Volume 16 (2016)
Edited by Lutz Edzard and Stephan Guth
Dossier spécial: Living 2016: Cultural Codes and Arrays in Arab Everyday Worlds Five Years After the “Arab Spring” [= Proceedings of a workshop, held at the Department for Cultural Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS), University of Oslo, Norway, May 29-30, 2016], ed. Stephan Guth & Elena Chiti (pdf, pp. 221-388)
- 9a — Front matter & Contents (pdf, 501kB, pp. 221-223)
- 9b — Stephan Guth: Introduction: Living 2016 and the In 2016 Project (pdf, 417 kB, pp. 224-233): The introduction presents the idea as well as the theoretical, methodological and ethical background of the In 2016 project, a research project that looks into the realities of everyday life and other post-revolutionary lifeworlds (Lebenswelten) in Egypt and Tunisia. Its aim is to provide a kind of ‘encyclopedia of 2016’ that enables users, in a snapshot portrait of one year, to ‘jump right into’ and move around (via cross-references) in post-revolutionary Arab realities; a tool that allows readers to approximate the experience of ‘how it feels/felt’ to live in these countries in this period of transition and historic change that the Arab World is currently going through. Taking its inspiration from Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht’s In 1926, an “essay on historical simultaneity,” the project focuses on two key fields of cultural production where salient issues and ‘the meaning of life’ are regularly discussed and from where reflections of bodily experiences, emotions and affects can be collected: fiction and social media. — The dossier spécial emerged from a first, exploratory workshop connected to the In 2016 project. The dossier’s objective is twofold: while the introduction will give the reader an idea of background of the project in general, the contributions will mirror a first stage in the project group’s experience: the collection of an overwhelmingly huge amount of fresh relevant material, its ‘close reading’ or ‘thick description’, and the individual researchers’ first, preliminary attempts to find the “arrays”, “codes” and “collapsed codes” that seem to be typical of living the ‘2016 experience’
- 9c — Mona Abaza: Cairo: Personal Reflections on Enduring Daily Life (pdf, 1235 kB, pp. 234-252)
- 9d — Myriam Achour-Kallel: “La Rolls et la Volkswagen”: Écrire en tunisien sur Facebook en 2016 (pdf, 1169 kB, pp. 253-272): L’image de « La Rolls et de la Volkswagen », métaphore empruntée à Edward Saïd, rend compte, dans une certaine mesure, d’une partie de la réalité sociale linguistique partagée par les pays arabophones dont les langues natales, des « Volkswagen », n’ont pas le poids de l’arabe standard, la « Rolls ». Or, si ces langues ont été politiquement construites en ces termes, les usages scripturaires, eux, ne se sont pas toujours pliés à cette conception. A partir d’un travail de terrain basé sur l’observation des pratiques d’écriture de pages et de groupes sur Facebook et accompagné d’entretiens menés auprès des administrateurs, je montre dans ce texte comment ce réseau social rend visible la langue tunisienne qui endosse différents statuts (celui de langue étrangère, de Rolls et de langue-pont). Je montre, enfin, comment il est utile de considérer Facebook comme un array au sens de Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht.
- 9e — Elena Chiti: “A Dark Comedy”: Perceptions of the Egyptian Present Between Reality and Fiction (pdf, 593 kB, pp. 273-289)
- 9f — Mariem Guellouz: The Construction of “Tunisianity” Through Sociolinguistic Practices: From the Tunisian Independence to 2016 (pdf, 235 kB, pp. 290-298): In the period following the revolutionary events in Tunisia, several linguistic issues have re-emerged on the surface of political life. While some conservative political activists called for the institution of the Arabic language, others stressed the importance of the Tunisian dialect as a mother tongue. We could also observe the Berber activists who fought for the institution of the Tamazight language. These linguistic matters are linked to the issues of identity and belonging. This paper raises these questions: what language a Tunisian has to speak in order to be a Tunisian? How do sociolinguistic practices contribute on the construction of “Tunisianity”?
- 9g — Stephan Guth: Twenty-Three Recent Arabic Films: Impressions From Two Film Festivals (Oslo and Tübingen, 2016) (pdf, 908kB, pp. 299-326): In this article, a preliminary attempt is made to describe my first impressions about a number of films that were shown at two Arabic film festivals I attended this year (2016), the first in April (Oslo/Norway) and the other in October (Tübingen/Germany).
- 9h — Albrecht Hofheinz: #Sisi_vs_Youth, or: Who Has a Voice in Egypt? (pdf, 1015 kB, pp. 327-348): This article presents voices from Egypt reflecting on the question of who has the right to have a voice in the country in the first half of 2016. In the spirit of the research project “In 2016,” it aims to offer a snapshot of how it “felt to live” in Egypt in 2016 as a member of the young generation (al-shabāb) who actively use social media and who position themselves critically towards the state’s official discourse. While the state propagated a strategy focusing on educating and guiding young people towards becoming productive members of a nation united under one leader, popular youth voices on the internet used music and satire to claim their right to resist a retrograde patrimonial system that threatens every opposing voice with extinction. On both sides, a strongly antagonistic ‘you vs. us’ rhetoric is evident.
- 9i — Richard Jacquemond: Satiric Literature and Other “Popular” Literary Genres in Egypt Today (pdf, 749 kB, pp. 349-367): This article starts by describing some characteristics of current Egyptian popular literature, based on field observation at the Cairo 2016 book fair and a survey of the Egyptian authors available on the social network Goodreads, and puts the stress on the spectacular rejuvenation this market experienced in the last ten years. It focuses then on one of this market’s main genres, namely, satiric literature, and suggests through the analysis of various authors’ trajectories and works that it reveals a tension between reformism and subversion, a tension similar to the one that characterises the predicament of the Egyptian intelligentsia in the post-2011 context.
- 9j — Delphine Pagès-El Karoui: Deciphering the Binary Code “Egyptian vs. Foreigner” in Egyptian Cinema (pdf, 846 kB, pp. 368-384): In 2016, emigration is more than ever a massive phenomenon in Egypt which both strongly affects the everyday lives of Egyptians and is central in Egyptian cultural production. This article aims to explore how the Egyptian cinema contributes to forging a binary code that differentiates between “Egyptian” and “Foreigner”. It argues that Egyptians who live abroad may also be perceived as potential foreigners for those left in Egypt. After briefly describing the corpus of seven emigration films, the article sketches a cartography of the geographic imaginaries of migration, which is paradoxically more oriented toward the West, while in fact the majority of Egyptians abroad are in the Gulf. Finally, it demonstrates how movie directors have produced a very pessimistic vision of emigration, in a manner that is equally critical of the countries of arrival as of Egyptian society. Their discourse on the theme of the migrant’s identity, on the personal, familial and national levels, resonates with the social imaginary concerning migration, which is dominated by a nationalist paradigm. Are we nevertheless witnessing the emergence of a transnational cinema, that is, one that envisages the possibility of an identity that is simultaneously of here and elsewhere?
- 9k — Ragnhild J. Zorgati: Impressions from Tunisia, Spring 2016 (pdf, 59 kB, pp. 385-388)
- 9l — Dalia Chams: Le soufisme New Age des salles de Yoga / The New Age Sufism of the ‘salles de Yoga’ (coming soon, pp. 389-xxx)
Zaid Alamiri and Peter Mickan, What Makes the Qurʾānic Narratives Cohesive? Systemic Functional Linguistics-Based Analysis of Reference Role: Some Reflections (pdf 761 kB, pp. 199-219)
The present study aims to analyse reference, as a cohesive device, in some of the Qurʾānic narratives of Abraham and Moses in ten suras. The study is based on, and limited to, Halliday & Hasan’s concept of cohesion as a semantic relationship realized through grammatical and lexical devices. Such cohesive role of reference is implicitly treated and discussed within the topic of pronouns antecedents in the Arabic linguistic tradition. Reference resources in the Qurʾān are diverse but the scope of this study was confined to only the personal and demonstrative components of reference. The analysis showed that personal reference (of the third person forms) was the most frequently used in these narratives. Its salient features, of multiple referents and cumulative effect, contributed to the economy of language use and finally enabled the cohesion of the text. The demonstrative reference was less frequent, yet it provided, through its function of connecting various text parts, an additional contribution to the narratives’ cohesion. In general, reference, as one element of the textual metafunction, has played a major role in the text creation in terms of cohesion and coherence.
Liana Saif, The Universe and the Womb: Generation, Conception, and the Stars in Islamic Medieval Astrological and Medical Texts (pdf 620 kB, pp. 181-198)
This article looks at the assimilation of Aristotle’s account of ‘coming-to-be’ into conception theories found in Islamic medieval medical and astrological texts. It analyzes the way the four causes work on the level of the universe and that of the womb, and examines the reconciliation of ideas on planetary influence with the Galenic and Aristotelian theories of conception. The Arabic astrological theories that explain the receptiveness of human beings to astral influences provide the conceptual link between the macrocosmic and microcosmic processes. Conception becomes an individualization of the coming-to-be of species, and the stars act as agents of actuality in both processes.
Salah Natij, La conception ǧāḥiẓienne de l’adab d’après son épître Ṣināʿāt al-quwwād (pdf 791 kB, pp. 163-179)
This article is dedicated to the study of the Ǧāḥiẓian conception of adab. Our objective is twofold: on the one hand, we try to examine the way al-Ǧāḥiẓ conceives, defines, and intends to exercise an ‘adab way of thinking’; on the other hand, we will use the Ǧāḥiẓian conception of adab to enrich our understanding of the ‘epistemology of adab’. For, if al-Ǧāḥiẓ was and is still considered as the greatest representative of adab, it is because through his writings that adab became aware of itself both as a concept and as a system of thought, possessing its own epistemic vision. To support this hypothesis, we try to reconstruct the Ǧāḥiẓian conception of adab based on the presentation and the analysis of the views and ideas the author develops in his epistle entitled Risāla fī ṣināʿāt al-quwwād.
William M. Cotter, One Piece of the Puzzle: Notes on the Historic Interdental Fricatives /θ, ð, ðˁ/ in the Arabic Dialect of Gaza City (pdf 887 kB, pp. 149-162)
Although a great deal has been written about the Gaza Strip within the fields of political science, history, and international relations, very little linguistic research has been conducted in the coastal territory. This study aims at filling one gap in the linguistic record of Gaza through an examination of one set of phonemes, the Arabic interdentals /θ, ð, ðˁ/, in the dialect of Gaza City. The results of this study suggest that the present day dialect of Gaza City is largely in line with the earliest report on the realization of the interdentals as reported by Bergsträßer (1915), contrasting data presented in later published work by Salonen (1979, 1980).
William Costel Tamplin, Who Was ‛Umar ibn Sayyid? A Critical Reevaluation of the Translations and Interpretations of the Life (pdf 781 kB, pp. 125-147)
Recent criticism of the Life (1831) of ‛Umar ibn Sayyid has sought to overturn prior assumptions that ‛Umar was a Christian convert and a content slave to prove that ‛Umar was a crypto-Muslim and an abolitionist. This criticism posits the existence of esoteric “concealed utterances” available to the initiated reader throughout ‛Umar’s autobiography as evidence of his abiding Islam and opposition to slavery in general and his enslavement in particular. This paper reexamines the translations and interpretations of ‛Umar ibn Sayyid’s Life to demonstrate how little about him we can know given his poor command of classical Arabic, the second language in which he wrote his autobiography. Through a reexamination of ‛Umar’s autobiography in light of 1) the political history of West Africa, 2) his relationship to classical Arabic and to language in general, and 3) a survey of the scholarship that verifiable mistranslations of his Life have generated, I will demonstrate that ‛Umar’s poor command of Arabic makes drawing conclusions about his ideas about enslavement and Islam nearly impossible.
Rachel Anne Friedman, Significant Intersections between Legal and Rhetorical Theories: Lessons from an Interdisciplinary Reading of al-Bāqillānī’s Theory of Language (pdf 873 kB, pp. 99-123)
Abū Bakr al-Bāqillānī (d. 403/1013) was a preeminent scholar and an influential participant in a diverse range of Islamic discourses including the Ashʿarī school of theology and the Mālikī school of law. Al-Bāqillānī’s texts are often studied within the context of individual disciplines, but this article demonstrates that an interdisciplinary reading of his scholarly production uncovers significant areas of overlap. These intersections bring to light topics of sustained concern for al-Bāqillānī that crosscut his work and allow him to draw together various Islamic intellectual discourses. Through looking at three such intersections, on the topics of bayān, muḥkamāt and mutashābihāt, and the so-called Mysterious Letters, this article shows that al-Bāqillānī’s argument in favor of the clarity and eminent understandability of language, including all of the Qurʾān, is best understood through a cross-disciplinary reading of al-Bāqillānī’s oeuvre. Bringing together al-Bāqillānī’s thought in the two seemingly disparate genres of uṣūl al-fiqh (legal theory) and iʿjāz al-Qurʾān (the inimitability of the Qurʾān) serves the dual purpose of examining the relationship between these fields and shedding light on al-Bāqillānī’s work across disciplines. It thus contributes to a more complete picture of the identity of a scholar who was concerned with providing a consistent and multifaceted theory of language within a broader synthesis of Islamic thought.
Hani Elayyan, Three Arabic Novels of Expatriation in the Arabian Gulf Region: Ibrāhīm Naṣrallāh’s Prairies of Fever, Ibrāhīm ʿAbdalmagīd’s The Other Place, and Saʿūd al-Sanʿūsī’s Bamboo Stalk (pdf 679 kB, pp. 85-98)
Once oil revenues started pouring in the Gulf region by the 1950s, many Arab citizens from Egypt and the Levant moved there for work. A number of Arab novels have delineated the expatriation experience and highlighted the discrepancy between the expats’ expectations of brotherhood, which emanated from their belief in the dominant pan-Arab ideology, and the reality of existence in societies that had social configurations that did not necessarily privilege Arab expats. This paper explores the perceived gap in the socio-political projects of the Gulf countries on the one hand, and the Levant and Egypt on the other. By comparing two novels by two Arab expat writers, Ibrāhīm Naṣrallāh’s Prairies of Fever and Ibrāhīm ʿAbdalmagīd’s The Other Place with a novel by a Gulf writer, Saʿūd al-Sanʿūsī’s Bamboo Stalk, this article argues that despite the pre‑ and postcolonial forces that have shaped Gulf Societies into a different cultural region, the project that Gulf novels engage in is similar to the rest of the Arab World, namely, nation state building, with increasing awareness of hyphenated identities and subaltern people.
Vera von Falkenhausen, Nadia Jamil, and Jeremy Johns, The Twelfth-century documents of St. George’s of Tròccoli (Sicily) (pdf 12 MB, pp. 1-84)
This study publishes for the first time six authentic and original documents from mid-twelfth-century Norman Sicily. Three are bilingual, written in Greek and Arabic, and three are Arabic. All were issued by the multilingual dīwān of King Roger de Hauteville and relate to the lands and Muslim peasants held of the crown by the Greek monastery of St. George’s of Tròccoli, near Caltabellotta. These documents are of particular interest in four principal ways. First, they permit the reconstruction in unusual detail of the internal administrative processes of the royal dīwān. Second, they preserve the toponymy and describe the topography of the lands of St. George’s that lay in a district of Norman Sicily until now poorly documented. Third, they record the remarkable phenomenon of the immigration to Norman Sicily of Muslims, who apparently commended themselves into the service of a Christian monastery as villeins, in order to escape deprivation and famine in Ifrīqiyya. And fourth, they add to the small corpus of Arabic documents from Norman Sicily, contributing much new evidence for their diplomatic form, language and palaeography.