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Historicising the Left in the Middle East: On Agency, Archives and Anti-capitalism

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A Review of The Eastern Mediterranean and the Making of Global Capitalism, 1860–1914 by Ilham Khuri-Makdisi

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This article is a review of Ilham Khuri-Makdisi’s book The Eastern Mediterranean and the Making of Global Capitalism, 1860–1914. I argue that this book is a valuable contribution to historiographies of the Left in the Middle East, a field that remains under-represented given the importance of labour to the nationalist movements as well as broader worker-activism in the region throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. I review the main debates of the book, and raise critical questions about aspects that could have been probed further, among them the questions of imperialism and race in contexts such as Egypt and Lebanon, and the relationship(s) between workers and the radical intellectuals discussed throughout the book.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick


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1. Alexander Anne, Bassiouny Mostafa 2014 Bread, Freedom, Social Justice: Workers and the Egyptian Revolution London Zed Books
2. Aydin Cemil 2017 The Idea of the Muslim World: A Global Intellectual History Cambridge, MA Harvard University Press
3. Beinin Joel 1990 Was the Red Flag Flying There? Marxist Politics and the Arab-Israeli Conflict in Egypt and Israel, 1948–1965 London I.B. Tauris
4. Beinin Joel, Lockman Zachary 1998 Workers on the Nile: Nationalism, Communism, Islam, and the Egyptian Working Class, 1882–1954 Cairo American University Press
5. El-Shakry Omnia 2007 The Great Social Laboratory: Subjects of Knowledge in Colonial and Postcolonial Egypt Stanford Stanford University Press [Crossref]
6. Frangie Samer 2011"‘On the Broken Conversation Between Postcolonialism and Intellectuals in the Periphery’" Studies in Social and Political ThoughtVol 19 41 54
7. Frangie Samer 2012"‘Theorizing from the Periphery: The Intellectual Project of Mahdi ‘Amil’" International Journal of Middle East StudiesVol 44 3 465 482 [Crossref]
8. Haugbolle Sune, Sing Manfred 2016"‘New Approaches to Arab Left Histories’" Arab Studies JournalVol 24 1 90 97
9. Hussein Mahmoud 1973 Class Conflict in Egypt, 1945–1970 Chirman Michael, Chirman Susanne, Ehrenfeld Alfred, Brown Kathy New York Monthly Review Press
10. Ismael Tareq Y. 1976 The Arab Left Syracuse, NY Syracuse University Press
11. Khuri-Makdisi Ilham 2010 The Eastern Mediterranean and the Making of Global Capitalism, 1860–1914 Berkeley University of California Press [Crossref]

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