765 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of the Middle East about their New Books
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New Books in Middle Eastern Studies Marshall Poe

    • Society & Culture

Interviews with Scholars of the Middle East about their New Books
Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/middle-eastern-studies

    Jamil Jan Kochai, "The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories" (Viking, 2022)

    Jamil Jan Kochai, "The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories" (Viking, 2022)

    The first story in Jamil Jan Kochai’s newest collection has an interesting title and premise.
    “Playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” leads The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories (Viking: 2022). But what starts as a story of a young Afghan-American man buying the latest installment of the stealth video game becomes an exploration of Afghanistan, how its borne the brunt of generations of imperial and geopolitical conflict–and how that history is etched on its people.
    Jamil’s book is about Afghanistan–as well as Afghans and Afghan-Americans, grappling with history and strife, conflict and tension, family and community, often amidst the backdrop of an unfeeling U.S. invasion.
    Jamil Jan Kochai is the author of 99 Nights in Logar (Viking: 2019), a finalist for the Pen/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. He was born in an Afghan refugee camp in Peshawar, Pakistan, but he originally hails from Logar, Afghanistan. His short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Zoetrope, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and The Best American Short Stories. Currently, he is a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University.
    Today, Jamil and I will talk about his short stories, his Afghan and Afghan-American characters, how they relate to today’s Afghanistan–and some of the surprising inspirations for some of his stories.
    You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of The Haunting of Hajji Hotak. Follow on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia.
    Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at@nickrigordon.
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    • 32 min
    Frederic C. Hof, "Reaching for the Heights: The Inside Story of a Secret Attempt to Reach a Syrian-Israeli Peace" (USIP, 2022)

    Frederic C. Hof, "Reaching for the Heights: The Inside Story of a Secret Attempt to Reach a Syrian-Israeli Peace" (USIP, 2022)

    Reaching for the Heights: The Inside Story of a Secret Attempt to Reach a Syrian-Israeli Peace (USIP, 2022) is an insider’s account of secret negotiations to broker a Syria-Israel peace deal―negotiations that came tantalizingly close to success. Ambassador Frederic Hof, who spearheaded the US-mediated discussions in 2009-11, takes readers behind the scenes in Washington, Damascus, and Jerusalem, where President Assad and Prime Minister Netanyahu inched toward a deal to return Israeli-occupied areas of the Golan Heights in exchange for Syria severing military ties with Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas. Hof’s candid assessments, refreshing self-criticism, compelling prose, and rich historical detail make this a masterful memoir of an unknown chapter in American diplomacy.
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    • 1 hr 23 min
    On "1001 Nights"

    On "1001 Nights"

    Humans love stories. And no collection of stories is more beloved worldwide than the Middle Eastern folk tales known as One Thousand and One Nights. The original collection only contained about 40 stories. It was compiled into a manuscript sometime between the 8th century and the 14th century during the Islamic Golden Age. The stories were made popular in the West by the French translator Antoine Galland who got a hold of this original manuscript in the 1690s. Galland began translating and publishing these stories in French. They were an instant hit. But some of the most popular stories, such as Aladdin and Ali Baba didn’t appear in that original manuscript. Paulo Lemos Horta is an associate professor of literature at New York University Abu Dhabi. He is the author of Marvellous Thieves: Secret Authors of the Arabian Nights See more information on our website, WritLarge.fm. Follow us on Twitter @WritLargePod.
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    • 32 min
    Aomar Boum and Sarah Abrevaya Stein, "Wartime North Africa: A Documentary History, 1934-1950" (Stanford UP, 2022)

    Aomar Boum and Sarah Abrevaya Stein, "Wartime North Africa: A Documentary History, 1934-1950" (Stanford UP, 2022)

    Aomar Boum and Sarah Abrevaya Stein's book Wartime North Africa: A Documentary History, 1934-1950 (Stanford UP, 2022), the first-ever collection of primary documents on North African history and the Holocaust, gives voice to the diversity of those involved--Muslims, Christians, and Jews; women, men, and children; black, brown, and white; the unknown and the notable; locals, refugees, the displaced, and the interned; soldiers, officers, bureaucrats, volunteer fighters, and the forcibly recruited. At times their calls are lofty, full of spiritual lamentation and political outrage. At others, they are humble, yearning for medicine, a cigarette, or a pair of shoes.
    Translated from French, Arabic, North African Judeo-Arabic, Spanish, Hebrew, Moroccan Darija, Tamazight (Berber), Italian, and Yiddish, or transcribed from their original English, these writings shed light on how war, occupation, race laws, internment, and Vichy French, Italian fascist, and German Nazi rule were experienced day by day across North Africa. Though some selections are drawn from published books, including memoirs, diaries, and collections of poetry, most have never been published before, nor previously translated into English. These human experiences, combined, make up the history of wartime North Africa.
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    • 1 hr 4 min
    Nicholas Morton, "The Mongol Storm: Making and Breaking Empires in the Medieval Near East" (Basic Books, 2022)

    Nicholas Morton, "The Mongol Storm: Making and Breaking Empires in the Medieval Near East" (Basic Books, 2022)

    For centuries, the Crusades have been central to the story of the medieval Near East, but these religious wars are only part of the region’s complex history. As Nicholas Morton reveals in The Mongol Storm: Making and Breaking Empires in the Medieval Near East (Basic Books, 2022), during the same era the Near East was utterly remade by another series of wars: the Mongol invasions. In a single generation, the Mongols conquered vast swaths of the Near East and upended the region’s geopolitics. Amid the chaos of the Mongol onslaught, long-standing powers such as the Byzantines, the Seljuk Turks, and the crusaders struggled to survive, while new players such as the Ottomans arose to fight back. The Mongol conquests forever transformed the region, while forging closer ties among societies spread across Eurasia. The Mongol Storm is the definitive history of the Mongol assault on the Near East and its enduring global consequences.
    Maggie Freeman is a PhD student in the School of Architecture at MIT. She researches uses of architecture by nomadic peoples and historical interactions of nomads and empires, with a focus on the modern Middle East.
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    • 41 min
    Gabriel Polley, "Palestine in the Victorian Age: Colonial Encounters in the Holy Land" (I. B. Tauris, 2022)

    Gabriel Polley, "Palestine in the Victorian Age: Colonial Encounters in the Holy Land" (I. B. Tauris, 2022)

    In this episode I have interviewed Gabriel Polley, winner of the Ibrahim Dakkak Award for the best essay published in 2021 by the Jerusalem Quarterly.
    Narratives of the modern history of Palestine/Israel often begin with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and Britain's arrival in 1917. However, this work argues that the contest over Palestine has its roots deep in the 19th century, with Victorians who first cast the Holy Land as an area to be possessed by empire, then began to devise schemes for its settler colonization. The product of historical research among almost forgotten guidebooks, archives and newspaper clippings, this book presents a previously unwritten chapter of Britain's colonial desire, and reveals how indigenous Palestinians began to react against, or accommodate themselves to, the West's fascination with their ancestral land. From the travellers who tried to overturn Jerusalem's holiest sites, to an uprising sparked by a church bell and a missionary's tragic actions, to one Palestinian's eventful visit to the heart of the British Empire, Palestine in the Victorian Age: Colonial Encounters in the Holy Land (I. B. Tauris, 2022) reveals how the events of the nineteenth century have cast a long shadow over the politics of Palestine/Israel ever since.

    Roberto Mazza is currently an independent scholar. He is the host of the Jerusalem Unplugged Podcast and to discuss and propose a book for interview can be reached at robbymazza@gmail.com. Twitter and IG: @robbyref
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    • 1 hr 7 min

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