By Christa Salamandra
"[F]illed with infrequent encounters with Syria's oldest, such a lot elite households. Critics of anthropology's flavor for exoticism and marginality will delight in this examine of upper-class Damascus, an international that's urbane and cosmopolitan, but in many ways as distant because the settings during which the easiest ethnography has normally been done.... [Written] with a nuanced appreciation of the cultural varieties in query and the way Damascenes themselves imagine, discuss, and create them." -- Andrew ShryockIn modern city Syria, debates concerning the illustration, protection, and recovery of the previous urban of Damascus have turn into a part of prestige festival and id development one of the city's elite. In subject eating places and nightclubs that play on pictures of Syrian culture, in tv courses, nostalgic literature, and visible paintings, and within the rhetoric of ancient maintenance teams, the belief of the previous urban has turn into a commodity for the intake of holiday makers and, most crucial, of recent and previous segments of the Syrian top category. during this energetic ethnographic examine, Christa Salamandra argues that during deploying and debating such representations, Syrians dispute the earlier and criticize the present.Indiana sequence in heart East experiences -- Mark Tessler, normal editor
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Additional info for A New Old Damascus: Authenticity And Distinction In Urban Syria (Indiana Series in Middle East Studies)
The city is also referred to as al-Sham, “the North,” a term that once connoted both Damascus itself and the entire Ottoman province of Syria, the bilad al-Sham (the Lands of Damascus). Sham has become a less formal and somewhat emotive term, one often preferred by Damascenes themselves, particularly those involved in the nostalgia movement which will be discussed in following chapters. In colloquial Arabic, Damascenes are referred to as shuwam (sing. shami). A number of fanciful-sounding derivations are given for the name “Damascus,” Dimashq, the term preferred for formal and academic usage.
31–32). The javanmard is a hero of the past, rather than an authentic Iranian of the present. ” These two versions, a “split vernacular” which Walter Armbrust relates to the diglossic split between standard and colloquial forms of Arabic, operate in continual tension (1996: 25). Similar to the Iranian javanmard, the term ibn al-balad can mean “salt of the earth,” or “rough diamond” (Armbrust 1996: 25; Adelkhah 1999: 38). Ibn al-balad connotes both a set of attributes and a social group perceived to embody them.
Damascenes describe the beauty of pre-Ba>thist Old Damascus in terms appropriate to the Arabian Nights—interiors of courtyards, fountains, mosaics, trees, and songbirds, extolled in loving detail. These romantic images of a fabled pre-modern urban beauty inform contemporary Damascenes’ conceptions and expressions of identity. Some nineteenth-century Western travelers, looking at more public spaces of streets and markets, paint a different portrait, one of dirt, noise, and squalor (Twain 1996; Porter 1870).