A New Old Damascus: Authenticity And Distinction In Urban by Christa Salamandra

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 take pleasure in this learn of upper-class Damascus, a global that's urbane and cosmopolitan, but in many ways as distant because the settings within which the easiest ethnography has ordinarily 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 -- Andrew ShryockIn modern city Syria, debates in regards to the illustration, renovation, and recovery of the outdated urban of Damascus have turn into a part of prestige festival and identification development one of the city's elite. In subject matter eating places and nightclubs that play on photographs of Syrian culture, in tv courses, nostalgic literature, and visible artwork, and within the rhetoric of old protection teams, the belief of the outdated urban has develop into a commodity for the intake of holiday makers and, most vital, of latest and previous segments of the Syrian higher category. during this vigorous ethnographic research, Christa Salamandra argues that during deploying and debating such representations, Syrians dispute the prior and criticize the present.Indiana sequence in heart East stories -- Mark Tessler, basic editor

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Extra resources for A New Old Damascus: Authenticity And Distinction In Urban Syria (Indiana Series in Middle East Studies)

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It qualifies the concept of class, not because of the persistence of older modes of identity and association, but because of their continual political and ideological reconstruction in relation to new circumstances. Class distinctions are increasingly relevant, yet they crosscut and intersect rather than replace those of region, religion, and ethnic group. While the socialist ideology of Syria’s ruling Ba>th Party has consistently denied the significance of class, sectarian, regional, and ethnic divisions, such differences are nonetheless increasingly significant.

Here in West Malki and New West Malki, a flat runs 40,000,000 to 50,000,000 SP, and rents for 2,000,000 SP per year. Like many upscale residential areas in the Middle East, West and New West Malki are religiously and regionally mixed. Landmarks are status symbols: one who lives near Malki’s Shami Hospital lives royally. Malki is home to the Americanrun Damascus Community School, whose pupils are mostly wealthy Syrians, those few who can afford its $7,000 annual tuition fees. 9 At the bottom of Malki Avenue sits Umayyad Circle, named for the dynasty at the apex of Syrian—and particularly Damascene— history, and ground zero of the city’s elite.

1 For centuries Damascus has been an important stop along a major hajj (pilgrimage) route to Mecca. An oasis once surrounded by lavish orchards, the city has long been renowned for its beauty throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds. As Islamic lore has it, the prophet Muhammad went as far as the city’s outskirts, looked out onto Damascus, and refused to enter, believing it unseemly to visit paradise before death. Damascus was also known for the quality and quantity of its water; the seven tributaries of the Barada River al- 28 A New Old Damascus lowed every house to have its own well.

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