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"Egypt and Its Jews: The Specter of an Absent Minority" Chapter in Minorities and the Modern Arab World: New Perspectives

Joel Beinin, Edited by Laura Robson
Syracuse University Press
2016

In the wake of recent upheavals across the Arab world, a simplistic media portrayal of the region as essentially homogenous has given way to a new though equally shallow portrayal, casting it as deeply divided along ethnic, linguistic, and religious lines. The essays gathered in Minorities and the Modern Arab World seek to challenge this representation with a nuanced exploration of the ways in which ethnic, religious, and linguistic commitments have intersected to create "minority" communities in the modern era. 

Bringing together the fields of history, political science, anthropology, sociology, and linguistics, contributors provide fresh analyses of the construction and evolution of minority identities around the region. They examine how the category of "minority" became meaningful only with the rise of the modern nation-state and find that Middle Eastern minority nationalisms owe much of their modern self-definition to developments within diaspora populations and other transnational frameworks. 

The first volume to upend the conceptual frame of reference for studying Middle Eastern minority communities in nearly two decades, Minorities and the Modern Arab World represents a major intervention in modern Middle East studies.

"Egypt and Its Jews: The Specter of an Absent Minority," is a chapter written by Joel Beinin, the Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History and Professor of Middle East History at Stanford University.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1982 before coming to Stanford in 1983.  From 2006 to 2008 he served as Director of Middle East Studies and Professor of History at the American University in Cairo.  In 2002 he served as president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America.