Scholars working in the humanities and the social sciences are invited to contribute to an edited collection on the collective memory of Omar Mukhtar.
The martyr figure of Omar El-Mukhtar (1858 - 1931) served as an icon and role model in twentieth-century. This volume seeks to explain how and why, representations of Omar Mukhtar were created to serve religious, social, political purposes, both in and outside their original context (i.e. Cyrenaica) and beyond, across the Middle East and in Asia. Some research has been devoted to the martyr during anniversaries and celebrations in national contexts. There is, however, a lack of studies investigating its place in the collective memory of political and of religious groups and denominations. The collection is an attempt to fill the lacuna by inviting contributors to deliberate upon the ways by which the meaning of the martyrdom evolves over time, can be appropriated for different purposes and can serve different aims beyond the original time and location.
Possible lines of approach include the following questions: Within the context of collective memory, how does the role played by the martyrdom of Omar Mukhtar differs from culture to culture? How has its perception drifted apart of the original experience and expectations? What is the perception of the martyr through press, literature, and cyber-culture? Which kind of sanction do movements (be they religious, social, political) expect from their association with Omar Mukhtar? Is there a tension between the secular and religious use? How do codifications of institutional names (street names, museums, etc.) map the significance of the martyr?
With these questions in mind we hope to address the question of how individuals get politically mobilized in times when the ideal of martyrdom is more and more invoked and the discourse of martyrdom abounds.
Topics include, but are not limited to:
The celebrations, anniversaries and musealization of Omar Mukhtar;
Representations in twentieth-century history textbooks, literary representations of Omar Mukhtar in novels and poetry;
Nationalistic appropriations of Omar Mukhtar (e.g. Palestine) and its violent forms; e.g. the Omar Mukhtar Brigades;
The discourse of martyrdom and the use of Omar Mukhtar in religious contexts;
Omar Mukhtar in twentieth-century civil society organizations (e.g. the Omar Mukhtar association in Libya);
Comparative analysis with other anti-colonial popular heroes of 1920s and 1930s (e.g. Abd el Krim, Al-Qassam).
Please submit full papers (5000-8500 words) with a short biography to the editor by April 30, 2007.
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