This stimulating and timely collection of essays, framed in the context of recent revolutionary struggles, and bringing together scholars working in a range of disciplines, offers a broad-ranging introduction to questions of modernity in the Middle East and North Africa. It will be eagerly read by students and general readers alike.
– Ian Coller, University of California, Irvine
In Making Modernity from the Mashriq to the Maghreb contributors from a wide array of fields critically address the question of modernity in the societies of the Middle East and North Africa. The collection takes as its point of departure the idea that modernity is best understood as a set of tensions negotiated within societies rather than a model ready-made in one part of the world and exported elsewhere. It explores the ways in which the experiences of modernity coexist with other identities and ways of being.
Contributions take the form of both broad-ranging theoretical surveys and more focused case studies on topics as diverse as Arabic cinema, museums in Tunisia, the politics of messianism in Iran and the contemporary political economy of Oman. While some reflect on historical processes, others are more concerned with contemporary developments in the wake of the Arab revo -lutions that began in 2010 and continue to pose profound questions for the future of the region.
Making Modernity from the Mashriq to the Maghreb continues the slow work begun by critical scholars to re-imagine the region in its full complexity. It challenges the counterproductive excesses of Western engagement, the selfinterested Machiavellianism of international politics, and the xenophobic prejudices of much mainstream culture. In the current political climate, where images of destruction and mayhem prevail, the task of critical engagement in the Middle East and North Africa is evermore crucial. Making Modernity From the Mashriq to the Maghreb directly addresses that task.