Category: Books

Arab Intellectual Hisham Sharabi, 77, Dies

Hisham Sharabi, 77, a prominent Palestinian American intellectual and activist who co-founded the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University, died of cancer Jan. 13 at American University of Beirut Hospital. For the past four decades, Dr. Sharabi championed the cause of Palestinians and consistently advocated for women’s rights in the Arab world. In …

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When Famine Disappeared Off the Face of the Earth

It is hard to remember what used to be taken for common sense after it has changed. It used to be taken as common sense, for example, that famine was God’s punishment for the wicked, or nature’s revenge on the promiscuously reproductive. It also used to be common sense that famine was a permanent condition …

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Egyptian novelist hails revolution as a ‘great human achievement’

Alaa al-Aswany: ‘When you participate in a real revolution you become a much better person. You are ready to defend human values.’ Photograph: Eamonn McCabe for the Guardian   On 28 January a young Egyptian man was urging the novelist Alaa al-Aswany to write a book about the revolution that was gathering momentum in Cairo’s …

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Culture Books Man Booker International prize 2011 Philip Roth wins Man Booker International prize

Philip Roth, chronicler of ‘the sexually liberated Jew in postwar America’, beats stellar shortlist to take the fourth Man Booker International prize Alison Flood

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Neighborhoods and Cultural Differences

From the moment it was published, the most recent book by sociologist Hugues Lagrange stirred a lively polemic. Although the controversy cannot be ignored, the book is a solid piece of work supported by robust data. The initial criticism had little to do with Lagrange’s research findings and general presentation of the issues. What is …

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Why don’t we love our intellectuals?

  Cafe society: Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir in Paris, 1940. Photograph: Sipa Press / Rex Features   One of the distinctive aspects of British culture is that the word “intellectual” seems to be regarded as a term of abuse. WH Auden summed it up neatly when he wrote: “To the man-in-the-street, who, I’m …

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Suicide, Islam and Politics

In January 1969, a young man entered Wenceslas Square, doused himself with petrol and set himself on fire. [1] This was a desperate act to dramatize the failure to follow up the momentum of the “Prague Spring” of the previous year. For a whole generation of young Europeans, eastern as well as western, Jan Palach was …

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