The Disenchantment of the Orient: Expertise in Arab Affairs and the Israeli State

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $15.65
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 39%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (9) from $15.65   
  • New (6) from $20.91   
  • Used (3) from $15.65   


What role do the experts on Arab affairs play in Israeli society? How do they mediate between Israelis and their neighbors? And what role has expert knowledge and discourse played in bringing Arab and Jew together and in separating them?

In this historical study, Gil Eyal argues that before the formation of Israel, Jewish experts participated in constructing the Orient as both a metaphor for the rejuvenation of the Jewish nation and an enchanted space populated by hybrid figures that mixed Jewish and Arab elements. But following the creation of the state, these experts took up a new role: creating boundaries (both external and internal) between Jews and Arabs, purifying the hybrids that inevitably exist on the margins of boundaries. The enchanted space of the Orient was destroyed, and its place was taken by expert discourses that reinforce the cultural separation between Jews and Arabs.

About the Author:
Gil Eyal is Professor of Sociology at Columbia University

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"At times provocative and always illuminating, the book provides an important...analysis of the history of "expertise in Arab affairs" in Israel."—American Journal of Sociology

"This is a brilliant book that challenges basic assumptions of Orientalism and Orientalists in general, and of studies of Israeli society in particular. Gil Eyal brings together several disciplines typically studied in isolation—history of the Middle East, Jewish history, social history, and sociology—in a way that bridges all these fields and merges them into one intergrated story. This pioneering work is indeed a tour de force."—Yehouda Shenhav, Tel Aviv University

"The Disenchantment of the Orient is at once an innovative study in the sociology of knowledge and an important contribution to understanding Israel and its relations to Arab society. Drawing on the analytic perspectives of Pierre Bourdieu and Michel Latour, Gil Eyal develops an original framework for understanding the production of knowledge, its transformation into legitimate expertise, and struggles over its deployment. It should be read not only by those interested in the Middle East but by all those interested in the organization of intellectual fields."—Craig Calhoun, President, Social Science Research Council, and University Professor, New York University

"Gil Eyal's book will be seminal, if not downright explosive. The argument that something as big as the Palestinian/Israeli conflict was influenced by something as pedestrian as a turf war among knowledge experts is surprising, well-documented, and elegantly argued."—Aziza Khazzoom, University of California, Los Angeles

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804761017
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 7/16/2008
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Gil Eyal is Professor of Sociology at Columbia University.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Tables, Figures and Photos     ix
Acknowledgments     xi
Introduction     1
What is Mizrahanut? A Methodological Introduction     17
The Jew Underneath the Arab's Mask: The Experience of the Orient in the Prestate Period     33
The Field of Orientalist Expertise before 1948     62
The Struggle over Jurisdiction, 1948-1953     94
The Discourse about the Arab Village     152
Military Intelligence and Middle Eastern Studies     185
Conclusion     237
Appendix     245
Notes     249
Bibliography     293
Index     313
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)