Al-Diwan Roundup: News and Analysis from Publishing and Academia
Al-Diwan brings you the latest news and analysis from the publishing and academic worlds that relate to pedagogy and knowledge production.
How I Did It: Masmoo3’s Ala Suleiman On Bringing Audiobooks to the Arabic Speaker
By Camilla Caraccio (Inc. Arabia)
Ala Suleiman narrates his the ups and downs of establishing an audiobook company that caters to Arabic speakers. Despite suffering from a financial crisis early stages of the company’s existence, Masmoo3 now has the capabilities to release multiple audiobooks to it users at a time, and continues to grow in order to serve the linguistic needs of its readership.
Will Syrian Students be Banned from Egypt’s Universities?
By Khaled Hassan (Al-Monitor)
Khaled Hassan discusses the diverging opinions on Abdel Aty Massoud’s proposal to the Education and Scientific Research Parliamentary Committee that would deny Syrian nationals, as well as other foreign nationals, admission into Egyptian public universities. Arguments against the proposal mention pan-Arab unity and the benefits of close Egyptian-Syrian relations as reasons to reject it. Those in favor bring to the floor a conversation about socio-economic class and how it would play out in the proposal, and question why upper-class Syrian students should get easier access to Egyptian institutions in comparison to native Egyptians.
Books, copyright laws and the economy
By Waad Ahmed (Mada Masr)
Waad Ahmed reflects on the current debate about copyright and piracy laws in Egypt. While some book publishers want laws to apply across the board regardless of a text’s language, other prefer that the laws to apply only to Arabic-language texts.
It’s time to establish database for Arab publishing world
By Kelly Clarke (Khaleeji Times)
At the Dubai International Publishing Conference, discussions on how to propel the Arab publishing sector forward took place. One suggested method was the creation of a “unified database for Arab publishing houses and books.”
Three Different Academic Experiences: Which is the Best?
By Ahlam Mustafa (Al-Fanar Media)
After spending significant time in three different academic settings, Ahlam Mustafa turns a critical eye on the various approaches and expectations of each institution and teaching style.
What is the Breakthrough Moment for Arabic Digital Publishing?
By Sawad Hussain (ArabLit)
Sawad Hussain recaps key points of the panel on “Going Digital: EBooks and Audiobooks in Arabic” at the Dubai International Publishing Conference. Speakers included Shadi al-Hassan and Tarek el-Bolbol; both talked about how publishing must be able to evolve with the needs of society and cite the potential that publishing has for bridging the gap between the diaspora readers and those in the Arab world.
American University of Beirut settles US lawsuit for $700,000
By Alex Dobuzinskis (Reuters)
From 2007 to 2009, the American University of Beirut held several workshops at which there were representatives from at least two organizations deemed to be branches of Hezbollah. Given the funding AUB receives from the United States and these organizations’ affiliation with Hezbollah, a case was brought against the university. Recently, the university settled the lawsuit and will pay the United States government $700,000.
Now, More than Ever, Scholarly Groups Must Engage in the Political Arena
By Neve Gordon (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
In response to Cary Nelson’s open letter against the change in the Middle East Studies Association’s (MESA) bylaws that would remove the phrase “non-political,” Neve Gordon penned an opinion piece outlining how this action not only aligns with work MESA scholars have already produced, but it is also an unexceptional course of action when considering they bylaws of other academic associations. Gordon cites recent press releases from MESA on Donald Trump’s executive order banning Muslims and MESA’s Task Force on Civil and Human Rights as examples of the already political nature of MESA’s work.
Students as a Barometer of Tunisian Society
By Ursula Lindsey (Al-Fanar Media)
Michael Ayari’s new book titled, The Price of Political Engagement in Authoritarian Tunisia—Leftists and Islamists under Bourguiba, he highlights the multiple factors that influence the activism of Tunisian students. According to Ayari, understanding the familial influence on activism requires looking beyond the immediate family; instead, researchers must take into account the extended family and the family’s historical affiliations in regards to religion, the region, and even smaller localities. Ayari also looks at the role of education in activism; he discusses differences in the studies of Islamist and leftist militants, as well as the importance of places of education (universities, high schools, mosques, etc.) as spaces for critical engagement.