The Lyrical Archive of al-Andalus

Episode 338

hosted by Shireen Hamza

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The history of al-Andalus has a special place in Arabic poetry -- as well as in American hiphop. al-Andalus, a name for the Iberian peninsula when under the political rule of Muslim dynasties, has remained a symbol of loss, exile and memory, centuries after the last Muslim king lost power. In this episode, Anna Cruz explores this phenomenon through Arabic poetry by Abd al-Wahhab al-Bayati and Mahmoud Darwish, speeches by Malcolm X and the music of Ras Kass. We discuss the way this history of al-Andalus is shaped through retelling by these twentieth century writers and artists. Anna also considers what it would mean to create an archive of al-Andalus that included these multiple ways of understanding its history.

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Contributor Bios

Anna C. Cruz is Faculty of Arabic and Spanish at Choate Rosemary Hall. She received her PhD in Near Eastern Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 2016 and most recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for the Humanities at Tufts University. She is currently at work on a publication tentatively titled “The Moor: Reinventing the History of Islamic Spain through Arabic Poetry and Hip Hop.”
Shireen Hamza is a doctoral student in the History of Science department at Harvard University. Her research focuses broadly on the history of science and medicine in the Islamicate Middle Ages, especially in the Indian Ocean World.


Episode No. 338
Release Date: 27 November 2017
Recording Location: Harvard University
Audio editing by Shireen Hamza
Music: Special thanks to Ras Kass for the permission to feature his track, Nature of the Threat.
Images and bibliography courtesy of  Anna C. Cruz
Anna would like to thank Delio Vásquez, PhD Candidate in the History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz, for informative conversations regarding Malcolm X and the history of Hip Hop.

Select Bibliography

al-Bayātī, ʿAbd al-Wahhāb. Kitāb al-Marāthī [Book of Elegies]. al-Muʾassasa al-ʿArabiyya lil-Dirāsāt wa al-Nashr, 1995.

——-. Tajribatī al-Shʿiriyya [My Poetic Experience]. Manushūrāt Nizār Qabbanī, 1968.

Chang, Jeff. Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. Picador Press, 2005.

Cruz, Anna. Modes of Loss: al-Andalus in the Arabic Poetic Imagination. Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley, 2016.

Darwīsh, Maḥmūd. Aḥada ʿAshara Kawkaban [Eleven Planets]. Dār Tūbqāl lil-Nashr, 2004.

Daulatzai, Sohail. Black Star, Crescent Moon: The Muslim International and Black Freedom Beyond America. University of Minnesota Press, 2012.

Echevarría, Roberto González. Myth and Archive: A Theory of Latin American Narrative. Duke University Press, 1998.

El-Enany, Rashid. “Poets and Rebels: Reflections of Lorca in Modern Arabic Poetry.” Third World Quarterly vol. 11, no. 4, 1989, pp. 252-264.

Eric B. & Rakim. Follow the Leader, Uni Records, 1988.

Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. Grove Press, 2004.

Lakim Shabazz. Pure Righteousness, Tuff City Records, 1989.

Menocal, Maria Rosa, Raymond P. Scheindlin, and Michael Sells, editors. The Literature of al-Andalus. Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Muñoz, José Esteban. “Ephemera as Evidence: Introductory Notes to Queer Acts.” Women & Performance, vol. 8, no. 2, 1996, pp 5-16.

Nandy, Ashis. “History’s Forgotten Doubles.” History and Theory vol. 34, no. 2, 1995, pp. 44-66.

Nashashibi, Rami. “The Blackstone Legacy, Islam, and the Rise of Ghetto Cosmopolitanism.” Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, vol. 9, no. 7, 2007, pp. 123-131.

Ras Kass. “Nature of the Threat.” Soul on Ice, Priority Records, 1996.

Snir, Reuven. “‘Al-Andalus Arising from Damascus’: Al-Andalus in Modern Arabic Poetry.” In Charting Memory: Recalling Medieval Spain, edited by Stacy N. Beckwith, 263-293. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 2000.

Thomas, Greg. “Blame It on the Sun: George Jackson and the Poetry of Palestinian Resistance.” Comparative American Studies: An International Journal, vol. 13, no. 4, 2015, pp. 235-253.

X-Clan, To the East, Blackwards, Island Records, 1990.

X, Malcolm. Malcolm X Speaks. Edited by George Breitman. Pathfinder Press, 2009.

Correction: In the interview, Anna reads a line of Malcolm X's speech, "The Ballot or the Bullet," as "Just start being a Negro." This line should read "Just stop being a Negro."


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