The latest issue of Quaderni di archeologia della Libya (#21) is out. It is one of the three academic journals which cover archaeological-related topics in Libya. It hadn’t appeared since 2009, due no doubt to the complications of carrying out work in Libya during the regime and afterwards. But at the totally insane price of €276 for a hard copy or €184 for an ebook, and without online subscription options, it’s basically unobtainable and inaccessible. Too bad. At least the table of contents of the latest issue can be viewed here.
A special issue on the theme “Gender and transnational histories of Libya” has recently been published in The Journal of North African Studies, co-edited by Barbara Spadaro and Katrina Yeaw.
The introduction to the special issue is freely available online and is worth reading:
This series of articles focuses on Libya to investigate how individual and collective identities are imagined, experienced, and narrated in a mobile and interconnected world. Drawing from original and unexplored sources in seven different languages, our case studies illuminate subjects and circuits long neglected from historiography, and yet crucial for the understanding of the transnational and transcultural memory of Libya. Our critical engagement with ways in which histories of Libya have been materialised, colonised, regimented and forgotten reflects a wider shift across the academic discipline of History.
The contents include the following articles:
Libya’s foremost research journal for history, in its broadest conception, is the مجلة البحوث التاريخية (Journal of Historical Research), published by the Libyan Center for Historical Studies.* Since 1979, the journal has consistently published articles by Libyan scholars, as well as several well-known European scholars writing in Arabic, on a very broad array of topics. In many cases, in fact, there is little or no research published outside of Libya on these topics, and the journal therefore offers extremely valuable insight into the range of possibilities for research as well as useful starting points for those who can read Arabic. Unfortunately, it is difficult to come by in European or American libraries (in London, the SOAS library has many of the issues)—a goal for the appropriate authority in Libya would be to make back issues available online. The website of the Center shows issues from 2013 as being the most recent. Although it seems not to have been updated for some time now, later issues are not known to me. I hope the journal is still alive.
*The Center was previously called مركز جهاد الليبيين ضد الغزو الايطالي للدراسات التاريخية (The Libyan Resistance against the Italian Invader Center for Historical Studies), later shortened to مركز جهاد الليبين للدراسات التاريخية (The Libyan Resistance Center for Historical Studies).
Banipal, the UK-based magazine of modern Arabic literature in English translation, published an issue dedicated to Libyan Fiction back in 2011. The print edition is reasonably priced and well worth having, but issue 40 also happens to be available online at Banipal’s website! You can read every piece of Libyan fiction in the issue for free. Together with the recent second edition of Ethan Chorin’s Translating Libya (see here), it represents the best and most recent collection of Libyan literature in English translation, and both are absolutely essential introductions to many of today’s important writers.
From the editor’s description of the issue:
“What an amazing coincidence that [Banipal’s 40th issue] should be dedicated to the celebration of Libyan literature at such an extraordinary historical moment in the Arab world when the region is witnessing a chain of uprisings and revolutions against dictatorial and corrupt regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and, finally, Libya.
We at Banipal are very proud of this special issue on Libyan fiction, and with it announce our absolute solidarity with the Libyan people in their aspiration to democratic rule and the exercising of all their rights, the first of which are to express their thoughts and the abolition of all forms of censorship on audio-visual media and literature.
When I met by chance the veteran Libyan writer Ali Mustafa al-Musrati, one evening at the Greek Club in Cairo, February 2007 (at this time exactly), I said to him: “I’m extremely saddened by the neglect of Libyan literature in the Arab world and by the ignorance of the West.” I promised him that Banipal would publish a special feature on the wonderful literature of Libya. And how happy we are to fulfil this promise at this time in particular…”
The Libyan authors whose work appears are (in no particular order): Ghazi Gheblawi, Wafa al-Bueissa, Hisham Matar, Ibrahim al-Koni, Mohammed Mesrati, Razan Naim Moghrabi, Mohammed al-Asfar, Ahmed Fagih, Giuma Bukleb, Omar el-Kiddi, Saleh Snoussi, Najwa Binshatwan, Omar Abulqasim Alkikli, Azza Kamil al-Maghour, Ibrahim Ahmidan, Redwan Abushwesha, Mohammed al-Arishiya, Mohammed al-Anaizi. There is also profile on Ali Mustafa al-Musrati.
The Bulletin of the Faculty of Arts, Benghazi (مجلة كلية الاداب، بنغازي) was an academic journal in English and Arabic published at irregular intervals by the University of Benghazi* from 1958 to 2002. It contained articles by noted Libyan as well as European academics, on all manner of subjects.
Since the Bulletin is not held by most libraries in Europe or the US (the SOAS library does have an almost complete set) nor indexed by research databases, I decided to scan and upload the table of contents of issues 1–16 to this blog. I haven’t been able to access issues later than 16 although colleagues in Benghazi tell me that the most recent issue was #23 in 2002. Apparently the Bulletin still exists in name and plans are underway to continue it, but it goes without saying that things are on hold until conditions improve.
1 (1958) – 2 (1968) – 3 (1969) – 4 (1972) – 5 (1973) – 6 (1974) – 7 (1975) – 8 (1976) – 9 (1980) – 10 (1981) – 11 (1982) – 12 (1983) – 13 (1984) – 14 (1985) – 15 (1986) – 16 (1987) — 17 — 18 —19 — 20 —21 —22 —23 (2002)
* Originally the Libyan University (الجامعة الليبية), then from 1973 the University of Gar Younis (جامعة قار يونس), and from 2011 the University of Benghazi (جامعة بنغازي).
A new electronic magazine has just been launched out of Benghazi, and two issues are already online. Sketch Magazine is a digital periodical focusing on architecture and design (in Arabic). Furthermore, it is produced by two young women, Aisha Abdelhaqq and Fatoum al-Fallah.
The first issue includes pieces, with plenty of photographs, about Benghazi’s architectural heritage, including buildings such as the baladiyya (town hall) and the cathedral, as well as a presentation of projects by university architecture students and a selection of creative works. The second issue has a feature on the traditional mud architecture of the Awjila oasis in eastern Libya. Both are worth your reading time!
Quaderni di Archeologia della Libia is a journal going back to the 1950s which publishes the results of various types of archeological fieldwork and research concerning places now in Libya. Most articles are in Italian, but some are in English and other languages. As it does not seem to have its own website, I have taken the liberty of posting a link to a list of contents online.
Table of Contents (Issues 1-18) in text format.
Furthermore, most issues (they are not cheap!) can be purchased at the website of the publisher, L’Erma di Bretschneider.
At the end of last year appeared a special issue of the journal Middle East Critique dedicated to Libya and entitled “The Multiple Narratives of the Libyan Revolution” (vol 23 issue 4 2014). It was guest-edited by Matteo Capasso and Igor Cherstich, who write in their guest editors’ Note:
“…since Qadhdhafi’s oil nationalization and the gradual rapprochement of Libya with the Soviet bloc through the purchase of weapons, western media and scholarship have used ‘Qadhdhafi’ and ‘Libya’ as synonyms, reiterating an Orientalist understanding of the Middle East. Scholars, analysts, and journalists depicted the ‘Libyan head for the Libyan whole,’ to quote anthropologist John Davis, assuming that there was no ‘Libya-ness’ beyond the macro-historical meta- narrative of ‘Qadhdhafi-ness.’ The cumbersome and ubiquitous personality of Qadhdhafi obscured Libya’s complexity, and one Libyan became the symbol for all Libyans.
This habit—‘the part for the whole’—has continued even after Mu’ammar Qadhdhafi’s fall. On the one hand, the revolution of 2011 has forced analysts to realize that beyond the Libyan regime there was a Libyan society: A complex universe comprised of tribes, cities, and agents that did not necessarily identify with Qadhdhafi’s project. On the other hand, the discovery of a ‘Libyan multiplicity’ has overwhelmed the analysts who have continued to look desperately for the narrative, the key to unveil Libyan mysteries. Some writers have proposed ‘tribalism’ as the narrative to understand the revolution, others ‘Islamism’, and others, in turn, have demonstrated a fetishist attachment to the old narrative, reading the facts of 2011 simply as the end of ‘Qadhdhafi-ness.’ This Special Issue criticizes this phenomenon by demonstrating that post-revolutionary Libya cannot be understood by focusing on one story, one reading, or one aspect. Rather, it is necessary to consider a multiplicity of narratives, which collectively can be called upon to confront the problematic essentialist and Orientalist representations of the country. We deem this issue as an homage to Libya’s sophisticated intricacy, an attempt to demonstrate that we need to look for the multiple ‘parts’—rather than for ‘the part’—in order to understand the whole.”
The articles featured in this special issue are the following (accessible online with a subscription via the link above):
- Capasso, Matteo. The Libyan Drawers: ‘Stateless Society,’ ‘Humanitarian Intervention,’ ‘Logic of Exception’ and ‘Traversing the Phantasy’. 387–404.
- Cherstich, Igor. When Tribesmen do not act Tribal: Libyan Tribalism as Ideology (not as Schizophrenia). 405–421.
- Kohl, Ines. Libya’s ‘Major Minorities’. Berber, Tuareg and Tebu: Multiple Narratives of Citizenship, Language and Border Control. 423–438.
- Diana, Elvira. ‘Literary Springs’ in Libyan Literature: Contributions of Writers to the Country’s Emancipation. 439–451.
The articles are unfortunately behind a paywall (unless you have access via a university), but I’m sure the authors would be willing to share PDFs on an individual basis—so drop me a line if you’re interested.
In this post I draw attention to a defunct journal published by a Libyan research center in the UK.
The Journal of Libyan Studies was published from 2000–2003 at a rate of two issues per year (only one appeared in 2003) before folding due to low subscriptions and infrequently submitted quality content (see here for its closing note). It was produced by the Centre for Libyan Studies based in Oxford, which also has not been active recently.
Since the journal is not indexed by the usual databases, I’ve taken the liberty of scanning the table of contents of all seven issues. You can find a PDF of them at this link. There are a number of articles by well-established scholars, and furthermore, every issue had a different photograph of something Libyan on its front and back covers. Although it doesn’t look like the journal can be purchased anymore, there is a complete set available to consult in the SOAS library. It is not to be confused with the long-running journal Libyan Studies published by the British Academy-based Society for Libyan Studies.
Also, at least one article published in the JLS has now become available online at academia.edu (if more are noticed, please let me know):
Nora Lafi & Denis Boucquet. Local Élites and Italian Town-Planning Procedures in Early Colonial Tripoli 1911-1912. Journal of Libyan Studies 3/1, 59–67. link.