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Orientalism and Encyclopedism

Just a note about a talk I’m giving tomorrow evening at Brown, in the Medieval Studies lecture series. It’s at 5:30pm in Providence, in case any Boston-area medievalists are interested. And here’s an essay on a related topic (“Why was the 14th century a century of Arabic encyclopedism?”) that just came out a few months … Continue reading

The Rolling Stones of Morocco: Nass el-Ghiwane

A million years ago, I spent some time living in Morocco hanging out with Nass el-Ghiwane, the great shaabi ensemble that more or less invented the modern Moroccan popular song. I wrote about the experience in an article for Transition magazine: Nass el Ghiwane debuted in 1971, when Omar Sayyed was twenty-four years old. All five members sang, … Continue reading

What WikiLeaks Tells Us About Assad’s Foreign Policy Record

Al-Akhbar has published an article of mine about the Assad regime’s relations with the West and its foreign policy objectives, as revealed by the original WikiLeaks cache of US diplomatic cables. Needless to say, this article is a response of sorts to Amal Saad-Ghorayeb’s multi-part series which argues that Arab intellectuals should support Assad because … Continue reading

Lebanon, By the Numbers

A very quick note to point folks in the direction of my post for the NY Times’s Latitude blog this week, which deals with proportional representation in Lebanon. For most of you following the debate, not much of it will come as much of a surprise. For those who have not been following along and would … Continue reading

Syria’s Defecting Bloggers

I’ve been a little obsessed with the changes in the Arab blogosphere over the past year, and the Syrian blogs are among the most interesting to me, perhaps because I’ve been reading several of these bloggers for years. The shift in perspective as a result of the uprising is remarkable. People like Robin Yassin-Kassab and … Continue reading

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