Academic journal article Arab Studies Quarterly

Editor's Note

Academic journal article Arab Studies Quarterly

Editor's Note

Article excerpt

The revolutionary process in the Middle East is currently in full swing affecting its societies in unprecedented ways. Since the Arab upheaval that began in Tunisia in December 2010 war has spread dramatically to engulf much of the Arab world, and those Arab states that war has not reached are sites of political crises and instability (mass protests, violence, etc.).

As part of the Middle East region, Turkey and Iran have played important roles in the region's politics as competitors or rivals. Their roles have impacted the region significantly. Turkey has also intervened (in)directly in the Syrian conflict, often in coordination with Arab states, particularly Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and with Western states, particularly the US, France and Britain.

Colonial and imperial powers had conspired against and occupied much of the Arab world for centuries. Muhammad 'All, for example, opened up to Europe to modernize Egypt and consolidate his power. He introduced cosmopolitanism to Egypt and created modem architectural projects. However, Muhammad 'All's nineteenth-century modem state did not last long against the bulwark of Western powers allied with the Ottoman Empire.

Westerners have generated Orientalist narratives about the "Other" that have been buttressed by a very limited number of Arabic novels translated into English that reinforce the stereotypes about Arabs. This fact is made even more distressing because the novels have become part of the US undergraduate curriculum that is often taught by instructors with Orientalist views that, in fact, perpetuate and increase ignorance about the Arabs.

Orientalist views about the Arab world, and the Middle East region as a whole, are currently in full swing. …

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