Synopses & Reviews
In this book, Israeli anthropologist Andrandeacute; Levy returns to his birthplace in Casablanca to provide a deeply nuanced and compelling study of the relationships between Moroccan Jews and Muslims there. Ranging over a century of historyandmdash;from the Jewish Enlightenment and the impending colonialism of the late nineteenth century to todayandrsquo;s modern Arab stateandmdash;Levy paints a rich portrait of two communities pressed together, of the tremendous mobility that has characterized the past century, and of the paradoxes that complicate the cultural identities of the present. and#160;
Levy visits a host of sites and historical figures to assemble a compelling history of social change, while seamlessly interweaving his study with personal accounts of his returns to his homeland. Central to this story is the massive migration of Jews out of Morocco. Levy traces the institutional and social changes such migrations cause for those who choose to stay, introducing the concept of andldquo;contractionandrdquo; to depict the way Jews deal with the ramifications of their demographic dwindling. Turning his attention outward from Morocco, he goes on to explore the greater complexities of the Jewish diaspora and the essential paradox at the heart of his adventureandmdash;leaving Israel to return home.and#160;
andldquo;According to David Brooks, andlsquo;Going back is a creative process. The events of childhood are like the Hebrew alphabet; the vowels are missing, and the older self has to make sense of them.andrsquo; Levyandrsquo;s return from Israel to the country of his birth proceeds from his first fearful encounter, through the uncertainties of the Gulf War, to the discovery of the deeply ambivalent approach of the Moroccan Muslims to their Jewish neighbors. Analytic yet engaged, wary yet appreciative, Levy offers a realistic and thoughtful example of the ways in which stereotypes need to be confronted directly, and how emotion can be harnessed to comprehension and mutual understanding.andrdquo;
andldquo;There are few Israeli anthropologists who would dare to revisit their Middle Eastern birth home as ethnographers after years of migration and exile with the objective to study the remaining Jewish communities who still remain in their country of origin. Levy has done so, and has succeeded in producing one of the best ethnographies about home, displacement, and changing identities and communities.andrdquo;
andldquo;With this book, distinguished cultural anthropologist and brilliant writer Rosen offers an innovative, urbane, and effective use of biography to write a multivoiced cultural history of Morocco. Rosen first imagined the project nearly fifty years ago while conducting fieldwork in Sefrou during the time of the Six-Day War. Ironically, tribal attachments are not disappearing as the world globalizes, which is a lesson many cosmopolitan elites and politicians have been slow to learn and which makes this book and Rosenandrsquo;s provocative take-home message (andlsquo;there is safety in diversityandrsquo;) not only relevant to current affairs but also tantalizing.andrdquo;
andldquo;At a time when the world is weighed down by tensions among communities and religions that lead to dangerous tendencies in many quarters to fall back on a narrow identity, here is a work that makes it clear that there is no simple truth. Rosen, with the talent for which he is well known, gives a shining example of what an ethnographic study can accomplish. Such a work makes it possible to counter preconceived and oversimplified ideas about identity and demonstrates that human beings are capable of living with complexity, religious diversity, and otherness. Thanks to the surprising proximity to his subjects, Rosen shows us the trajectories of four veritable andlsquo;artists of lifeandrsquo; while avoiding the pitfalls of apologetics or romanticism.andrdquo;
andldquo;Rosenandrsquo;s genius is to make the particular accessible and its relevance to the universal apparent. It is this quality, combined with his compassion and empathy, that makes him the ideal commentator of our complex and divided world. Although based on the stories of individual Muslims and Jews in North Africa, the book really is about our common human predicament. We are truly blessed to have this brilliant and towering intellectual giant among us so generously sharing his wisdom and humanity.andrdquo;
From one of the most popular historians writing today comes a book as fascinating as the bestsellers of Karen Armstrong and Reza Aslan.
In this captivating chronicle, Martin Gilbert shines new light on a controversial dilemma in the modern world: the troubled relationship between Jews and Muslims. Beginning at the dawn of Islam and sweeping from the Atlantic Ocean to the mountains of Afghanistan, Gilbert presents the first popular and authoritative history of Jewish peoples under Muslim rule. He confronts with wisdom and compassion the stormy events in their dramatic story, including anti-Zionist movements and the forced exodus to Israel. He also gives special attention to the twentieth century and to the current political debate about refugee status and restitution.
Throughout, Gilbert weaves a compelling narrative of perseverance, struggle, and renewal marked by surprising moments of tolerance and partnership. A monumental and timely book, Jews under Muslim Rule is a crowning achievement that confirms Martin Gilbert as one of the foremost historians of our time.
From the Hardcover edition.
In this remarkable work by seasoned scholar Lawrence Rosen, we follow the fascinating intellectual developments of four ordinary Moroccans over the span of forty years. Walking and talking with Haj Hamed Britel, Yaghnik Driss, Hussein Qadir, and Shimon Benizriandmdash;in a country that, in a little over a century, has gone from an underdeveloped colonial outpost to a modern Arab country in the throes of economic growth and religious fervorandmdash;Rosen details a fascinating plurality of viewpoints on culture, history, and the ways both can be dramatically transformed.
Through the intellectual lives of these four men, this book explores a number of interpretative and theoretical issues that have made Arab culture distinct, especially in relationship to the West: how nothing is ever hard and fast, how everything is relational and always a product of negotiation. It showcases the vitality of the local in a global era, and it contrasts Arab notions of time, equality, and self with those in the West. Likewise, Rosen unveils his own entanglement in their world and the drive to keep the analysis of culture first and foremost, even as his own life enmeshes itself in those of his study. An exploration of faith, politics, history, and memory, this book highlights the world of everyday life in Arab society in ways that challenge common notions and stereotypes.and#160;
About the Author
is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University and adjunct professor of law at Columbia Law School. He is the author of many books, including Bargaining for Reality, The Culture of Islam
, and Varieties of Muslim Experience
, all also published by the University of Chicago Press.and#160;
Table of Contents
Prologue: A World of Difference
Committed to Memory: Haj Hamed Britel 235 Qla?a
A Midmost Nation: Yaghnik Driss
Courier of the Horizons: Hussein ou Muhammad Qadir
A Nation among Nations: Shimon Benizri
Epilogue: Making a Difference
Suggestions for Further Reading