The three titles published by the ACRPS in August of this year warrant some special consideration. One, Egypt’s Eastern Gateway: the Sinai Peninsula as an Avenue for Transportation and Human Migration (978-9953-0-3012-8, 239 pp.), by Abbas Mustafa Ammar, was re-printed by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) this July 70 years after it was first printed. This pivotal work forms the inaugural book in From the Folds of the Past, a planned ACRPS series devoted to the rediscovery of past Arabic scholarly work.
Over a nine-year period spent working on the book in the 1930s, Ammar had gotten to know the Sinai Peninsula’s cragged topography, and to study not only the ravines and geography of the region, but also the diversity of its population – an in-depth knowledge that makes itself apparent in the book. Using the tools available to him at the time, he demonstrates how the population density across the peninsula varied widely across the ages, influenced by rainfall, the development of transportation routes and the means of transport which carried pilgrims across this region which joined Africa to the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant.
The second title is Arab Identity and Language Security (ISBN: 978-614-445-002-4, 443 pp.) by cultural critic and linguist Abdessalam Msseddi, and was published by the ACRPS during the same month.
Building on his previous work, The Arabs and Linguistic Suicide, published in 2011, in his latest book Mseddi argues that a new era of advocacy for the Arabic language has emerged, one characterized by a new linguistic awareness. Having taken part in a number of initiatives across the Arab world aimed at reviving the Arabic language, Mseddi is well placed to undertake these studies. From the outset of the book, he distinguishes his approach from contemporary approaches to the study of Arabic language: ones which he categorizes as the “sentimental” approach; the “ideological”; and the “the faith-based, metaphysical” approach. In contrast, Mseddi uses a methodology which is rational and positivist.
Finally, Revolution and the Slogans of Egyptian Youth: A Linguistic Study in Spontaneous Expression (978-614-445-001-7, 408 pp.), by Nader Srage, powerfully illustrates the tangible impact of protest slogans on the Egyptian revolution. Drawing on the revolutionary youth’s slogans chanted across Tahir Square and other Egyptian cities, and the graffiti, written satire and catchphrases scrawled on Egypt’s walls, Srage provides an engaging linguistic analysis of revolutionary slogans.
Srage starts with a comprehensive analysis of the language used by the protesters; the main actors behind the slogans such as the activists and ordinary citizens; the role of these slogans in galvanizing Egyptians thus enabling collective political action; the films, songs and theatrical productions from which some of the slogans are quoted, and the significance of the term Irhal – “Leave” in Arabic – the anthem of Egypt’s revolution.
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