It is refreshing to find a book on Syria, especially at this crucial time, which deals with culture and entertainment rather than violence and suffering. Still, author Rebecca Joubin is not indulging in escapism for she rounds off her review of half a century of Syrian TV series by evaluating the effects of the current civil war on their production and subject matter. If one was ever tempted to shrug off Syrian 'musalsalat' as soap operas, The Politics of Love proves that they are much more. Scripts exhibit a high quality of writing since most of the writers are poets, novelists and journalists. Moreover, in contrast to many telenovelas, Turkish or otherwise, Syrian TV drama seeks not only to entertain, but to find remedies for society's problems. In Joubin's opinion, they are a diversified gage of changing social mores, an exposure of corruption, poverty and injustice, and often a coded critique of the government. ... Joubin, who chairs the Arab Studies Department at Davidson College, North Carolina, lived in Syria for a number of years where she immersed herself in the cultural scene while researching this book. Her obvious passion for the 'musalsalat' and concern for the cultural creators she writes about, make her book quite engaging... Joubin's research is totally unique, and The Politics of Love will be fascinating for all those interested in the topic. In the introduction, she expresses her hope that 'the reader will come away with a sense of the beautiful humanity present in Syria-of a remarkably cultivated, vibrant and diverse intellectual capital, which is unfortunately lost in current media depictions of war and bloodshed.' (p. 21) In this, she certainly succeeds. Jordan Times In The Politics of Love, Davidson College's Rebecca Joubin focuses on an often-overlooked medium: the dramatic TV series, or musalsal. After viewing over 250 episodes from the 1960s on, Joubin argues that musalsalat are a principal manifestation of Syrian culture and expression, that they highlight the political and social climate in Syria before and after the ongoing uprising, and that they reveal political and social resistance. Joubin explores how Syrian actors and content creators pursue issues of nationalism, identity, and politics through metaphors as a result of the limitations that the Syrian regime imposes on the television industry. Scholars of Syria, art, culture, and gender dynamics will enjoy The Politics of Love. Middle East Journal Rebecca Joubin is the perfect guide to understanding Syrian society and love. This introduction to the rich history of Syria's entertainment industry over the last 50 years is full of drama and startling insight. Joubin lived in Syria for almost a decade, married, ran an art gallery, and befriended the country's writers, actors, and directors. She reveals how, with cunning, humor, and surprising success, Syrian artists jousted with dictatorship and challenged their own notions of sex, marriage, and manhood in the hopes of building a freer and better society - even as they were accused of cowardice and collaboration. -- Joshua Landis, Director, Center for Middle East Studies, and University of Oklahoma
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Rebecca Joubin is assistant professor and chair of Arab studies at Davidson College. Her articles in Arabic and English have been published in the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Arab Studies Journal, Radical Society, The Cairo Times, al-Kifa al-Arabi, and al-Mada.