Monday, September 10, 2007

Mosaic North Africa: a Cultural Re-appraisal of Ethnic and Religious Minorities

Nabil Boudraa and Joseph Krause (eds.)
Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007

"In North African Mosaic, we have a group of innovative junior and senior scholars whose multidisciplinary approaches provide a diversity of subtle and complex interpretations of what it means to be an ethnic minority in a majority Arab-Muslim context. The conceptual and empirical landscapes covered are far reaching and intellectually bold. Whether covering schooling for modern Coptic subjectivity in nineteenth century Egypt or Berbers in medieval Al-Andalus or Amazigh painters in Morocco and Algeria, the authors to this impressive and original volume share a common humanistic vision that respects, indeed celebrates, differences whether in language, religion or ethnicity. Despite what otherwise poorly informed observers of North Africa may believe, the Maghreb is an incredibly diverse region, rich in cultural, religious, and ethnic traditions that neither colonialism nor the postcolonial project could marginalize or eradicate.

The timing for such a scholarly endeavor could not be more propitious. As these distinguished authors so ably demonstrate, the multicultural, multiethnic, and multi-religious diversity that is the contemporary Maghreb is alive with accomplishment and promise that gives cautions optimism of a more enlightened future in an otherwise suffocating political landscape.

This then is a timely, important, and engaging volume whose different authors, through their vast knowledge derived from direct field experience in the region, provide deep insight and analytical rigor on the subject of ethnic pluralism that has for too long been ignored, misrepresented, or vilified."
—From the Foreword by John P. Entelis

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