On the centenary of the Armenian genocide

Armenian memorial march marking the 100th anniversary of the mass killings in Jerusalem's Old City [REUTERS]

How the Armenians came to live throughout the Middle East. The Arab communities who helped Armenian refugees 100 years ago are today hosting different traumatised refugees.

Al Jazeera English, 25th April 2015 [Read more...]


ISIL and the history of destroying history

Iconoclasm has traumatised people throughout history because it is associated with the worst moments of blood-letting and conquest. What is particularly horrifying today is that ISIL has a separate enterprise to eradicate the past and any communities that are different from them.

Al Jazeera English, 3rd March 2015 [Read more...]


Sexism in Lebanon: different and unequal

Though it likes to think of itself as the most liberated country in the Middle East - and it is in many ways - Lebanon's personal status and citizenship laws remain deeply problematic. They are also, simply, sexist.

Al Jazeera English, 1st February 2015 [Read more...]


Politely crumpled suits: Prince Edward's Middle East tour

Review of "Cairo to Constantinople: Early Photographs of the Middle East", Queen's Gallery, London.

The royal party in front of the Pyramids, 1862Today's audience is constantly exposed to visual images and also attuned to the pitfalls of Orientalist representations that objectify and distance foreign peoples. It may be surprising then, to find that these images are utterly compelling - not only for their obvious historical important, but also because of their quality and sheer beauty.

Al Araby English, 1st February 2015 [Read more...]


Lebanon and the Syrian refugee crisis

It wasn't as if Lebanon didn't have troubles enough, with a shaky government finally formed last month. But the Syrian refugee crisis is taking a huge toll on a country which desperately needs international support.

OpenDemocracy, 13th March 2014 [Read more...]


Lebanon: the country that can't keep out of Syria's war

Lebanon is not only feeling the strain of the influx of Syrian refugees - the fastest-growing refugee population in the world and soon to be the largest. It is also being dragged into regional and sectarian tensions that are increasingly being played out on its soil. 

The New Statesman, 27th November 2013 [Read more...]


Syria: A very modern conflict

'Sectarianism' is not an ancient problem that is reasserting itself in Syria's current civil war and that prevents the region from becoming modern and democratic. It is more useful to speak of 'sectarianization', a recent process which focuses on those who profit politically and economically from sectarian divisions.

The New Statesman, 27th June 2013 [Read more...]


Syrian refugees in Lebanon

They come with stories of destruction and violence, and find themselves housed locally - usually whole families to a room - during one of the coldest times of the year.

Fair Observer, 17th April 2012 [Read more...]


A Collective Undertaking

Review of the "Hajj" exhibition at the British Museum, London.

Ivory sundial and Qibla pointer, made by Bayram b. Ilyas. Turkey, 1582-3 The current 'Hajj' exhibition at the British Museum has been praised by Brian Sewell as 'an exhibition of profound cultural importance' and criticised by Mehdi Hasan as a 'whitewash'. It is both, as it happens, though the former finally outweighs the latter.

The London Magazine, April/May 2012 [Read more...]





Laurence Sterne in France:
A Reception History 1760-1800

In a period of social and cultural upheaval, Laurence Sterne’s reception in France was controversial. Lana Asfour analyzes the criticism, translations and imitations of Tristram Shandy and A Sentimental Journey from 1760 to 1800, focusing on key points at which these novels were read against the expectations of audiences familiar with satiric, picaresque and sentimental traditions. She explores the role of literary celebrity and ideas of originality and imagination, and offers original readings of Sterne and his French interpreters, such as Voltaire, Diderot, Suard, and Julie de Lespinasse, placing them within the context of eighteenth-century French culture, its critical debates and Anglo-French literary relations. Her study shows that Sterne's reception history in France can contribute to modern readings of his work.

"A nuanced account [...] carefully researched and lucidly written." The Times Literary Supplement

"The author should be congratulated. So far, Laurence Sterne in France is the most accomplished monograph on the afterlife of Sterne's fiction." Modern Language Review 

More information and reviews can be found here.

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