmingly concentrates on systemic explanations for Turkey’s volte-face in Cyprus. In response, the article will offer alternative explanations by focusing on Turkey’s depleting resource extraction capacity and the political leadership of Turkish Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, in order to fully understand the underlying reasons behind Turkey’s shifting Cyprus policy.
Playing the Turkish card: British policy and Cyprus in the 1950s
By: Robert Holland
Abstract: This article revises the narrative of the pre-independence troubles in Cyprus to take greater account of Anglo-Turkish interactions. Initial Turkish reluctance to play any role was overcome by the determination of Harold Macmillan as British Foreign Secretary after April 1955 to bring the country into the centre of the picture. The analysis underlines how, far from simplifying any solution, this intensified Turkish suspicions of the motivations behind British policy. These doubts came to pivot on the option of partition in any exercise of Cypriot self-determination. The end-game of Cypriot independence was characterized not by ‘Anglo-Turkish alliance’, but by a fragile Greco-Turkish understanding.
The Middle East Journal (Volume 74, Issue 3)
Reclaiming National Identity in Kurdish School Textbooks
By: Ofra Bengio
Abstract: This article is a qualitative and comparative study of elementary school textbooks in the Kurdish autonomous enclave of Rojava in Syria and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Historical circumstances and political forces account for both superficial and ideological differences between the two sets of textbooks. Nonethless, despite the Rojava leadership’s ostensible opposition to nationalism and the KRI’s commitments to respect the states of the region, both illustrate attempts by the ruling party in each region to promote a distinct Kurdish nationalism with a view toward nurturing pan-Kurdish identity.
Political and Military Obstacles to the North African Regional Capability
By: Colin D. Robinson
Abstract: It appears almost certain that the African Standby Force as originally imagined will never deploy. All five regions have, however, improved military cooperation and gained significant Western investment, strengthening well-positioned elites. Virtually nothing has eventuated in North Africa, primarily because of lack of regional interest, especially following the fall of Libyan leader Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi and the ensuing civil war. Regional armies have significant problems with effectiveness; the force should only be retained if it genuinely fosters regional military cooperation.
“We Were Getting Close to God, Not Deportees”: The Expulsion to Marj al-Zuhur in 1992 as a Milestone in the Rise of Hamas
By: Elad Ben-Dror
Abstract: In December 1992, Israel deported hundreds of Hamas activists to Lebanon. The deportees ensconced themselves at a camp near the village of Marj al-Zuhur, close to the Israeli border. Their sojourn there bolstered Hamas and became a milestone in its development. This article shows how the deportees’ success in running the camp as an exemplary Islamic society turned the deportation into a foundational myth for the movement, one centered on nonviolent resistance in the spirit of Islamic values.