Synopses & Reviews
Until now, we have known very little of the lives of ordinary Middle Eastern men and women, despite extensive research on the modern Middle East. With this collection of essays, the life stories of peasants, villagers, pastoralists, and urbanites can finally be heardno more will our view of the Middle East be seen only over the shoulders of the elite.
These twenty-four biographies are drawn from the entire Middle Eastfrom Morocco to Afghanistanand provide vantage points from which to understand modern Middle Eastern history "from the bottom up." Spanning the past 150 years and reflecting important transformations, the stories challenge elite-centered accounts of what has occurred in the Middle East and illuminate hidden corners of a largely unrecorded world.
The essays, divided chronologically, provide a comprehensive framework for those unfamiliar with Middle Eastern social history. "Pre-Colonial Lives" covers the period from 1850 until World War I, "Colonial Lives" chronicles the beginning of European rule, and "Contemporary Lives" relates the massive changes of the postwar era. Through them, we see how specific ecologies, ways of life, ethnic, class and gender situations can shape individual human action.
Until the 1993 first edition of this book, one thing had been missing in Middle Eastern history--depiction of the lives of ordinary Middle Eastern men and women, peasants, villagers, pastoralists, and urbanites. Now updated and revised, the second edition has added six new portraits of individuals set in the contemporary period. It features twenty-four brief biographies drawn from throughout the Middle East--from Morocco to Afghanistan--in which the reader is provided with vantage points from which to understand modern Middle Eastern history "from the bottom up." Spanning the past 160-plus years and reflecting important transformations, these stories challenge elite-centered accounts of what has occurred in the Middle East and illuminate the previously hidden corners of a largely unrecorded world.
About the Author
Edmund Burke III is Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the coeditor, with David Prochaska, of After the Colonial Turn: Orientalism, History and Theory (2005) and coeditor, with Ira M. Lapidus, of Islam, Politics, and Social Movements (California, 1990). David N. Yaghoubian is Assistant Professor of History at California State University, San Bernardino.
Table of Contents
1. Middle Eastern Societies and Ordinary People's Lives
PART ONE. PRECOLONIAL LIVES
2. Assaf: A Peasant of Mount Lebanon
3. Shemsigul: A Circassian Slave in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Cairo
4. Journeymen Textile Weavers in Nineteenth-Century Damascus: A Collective
5. Ahmad: A Kuwaiti Pearl Diver
6. Mohand N'Hamoucha: Middle Atlas Berber
7. Bibi Maryam: A Bakhtiyari Tribal Woman
PART TWO. COLONIAL LIVES
8. The Shaykh and His Daughter: Coping in Colonial Algeria
9. Izz al-Din al-Qassam: Preacher and Mujahid
10. Abu Ali al-Kilawi: A Damascus Qabaday
11. M'hamed Ali: Tunisian Labor Organizer
12. Hagob Hagobian: An Armenian Truck Driver in Iran
13. Naji: An Iraqi Country Doctor
PART THREE. POST-COLONIAL LIVES
14. Migdim: Egyptian Bedouin Matriarch
15. Rostam: Qashqa'i Rebel
16. An Iranian Village Boyhood
17. Gulab: An Afghan Schoolteacher
18. Abu Jamal: A Palestinian Urban Villager
19. Haddou: A Moroccan Migrant Worker
PART FOUR. CONTEMPORARY LIVES
20. Nasir: Sa'idi Youth Between Islamism and Agriculture
21. Ghada: Village Rebel or Political Protestor?
22. Khanom Gohary: Iranian Community Leader
23. Nadia: "Mother of the Believers"
24. June Leavitt: West Bank Settler
25. Talal Rizk: A Syrian Engineer in the Gulf
List of Contributors