Arab nationalism has been one of the dominant ideologies in the Middle East and North Africa since the early twentieth century. However, a clear definition of Arab nationalism, even as a subject of scholarly inquiry, does not yet exist.
Arab Nationalism sheds light on cultural expressions of Arab nationalism and the sometimes contradictory meanings attached to it in the process of identity formation in the modern world. It presents nationalism as an experienceable set of identity markers - in stories, visual culture, narratives of memory, and struggles with ideology, sometimes in culturally sophisticated forms, sometimes in utterly vulgar forms of expression. Drawing upon various case studies, the book transcends a conventional history that reduces nationalism in the Arab lands to a pattern of political rise and decline. It offers a glimpse at ways in which Arabs have constructed an identifiable shared national culture, and it critically dissects conceptions about Arab nationalism as an easily graspable secular and authoritarian ideology modeled on Western ideas and visions of modernity.
This book offers an entirely new portrayal of nationalism and a crucial update to the field, and as such, is indispensable reading for students, scholars and policymakers looking to gain a deeper understanding of nationalism in the Arab world.
Peter Wien teaches at the University of Maryland in College Park and currently serves as President of The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq (TAARII).
1. Introduction: A Critique of Arab Nationalism
2. The Trials and Tribulations of the Poet Fu'ad al-Khatib: A Biographical Essay on the Origins of Arab Nationalism
3. Holding Up the Mirror: Imperialism and the Poetics of Cultural Pan-Arabism
3.1. Saladin the Victor: National Saints, Great Men, and the Rise of the Individual
3.2. From the Glory of Conquest to Paradise Lost: Al-Andalus in Arab Historical Consciousness
4. Of Kings and Cavemen: Museums and Nationalist Museology in Twentieth Century Egypt
5. Damascus Transfers: Dead Bodies and their Translocal Meanings
6. Nearly Victorious: The Art of Staging Arab Military Prowess
7. Arab Nationalism, Fascism and the Jews
8. Epilogue and Conclusion: Broken Narratives