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Societies, Scouts and Schoolbooks for the Arab Nation: A case study of Pan-Arabist Darwish al-Miqdadi (1897-1961)

Dyala Hamzah

While nationalism and pan-movements are indisputably global, the underpinnings of their translatability do not elicit academic consensus. In locating these within the public sphere, this project critically engages with the Andersonian print-media paradigm, shifting attention from circulating ideational contents onto other technologies of social communication.

The case study of Palestinian Pan-Arab Darwish al-Miqdadi (1897-1961) reveals how specific technologies are systematically singled out by individual agents in nationalistic pursuits. His exemplary commitment to voluntary associations, paramilitary organizations and pedagogical institutions begs indeed the question of a quasi organic link between nationalism and the public sphere.

A micro-historical focus on scouting, schoolbooks and societies in particular helps answer why these institutions were deemed conducive to Arab unity, even as they were embedded in, or framed by, the apparatuses of the colonial administration.

Taken in conjunction, these three technologies not only map the global networks of an Arab nationalist in the making, but also show the transposability of socio-political forms of organization and protest at work. As both a civil servant of several future Arab nation-states and a global activist in the service of Arab nationalism, al-Miqdadi actually typifies a heretofore under-researched dimension of Arab nationalism: its linkage of clandestine and official societies, of militancy and bureaucracy.
In effect, he thus exemplifies the ambivalent political subjectivity characteristic of Pan-movements actors.

This project is part of:

Akteure der kulturellen Globalisierung, 1890 - 1940


Joint Research Project with Freie Universität Berlin, HU zu Berlin, Universität Hamburg and ETH Zürich