1 April 2014: pleased to announce that the International Journal of Middle East Studies has published my article, “Sound Minds in Sound Bodies: Transnational Philanthropy and Patriotic Masculinity in al-Nadi al-Homsi and Syrian Brazil.” The article appears in a special issue on the Politics of Benevolence, co-edited by Amy Singer, Beth Baron, and Sarah Pursley and in honor of Dr. Mine Ener. My article reconstructs the library of a political fraternity from the Syrian colony of Sao Paulo immediately following the French occupation of Syria. The piece can be viewed on the IJMES website, or in full text here.
Abstract: “Established in 1920, al-Nadi al-Homsi in São Paulo, Brazil was a young men’s club devoted to Syrian patriotic activism and culture in the American mahjar (diaspora). Founded by a transnational network of intellectuals from Homs, the fraternity committed itself to what it saw as a crucial aspect of Syrian national independence under Amir Faysal: the development of a political middle class and a masculine patriotic culture. Al-Nadi al-Homsi directed this project at Syrian youth, opening orphanages, libraries, and schools in both Syria and in Brazil. In these spaces, men and boys congregated to celebrate a polite male culture centered on secular philanthropy, popular education, and corporeal discipline through sports. This article argues that during the 1920s and 1930s, al-Nadi al-Homsi’s politics of benevolence was part of a larger social milieu that drew analogies between strong Syrian minds and bodies and a sovereign, independent Syrian homeland.”