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Who is ‘Ain al-Hilweh?

Who is ‘Ain al-Hilweh? I ask not because I am interested in the answer, if we were to believe it exists, but for the reason that demanding one is enough to set a process of research in action. The title is a play on words highlighting the uneasiness that accompanies attempts at defining what places are. It combines ...  Read More »

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The Geography of Public Lighting in Arab Cities

Recent research shows that lighting in cities has become a salient public policy issue. I will argue here that this is also the case in numerous cities in the Arab world, using some original field observations and raising several research issues—namely the inequalities of service provision in urban areas, citizens’ ...  Read More »

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New Texts Out Now: Lara Deeb and Mona Harb, Leisurely Islam: Negotiating Geography and Morality in Shi‘ite South Beirut

Lara Deeb and Mona Harb, Leisurely Islam: Negotiating Geography and Morality in Shi‘ite South Beirut. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Lara Deeb (LD) and Mona Harb (MH): Leisurely Islam began as a series of conversations about how Dahiya—the area ...  Read More »

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Symposium Report: 'Gulf Cities: Space, Society, Culture'

From 22-24 March 2013 the Center for Gulf Studies (CGS) at the American University of Kuwait held a three-day Gulf Studies Symposium on the theme "Gulf Cities: Space, Society, Culture."  The symposium brought together forty regional and international scholars from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to ...  Read More »

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Activists Submitted Report Against Olympics in Istanbul

On Saturday, the International Olympic Committee opted to host the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo rather than Madrid or Istanbul. All three cities have been plagued by issues that make them risky venues in the eyes of the IOC: a nuclear disaster, austerity and recession, and mass protest, respectively. Nonetheless, it is ...  Read More »

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Istanbul, Its People, and Their Limits

Ecumenopolis: City Without Limits. Directed by Imre Azem. Turkey and Germany, 2012. Almost exactly a year before the current protests in Turkey—commonly referred to as “Occupy Gezi,” after Gezi Park, located in the Taksim neighborhood of Istanbul—a film called Ecumenopolis: City Without Limits was screened in the ...  Read More »

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Taksim Commune: Gezi Park and the Uprising in Turkey (Video)

Taksim Commune: Gezi Park and the Uprising in Turkey A video by Brandon Jourdan and Marianne Maeckelbergh This short documentary tells the story of the occupation of Gezi Park, the eviction on 15 July 2013, and the protests that have continued in the aftermath. It includes interviews with many participants and never ...  Read More »

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Damascus: What's Left

One morning on a recent visit to Damascus, my first in a year, I went to the Umayyad Mosque. One of the oldest mosques in existence, the spectacular building was a Roman temple and then an early Christian basilica before it became what many Muslims consider to be Islam’s fourth holiest place of worship. As usual, it ...  Read More »

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Taksim Is/Is Not Tahrir: Comparative Frameworks in Managing Protest

Taksim is Tahrir. Taksim is not Tahrir. As the Gezi-Taksim protests began to escalate in early June, these comparative and contrasting statements were proposed in the media and amongst activists. Responding to this debate, the Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP) has continued to address the question of Taksim’s ...  Read More »

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The Challenges of Managing the Influx of Syrian Refugees into Lebanon

[The following recommendations were issued by the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS) on 20 June 2013.] The Challenges of Managing the Influx of Syrian Refugees  Roundtable Discussion Series LCPS discussion group recommends six immediate actions on the Syrian refugees: The government must lead the ...  Read More »

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The Gezi Resistance as Surplus Value

Was it a few trees, was it the Turkish Spring, or was it a nationalist reflex? Attempts to label and appropriate the surplus value created at Gezi Park in Istanbul demonstrate that it will indeed be very difficult to subsume the mass of energy generated there under existing perceptional categories. The reason why I ...  Read More »

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Returning to Khan Yunis

The English translation of Rabai al-Madhoun’s acclaimed novel, The Lady from Tel Aviv has just been published by Telegram Books. It tells the story of a novelist returning home to the Gaza Strip for the first time in decades. Like Ghassan Kanafani in Returning to Haifa, Madhoun explores the difficulties of ...  Read More »

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New Texts Out Now: Neha Vora, Impossible Citizens: Dubai's Indian Diaspora

Neha Vora, Impossible Citizens: Dubai's Indian Diaspora. Durham: Duke University Press, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Neha Vora (NV): I have always had an interest in South Asian diasporas, particularly in the forms of identification, cultural production, and belonging that occur as people move ...  Read More »

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New Texts Out Now: Andrew Gardner and Autumn Watts, Constructing Qatar: Migrant Narratives from the Margins of the Global System

Andrew Gardner and Autumn Watts, editors, Constructing Qatar: Migrant Narratives from the Margins of the Global System. Smashwords, 2012. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this book? Andrew Gardner (AG): Migrants in the Gulf states have been a central focal point in my research for more than a decade now. ...  Read More »

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Urban Utopias and How They Fell Apart

Taksim: A Political Ecology The uprising that started with Taksim Square’s Gezi Park in Istanbul on 28 May emerged as a unique movement of resistance in Turkey’s history and has continued without interruption in the last several weeks. The Gezi Park Movement will be remembered as a successful mass movement of youth ...  Read More »

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Call for Papers -- DiverCities: Contested Space and Urban Identities in Beirut, Cairo, and Tehran (12-14 December 2013, Beirut)

Call for Papers: DiverCities: Contested Space and Urban Identities in Beirut, Cairo, and Tehran Date: 12-14 December 2013 Location: Beirut Organisers: Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB) and Goethe-Institut Beirut Deadline: 31 July 2013 This conference aims to look at urban governance, its agents, agendas and options, ...  Read More »

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Producing Pera: A Levantine Family and the Remaking of Istanbul

In recent years, urban space has emerged as a critical point of political contention in Turkey. However, this is by no means a new phenomenon. The politics of urban transformation in Istanbul—Turkey’s largest city and the capital of the former Ottoman Empire—have offered a visible representation of the dominant ...  Read More »

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It Is About the Park: A Struggle for Turkey’s Cities

It is with alarming regularity that I read coverage of the protests and ensuing police brutality that erupted in Gezi Park and Taksim Square, Istanbul that emphatically insists that the confrontations are about “so much more than a park.” Reassuring their readers that the protests are not about something as silly or ...  Read More »

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New Texts Out Now: Daniel Neep, Occupying Syria under the French Mandate

Daniel Neep, Occupying Syria under the French Mandate: Insurgency, Space, and State Formation. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Daniel Neep (DN): Scholars who work on state formation have tended to have little to say about the phenomenon of ...  Read More »

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Is Everywhere Taksim?: Public Space and Possible Publics

    In a speech on 1 June, responding to the wave of protests sweeping through Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan proclaimed that “the issue is not the 5-10 trees that are being removed.” By calling the demonstrators “ideological,” and suggesting they were simply opposition cadres or opportunistic ...  Read More »

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Occupy Gezi: The Limits of Turkey’s Neoliberal Success

There are two telling, though widely neglected, details about what initiated and popularized the groundbreaking protests in Taksim Square, Istanbul: the protests started out as a response to the governing neoliberal party’s project of urban transformation or urban renewal; yet, urban questions quickly took a backseat ...  Read More »

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New Texts Out Now: Joel Beinin, Mixing, Separation, and Violence in Urban Spaces and the Rural Frontier in Palestine

Joel Beinin, “Mixing, Separation, and Violence in Urban Spaces and the Rural Frontier in Palestine.” Arab Studies Journal Vol. XXI No. 1 (Spring 2013). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this article? Joel Beinin (JB): It grew out of a conference on late Ottoman Palestine at the University of Lausanne. I was invited ...  Read More »

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Theorizing the Arabian Peninsula Roundtable: Towards a Critical Cartography of the Political in the Arabian Peninsula

[This is one of seven contributions in Jadaliyya's electronic roundtable on the symbolic and material practices of knowledge production on the Arabian Peninsula. Moderated by Rosie Bsheer and John Warner, it features Toby Jones, Madawi Al-Rasheed, Adam Hanieh, Neha Vora, Nathalie Peutz, John Willis, and Ahmed Kanna.] ...  Read More »

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The Alawite Dilemma in Homs

Syria's Alawites are often portrayed as a monolithic religious community which has unconditionally and unwavering supported the Syrian regime through the crisis which has shaken the country since March 2011. However, very little attention has been paid to the community’s diversity and to reasons for its support of the ...  Read More »

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The Impact of World Bank Policy and Programmes on the Built Environment in Egypt

[The following report was issued by the Egyptian Iniative for Personal Rights on 20 March 2013.]  Despite billions of Egyptian pounds in infrastructure investment both from national and international sources, Egypt's cities, towns and villages continue to grow and function in much the same way they have over the ...  Read More »

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The Infrastructure of Israeli Settler Colonialism (Part 1): The Jordan Valley

Since its establishment, Israel has distinguished the persons under its civil and military jurisdiction based on religion. Throughout Israel Proper and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), comprised of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, Israel applies a different set of laws to its ...  Read More »

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The Urban Subalterns and the Non-Movements of the Arab Uprisings: An Interview with Asef Bayat

This interview was conducted with Asef Bayat via electronic correspondence. In it, Bayat discusses the inside-out character of neoliberal cities in the Arab world and its influence on the recent wave of protests known collectives as the Arab uprisings. In addition, Bayat elaborates on the notion of urban subalterns, ...  Read More »

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Beyond the State: The Refugee Camp as a Site of Political Invention

Refugee camps have been at the center of radical historical transformations that have undermined the political existence of entire communities. Although states and non-governmental organizations have and continue to actively participate in conceiving and managing camps, we are still struggling to fully comprehend how ...  Read More »

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Petition: Stop the "Green Building" Draft Law in Lebanon

For the past six months, the Lebanese government has been stalling in implementing the salary adjustment and wage scale for public employees it had approved in September 2012. The last few weeks have seen an increase in workers’ unions' organized strikes across Lebanese cities demanding the immediate application of ...  Read More »

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Assarag: Habitat and the Imazighen of Morocco

(If the photo slide show does not appear above, please click here.) [The photos and text presented here are the result of my work in five Amazigh (also known as Berber) communities or distinct architectural ensembles in the south of Morocco.] My work in Morocco began in May 2002 when I was invited by a former high ...  Read More »

About the Cities Page

The Cities Page is a Jadaliyya platform promoting critical understandings and investigations of urban life and space, beyond the dominant formal and physical narration on cities. The Cities Page publishes works from different fields that deepen our understanding of the social production of diverse urban geographies and the contestation around them. It aims to consolidate an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to reading and writing about space and cities, incorporating historical, social, cultural, political, legal, economic and technological dimensions. It welcomes contributions in various formats, languages, and on various urban geographies and histories.

Contact Cities Page Editors via

Submit to the Cities Page

The Cities Page Editors invite submissions that critically explore related topics, and are eager to feature debates within the field. Specifically, we welcome:

  • Essays exploring the relationships between space, power and social justice, and spatial practices and the built environment, etc.
  • Reviews of books, films, exhibits, blogs, and pundits
  • Interviews with practitioners, activists, scholars, government officials, and others.
  • Reports, press releases, statements, conference announcements, and other information.
  • Photo essays
  • Video clips

Submissions should conform with the general Jadaliyya submissions guidelines. The Cities Page accepts submissions in Arabic, English, French, and Turkish.

You can send your submission to

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