SOAS University of London

SOAS Centre for Jewish Studies and London Middle East Institute to host event on Arab Interest in Jewish Heritage in the Middle East

23 January 2018

The SOAS Centre for Jewish Studies and London Middle East Institute (LMEI) will be hosting an event next week on the emerging Arab Interest in Jewish Heritage in the Middle East.

The talk, Rethinking and Reclaiming History: Emerging Arab Interest in Jewish Heritage in the Middle East, will be given by Berlin-based Palestinian scholar Dr Najat Abdulhaq.

Since the 1950s the history of “Arab Jews” is dominated, mainly, by two official narratives: The Arab narrative and the Israeli-Zionist narrative, both of nationalistic nature. In the last decade, these narratives are questioned in academia, media and popular culture. This rethinking and questioning is reflected by a noticeable increase in contemporary Arabic fiction written by young authors across the Arab world, in which Jews and their destiny are the focus of the works.

A gradual process of reclaiming the history of the Jews in countries like Egypt, Morocco, Iraq and elsewhere in the Arab world is underway. This talk will discuss this process, its causes and implications.

Dr Abdulhaq studied at the Universities of Bir Zeit and Leipzig and received her PhD (2012) in Middle East Studies at the Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen- Nürnberg , Germany. Dr Abdulhaq is one of the few Arab scholars working on the history of the “Arab Jews”. Her book, Jewish and Greek Communities in Egypt: Entrepreneurship and Business before Nasser, was published by I.B. Tauris (London) in spring 2016. It is the first academic study of the economic role of Egypt’s minorities, based on archival documents and economic analysis. Dr Abdulhaq teaches at the University in Erlangen and is also a consultant on the Middle East at different Media outlets like the German ARD and German- French cultural channel ARTE.

The event will be held on 30 January at 5.30pm in the SOAS Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre. To find out more and register, visit the event pages.