Parution : Arab Studies Journal Vol. XXVIII, N°1, Spring 2020

This issue features a wealth of historical and contemporary insights on comedy, art, music, land, and labor. Carmen Gitre traces the vaudeville and comedy of the playwright Najib al-Rihani in early-twentieth-century Egypt. Reformers charged Rihani and his Everyman character, Kishkish Bey, with endangering the patriotic health of the newly independent nation. Gitre traces Rihani’s alternative moral and ethical vision of the nation, unfolding the Egyptiana theater as a shared liminal space of catharsis and imaginative transformation. Sarah Johnson takes us to mid-twentieth- century Iraq, where the work of artist Hafidh Druby married archeological practice with representational painting. Tracing Druby’s rise and fall as a pinnacle of art and theory, Johnson excavates blind spots in the history of modern Iraqi art, bringing to light multifaceted interpretations of modernity in Baghdad. Weaving performance ethnography, geography, and sound studies, Leila Tayeb explores post-Qaddafi Libya. She reveals how music is one of many quotidian sonic practices that produce militia power. Interrupting the conventional narration of Libya’s statelessness and its ostensibly bereft institutional landscape, Tayeb shows the audible and palpable ways that militias claim sovereignty. . . [read more]

Table of Contents


10. Nonsense and Morality: Interwar Egypt and the Comedy of Najib al-Rihani
Carmen Gitre

30. Impure Time: Archaeology, Hafidh Druby (1914-1991), and the Persistence of Representational Painting in Mid-Twentieth-Century Iraq (1940-1980)
Sarah Johnson

64. Militia Soundscapes in Post-Qaddafi Libya
Leila O. Tayeb

84. Paradise Lost: Land and Labor in 1950s Galilee
​Lily Eilan


112. City of Black Gold: Oil, Ethnicity, and the Making of Modern Kirkuk by Arbella Bet-Shlimon
Reviewed by Gabriel Young

117. Gouverner la mer en Algérie: Politique en eaux troubles by Tarik Dahou
​Reviewed by Thomas Serres

122. The Chaldeans: Politics and Identity in Iraq and the American Diaspora by Yasmeen Hanoosh
Reviewed by Amy Fallas

127. Arab Cinema Travels: Transnational Syria, Palestine, Dubai and Beyond by Kay Dickinson
Reviewed by Ada Petiwala

132. City of Beginnings: Poetic Modernism in Beirut by Robyn Creswell
Reviewed by Huda Fakhreddine


138. In Search of Algeria: Between Literature, History, and Cultural Studies
Idriss Jebari

Algeria: Nation, Culture and Transnationalism: 1988-2015 by Patrick Crowley, ed.

The Algerian New Novel: The Poetics of a Modern Nation, 1950-1979 by Valérie K. Orlando

Algérie, les écrivains dans la décennie noire by Tristan Leperlier 

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