The interwar period was an era of significant change in urban-rural relations throughout the world and witnessed an unprecedented use of technology in the agrarian and ecological spheres. Most notably, class specific urban movements posed as apolitical incorporated technocratic changes in the countryside as part of a nation-building project, place the romanticized peasantry as an object at the heart of these social transformations. In this episode, Sam Dolbee discusses one such movement based at the American University in Beirut during the 1930s, as middle class students and officials became involved in an ambiguous effort to transform the Lebanese-Syrian countryside in the shadow of French colonial rule.
Sam Dolbee is a PhD student in the department of Middle East Studies at New York University
Chris Gratien is a PhD candidate studying the history of the modern Middle East at Georgetown University (see academia.edu)
Citation: "Nation, Class, and Ecology in French Mandate Lebanon: AUB and 1930s Rural Development." Samuel Dolbee and Chris Gratien. Ottoman History Podcast, No. 59 (July 7, 2012) http://www.ottomanhistorypodcast.com/2012/07/nation-class-and-ecology-in-french_07.html.
Anderson, Betty S. The American University of Beirut: Arab Nationalism and Liberal Education. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011.
El Shakry, Omnia. The Great Social Laboratory: Subjects of Knowledge in Colonial and Postcolonial Egypt. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007.
Firro, Kais. Inventing Lebanon: Nationalism and the State under the Mandate. London: Tauris, 2003.
Gasper, Michael. The Power of Representation: Publics, Peasants, and Islam in Egypt. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008.
Mitchell, Timothy. Rule of Experts: Egypt, Technopolitics, Modernity. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.
Nash, Linda. Inescapable Ecologies: A History of Environment, Disease, and Knowledge. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.
from Al-Qabas (Nov. 26, 1936)
The Village Revival Project
The Arab youth work to serve the peasants
The peasants are the crux of the nation (watan) and their welfare is the nation's welfare