'Their Blood is Eastern': Shahin Makaryus and Fin de Siècle Arab Pride in the Jewish 'Race'

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This article studies the origins and functions of a belief in Jewish race in the Arab fin de siècle through a case study of the writings of Shahin Makaryus and al-Muqtat{dot below}af, the influential journal he co-edited. The article begins by examining the racial definition of the Jews proffered by Makaryus and al-Muqtat{dot below}af. It situates this view, first, within the then-recent controversy surrounding Darwinism and the problem of secularism within the Arab renaissance of the fin de siècle and, second, within the contemporary Egyptian discourse about race concerning Egypt's rule over the Sudan. It then studies the presumed implications of this categorization of the Jews for their supposed racial relatives, the Arabs. It argues that it was precisely the imagined racial link between Jews and Arabs that made race an attractive category for understanding the Jews in the minds of certain Nahda thinkers. Next, it examines Makaryus's approach to Jewish nationalism and Zionism and contends that his apparent sympathy toward the movement may be understood, at least in part, in relation to his racial definition of the Jews. Finally, it concludes with some reflections on the implications of this study for our understanding of secularism in the world of the Nahda.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-161
Number of pages19
JournalMiddle Eastern Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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