Volume 2 (1998-9)
Edited by Joseph Norment Bell
Ibrahim Taha, Openness and Closedness: Four Categories of Closurization in Modern Arabic Fiction (Adobe Acrobat 2.0 PDF file, 155 kB, pp. 1-23)
Abstract: The discussion of the four categories of ending and closure in modern Arabic literature in terms of openness and closedness clearly indicates the interrelations between the ending and the model of the textual reality, and the interrelations between this model and the extra-literary reality. It seems that when the historical, and especially the political and the social reality slaps writers across the face and stands before them in all its might and immediacy, they do not remain indifferent and write a literature with optimistic, promising, and closed endings; and vice versa: a text with a model of reality which does not relate to a well defined piece of history ends with a more open type of ending and becomes a closure in the reader.
Celia E. Rothenberg, A Review of the Anthropological Literature in English on the Palestinian Hamula and the Status of Women (Adobe Acrobat 2.0 PDF file, 186 kB, pp. 24-48)
Abstract: The following is a survey of the anthropological literature in English on the Palestinian hamula, the extended family or clan, and Palestinian women's lives in the West Bank. Both areas of the literature are in certain respects problematic; in particular, actors' agency and women's experiences are often overlooked. The article concludes by presenting the notion of social geography?a concept which looks at how the geographical location of neighbors, friends, and family, as well as ideas of relatedness, create ties and shape the way women practice and experience social relations. Recognizing the importance of social geography may provide a way of wedding these two areas of the literature and addressing some of its gaps.
Pavel Pavlovitch, Qad kunna la na'budu 'llaha wa-la na'rifuhu. On the Problem of the Pre-Islamic Lord of the Ka'ba (Adobe Acrobat 2.0 PDF file, 185 kB, pp. 49-74). See also COMMENTS/REPLIES on this article.
Abstract: This article deals with the problem of the pre-Islamic Lord of the Ka'ba. An attempt is made to critically review the accepted theory that Allah had been the main deity of this shrine long before Islam was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. The evidence of scripture and our other sources suggests that the heathen Arabs may not have been particularly familiar with the notion of Allah as the greatest deity reigning over a swarm of lesser idols. Deities other than Allah were apparently greatly revered in the Ka'ba, and their role as lords of the sanctuary cannot be easily discarded. As for the concept of Allah as the main deity in the Ka'ba, the evidence seems to stem from the early Islamic period, when the monotheistic notion of God prevailed and brought with it a new understanding of history as a sequence of monotheistic prophecies beginning with the very creation of the world. This concept appears to be mainly responsible for the emergence of the belief that Allah was present in people's faith from the days of Adam until the final reincarnation of His religion in Muhammad's da'wa.
Christian Szyska, Desire and Denial: Sacred and Profane Spaces in 'Abd al-Hamid Jawdat al-Sahhar's Novel In the Caravan of Time (Adobe Acrobat 2.0 PDF file, 207 kB, pp. 75-109)
Abstract: Throughout the 20th century contributions of Egyptian writers have been instrumental in the processes of mapping, or remapping, the world. Through their writings they have contributed to the production of rural, urban, and national spaces. This paper scrutinizes the narrated spaces in 'Abd al-Hamid Jawdat al-Sahhar's realist novel In the Caravan of Time. The study analyses the position of al-Sahhar's work within Egyptian literary discourse. Drawing on anthropological theories, it shows how the novel's protagonist experiences the negotiation of spaces and their boundaries during the transition to modernity. Furthermore the study demonstrates that this transition takes on the form of an initiation of which the underlying force is desire. It turns out that desire and its repression are essential factors which contribute both to the redefinition of the self and the Other and to the remapping of the world.
Erica Sapper Simpson, Islam in Uzbekistan: Why Freedom of Religion Is Fundamental for Peace and Stability in the Region (Adobe Acrobat 4.0 PDF file, 274 kB, pp. 110-150)
Abstract: This paper is dedicated to the people in Uzbekistan, known and unknown, whose future depends on peace and stability in the region. I wrote this paper with two different readers in mind: for the first reader, this paper provides an introduction to the current struggle in Uzbekistan between the traditional values of the non-governmental form of Islam and the modern values of the secular government; for the second reader, who is familiar with this struggle, this paper presents and defends one side of the debate?the traditional values of the independent form of Islam. A discussion of the dilemma posed by this struggle, which is common in many emerging nations, is beyond the purpose of this paper. In the interest of fairness, however, a response would be in order on the problems faced by a newly emerging government with a predominantly Muslim population with the different trends and the varying degrees of fervor and activism one is witness to in such populations. In other words, the current Uzbek regime should also be evaluated in terms of realpolitik. In this way, both sides of the Uzbek question might be revealed for all interested readers.