This book brings together for the first time the work of many of the leading scholars in the field of Middle East working-class history. Using historical material from nineteenth-century Syria, late Ottoman Anatolia, republican Turkey, Egypt from the late nineteenth century through the Sadat period, Iran before and after the overthrow of the Shah, and Ba`thist Iraq, the authors explore different forms and interpretations of working-class identity, action, and organization as expressed in language, culture, and behavior. In addition, they examine different narratives of labor history and the place of workers in their respective national histories.
Included are articles by Feroz Ahmad, Assef Bayat, Joel Beinin, Edmund Burke III, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Eric Davis, Ellis Goldberg, Kristin Koptiuch, Zachary Lockman, Marsha Pripstein Posusney, Donald Quataert, and Sherry Vatter.
The book provides not only an introduction to the "state of the field" in Middle East working-class history but also demonstrates how that field is being influenced by the new paradigms which are transforming labor history and social history more broadly worldwide. It also opens the way for fruitful comparisons among Middle Eastern countries and between the Middle East and other parts of the world.
Zachary Lockman is Associate Professor of Middle East History at Harvard University.
"Besides its contribution to Middle Eastern studies, this collection will serve those interested in comparative labor history and teachers who wish to expand the focus of their classes beyond the formal political and economic content of most texts on Middle Eastern history. Taken together, the articles contain considerable and provocative research. Further, the attempt to present labor history side by side (or in some cases, interwoven) with a historiographic critique is an ambitious and valuable project. " — Palmira Brummett, University of Tennessee