Books

Sin, Redemption, and Visions of Female Illness in Modern Arab Literature

By 
By Bobby Gulshan

Hamdar’s examination of the female body in illness and suffering presents a compelling contribution to the body of literary criticism of Arabic Literature. She invokes strains of critical thought—like Foucault and the idea of discourse—using them to map the development of the image of the female body in recent Arabic literature. 

 
The Female Suffering Body, Illness and Disability in Modern Arabic Literature
By Abir Hamdar
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From Kansas to Beirut: A Tale of Two Women

By Lynne Rogers

Sarah Houssayni’s debut novel, “Fireworks,” begins at the onset of the Israeli 2006 bombing of Lebanon in retaliation for the Hezbollah kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers. This promising  novel interweaves the story of two single women, one a 30-year old American nurse from Kansas and one young, 16-year old Lebanese teenager, both trying to negotiate family pressures while searching for love. 

 
Fireworks
By Sarah Houssayni
Anaphora Literary Press, 2015. 
 

Sarah Houssayni’s debut novel, “Fireworks,” begins at the onset of the Israeli 2006 bombing of Lebanon in retaliation for the Hezbollah kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers. This promising  novel interweaves the story of two single women, one a 30-year old American nurse from Kansas and one young, 16-year old Lebanese teenager, both trying to negotiate family pressures while searching for love. 

Reconstructing the Disastrous History of the Lebanese Famine

By Angele Ellis

“Safer Barlik,”—the phrase for the Famine— translated as “The Exile” in a 1967 Lebanese feature film traces its roots to the longtime practice of abducting and pressing men in Lebanon, then part of Greater Syria, into Ottoman slave labor gangs. (Safer means voyage; Barlik, Anatolia in Turkish Asia Minor.) Being pressed into these gangs proved tantamount to receiving a death sentence; even if a laborer survived his harsh work term, his masters would release him into the Anatolian wilderness with no resources to return home. Farshee’s research leads him to estimate that only three percent ever did make it back.

Safer Barlik: Famine in Mount Lebanon During World War I
By Louis Farshee
Inkwater Press, 2015

Despite his almost uniformly dry and scholarly tone, Louis Farshee’s painstaking reconstruction of the famine that may have claimed as many as 375,000 Lebanese and Syrian men, women, and children out of a population of four million represents a labor of love.

As 20th Century Begins, British ‘Orientalism’ Tool of Colonialism

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By D.W. Aossey

Long writes the book in a scholarly manner, but redeems it with a depth of insight and information on these fascinating personalities at a very important time in Middle Eastern history. Certainly, most will find “Reading Arabia” worth a look.

Reading Arabia: British Orientalism in the Age of Mass Publication 1880 –1930
By Andrew C. Long
Syracuse University Press, 2014. 264 pp.

Section 

Countering the Paradigm of Arab Othering Through Art

By Rebecca Joubin

Technology has played the muse for a new generation of Arab artists who came of age during a time of vast expansion in the Internet, satellite television, and digital technology. The exciting new book, “Contemporary Arab Photography, Video and Mixed Media Art: View from Inside” showcases the diverse talents of 49 of the leading artists from thirteen different Arab countries. The book gives voice to individuals who otherwise might not be heard in the Western World. 

Contemporary Arab Photography, Video and Mixed Media Art: View From Inside
By Karin Adrian von Roques
Schilt Publishing 
Amsterdam, NL, 2014

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