Re-imagining Education in Egypt

Posted on May 31, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments


When the system is not working, sometimes it is better to take things into your own hands. In Egypt, some entrepreneurs are doing just that by experimenting with new frameworks in education in order to combat the deficiencies of Egyptian classrooms.

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How University Admissions Distorts Some Arab Societies

Posted on May 28, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments


AMMAN–Duaa graduated from high school with an 84.3 on the tawjihi, the Jordanian exit exam. She hoped to major in accounting – a subject she excelled at in high school. 

Like all Jordanians, Duaa applied to university through a centralized system known as the Unified Admissions Commission, which allows students to provide up to 30 different preferences of combinations of universities and majors. Duaa listed accounting at the University of Jordan as her top choice. She knew her tawjihi score was not technically high enough, but she held out hope nonetheless.

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The Fight Against Sexual Harassment on Arab Campuses

Posted on May 23, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

by Sarah Lynch

CAIRO – Images of burns shaped like handprints on bare women’s bodies didn’t last long at an art exhibit about sexual harassment last semester at the American University in Cairo. Outraged over the provocative prints, students demanded they be torn down. 

The controversy was part of the point: To shock viewers into thinking about sexual harassment in this part of the world where the offense is often endemic.

“Sexual harassment is in the public sphere. It’s everywhere,” said Heba Hesham, co-founder of Heya, a student-founded women’s rights initiative that helped organize the exhibit.

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Book Review: Pierre Bourdieu, Picturing Algeria

Posted on May 20, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments


In a poignant interview included in Picturing Algeria, Pierre Bourdieu notes that “Yvette Delsaut wrote a text about me in which she very rightly says that Algeria is what allowed me to accept myself.” Indeed, in recent years, Bourdieu’s early fieldwork in Algeria has been regarded as central to his conceptual apparatus. This edited volume features Bourdieu’s photographs from 1957 to 1960, a period that witnessed some of the most violent episodes of the Algerian war of independence. These images are contextualized by excerpts from Bourdieu’s own writings, a foreword by Craig Calhoun, and an interview with Bourdieu himself. The textual excerpts are mostly taken from Le déracinement and Travail et travailleurs en Algérie, two works that have never been translated into English. The volume also includes two essays by the editors that reflect on the relationship between Bourdieu’s later writings, his use of photography, and his experiences in Algeria.

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New Texts Out Now: Louise Cainkar, "Global Arab World Migrations and Diasporas"

Posted on May 20, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments


Louise Cainkar (LC): This article was developed from a keynote speech I delivered at the Conference on Arab World Migrations and Diasporas, organized by Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. When contemplating the keynote, I considered deeply what my particular contribution would be to a room full of multi-disciplinary scholars of Arab migrations and diasporas. I decided to focus on constructing a global context within which all of us—historians, sociologists, anthropologists, scholars of comparative literature, cultural studies, diasporas, and others—could situate our work. Such a context would allow us to converse across disciplines and theoretical frameworks, as well as begin speaking in comparative ways, which I consider useful and important. We know that there are variations and commonalities in the experiences of Arab world migrants and among Arab world diasporas; we should begin to talk about what matters and why it matters.

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Academic Freedom and the Middle East: A Handbook for Teaching and Research

Posted on May 14, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

By Yasmin Moll, Emily McKee, Tessa Farmer, and Jessica Barnes

The Middle East is a region that is continuously in the news and frequently the focus of controversial, polarizing and sometimes virulent debate within both policy and media circles. Scholars working on the Middle East face a unique set of challenges in their teaching and research. What they have to say, and how they say it, is often subjected to intense scrutiny by those with vested political or ideological interests. Such extra-scholarly pressures can pose serious threats to academic freedom and exercising professional responsibility. In light of these circumstances, the Taskforce on Middle East Anthropology created a resource guide in 2006 titled Academic Freedom and Professional Responsibility after 9/11: A Handbook for Scholars and Teachers. The first edition of the handbook was based on ethnographic interviews with and research on academics working on the Middle East who have encountered obstacles in their teaching and scholarship.

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Book Review: Eyal Weizman, The Least of All Possible Evils: Humanitarian Violence from Arendt to Gaza

Posted on May 13, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

In that historical moment after the September 11 terrorist attacks, American politicians and pundits launched a debate about whether torture should be employed to combat terror. Those who endorsed the use of torture, and even some conflicted torture opponents, affirmed the consensus view that torture is unequivocally bad. But, they opined, if torture was necessary to elicit vital information to keep Americans safe, it would be a justifiable lesser evil in the service of national security. Nowadays, drone strikes have supplanted torture as the popular lesser evil. 

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New Texts Out Now: Joel Beinin, "Mixing, Separation, and Violence in Urban Spaces and the Rural Frontier in Palestine"

Posted on May 13, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

The main thrust is to reexamine the idea of "the frontier" as primarily a rural space. The argument is that Zionism, despite the ideological orientation of Labor Zionism and the central role of kibbutzim and agriculture in the Zionist self-imagination, became over time an increasingly urban settlement project. Consequently, the violence associated with frontiers also became increasingly concentrated in urban areas—exemplified by Jerusalem and Hebron today. 

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Amidst a Violent Conflict, Syria’s Students Struggle for an Education

Posted on May 10, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

In a rare public appearance, Bashar Assad visited Damascus University on May 4 to dedicate a statue to the martyrs from Syrian universities who have been killed in the country’s two-year ongoing violence. While Assad’s appearance is undoubtedly a calculated political move, there is no question that the state of education in Syria has been devastated by the conflict that has consumed the country.

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New Texts Out Now: Wendy Pearlman, "Emigration and the Resilience of Politics in Lebanon"

Posted on May 07, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

Wendy Pearlman (WP): Five years ago I began to read widely about Lebanon in preparation for a trip there. While there are so many fascinating things about the country, I was most intrigued by its one-hundred-and-fifty-year history with international emigration. There is hardly a corner of the globe in which Lebanese have not settled, and the worldwide diaspora of Lebanese origin outnumbers those living within Lebanon’s borders. Today, an estimated ten to twenty-five percent of Lebanese nationals reside outside their homeland. Lebanon leads the developing world in receipt of remittances per capita.  

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Book Review: Samera Esmeir, Juridical Humanity: A Colonial History

Posted on May 06, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

Today human rights provides a dominant framework for thinking about humanity—one in which humanity often appears as both a universal and an ahistorical category. In this view, the history of humanity is one of the discovery of otherwise hidden or ignored truths about its nature. One can easily understand the apparent political and moral utility in this position, which seeks to put the claims of fundamental equality beyond the realm of debate. But scholars in a number of fields have shown the political and ethical problems that can accompany this claim to ahistorical universality. One such problem is that a limited historical inquiry about humanity risks misapprehending the stakes and politics of struggles over this category. Another is the smuggling in of the particular (particular values, life-worlds, subject positions) in the guise of the universal. Scholarship that has focused on debunking the actual universalism of such supposedly universal categories has illuminated forms of exclusion and domination that can be built into self-defined emancipatory projects. But debunking is not an adequate stop- ping point for investigations into the life of this category. Samera Esmeir’s book, Juridical Humanity: A Colonial History, is an exemplary instance of scholarship that pushes our understanding of the complicated history of humanity in new directions. 

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New Texts Out Now: Simon Jackson, "Diaspora Politics and Developmental Empire: The Syro-Lebanese at the League of Nations"

Posted on May 06, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

Simon Jackson (SJ): The article draws on my current book project, provisionally titled Mandatory Development: The Global Politics of Economic Development in the Colonial Middle East. The book is about the socioeconomic development regime in French Mandate Syria-Lebanon between the world wars, considered at a variety of scales, from the local to the imperial, international, and global. This particular article concentrates on the role of the Syro-Lebanese diaspora in the political economy of the Mandate, from the end of World War I into the 1930s. I show how members of the diaspora, notably in the Americas, organized, petitioned, campaigned, and volunteered to change the emerging political economy of Lebanon and Syria. I explain how diverse the diaspora was politically, but also how important to shaping events in and perceptions of the French Mandate. Whether from Rio de Janeiro, Detroit, or elsewhere, distance was no barrier to diaspora participation in Syrian and Lebanese socioeconomic development, a conclusion with implications for methodological nationalists, but also for scholars for whom colonial empire has become the privileged unit of analysis.

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The Arab Studies Journal Celebrates Twenty Years: An Interview with Bassam Haddad, Sherene Seikaly, and Nadya Sibati

Posted on April 29, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

On 19 April 2013, the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) at Georgetown University hosted a reception celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Arab Studies Journal (ASJ). As the journal’s managing editor since September 2011, I used this milestone as an occasion to interview the founding editor Bassam Haddad and co-editors Sherene Seikaly and Nadya Sbaiti about the history of the journal, how it has developed, and where the editors see it going. 

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EBooks vs. Print: Is One Better than the Other?

Posted on April 22, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

Scientific American published an article recently that asks whether or not reading on screens is better than good ole’ paper. Stepping away from the arguments centered around nostalgia for printed words on paper, the article posits whether or not digital reading is actually good for the reader. EBooks and eReaders may not be outselling printed books just yet, but their increasing popularity is certainly driving sales, with an over 20% increase in eBook sales over a single decade.

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New Texts Out Now: Adel Iskandar and Bassam Haddad, Mediating the Arab Uprisings

Posted on April 17, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book?

Adel Iskandar and Bassam Haddad (AI & BH): The idea for this book grew out of the splendid contributions to Jadaliyya from a number of authors who offered interventions on the role of media in the uprisings. With a dearth of critical examinations about the media and the representation of these movements, it became increasingly urgent to challenge some of the prevalent assertions circulating widely. 

Unlike our authors, our work as editors was considerably straightforward. We identified essays that demystified the media and raised more questions than they answered. In the end, the impetus was the hope of introducing nuance into an often oversimplified discussion of a cataclysmic period in regional history.

With the media being a central component into the way in which the uprisings are conceptualized, represented, and historicized, it is vital that journalistic standards and free media principles are problematized to evaluate the performance of the press. Additionally, our intention was to challenge the narrow definitions of uprising and media by exploring the fault-lines.

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Technology in the Classroom: The Big Brother E-Book

Posted on April 11, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

Students are often faced with pages upon pages of reading as part of the curriculum handed to them by there professors. Traditionally, in order to gauge whether or not students are reading books and articles, professors either turn to asking questions in the classroom or assigning papers and essays on the allocated material. With the use of new classroom technology from CourseSmart, however, it has become a lot easier to tell whether or not students are skipping out on their reading. 

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Islam and Academia in the Shadow of the Arab Uprisings

Posted on April 08, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

Amidst the struggles for freedom of expression and the right to free speech following the onset of the Arab uprisings, freedom in the academic world has become another struggle. A couple very intriguing articles recently appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, in a special called “After the Arab Uprisings,” that examine academia and education in the Arab world. 

Unfortunately, the Chronicle of Higher Education is under a paywall. For those who do not have access to the website, Tadween Publishing has provided some highlights to the articles below.   

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Beyond the PDF 2 Conference: Revolutionizing Academic Publishing

Posted on April 05, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

New technology has created a multitude of avenues through which academics, scholars, publishers, librarians, and other related fields can communicate. The challenge, however, is using such technology to communicate effectively and change old habits that no longer seem to be working. This is a challenge that the participants of the Beyond the PDF 2 conference have sought to tackle. 

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