Democracy, Culture, and the Grip of Arab History: Essays honoring the work of Iliya Harik
A collection of articles both scholarly and personal, written as a tribute to Iliya Harik (my late husband), on history, politics, and political philosophy concerning the Arab world. The articles and essays are by ten of Iliya's academic colleagues and former students in Lebanon and the U.S., and cover such topics as....
Dialogue and cultural bridge-building between American and Egyptian students
The Arab Spring in global perspective--lessons from other transitions to democracy
Forces behind the breakdown of feudalism in 19th-century Lebanon and the rise of sectarianism
The critical debate in Lebanon over sectarianism, citizenship, and electoral law reform
Political/economic relations between Turkey and Arab Gulf countries
Comments on Iliya's book, Democracy and the Challenge of Modernity between East and West
Controversial views on Islam and the roots of governance
What does all this have to do with children's literature? Well, editing the entire volume (a project started by others) took a lot of this children's author's time! (I was thrilled to see the volume first published, in 2013, as a special issue of the Journal of New Media Studies in the Middle East and North Africa, edited by Dr. Denis Sullivan. It can be seen at www.jnmstudies.com.)
But there's another reason, much more important. In my own essay in the book, I mention Iliya's contribution to children's literature, in two ways. He wrote and published in Arabic several illustrated books for children about scientific concepts, presented as adventures of a boy and a genii. They're delightful! Unfortunately, the project had to be cut short because of the ongoing war in in Lebanon at the time.
Iliya always took an interest in my writing. Not only did this make it possible for me to pursue my dream without having to work at an unrelated job, but he gave me both critical and moral support. My decision to specialize primarily in writing about the Middle East for young people, and about children's literature concerning the Arab world, was enhanced by Iliya's own career and his interest in mine. I shall always be most grateful for that.