THERE and BACK AGAIN: RHETORICS of AL-ANDALUS in MODERN SYRIAN POPULAR CULTURE

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Abstract

This article explores the rhetorical function of al-Andalus (medieval Spain) in modern Syrian popular culture, with a focus on music. The rhetoric of al-Andalus in Syria is intimately related to the project of nation building. The nostalgic performance of links between modern Syria and medieval al-Andalus assumed great rhetorical force in the 1960s as a result of ideologies of pan-Arabism, the loss of Palestine, the rise of Islamist threats at home, and the emergence of petrodollar regimes in the Arabian Gulf. As a result, the rhetoric of al-Andalus became "good to think" for wide audiences of Syrians. Musical genres linked to al-Andalus play an important role as potent vehicles for constructing Syrian memory cultures. Drawing on heavily mythologized and nostalgic visions of an Andalusian golden age, musical performance in Syria sonically reinforces forms of nostalgic remembrance and enacts claims on Syrian pasts, presents, and futures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-24
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Middle East Studies
Volume48
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 14 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

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