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Power, Sect, and State in Syria

A. Maria A. Kastrinou, Power, Sect and State in Syria: The Politics of Marriage and Identity amongst the Druze. London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2016. How has Syria, a country that was deemed “stable” by analysts only years ago, become engulfed in an utterly brutal war? Under what circumstances does ...  Read More »

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Critical Readings in Political Economy: Mechanisms of Imperialism

Utsa Patnaik and Prabhat Patnaik, A Theory of Imperialism (Columbia University Press: 2016). Exactly 70 years ago, Hubert Humphrey stated, “If you are looking for a way to get people to lean on you and to be dependent on you, in terms of their co-operation with you, it seems to me that food dependence would be ...  Read More »

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De l’impuissance des citoyens libanais face au système. "Powerless," les ambiguïtés d'un documentaire

Compte rendu: Powerless ('Indama ya’ti al-zhalam), documentaire réalisé par Cynthia Choucair (2012) (arabe, sous titré en anglais) La fin de l’année 2016 a été porteuse de nombreuses déceptions pour les militants libanais qui luttent pour la préservation du littoral et son accès libre à tous les ...  Read More »

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The Space of Revolt: An Investigation into the Urban Geography of the Arab Spring

Book review: Deen Sharp and Claire Panetta (eds.) Beyond the Square. Urbanism and the Arab Uprisings. New York: Terreform/Urban Research, 2016. Beyond the square. Urbanism and the Arab Uprisings aims to analyze the dialectic relations between political change and urbanization. Based on investigations carried out ...  Read More »

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Of Sand or Soil: Genealogy and Tribal Belonging in Saudi Arabia

Nadav Samin, Of Sand or Soil: Genealogy and Tribal Belinging in Saudi Arabia (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015.  [This review was originally published in the Fall 2016 issue of Arab Studies Journal. For more information on the issue, or to subscribe to ASJ, click here.] Is ...  Read More »

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Interview with Taraneh Hemami

Taraneh Hemami is a San Francisco-based artist and arts educator whose work is known internationally. Born in Tehran, Hemami emigrated to the the United States to attend college in 1978. Roula Seikaly spoke with the artist about the publication entitled Bulletin, its relationship to Hemami’s ongoing collaborative ...  Read More »

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L'espace des révoltes: considérer la géographie urbaine des printemps arabes

Book Review: Deen Sharp and Claire Panetta (eds.) Beyond the Square. Urbanism and the Arab Uprisings (New York: Terreform/Urban Research, 2016). Beyond the square, Urbanism and the Arab Uprisings est un ouvrage qui ambitionne d’analyser les liens dialectiques entre changement politique et urbanisation. A partir ...  Read More »

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Critical Readings in Political Economy: De-development

Sara Roy, The Gaza Strip: The Political Economy of De-Development (Expanded Third Edition), (IPS, 2016).   In this third and last edition of The Gaza Strip: The Political Economy of De-development, Sara Roy writes, “de-development is a process, shaped by a vision of denial and renunciation.” Roy has recurrently ...  Read More »

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Five Years After the Arab Uprisings: An Interview with Asef Bayat

This interview was conducted on the occasion of the publication of the Turkish editions of Asef Bayat’s Making Islam Democratic and Life as Politics (Stanford University Press, 2007 and 2013 respectively), and originally appeared in Cumhuriyet Kitap 1366 (21 April 2016): 14–15. It is a follow-up of our first public ...  Read More »

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Un éclairage inédit sur l’histoire moderne de la ville de Bagdad

Caecilia Pieri, Bagdad. La construction d’une capitale moderne (1914-1960) (Beyrouth: Presses de l’Ifpo, 2015) (sur le site de l’éditeur). A travers cet ouvrage Caecilia Pieri apporte un éclairage inédit sur l’histoire urbaine de la ville de Bagdad dans la première moitié du XXe siècle. Ce travail inscrit Bagdad ...  Read More »

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A Different Kind of Future

The United States’ founders were taken with the idea that they were building a New Jerusalem. Rhetoric of a City on the Hill animated the state-building project, particularly during what some historians call the colonial era. Such symbolism, and the shared tropes of settler-colonial land redemption, have ensured for ...  Read More »

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Astro Noise: War on Terror as (Virtual) Reality

Laura Poitras: Astro Noise, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 5 February – 1 May 2016 [This review was first published on Warscapes.] On the eighth floor of the Whitney Museum of American Art, a large projection brings viewers back to the aftermath of the attacks of 11 September 2001. One side of the screen ...  Read More »

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Third Annual Cultural Resistance International Film Festival of Lebanon

Cultural Resistance International Film Festival of Lebanon, Beirut, 9-10 November 2015. Sandwiched between the Beirut International Film Festival and a slew of ongoing fall film offerings, the third annual Cultural Resistance International Film Festival of Lebanon (CRIFF) concluded in mid-November. This ...  Read More »

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Modernity, Identity, and Technology in Palestine Before the Nakba

Noah Haiduc-Dale, Arab Christians in British Mandate Palestine: Communalism and Nationalism, 1917-1948. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013. Wasif Jawhariyyeh, The Storyteller of Jerusalem: The Life and Times of Wasif Jawhariyyeh, 1904-1948. Edited and introduced by Salim Tamari and Issam Nassar, translated ...  Read More »

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Drifting Away: De-Occupying the Palestinian Self

Speed Sisters, directed by Amber Fares. Palestine, 2015. “If only you’d resist the occupation with something other than sports and fashion,” complained a YouTube user in the comments section of a video about the Speed Sisters—an all-female Palestinian race-car driving team in the West Bank, and the first of its kind ...  Read More »

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Monsoon Revolution

Abdel Razzaq Takriti, Monsoon Revolution: Republicans, Sultans, and Empires in Oman, 1965-1976. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. [This review was originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of Arab Studies Journal. For more information on the issue, or to subscribe to ASJ, click here.] Abdel ...  Read More »

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Conflicting Narratives: War, Trauma, and Memory in Iraqi Culture

Stephan Milich, Friederike Pannewick, and Leslie Tramontini, editors, Conflicting Narratives: War, Trauma, and Memory in Iraqi Culture. Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2012. [This review was originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of Arab Studies Journal. For more information on the issue, or to subscribe to ASJ, ...  Read More »

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Saddam Hussein’s Ba’th Party: Inside an Authoritarian Regime

Joseph Sassoon, Saddam Hussein’s Ba‘th Party: Inside an Authoritarian Regime. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012. [This review was originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of Arab Studies Journal. For more information on the issue, or to subscribe to ASJ, click here.] Despite the attention that Iraq has ...  Read More »

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Alexandrian Cosmopolitanism: An Archive

Hala Halim, Alexandrian Cosmopolitanism: An Archive. New York: Fordham University Press, 2013. [This review was originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of Arab Studies Journal. For more information on the issue, or to subscribe to ASJ, click here.] Hala Halim’s book is a provocative and erudite study of the ...  Read More »

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Petrodollars and Profit: Rethinking Political Economy through the Middle East

Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler. The Scientist and the Church. World Economic Association, 2015. Howard Page, a director at what was then Exxon, was once asked, “What would have happened if Iraq production had also surged during the 1960’s,” like that of Saudi Arabia and Iran. He responded, “I admit we ...  Read More »

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The Ambiguous Encampment of the World

Michel Agier (ed.), Un monde de camps (A World of Camps), (Paris: La Découverte, 2014). The refugee camp is a topic of interest for many social scientists coming from different disciplines such as geography, urban studies, and anthropology. Literature on refugee camps has often been fragmented according to regions ...  Read More »

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Militarized Neoliberalism: Jeff Halper's "War Against the People"

Jeff Halper, War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification. London: Pluto Press, 2015. Dew drops as dual use remote sensors; mechanized micro-drones the size of wasps wandering the skies; and cannons blasting water at such high velocity as to turn globules of liquid into bullets and shells. ...  Read More »

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A Muslim Future to Come?

[This article was first published on Public Books.]  Michel Houellebecq, Submission. Translated from the French by Lorin Stein. New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2015. The devastating attacks of 13 November on Paris’s tenth and eleventh arrondissements viciously targeted the “progressive” heart ...  Read More »

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Remembering Sound

Hamule, directed by Mauricio Misle. Palestine/Chile, 2014. Diasporic and non-Western artists have increasingly turned to the archive as a source for their artistic practice. Mindful of the histories of colonialism and slavery, they have attempted to address the archive as a contested site where knowledge about the ...  Read More »

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Grandchildren

Grandchildren: New Geographies of Belonging, DEPO-Istanbul, opened 3 September 2015. Anniversaries are pretexts for remembering decisive moments in history, for interpreting them with the help of added data and research material, and filling gaps in existing accounts about them. Retrospection is employed here to ...  Read More »

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An Ecology of World Literature

Alexander Beecroft, An Ecology of World Literature: From Antiquity to the Present Day. London and New York: Verso Books. Alexander Beecroft’s most recent study, An Ecology of World Literature, is a profound undertaking that uses the scientific framework of ecology to “facilitate the comparative study of the ...  Read More »

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The Early Plight of Humanitarianism

Keith David Watenpaugh, Bread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015 America is a comfortable and rich country. We have safe homes….Their homes are in ruins….The moan of a race moves out across the heart of a stricken ...  Read More »

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Of Shadows and Solidarity

Keith P. Feldman, A Shadow over Palestine: The Imperial Life of Race in America. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015. In July 2014, at the height of the most recent Israeli military assault upon Gaza, a major rally was held in New York City—in defense of Israel. “United We Stand with Israel” attracted ...  Read More »

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Whitewashing Colonialism

Sharon Rotbard, White City, Black City: Architecture and War in Tel Aviv and Jaffa. Translated from Hebrew by Orin Gat. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2015. As the “enlightened public” and guests from Dessau’s Bauhaus Institute celebrated UNESCO’s recognition of Tel Aviv’s “Bauhaus” White City as a World Heritage site in ...  Read More »

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What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Political Economy?

Mandy Turner and Omar Shweiki, editors, Decolonizing Palestinian Political Economy: De-Development and Beyond. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. Anyone who visited Ramallah in 2013 would have heard a lot of talk about seatbelts. Everyone there—everyone—was talking about them, and how consistent and prevalent they had ...  Read More »

Syrian Population Regression

Population: ~ 22.5 Million

2011:  5,800+ (killed)

2012:  60,000+ (killed) and 500,000+ (external refugees)

2013:  100,000+ (killed), 2,000,000+ (external refugees), and 8 million+ displaced

 

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Syria Map and Stats

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Population: 22,517,750
GDP: $107.4 billion 
Unemployment: 8.3%; Youth Employment (ages 15-24): 19.1%
Internet Users: 4.469 million 
Exchange Rate: ~ 98.00 Syrian pounds per US dollar
GDP Growth Rate: 3.2% 
Military Expenditures: 5.9% of GDP (World Rank: 10)
Health Expenditures: 2.9% of GDP (World Rank: 180)
Population Growth Rate: 0.913% 
Age Structure: 0-14 years: 35.2%; 15-64 years: 61%; 65 years and over: 3.8%
Literacy: 79.6%
Religious Demographics: Sunni Muslim 74%; other Muslim (includes Alawite, Druze) 16%; Christian (various denominations) 10%
Ethnic Demographics: Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%

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