Part III: The Dynamics of Arab Culture



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Part III: The Dynamics of Arab Culture

  • Part III: The Dynamics of Arab Culture

  • National Character and Value Orientations

  • Creative Expression: Society and Literary Orientations

  • Arab Thought: Problems of Renewal, Modernity, and Transformation



writers’ vision of social reality: harmony, conflict, alienation, class, ...

  • writers’ vision of social reality: harmony, conflict, alienation, class, ...

  • justice, equality, freedom, love, ... [cf. <=> value orientations]

  • artistic styles [cf. <=> value orientations]

  • writers’ attitude vis-à-vis the actual condition

      • reconciliation
      • exposure: compliance / non-confrontation / individual rebellion
      • revolutionary change
      • [cf. <=> value orientations]


All in all:

  • All in all:

  • H. Barakat = anthropological / sociological / cultural approach

  • Basic questions: How...

      • do Arabs (as human beings)...
      • do Arab societies...
      • does Arab culture...
  • react (in general) to challenges? Which patterns („categories of behaviour“) are to be observed [and what can we learn from this about „Arab ways“ to deal with „the world“]?

  • [close to essentialist position, but:] diversity! complexity! etc.



9. National Character and Value Orientations

  • 9. National Character and Value Orientations

  • Part I: Prolegomena to a historical survey

  • Part II: Historical survey (1850 => today)

  • 10. Creative Expression: Society and Literary Orientations

  • Arab Thought: Problems of Renewal, Modernity, and Transformation



National Character... Value Orientations...

  • National Character... Value Orientations...

  • = ? ? ?

  • smells a bit like

    • ”How are they, these Arabs / Orientals / Muslims – in general, I mean...”
    • ”An Arab is...”, ”the Turks have...”, ”it is a custom in Iran that...”
  • H. Barakat (+ SG):

  • these are (Orientalist, but also Middle Eastern nationalist) generalisations, essentialisations !







Reconciliation

  • Reconciliation

  • Exposure

  • Revolutionary Change



1850-1914 Formative Period

  • 1850-1914 Formative Period

  • 19th c. reforms (EG: Moh. Ali, OE: tanzimat)

  • WW I => end of great Empires => nation states

  • 1918-1945 Struggle for National Independence

  • Interwar period – WW II

  • 1945-1992 Independence and Postindependence Researching the Roots of Disaster

  • cf. H. Barakat, The Arab World (1993), III, ch. 11



History of the Arab World Main periods (according to Guth)

  • Reform period (19th c.)

  • Nationalism (early 20th c.)

  • Disillusionment (± 1930)

  • Independence (early 1950s)

  • Beginning doubts (late 1950s / early 1960s)

  • Post-1967 (shock of June War)

  • Postmodern (1980s ff.)

  • ►►► (cont.)



EG: Muh. Ali (1805-48) & dynasty

  • EG: Muh. Ali (1805-48) & dynasty

  • Militærvesen

  • Administrasjon

  • Utdanning

  • Landbruk

  • Industri

  • Handel



1773 Naval Engineers School (‘Polytechnic’, mühendisḫāne)

  • 1773 Naval Engineers School (‘Polytechnic’, mühendisḫāne)

  • 1793 Artillery College

  • 1796 Army mühendisḫāne

  • 1827 Medical Highschool (Ṭıbbīye)

  • 1834 Military Highschool (Ḥarbīye)

  • 1839 School of Law (Mekteb-i Maʿārif-i ʿAdlīye)

  • 1848 Dārülmuʿallimīn: teachers’ training college (higher education)

  • 1850 Dārülmaʿārif: ‘House of Know-how’ (technical branches)

  • 1855 École Ottomane (Paris)

  • 1859 Mülkīye: -> state employees for civil administration

  • 1868 Galatasaray: elite school (still in place today)

  • 1878 School of Finances

  • 1879 Academy of the Arts

  • 1892 School of Economics

  • 1900 Dārülfünūn: ‘university’ (combines several ‘schools/colleges’)



Sentralisering, modernisering og de facto sekularisering (begynnende)

  • Sentralisering, modernisering og de facto sekularisering (begynnende)

  • Skapte en intervensjonsstat

  • men under påtvungne frihandelsbetingelser

  • Skapte to nye samfunnsklasser som kom til å prege 1900-tallet:

      • privat jordeierklasse (knyttet til råvareøkonomien) (EG)
      • ny sekulær utdanningselite: the „engineers“ (vs. ʿulamāʾ/ulema )
    • while new system is introduced, most of the old institutions remain in place
    •       
  • dualistic system of parallel paths of education, religious vs. secular institutions, two elites (old and new)





The „engineers“

  • The „engineers“

  • steadily gaining self-esteem and claim to power

  • competition with traditional (religious) elite over influence in society and politics => anti-religious standpoints cf. „value orientations“



19th c. Middle East Emergence of a new educated elite

  • Institutions of traditional learning medrese

  • al-Azhar „university“



The „engineers“ (cont.)

  • The „engineers“ (cont.)

  • steadily gaining self-esteem and claim to power

  • competition with traditional (religious) elite over influence in society and politics => anti-religious standpoints cf. „value orientations“

  • pro (Western-inspired) reforms, but not too radical => negotiation

  • vehicles of positioning themselves:

    • ideology: ideas of the French Revolution and... – nationalism!
    • new values: social & political reform! (democracy, human rights, women, ...!)
    • new facilities: the press (cf. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: role of „print capitalism“ in the spread of nationalism)
    • genres (new aesthetics): literature (esp. prose)


“modern” literature (novel, short story, drama)  new (“modern”) elite – the “engineers”

  • “modern” literature (novel, short story, drama)  new (“modern”) elite – the “engineers”

  • “engineers” try to gain territory and position themselves

  • a) between ruling classes and the masses







“modern” literature (novel, short story, drama)  new (“modern”) elite – the “engineers”

  • “modern” literature (novel, short story, drama)  new (“modern”) elite – the “engineers”

  • “engineers” try to gain territory and position themselves

  • a) between ruling classes and the masses

  • b) in contrast to the traditional elites

  • count on the masses rather than on court etc. => popularization ( de-elitarization, simplification, “democratization”)

  • orientated towards “global standard/norms”





7 stages of – also literary – history = 7 attitudes vis-à-vis ”the West”

  • Reform period (19th c.)

  • Nationalism (early 20th c.)

  • Disillusionment (± 1930)

  • Independence (early 1950s)

  • Beginning doubts (late 1950s / early 1960s)

  • Post-1967 (shock of June War)

  • Postmodern (1980s ff.)



7 stages – 7 attitudes vis-à-vis ”the West” (1) Reform period (19th c.)

  • belief in necessity (and possibility) to „recover“ and catch up with global standards => reforms

  • early 19th c.: „West“ is not yet a concept, and no „enemy“; later: „West/East“ (< colonialism)

  • new elite: the European as chief authority, ”Bestätiger vom Dienst“ (R. Wielandt)

  • old elite (e.g., court administratives, ʿulamāʾ ): strictly conservative reactions

  • others: reform from within!

      • nahḍah (cultural „renaissance“) [secular]
      • Islamic fundamentalist reformism (iṣlāḥ : J. al-Afghānī, M. ʿAbduh, R. Riḍā, ʿA. al-Kawākibī)


Islamsk oppvåkning

  • Islamsk oppvåkning

  • Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī

  • 1839-1897

  • Muḥammad ʿAbduh

  • 1849-1905

  • Arabisk (proto-)nasjonalisme

  • ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Kawākibī

  • 1849-1902

  • 1900: krever et arabisk kalifat



7 stages – 7 attitudes vis-à-vis ”the West” (1) Reform period (19th c.) (cont.)

  • literature at the service of reform:

    • edition of classical texts, lexica, dictionaries, revival of old genres => make heritage accessible & bear fruits; + neoclassicism
    • printing of „folk“ literature => „relaxed“ entertainment
    • presentation and discussion of reform models (pros and cons)
    • teaching innovations and „real“ morals => edification
    • exposure of social „evils“, e.g.
    • criticism of tafarnuj / alafranga züppelik (ignorant/ unreflected imitation of European lifestyles, „dandyism“)
    • historical novels teach Arab history => national consciousness and pride (Jurjī Zaydān)


7 stages – 7 attitudes vis-à-vis ”the West” (1-2) pre–WW I

  • classicism, neo-maqāmah e.g. Muḥ. & Ibr. al-Muwayliḥī

  • contemplativity, ‘romantic’ idealism, sentimentalism

  • e.g. Muṣṭafā L. al-Manfalūṭī, Jubrān Khalīl Jubrān

  • larmoyant rebellion, sentimental outcry al-Manfalūṭī, Jubrān

  • early national literature, rural life e.g. Muḥ. Ḥ. Haykal



7 stages – 7 attitudes vis-à-vis ”the West” (2) Nationalism (early 20th c.)

  • Middle Eastern nationalisms are...

  • the main ideology of the secular modernizers („engineers“)

  • a reaction to increased European dominance, colonialism, occupation etc.



qawm (folk, etnisk gruppe)

  • qawm (folk, etnisk gruppe)

      • Den fruktbare halvmåne
  • waṭan (land, territorium)

  • Egypt, Algerie

  • ummah (fellesskap, særlig verdens muslimer)

    • Egypt, Algerie


7 stages – 7 attitudes vis-à-vis ”the West” (2) Nationalism (early 20th c.)

  • ‘National literature’: From idealistic hope to disillusioned sobriety (ca. 1910-WW II)

  • 0. Programs of “National Literature”

  • 1. Early, ‘naïve’, idealistic adab qawmī

    • e.g., Maḥmūd Taymūr
  • 2. National enthusiasm, belief in progress (≈ ”Yes, we can!”)

    • e.g., Ṭāhā Ḥusayn
  • 3. Doubts and desillusionment (≈ ”Can we really?”)

    • e.g., Tawfīq al-Ḥakīm
  • 4. Re-construction: other idealisms (≈ ”Since we can NOT, let’s try something else!”)

    • e.g., Tawfīq al-Ḥakīm, Y. Ḥaqqī


7 stages – 7 attitudes vis-à-vis ”the West” (2.1) Early National Literature

  • local contents!

    • countryside (often ‚romantically‘ idealized, idyllic)
    • „typical“ characters, local colour (incl. dialect!)
    • portraits => help to „imagine the nation“ (B. Anderson)
    • cf. Turkey: „Ḫalḳa doğru!” (Towards the people!) literature
  • „modern“ form!

    • novel, short story, plays
    • less intrusion from the author‘s side


7 stages – 7 attitudes vis-à-vis ”the West” (2.2) National enthusiasm, belief in progress



7 stages – 7 attitudes vis-à-vis ”the West” (3.1) Doubts and desillusionment



7 stages – 7 attitudes vis-à-vis ”the West” (3.2) Reconstruction after disillusionment



WW I – WW II What had happened? Some landmarks of political history



1940s – 1950s Main feature: critical realistic assessment

  • ‚true‘, realistic surveys of society and insight into milieus, incl. diversity of ‚philosophies‘/Weltanschauungen

  • aim: assessment, exposure of social, economic, political drawbacks

  • main topics:

    • poverty of the masses
    • their struggle for survival
    • carrierism, corruption
    • conflicts within society
    • moral ‘decay’
    • young generation’s desperate search for a meaningful philosophy of life
    • ever-growing labour migration (deracinated peasants, migrant workers in urban slums, workers’ literature) & problems arising from industrialization (factory workers, urban proletariate)
    • increased “Westernization”


7 stages – 7 attitudes vis-à-vis ”the West” (4) Independence (early 1950s)

  • clear about many difficulties => social criticism, critical realism

  • But also

  • belief that main obstacles – foreign domination & ancien régime (incl. feudal system) – have been removed => middle classes (the „engineers“, the military) seize power

  • commitment to „al-sha‘b!“, „people‘s rule“

  • high spirits, new enthusiasm (highly rhethoricized)

  • belief in equality of „Third World“, own strength (Nasserism: Europe can be dealt with, faced, overcome, cf. Suez crisis)



7 stages – 7 attitudes vis-à-vis ”the West” (4) Independence (1950s) (cont.)

  • Social criticism, critical / socialist Realism

  • Arabic „key“ narratives (mentioned also by H. Barakat)

    • Yūsuf Idrīs (1927-1991)
    • al-Ḥarām (The Sin, 1959)
    • ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Sharqāwī (1920-1987)
    • al-Arḍ (The Land/Soil, 1953)
    • Laylā Baʿalbakkī (*1936)
    • Anā aḥyā (I live, 1958)
    • Nagīb Maḥfūẓ (1911-2006):
    • the “Cairo novels” ►►►


1940-50s: Social criticism, critical realism Nagīb Maḥfūẓ (b. 1911): The Cairo novels

    • Khān al-Khalīlī (Khan al-Khalili, 1945)
    • al-Qāhira al-jadīda (The New Cairo, 1946?)
    • Zuqāq al-Midaqq (Midaq Alley, 1947)
    • Trilogy
      • Bayn al-Qaṣrayn (Between the Two Palaces, 1956)
      • Qaṣr al-shawq (Palace of Longing, 1957)
      • al-Sukkariyya (Sugar Lane, 1957)
      • history of urban middle class family over three generations
      • critical assessment of achievements and set-backs during the past half century (colonial, nationalist, independent Egypt)


7 stages – 7 attitudes vis-à-vis ”the West” (5) Beginning doubts (late 1950s / early 1960s)

  • Reasons

  • doubts in authoritarian political leadership [cf. „vertical values“]

  • first failures of Nasserism become apparent

    • UAR ended
    • economic drawbacks
    • discrepancy between rhetorics and reality: heralded improvements still not noticeable
    • increasingly repression, secret service, torture, executions
  • hitherto pro-government intellectuals become critical of the regime (anti-Nasser)

  • Arab world: „al-naksa“ (lost war, June 1967) => open dispair



7 stages – 7 attitudes vis-à-vis ”the West” (5) Beginning doubts (late 1950s / early 1960s) Omslag mot slutten av 1950- / beg. av 1960-tallet

  • Nagīb Maḥfūẓ: The Children of Gebelawi (Awlād Ḥāratinā, 1959)

  • Nagīb Maḥfūẓ: The Thief and the Dogs (al-Liṣṣ wa’l-kilāb, 1962)

  • Ghassān Kanafānī: Menn under sola / Men in the Sun (Rijāl fī ’l-shams, 1963)

  • Ṣun‘allāh Ibrāhīm: The Smell of It (Tilka ’l-rā’iḥa ,1965/66)

  • al-Ṭayyib Ṣāliḥ: Trekket mot Nord / Season of Migration to the North (Mawsim al-hijra ilā ’l-shamāl, 1966)becoming conscious of colonial burden, own responsibility

  • ‘Abdalḥakīm Qāsim: The Seven Days of Man (Ayyām al-insān al-sab‘a, 1969)



Arabic literature and the West Coming to terms with independence

  • الطيّب صالح

  • al-Ṭayyib Ṣāliḥ, 1929-2009

  • (Tayeb Salih)

  • موسم الهجرة إلى الشمال

  • Mawsim al-hijra ilā ’l-shamāl (1966*/1969)

  • *first publication in Ḥiwār

  • Season of Migration to the North, London: Heinemann etc., 1969 (og senere)

  • Trekket mot Nord, Oslo: Gyldendal, 2003

  • Le migrateur, Paris 1972

  • "the most important Arabic novel of the 20th century"

  • Arab Literary Academy in Damascus, 2001



7 stages – 7 attitudes vis-à-vis ”the West” (6) Post-1967 (shock of June War)

  • heavy self-criticism, esp. also language criticism (rhetoric „lies“)

    • Ṣādiq J. al-ʿAẓm: „Self-Criticism after the Defeat“ (al-Naqd al-dhātī baʿd al-hazīmah)
    • Nizār Qabbānī:Notes on the margins of the Defeat Registers“ (Hawāmish ʿalā daftar al-naksah)
  • further insecurity, instability: political shift towards the West, opening of the markets, economic „liberalisation“, peace with Israel

  • mistrust in established / dominant discourses

  • ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓

  • search for new fundaments: truth, authenticity, taʾṣīl, start from zero

  • epistemological turn: new, non-mimetic discourse on reality



7 stages – 7 attitudes vis-à-vis ”the West” (6) Post-1967 (shock of June War) (cont.)

  • => explore into new, hitherto neglected, silenced, tabooicized realities!

  • predominance of „sad“ themes:

    • loneliness hopelessness frustration of the individual
    • Lebensangst disgust disappointment disillusionment
    • inability to establish reliability in inter-human relationships
    • etc.
  • => experimental, avantgardist mood of rebuilding from below:

      • (intentional) lack of structural coherence
      • associative narrating
      • absurdity, contradictions, antagonisms, incomprehensibility, irrationality of life
      • mixed realities: dreams, myth, surrealistic, phantastic elements


7 stages – 7 attitudes vis-à-vis ”the West” (6) Post-1967 (shock of June War) (cont.)

  • shocking, scandal-provoking: [cf. HB: „exposure“, „revolutionary“]

    • Ṣun‘allāh Ibrāhīm (*1937): “The Smell of It” (Tilka ’l-rā’iḥa,1965/66)
    • Muḥammed Shukrī (Mohamed Choukri, *1935): For Bread Alone (al-Khubz al-ḥāfī, 1972/73 resp. 1982)
    • Gamāl al-Ghīṭānī (*1945): Zayni Barakat (al-Zaynī Barakāt, 1974)
  • search for authentically “Arabic” = non-Westernizing way of writing

    • experimenting with pre-colonial genres (maqâmah, risâlah, ...)


7 stages – 7 attitudes vis-à-vis ”the West” (7) Postmodern (1980s ff.) (cont.)

  • Ṣun‘allāh Ibrāhīm (*1937): The Committee (al-Lajna, 1981)

  • fierce critique of economic globalization (anti-”McDonaldization”)

  • grotesque satire on the Egypt of Sadat’s “open door” politics

  • plot: detective story, discovery of the crimes of the regime and their global collaborators (West/US-based multinational enterprises: CocaCola etc.)



7 stages – 7 attitudes vis-à-vis ”the West” (7) Postmodern (1980s ff.)

  • dissolution of West/East in global reciprocity

  • Arabs in exile/diaspora (L. Aboulela, Translator ; Ḥanān al-Shaykh, Only in London ; Orhan Pamuk, White Castle ; Kader Abdollah)

  • East as “mirror” of the West, and vice versa – each is part of the other’s identity

  • play with stereotypes and “great narratives” (grands récits) such as the old West/East dichotomy



7 stages – 7 attitudes vis-à-vis ”the West” (7) Postmodern (1980s ff.) (cont.)

  • Edward al-Kharrāṭ (*1926): City of Saffron (Turābuhā za‘farān, 1985)

  • growing up in cosmopolitan Alexandria in the 1930s

  • nostalgia-loaden

  • Coptic minority

  • cosmopolitan diversity

  • child’s perspective (authenticity)

  • identity question: Who am I? Am I this boy “Michael”?




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