Arabs in the Mirror: Images and Self-Images from Pre-Islamic to Modern Times

Overview

To bring new perspectives to the question of Arab identity, Iraqi-born scholar Nissim Rejwan has assembled this fascinating collection of writings by Arab and Western intellectuals, who try to define what it means to be Arab. He begins with pre-Islamic times and continues to the last decades of the twentieth century, quoting thinkers ranging from Ibn Khaldun to modern writers such as al-Ansari, Haykal, Ahmad Amin, al-'Azm, and Said. Through their works, Rejwan shows how Arabs have grappled with such significant ...

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Arabs in the Mirror: Images and Self-Images from Pre-Islamic to Modern Times

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Overview

To bring new perspectives to the question of Arab identity, Iraqi-born scholar Nissim Rejwan has assembled this fascinating collection of writings by Arab and Western intellectuals, who try to define what it means to be Arab. He begins with pre-Islamic times and continues to the last decades of the twentieth century, quoting thinkers ranging from Ibn Khaldun to modern writers such as al-Ansari, Haykal, Ahmad Amin, al-'Azm, and Said. Through their works, Rejwan shows how Arabs have grappled with such significant issues as the influence of Islam, the rise of nationalism, the quest for democracy, women's status, the younger generation, Egypt's place in the Arab world, Israel's role in Middle Eastern conflict, and the West's "cultural invasion."

By letting Arabs speak for themselves, Arabs in the Mirror refutes a prominent Western stereotype—that Arabs are incapable of self-reflection or self-government. On the contrary, it reveals a rich tradition of self-criticism and self-knowledge in the Arab world.

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What People Are Saying

Joseph V. Montville
This book is unique in that it lets its subjects speak for themselves, allowing readers to share some of the most intimate thoughts of the Arabs. . . . The work humanizes a people who have frequently been dismissed by many in the West as without culture and the capacity for reflection. This, in my view, is what makes the book a very significant contribution to the field. . . . It should broadly appeal to the general reader in the United States, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Relationships with the Arab world are central to all of these regions.
Joseph V. Montville, Senior Fellow and Chair, Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution, George Mason University, and Distinguished Diplomat in Residence, American University
Joseph V. Montville
This book is unique in that it lets its subjects speak for themselves, allowing readers to share some of the most intimate thoughts of the Arabs. . . . The work humanizes a people who have frequently been dismissed by many in the West as without culture and the capacity for reflection. This, in my view, is what makes the book a very significant contribution to the field. . . . It should broadly appeal to the general reader in the United States, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Relationships with the Arab world are central to all of these regions.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292717282
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2008
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

NISSIM REJWAN is Research Fellow at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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Table of Contents

Prologue. The Bedouin, the Camel, the Sand, and the Palm Tree
One. Identity and Self-Definition
Two. Ibn Khaldun's Appraisal Appraised
Three. "Arabizing the Arabs"
Four. Self-Images Old and New
Five. Calls for "Critical Self-Analysis"
Six. Unity in Diversity
Seven. The Quest for Democracy
Eight. Resources and Development
Nine. The Social Scene
Ten. The Case of Egypt
Eleven. The West's Inroads
Twelve. The Difference Israel Has Made
Thirteen. New Lessons for Old
Fourteen. The Intellectuals
Appendix. Portraits in a Mirror: Three Fictional Versions
Index
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