The ACPRS weekly seminar on Wednesday, November 2, 2016 was hosted by Mohannad Mubaidin, a visiting scholar at the center and a professor of modern Arab history at the University of Jordan. Mubidin's talk was titled "From Literature to History: Damascus in Sidawi's "Al-Kashf wa Al-bayan" Manuscript." Not to be confused with a medieval text of the same title, this latter manuscript by Yousef Sidawi (1930-2003) covers daily Damascene life in the period following the rule of As'ad Pasha Al-Azm and Husayn Pasha ibn Makki. The book, according to Mubidin broadly covers the the fields of history, literature and ethics. The speaker emphasized in particular the value of the text as an indicator of the social attitudes prevalent in Damascus at the time it was written.
Dr. Mubidin regards the manuscript to be a text on ethics, which at the same time provides historical insights into the social lives and relations of people in that period. Generally, the text is an expression of its writer's own attitude and position, who conveyed the life he witnessed around him, and the experiences of the people, and the conditions of his time. He quoted some of his stories as coming from trusted sources and whose authenticity had been checked, which he had recorded in the style of an ethical, and sermonizing text in a language marked by pain and indignation, citing the conditions and characteristics and common customs and ethics in his era.
Jamal Barout, Director of the Research Department at the ACRPS, offered his own discussion of Sidawi's text, focusing primarily on the categorization of Sidawi's work into its appropriate genre.
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