Being Arab appears at a time of unprecedented historical crisis for nonsectarian Arabist thought and social movements. Events of the last decade, especially the US-led occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, have drawn many analysts to conclude that the era of Arab identity politics has passed. Some even assert that the ‘defunct’ category of ‘the Arab’ was little more than an ideological tool of Western imperial powers, one that never served the interests of the peoples of the Middle East and Africa.
This volume rejects the assumption that the dream of a strong, unified Arab world was never more than a fantasy of out-of-touch academics, nor little more than a crude instrument of Arab elites and Western imperialists. It is clear that the embattled concept of ‘the Arab’ urgently requires investigation, analysis and rethinking. Some commentators even suggest that the resurrection of ‘the Arab’ and political Arabism is the pre-eminent issue.
The theme of the historical meaning of Arab identity is pursued in this book in the hope of making a modest contribution towards strengthening viable, non-sectarian and democratic alternatives to Islamist fundamentalism in the Arab world. The question of what it means ‘to be Arab’ is deliberately oriented towards the future, while remaining attentive to the setbacks of the past.
Christopher Wise Arabism Now; Aisha Khawaja Razem Poems; Hala Abu Taleb Arabness: Between Life and Death; Ella Shohat Black, Jew, Arab: Postscript to The Wretched of the Earth; Diana Abu-Jaber Identity: On Recognition and Nation; Paul James Displacement: In Cities of the Unrecognized; Ella Shohat in conversation with Christian Höller Diasporic Thinking: Between Babel and Babylon; Ned Curthoys Diasporic Visions: Al-Andalus in the German-Jewish Imaginary; Matthew Jess Atwood Democratic Potentials: Bish Arabism in Israel–Palestine; Gilbert Achcar in conversation with Christopher Wise Arab Nationalism after Iraq; Jamal R. Nassar Nationalism and Islam at the Crossroads; Ralph Coury Encountering Pan-Arab Nationalism: A Culture War; Ali A. Mazrui Afrabia: From Divergence to Afro–Arab Convergence; Fallou Ngom Taboo Racism: The Mouride Perspective on Arabism; Christopher Wise Arabism and Jihad in the Sahel; with works by Mona Saudi.
Edited by Christopher Wise and Paul James