Books

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.

Countering the Paradigm of Arab Othering Through Art

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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

Orientalism’s Children: “Voices from the Threshold”

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By Angele Ellis

Nearly 11 years ago, an automobile accident on a dusty Jordanian road cut Susan Atefat-Peckham’s life and work short. The Iranian American poet, memoirist and Full bright Scholar now takes her rightful place among the likes of Gregorgy Orfalea and Sharif Elmusa with her “Talking Through the Door.” The anthology transports readers to various eras and exotic locales, going back to Ibn Hazm’s 10th-century Cordoba, the Lebanon of World War I, pre-revolutionary Iran as well as 1950s and 60s Ohio. “Readers will find that these works carry with them a power and promise so life-affirming that Lisa Suhair Majaj describes them as ‘sustenance.’”

Talking Through the Door: An Anthology of Contemporary Middle Eastern American Writing
Edited by Susan Atefat-Peckham
With a Foreword by Lisa SuheirMajaj
Syracuse University Press, 2014, pp.  244

The Ripple Effect of the 'Eclipse' of Iraqi Sunnis

By Lynne Rogers

Only four years after its publication and a drastically changed landscape, reading Deborah Amos’ “Eclipse of the Sunnis, Power, Exile and Upheaval in the Middle East,” will give readers a chilling sense of futility towards the impending signs of violence that politicians either conveniently overlooked or malevolently exaggerated to their advantage.   With the American Occupation of Iraq, Amos, an award winning journalist, has set off to record the “the mass departure” of Iraqis to Damascus, Amman and Beirut.

Section 

The Only Diner in the Restaurant: A Travel Writer’s Perspective on the Arab Spring

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By Daniel Hugh-Jones

Several excellent articles and books have been written concerning the revolutions of the Arab Spring, most by participants, relatives of the fallen, political analysts or foreign correspondents. Tom Chesshyre makes no claim to any of these perspectives. Instead, he deals with the subject of life during and after revolution with the light touch and charm of a travel writer.

When the first violent images of the Arab Spring flashed across our television screens, most of us watched with interest, wished the demonstrators more or less success in their efforts, depending on our points of view, and then got on with our lives. Tom Chesshyre, on the other hand, decided to take a look from up close, travelling through Tunisia, Libya and Egypt in the wake of revolt. This might come as no surprise – he is a journalist for the Times of London after all – but Chesshyre is not that sort of journalist. He is not a foreign correspondent.

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