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Shedding Some Darkness on the Light: Night and Night Life in 18th-Century Istanbul

  by Avner Wishnitzer, Tel Aviv University On September 8, 1790, a small group of European sailors set out for a night of merrymaking on the waters of the Bosphorus. Such nighttime sailings were common, but this group was particularly rowdy and very near the imperial palace, where the sultan, Selim III (1789–1808), was trying to sleep. The next morning, the [...]

Human Insecurity: Call for submission for a special issue of the Journal of Levantine Studies!

TO APPLY: Please submit, by April 15, 2017, a 250-500-word abstract of your proposed contribution to: Benedetta Berti: benedetta@inss.org.il Abigail Jacobson: abigailj@vanleer.org.il   For more information about our submission guidelines, please see here.  

The World in a Speck of Dust

by On Barak In the autobiographical novel The Cairo House, the Egyptian-American author Samia Serageldin recalls her desire for the world outside Egypt, “a world in which you did not constantly lose the battle against dust and baksheesh.” In another work, Out of Egypt, André Aciman also expresses disgust with post-1952 Egypt, where “there are too many vagrants, too much [...]

Gas and Race

By On Barak   The sharp international response to the use of a sarin-like poison gas in Syria raises the question of why an international coalition can be mobilized following the murder of a few thousand people by means of gas but not following the killing of more than 100,000 people with conventional weapons. What chance is there for an alliance [...]

Walking through History: Individual Identity, Directions, and Common Knowledge in Egypt

By Roger Owen Long ago—sometime in the 1970s—I went looking for the Cairo offices of a charity: al-Jeel. Started and run by a charismatic Egyptian student leader, Ahmed Abdulla, whom I had come to know while he was taking political refuge in Britain a few years earlier, it was located in the Ain al-Sira quarter of the city. This quarter [...]

The Criminalization of Hashish Consumption in the Middle East

by Liat Kozma   The debate over the legalization of cannabis refuses to die out. In Israel, as in other countries, individuals, organizations, and political parties are taking action to legalize cannabis. But why is cannabis illegal, while other psychotropic substances such as alcohol, nicotine, and coffee are tolerated? The familiar explanations are drawn from the American historical context. One explanation [...]

Electricity

by Cyrus Schayegh   December 17, 1957, Tehran. Hassan Mir-Husseini is livid. Brought before the judge for having illegally tapped into Tehran’s electricity network, he does not mince words. Did not he apply for a network subscription long time ago? Did not the state monitored company disappoint? Was not it, hence, his right to take matters into his own hands? Unimpressed, the [...]

Sophia Loren and Little Tony: The Leisure Life of the Jews of Tripoli, Libya, in the 1950s and 1960s

by Eyal David   "On June 5, when the first news of the Six Day War reached Tripoli, the riots broke out (...) Tripoli, the clean uthornd pleasant city, became something out of Dante’s Inferno. The air was heavy, smoky; police and soldiers armed with rifles and submachine guns were everywhere. The streets were littered with broken glass, broken objects, broken [...]

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