Colonial Effects analyzes the creation and definition of modern Jordanian identity. Massad studies two key institutions-- the law and the military--and uses them to create an original and precise analysis of the development of Jordanian national identity in the postcolonial period. Joseph A. Massad engages recent scholarly debates on nationalism and richly fulfills the analytical promise of Michel Foucault's insight that modern institutions and their power to have productive, not merely repressive or coercive, capacities-though Massad also stresses their continued repressive function. His argument is advanced by a consideration of evidence, including images produced by state tourist agencies aimed at attracting Western visitors, the changing and precarious position of women in the newly constructed national space, and such practices as soccer games, music, songs, food, clothing, and shifting accents and dialects.
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Number of pages: 276
Weight: 539 g
Dimensions: 229 x 167 x 23 mm
A work of genuine brilliance, as much for its searing insights into Jordanian history and culture as for its extraordinary mastery of the vast material it deploys. It is rare to encounter a pathbreaking book: this is certainly one. -- Edward Said The thesis of this important and profound book transcends the Jordanian case and reaches into the heart of the debate about the formation of national identities, the idea of the nation, and the effect of the colonial context in shaping identities and nationalities. The [analytic and historical] benefits that this book contributes surpass those provided by many other books on the topic, and it will surely occupy a central place in the literature about the modern history of Jordan. Al-Jazeera (translated from the Arabic) Massad offers not the usual political history but a study of legal changes and the use of the military for nation-building. Foreign Affairs By focusing on the actions and motivations of the British Colonial administrators-in codifying laws and defining the national culture-Massad provides an excellent analysis of state construction in the colonial realm. For this reason, his work is poised for use by scholars and teachers in a number of fields far beyond Jordanian and Middle Eastern studies... Massad beautifully expands the breadth of Jordanian studies by examining issues thus far neglected in all studies of the country... In a classroom setting... the thematic organizational structure means that students do not have to know very much about Jordanian history to be able to understand the main points. The chapters on the role of gender, law, and the military in nationalist construction can be read easily as case studies of national identity throughout the region and the world. A search of any Web engine will show how very popular this book has become for a range of disciplines and class types... As many scholars and teachers have discovered already, the book provides questions and answers about nationalism that few writers have posed before. -- Betty S. Anderson Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies Massad offers a theoretically informed and highly interesting analysis of the construction of national identity in Jordan... [Colonial Effects] is full of fascinating information and an analysis of the colonial and postcolonial state's production of national identity that should invigorate the field. -- Mary C. Wilson Journal of Palestine Studies Massad adopts an innovative approach by examining the effects of juridical and military institutions on the shaping of Jordan's national culture... [He] devotes very tangible attention to Bedouins, women, and Palestinians and their incorporation into the invented national culture of Jordan... [in a] sophisticated analysis. Choice Massad's book will occupy an important place in the literature on the modern history of Jordan, not only due to its unique and pioneering topic, but also due to its remarkably encyclopedic range. It is a book that engages the fields of politics, history, sociology, as well as popular culture... This is a great and distinguished book. Al-Hayat (translated from the Arabic) This is an important book... It is against the background of Massad's study that one will have to judge... current and forthcoming works. -- Laurie Brand Middle East Journal Historians interested in the emergence of national identities in other colonial and postcolonial countries and societies would do well to examine Massad's book. Reading it will require considerable concentration and patience, but the rewards should be substantial. -- Philip S. Khoury American Historical Review This is a potent, suggestive, and original work, based on extensive research including archival material and newspapers. It is a major contribution to the literature on Jordanian nationalism, anticolonial nationalism, and the wider field of postcolonial studies. It will be widely read and stir important debates. Electronic Journal of Middle East Studies Massad's book is informative, original, and interesting... Ultimately, this book is a pleasure. It is an innovative approach to the creation of Jordanian national identity and a much-needed and welcome addition to the scholarship on Jordanian national identity. Arab Studies Journal [I]n his provocative book... Massad eruditely examines and reconstructs the creation and evolution of the Jordanian nation... This insightful book will serve to provide readers with an immeasurable understanding and a methodology for exploring the complexities of colonialism and postcolonial national movements. Al-Jadid [P]ainstakingly researched... Massad's Colonial Effects is an enlightening exploration of national identity construction that... can illuminate the process of identity creation not only in Jordan, but in many other postcolonial nations as well. Jouvert: A Journal of Postcolonial Studies Massad chart[s] new ground methodologically [and] his substantive arguments are equally innovative... he uses new conceptual tools for interpreting the construction of colonial and postcolonial national identity... Always attuned to the political implications of culture, Massad shows how [cultural] inventions have been politically expedient, aimed at bolstering the unity of the nation in the face of real social cleavages... Colonial Effects is an ambitious book. It is sometimes hard to categorize because of the author's apparent comfort in different disciplines (political theory, diplomatic history, and cultural studies toname a few) and his use of different modes of argumentation (from the purely descriptive to the highly abstract)... [The book] illuminate[s] the complex negotiations between colonizer and colonized in an understudied period of mandate rule in the Middle East. In addition, [it] constitute[s] part of a small but growing group of works demonstrating the usefulness ofMiddle Eastern history and politics for theorizing modern processes like the gendered construction of citizenship and national identity. It is to be hoped that scholars of Europe in particular (who have paid little attention to the Middle East) will appreciate [its] insights. Radical History Review Massad has done a thorough job of mastering the source material. Middle East Quarterly Massad, puts forward a sophisticated constitutive analysis of Jordan's 'national' identity, singling out the different turns and twists in the formation of the 'Jordanian' character and make-up. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Impressive... meticulously documented throughout. International Journal of Middle East Studies