Featured Publication

Charity in Saudi Arabia - Civil Society under Authoritarianism
Dr. Nora Derbal. 2022. Charity in Saudi Arabia - Civil Society under Authoritarianism. Cambridge University Press. Abstract

In this innovative study of everyday charity practices in Jeddah, Nora Derbal employs a 'bottom-up' approach to challenge dominant narratives about state-society relations in Saudi Arabia. Exploring charity organizations in Jeddah, this book both offers a rich ethnography of associational life and counters Riyadh-centric studies which focus on oil, the royal family, and the religious establishment. It closely follows those who work on the ground to provide charity to the local poor and needy, documenting their achievements, struggles and daily negotiations. The lens of charity offers rare insights into the religiosity of ordinary Saudis, showing that Islam offers Saudi activists a language, a moral frame, and a worldly guide to confronting inequality. With a view to the many forms of local community activism in Saudi Arabia, this book examines perspectives that are too often ignored or neglected, opening new theoretical debates about civil society and civic activism in the Gulf.

The Neo-Aramaic Oral Heritage of the Jews of Zakho
Dr. Oz Aloni. 2022. The Neo-Aramaic Oral Heritage of the Jews of Zakho. Cambridge: Open Book Publishers. Abstract
Aloni focuses on three genres of the Zakho community's oral heritage: the proverb, the enriched biblical narrative and the folktale . Each chapter draws on the authors' own fieldwork among members of the Zakho community now living in Jerusalem. He examines the proverb in its performative context, the rewritten biblical epic narrative of Ruth, Naomi and King David, and a folktale with the unusual theme of magical gender transformation. Insightfully breaking down these examples with analysis drawn from a variety of conceptual fields, Aloni succeeds in his mission to put the speakers of the language and their culture on equal footing with their speech.
Indonesians and Their Arab World: Guided Mobility among Labor Migrants and Mecca Pilgrims

Southeast Asia Program Publications Cornell University Press

Indonesians and Their Arab World explores the ways contemporary Indonesians understand their relationship to the Arab world. Despite being home to the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia exists on the periphery of an Islamic world centered around the Arabian Peninsula. Mirjam Lücking approaches the problem of interpreting the current conservative turn in Indonesian Islam by considering the ways personal relationships, public discourse, and matters of religious self-understanding guide two groups of Indonesians who actually travel to the Arabian Peninsula—labor migrants and Mecca pilgrims—in becoming physically mobile and making their mobility meaningful. This concept, which Lücking calls "guided mobility," reveals that changes in Indonesian Islamic traditions are grounded in domestic social constellations and calls claims of outward Arab influence in Indonesia into question. With three levels of comparison (urban and rural areas, Madura and Central Java, and migrants and pilgrims), this ethnographic case study foregrounds how different regional and socioeconomic contexts determine Indonesians' various engagements with the Arab world.

SHADOW OF KNOWLEDGE IN PAUL CELAN'S "MERIDIAN" AND IN THE POEM "SWAN DANGER"
Was muss man wissen, um Gedichte zu verstehen? Diese Frage hat man angesichts von Paul Celans Werk immer wieder gestellt. Diese Studie geht sie erneut an und schlägt als Antwort eine »Hermeneutik des Überschusses« vor. Illustriert wird diese interpretatorische Vorgehensweise anhand von Celans Gedicht »Schwanengefahr«. Eine knappe Erläuterung des Gedichts, die Celan selbst brieflich vorgelegt hat, dient dafür als Ausgangspunkt. Sie bietet zugleich die Grundlage für die Untersuchung des erkenntnis- und kunsttheoretischen Gehalts von Celans Schreiben, das Phänomenologie und Theologie miteinander verwebt. Die Arbeit liefert dabei einen neuen Zugang zu Celans Büchner-Preis-Rede »Der Meridian«. Nicht zuletzt mittels der Auswertung von Lesespuren in Celans Nachlass-Bibliothek wird seine Rezeption verschiedener erkenntnistheoretischer Positionen, von Pascal und ?estov bis hin zu Husserl und Lukács, aufgezeigt.
Der traditionellen philosophischen Entgegensetzung von Licht und Dunkel, leicht und schwer Verständlichem, die noch im Zentrum der »Meridian«-Rede stand, weicht im Laufe der 60er Jahre dem Begriff des Opaken: beschattet und Schatten spendend, bietet das Gedicht kraft seiner Undurchsichtigkeit Zuflucht.
Die zionistische Komödie im Drama Sammy Gronemanns

Sammy Gronemann (1875–1952) is among the most famous German-language Zionist dramatists. His history extends from earliest foundation of the Zionist movement to its realization in the Jewish State, a process to which Gronemann contributed substantially. His complete dramas – excluding comedies – reflect this history and are analyzed in detail for the first time in this book.