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[Adunis. Image by Mariusz Kubik, from Wikipedia]

Adunis, Mistranslated (Part One)

Adonis, Selected Poems. Translated from the Arabic by Khaled Mattawa. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2010. Adunis (1930-) is one of the most influential and dominant Arab poets of the modern era and a perennial Nobel contender since the late 1980s. A number of his individual works have been ably translated into English in previous decades by Mirene Ghossein and Kamal Boullata, Samuel Hazo, and Shawkat Toorawa. More recently, Adnan Haydar and Michael Beard ...

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Brushing History against the Grain

Abdel Razzaq Takriti, Monsoon Revolution: Republicans, Sultans, and Empires in Oman, 1965-1976. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. We are left alone with our day, and the time is short, and
 History to the defeated
 May say Alas but cannot help nor pardon. - ...

[Detail from the cover of

Watch, See, Feel: Kasim Abid’s Whispers of the Cities

Whispers of the Cities, directed by Kasim Abid. Iraq/UAE, 2013. Iraqi filmmaker Kasim Abid’s documentary Whispers of the Cities, which premiered at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival in October, is the result of ten years spent observing life in the “conflict cities” of Ramallah, ...

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A New Secularism?

[This is the third of three responses to Muriam Haleh Davis’ review essay of books by Joan W. Scott, Naomi Davidson, and Mayanthi Fernando. For Joan W. Scott’s response, “More on Laïcité in Historical Context," click here; for Naomi Davidson’s response, “The Vagaries of Laïcité,” click here.] In bringing the ...  Read More »

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The Vagaries of Laïcité

[This is the second of three responses to Muriam Haleh Davis’ review essay of books by Joan W. Scott, Naomi Davidson, and Mayanthi Fernando. For Joan W. Scott’s response, “More on Laïcité in Historical Context," click here.] A cartoon by the French cartoonist Gil from 10 January, titled “Communion nationale,” ...  Read More »

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Dead Sea Living

Dead Sea Living, directed by German Gutierrez. Canada/France/Palestine, 2013. Although the Dead Sea has no life, it provides living through the rich minerals extracted from it. Yet the flood of water into the Dead Sea is slowly receding. It has witnessed a ninety-foot drop in only thirty years on a lake that is just ...  Read More »

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More on Laïcité in Historical Context

[This is the first of three responses to Muriam Haleh Davis’ review essay of books by Joan W. Scott, Naomi Davidson, and Mayanthi Fernando. For Naomi Davidson's response, "The Vagaries of Laïcité," click here.] I find Muriam Haleh Davis’ commentary on Charlie Hebdo and French secularism (by way of a review ...  Read More »

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‘A Distinctly French Universalism’: Translating Laïcité after Charlie

Mayanthi L. Fernando, The Republic Unsettled: Muslim French and the Contradictions of Secularism. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014. Naomi Davidson. Only Muslim: Embodying Islam in Twentieth-Century France. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012. Joan Wallach Scott. The Politics of the Veil. Princeton: Princeton ...  Read More »

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A French Atlas of the Gulf States

Philippe Cadène and Brigitte Dumortier, Atlas of the Gulf States. Leiden: Brill, 2013. Mapping as a French Academic Tradition and its Critics It seems that English-speaking geographers and urbanists publish many fewer atlases, and draw fewer maps, than their French and—at least until recently—German counterparts. In ...  Read More »

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Displaced Intentions

Write Down, I Am an Arab, directed by Ibtisam Mara’ana-Menuhin. Israel/Palestine, 2014. Borrowing the opening line of one of Mahmoud Darwish’s most famous poems, “Identity Card,” filmmaker Ibtisam Mara’ana-Menuhin titled her latest documentary Write Down, I Am an Arab. The film, which had its world premiere at ...  Read More »

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Sympathy for the Devil: Palestine’s Tragic Collaborators

Omar, directed by Hany Abu-Assad. Palestine, 2013. Omar, the most recent film by Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad (of Paradise Now fame), opens with a traversing of obstacles—a prefatory homage to the resilient Palestinian spirit. Exuding youthful vigor, the titular character scales the portion of the separation ...  Read More »

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Understanding Modernity: A Review of the Kuwait Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

On 6 June 2014, the Kuwait pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia’s 14th International Architecture Exhibition opened with a restaging of an event that took place three decades earlier: the ceremonial opening of the Kuwait National Museum. Under the heading “Acquiring Modernity” (responding to the overall ...  Read More »

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Do Not Compel Me to Sing

I Left My Shoes in Istanbul, directed by Nigol Bezjian. Lebanon/Turkey, 2013. Nigol Bezjian’s I Left My Shoes in Istanbul begins with its protagonist protesting that he has no desire to go on the journey that lies at the heart of the film. It ends with the haunting voice of a singer, begging the listener, “Do not ...  Read More »

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Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar in Translation

Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar, The Time Regulation Institute, translated by Maureen Freely and Alexander Dawe, introduction by Pankaj Mishra. New York: Penguin, 2014.   The verbal text is jealous of its linguistic signature but impatient of national identity. Translation flourishes by virtue of that paradox.  ...  Read More »

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The House of Melancholy and Strength

House of Strength  Performance by Nooshin Rostami Choreography by Merisha Mesihovic Industry City Open Studios, Brooklyn 26 April 2014    [House of Strength is a performance by the Iranian Brooklyn-based artist Nooshin Rostami inspired by the traditional Persian gymnasiums called ...  Read More »

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Israel and the Palestinian Territories Lonely Planet: Systematic Erasure and Casual Racism

Haifa is a picturesque city of hills, gardens, and trendy cafes perched along the slopes of Mount Carmel in northern Israel. If the Lonely Planet guidebook is to be believed, Haifa is notable because Arabs and Jews live in “visible harmony,” and residents consider themselves a “model of tolerance” for the region ...  Read More »

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NEWTON Summer Reading

As we head into the summer, Jadaliyya would like to remind you of some of the most creative and groundbreaking works in Middle East studies that we have featured in our New Texts Out Now (NEWTON) page during the 2013-2014 academic year. Whether you are an instructor thinking about texts for the fall, a student doing ...  Read More »

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Popular Neighborhoods and the Arab Spring: Elements for a Renewed Approach

Pierre-Arnaud Barthel and Sylvy Jaglin, editors, Quartiers informels d’un monde arabe en transition. Réflexions et perspectives pour l’action urbaine [Informal Settlements in an Arab World in Transition. Reflections and Perspectives for Urban Action]. Paris: Agence Française pour le Développement, Conférences et ...  Read More »

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Representing Hamas (Part 2)

Shlomi Eldar, Lehakir et Hamas [“To Know Hamas”]. Jerusalem: Keter, 2012.  [Part one of this review can be found here.] The Military Complex  Eldar structures his narrative around character profiles of Palestinian activists, mainly Hamas leaders, their assassination by Israel, and the broader Israeli ...  Read More »

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Embedded Poetry: Iraq; Through a Soldier's Binoculars

Critics and reviewers greeted Brian Turner’s Here, Bullet (Alice James Books, 2005) with effusive and unanimous praise. His poems were read as “dispatches from a place more incomprehensible than the moon. . . observations we would never find in a Pentagon press release.” I read the poems back then and was not ...  Read More »

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Representing Hamas (Part 1)

Shlomi Eldar, Lehakir et Hamas [“To Know Hamas"]. Jerusalem: Keter, 2012. The latest book by veteran Israeli journalist Shlomi Eldar, Lehakir et Hamas [“To Know Hamas], is a must-read for anyone interested in Hamas and the trajectory of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict since the beginning of the second intifada ...  Read More »

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A Creative Upsurge; Syrian Art Today (Part Two)

[Syria’s Apex Generation highlights post-uprising art as an introduction to the rich history of painting in Syria. Featuring the works of Abdul Karim Majdal Al-Beik, Nihad Al Turk, Othman Moussa, Mohannad Orabi, and Kais Salman, the exhibition and its accompanying publication explore a new school of painting in the ...  Read More »

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A Creative Upsurge; Syrian Art Today (Part One)

[Syria’s Apex Generation highlights post-uprising art as an introduction to the rich history of painting in Syria. Featuring the works of Abdul Karim Majdal Al-Beik, Nihad Al Turk, Othman Moussa, Mohannad Orabi, and Kais Salman, the exhibition and its accompanying publication explore a new school of painting in the ...  Read More »

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Keep Your Eye on the Wall

There were an impressive number of Palestinians at the 19 May opening in Ramallah of Keep Your Eye on the Wall, a photographic exhibit. “The Wall” (aka Apartheid Wall, Separation Wall, Security Fence, Barrier) is such an omnipresent feature of Palestinians’ lives, it is surprising they would voluntarily choose to look ...  Read More »

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The Black Box of French History

Andrew Hussey, The French Intifada: The Long War Between France and Its Arabs. London: Granta, 2014. In 2005, a series of disturbing events occurred in France. In February, the parliament attempted to pass a law to force schools to teach “the positive role of French presence overseas, especially in North ...  Read More »

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Revolution and Return: Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon and the End of Politics

Diana Allan, Refugees of the Revolution: Experiences of Palestinian Exile. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2013.   For some reason while reading Diana Allan’s wonderful new book, Refugees of the Revolution, I had the idea that its title was Ghosts of the Revolution. I am not sure why. It may be because ...  Read More »

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In Performance: Undeniable Voices, Palestinian Agency and Marginalized Narratives

From 3-5 April 2014, I attended three notable theatrical productions that dealt directly and indirectly with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the Diary of Anne Frank at Raleigh’s Burning Coal Theatre, directed by the Artistic Director of Bethlehem’s Alrowwad Cultural and Theatre Society Abdelfattah Abusrour; a ...  Read More »

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New Texts Out Now: Valeska Huber, Channelling Mobilities: Migration and Globalisation in the Suez Canal Region and Beyond

Valeska Huber, Channelling Mobilities: Migration and Globalisation in the Suez Canal Region and Beyond. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Valeska Huber (VH): The origins of this book lie in my general interest in the history of mobility, ...  Read More »

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Adunis, Mistranslated (Part One)

Adonis, Selected Poems. Translated from the Arabic by Khaled Mattawa. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2010. Adunis (1930-) is one of the most influential and dominant Arab poets of the modern era and a perennial Nobel contender since the late 1980s. A number of his individual works have been ably ...  Read More »

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Les visages urbains d'un autre Téhéran. Perspectives comparatives sur la mégapole iranienne.

Livre recensé: Mina Saïdi-Sharouz (dir.), Le Téhéran des quartiers populaires. Transformation urbaine et société civile en République Islamique, (Paris: Karthala/IFRI, 2013). Réjouissons-nous de la parution de cet ouvrage. En effet, elle marque le renouveau des études francophones sur la capitale iranienne et des ...  Read More »

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New Texts Out Now: Leila Piran, Institutional Change in Turkey: The Impact of European Union Reforms on Human Rights and Policy

Leila Piran, Institutional Change in Turkey: The Impact of European Union Reforms on Human Rights and Policy (New York: Palgrave, 2013). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Leila Piran (LP): I wanted to write about democratization and political reform in a Muslim-majority country. Turkey represents a ...  Read More »

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New Texts Out Now: Zayde Antrim, Routes and Realms: The Power of Place in the Early Islamic World

Zayde Antrim, Routes and Realms: The Power of Place in the Early Islamic World. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Zayde Antrim (ZA): I was originally motivated by what I saw as easy dismissals of the relationship between Palestinians and the territory ...  Read More »

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Joint Statement Calling for Release of Arbitrarily Detained Journalists and Others in Syria

[The following joint statement was issued by the undersigned and published by Reporters Without Borders on 17 March 2014]  Free Key Rights Defenders Government Arbitrarily Holds Darwish, Colleagues Despite UN Demands The government of Syria should immediately and unconditionally release the arbitrarily ...  Read More »

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