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María de Lourdes Sierra Kobeh

*Full article is in Spanish

English abstract: In this paper the author makes a preliminary assessment of the course so far taken by the so called Arab Spring and the many obstacles and challenges it has faced. Despite the high expectations that these social protest movements have generated, especially for their transformative potential, she argues that real or meaningful reforms have not been achieved so far, despite the fall of several dictators and the persistent social protests. The author stresses in particular the conditions in each of the countries in this region and the increasing external interference in the affairs of this region that allow foreign powers to exploit domestic situations to their advantage, a phenomenon not new, dating from the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and the formation of modern nation-states in the Arab world. She proposes to analyze these movements in the light of a broader historical perspective to help us understand the full extent and complexity of the processes that are taking place in this strategic region, as these social protest movements have been present throughout the years, with periods of progress and setbacks, within a complex and long process marked by internal quarrels, regional rivalries, and strong external interference.

Spanish abstract: En este trabajo, la autora hace un balance preliminar sobre el curso que hasta ahora ha tomado la llamada “primavera árabe“ y los múltiples obstáculos y desafíos que ésta ya está enfrentando. Sostiene que, a pesar de las grandes expectativas que estos movimientos de protesta social han generado, sobre todo por su potencial transformador, no se han logrado hasta ahora reformas reales o significativas, a pesar de la caída de varios dictadores y la persistencia de las protestas sociales. Destaca en particular las condiciones existentes en cada uno de los países de la región y la creciente interferencia externa en los asuntos de la región que permite a las potencias extranjeras aprovechar las situaciones internas en su propio beneficio, un fenómeno nada nuevo, que data de la desintegración del Imperio Otomano y la conformación de los modernos Estados nacionales del mundo árabe. Propone, asimismo, analizar dichos movimientos a la luz de una perspectiva histórica más amplia, que nos ayude a comprender en toda su magnitud y complejidad los procesos que se están desarrollando en esta estratégica región, ya que estos movimientos de protesta social no son del todo nuevos. Han estado presentes a todo lo largo de estos años, con períodos de avances y retrocesos, dentro de un proceso complejo y prolongado, marcado por luchas internas, rivalidades regionales y una fuerte interferencia externa.

French abstract: Dans cet essai, l'auteur fait un compte rendu préliminaire sur le chemin pris par ce qui a été nommé « Le printemps arabe », ainsi que les multiples obstacles et défis auxquels ce phénomène à été confronté. Il met particulièrement en relief, les conditions dans lesquelles ce phénomène est survenu dans chaque pays de la région, ainsi que l'ingérence croissante des puissances étrangères dans les affaires internes des pays concernés et dont les agissements lors de la crise feront d'eux les principaux bénéficiaires. Un phénomène qui n'est pas nouveau et qui date de la chute de l'Empire ottoman et de la naissance des États-nation du monde arabe. En même temps, cet article se propose d'analyser ces mouvements sous l'angle d'une perspective historique plus étendue a fin d'offrir une meilleure compréhension de la magnitude et de la complexité des processus qui se développent dans ce e région stratégique, puisque tous ces mouvements de protestation sociale ne sont pas nouveaux. Ces mouvements ont été présents tout au long de ces années où il y a eu des périodes positives et aussi négatives dans le cadre d'un processus complexe et d'une longue durée, marqué par des lu es internes, des rivalités régionales et une forte intervention externe.

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Abdessamad Dialmy

Arab scholarship of sexuality is currently emerging against many obstacles. This article provides a suggestive introduction to the current state of knowledge in the area. After briefly sketching an archetype of Arab sexuality, especially its peculiar form of phallocracy, new sexual trends are reviewed, some of which adapt current practices to Shari'a law (e.g., visitation marriages), while others break with it altogether (e.g., prostitution). The article then discusses three distinctive areas of public and policy concerns in the region, namely, honor killings, impotence and Viagra use, and sex-education programs that are precipitated by concerns over HIV/AIDS. The essay concludes with an assessment of some of the main challenges still facing research into the topic in the Arab Islamic world.

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Introduction

Reflections on the Study of Sexuality in the Middle East and North Africa

Allon J. Uhlmann

After outlining the aims of this thematic section, I introduce the articles that follow. Although they reflect different geographical interests and theoretical orientations, the articles raise some interesting issues, of which I take up two. One is the role of Islam. It appears that both Islam's historical role and its contemporary effect are critical, yet indeterminate and contestable. The other issue is comparative. There is much in common between the way sexuality is configured in Europe, on the one hand, and in the Middle East and North Africa, on the other. But there are also significant differences. I discuss some of these differences in the way sex and sexuality are culturally mobilized to construct genderedness.

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Hania Sholkamy

This article discusses the current confusion surrounding qualitative methods in demographic and health research that prevails amongst young researchers in Arab countries. It presents the author’s reflections on years of train- ing researchers from the region in qualitative methods and the frustrations of differentiating between qualitative methods, qualitative methodology and anthropology in the midst of rising demands to produce a critical Arab social science.

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Reports

Publications

Lina Sayed, Ana Ghoreishian and Leila Mouri

Shereen El-Feki (2013), Sex and Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World (London: Chatto and Windus), 345 pp., ISBN: 24681097531, £8.99.

Afsaneh Najmabadi (2013), Professing Selves: Transsexuality and Same-sex Desire in Contemporary Iran (Experimental Futures) (Durham, NC: Duke University Press), 450 pp., including 22 photographs + 2 tables, ISBN: 978-0- 8223-5557-1, U.S.$27.95 (pbk).

Samira Aghacy and Evelyne Accad (2009), Masculine Identity in the Fiction of the Arab East Since 1967 (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press), 232 pp., ISBN: 978-0-8156-3237-5, U.S.$34.95.

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Katherine Hennessey and Margaret Litvin

When the first Critical Survey special issue on Arab Shakespeares (19, no. 3, Winter 2007) came out nearly a decade ago, the topic was a curiosity. There existed no up-to-date monograph in English on Arab theatre, let alone on Arab Shakespeare. Few Arabic plays had been translated into English. Few British or American theatregoers had seen a play in Arabic. In the then tiny but fast-growing field of international Shakespeare appropriation studies (now ‘Global Shakespeare’), there was a great post-9/11 hunger to know more about the Arab world but also a lingering prejudice that Arab interpretations of Shakespeare would necessarily be derivative or crude, purely local in value.

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Writing Syrian History While Propagating Arab Nationalism

Textbooks about Modern Arab History under Hafiz and Bashar al-Asad

Monika Bolliger

This article argues that Syrian history textbooks promote the formation of Syrian national identity, although their explicit objective is to propagate Arab nationalism. Their authors' attempt to construct the history of an imagined Arab nation encompassing the whole of the Arab world in fact tells the story of different nation-states. Syrian students are therefore confronted with rival geographical spheres of national imagination. Changes in the new textbooks under Bashar al-Asad reveal increased Syrian patriotism, a will to comply with globalization, and attempts to maintain Arab nationalism.

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Robert O. Freedman

The issue of control over the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif is perhaps the most difficult of all the issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to solve. After presenting an analysis of the history of the conflict over the site—holy to both Jews and Moslems—this article argues that only the internationalization of the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif, an idea first suggested by David Ben-Gurion in 1937, will remove the issue as an element in the Israel-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflicts. Otherwise, "holier than thou" politics, particularly in the Arab world, will keep the conflict alive.

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The Enigma of Mobility

Reflections on the Arab Revolutions

Frank Uekoetter

This article makes a first attempt at outlining the place of the ongoing arab revolution in modern history, with special attention to its significance to mobility studies. taking issue with readings that emphasize the roots of the revolt in islam or the arab world, it stresses the economic background of the grievance, and specifically the elusive hope for social mobility in the countries' youth. it also highlights the crucial role of networking activities, both face-to- face and online, in creating the momentum that led to toppling of powerful regimes in Egypt and tunisia. The article seeks to demonstrate how mobility studies can highlight the peculiar challenges that both countries are currently facing. By way of conclusion, it shows how the case at hand forces us to think more about the mind of mobility, and more broadly about the ambitions and theoretical promises that the field of mobility studies should embrace.

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The Taming of the Tigress

Fāṭima Rushdī and the First Performance of Shrew in Arabic

David C. Moberly

Few scholars have addressed Arabic adaptations of The Taming of the Shrew, though it remains among the most popular Shakespearean comedies in the Arab world. The first Arabic performance of Shrew in Egypt in 1930 marked a significant landmark in the history of Arab Shakespeares, as the translator rendered the play in colloquial Egyptian Arabic, rather than in the formal, classical Arabic accessible to the educated elite. As such, the play offered the uneducated Egyptian public – and women in particular – unprecedented access to this work of Shakespeare. Instrumental to the adaptation’s success was Fāṭima Rushdī, owner and lead actress of the company that performed this first Arabic Shrew. In this and other roles as one of Egypt’s first renowned Shakespearean actresses, Rushdī not only effectively recast Shakespeare in an Egyptian mould, but also cast Egyptians in a Shakespearean mould, with effects that still echo today.