Memorials and Martyrs in Modern Lebanon

Memorials and Martyrs in Modern Lebanon

Lucia Volk
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 10/21/2010
Format: Paperback 23 b&w illus., 1 map
ISBN: 978-0-253-22230-5
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Lebanese history is often associated with sectarianism and hostility between religious communities, but by examining public memorials and historical accounts Lucia Volk finds evidence for a sustained politics of Muslim and Christian co-existence. Lebanese Muslim and Christian civilians were jointly commemorated as martyrs for the nation after various episodes of violence in Lebanese history. Sites of memory sponsored by Maronite, Sunni, Shiite, and Druze elites have shared the goal of creating cross-community solidarity by honoring the joint sacrifice of civilians of different religious communities. This compelling and lucid study enhances our understanding of culture and politics in the Middle East and the politics of memory in situations of ongoing conflict.

Author Bio

Lucia Volk is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Co-director of Middle East and Islamic Studies at San Francisco State University.


“This compelling and lucid study enhances our understanding of culture and politics in the Middle East and the politics of memory in situations of ongoing conflict.”

“Compelling and compulsively readable. . . . Provides a fascinating historical reading of Lebanon’s contentious politics over the last century.”
 — Laleh Khalili, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

“Volk presents a wonderful narrative of key turning points in the history of modern Lebanon. . . . [A] rigorous study and a pleasure to read.”
 — H-net Reviews

“Volk's argument is relevant, interesting and worthy of praise and follow-up: thinking about Lebanese society outside confessional boxes is tragically relevant in times of sectarian warfare in Syria and beyond.40.3 2013”
 — British Jrnl Middle Eastern Studies

“Volk’s identification of subjacent gender and class issues in memorialization points the way to fertile ground for future scholarship. ... Would memorials commemorating the contributions of women or the working-class bring into question the status quo by relativizing the power of elite males? These are not questions that Memorials and Martyrs foregrounds but the book makes it much easier and more plausible to ask them. The next time somebody asks what good scholarship can do for civil society, I’ll try to remember this.”
 — Journal of Arabic Literature

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Note on Transliteration of Arabic

1. The Politics of Memory in Lebanon: Sectarianism, Memorials, and Martyrdom
2. Sculpting Independence: Competing Ceremonies and Mutilated Faces (1915-1957)
3. Remembering Civil Wars: Fearless Faces and Wounded Bodies (1958-1995)
4. Reconstructing while Re-destructing Lebanon: Dismembered Bodies and National Unity (1996-2003)
5. Revisiting Independence and Mobilizing Resistance: Assassinations, Massacres, and Divided Memory-Scapes (2004-2006)
6. Memorial Politics and National Imaginings: Possibilities and Limits

Appendix: Important Dates

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