Joseph Massad

Joseph Massad

Associate Professor, Columbia University. JPS editorial committee member & Book Review Editor.

Massad is Associate Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University.

His academic work has focused on Palestinian, Jordanian, and Israeli nationalism. He is author of The Persistence of the Palestinian Question (Routledge, 2006). He is also known for his book Desiring Arabs, about representations of sexual desire in the Arab world.

Massad, a Palestinian, was born in Jordan in 1963. He received his PhD in Political Science from Columbia in 1998

ARTICLES

Delinking the Palestinians

Since the more recent third Palestinian uprising started in early October, there has been a rush by different Arab countries and intellectuals to legitimize their good relations with, and their love for, Israel. With the Palestinian uprising refusing to abate in November, panic set in among the Arab anti-Palestinian camp, which has gained considerable ground across the Arab...

'Homeland,' Obama’s Show

This article was published by al Jazeera on 25 October 2015. The story of Arabs and Muslims and the Western and especially the American media has been told too many times before. The history of representations of Arabs and Muslims in Hollywood films, in television programs, on network news, or in major and minor American print media has been studied, analysed, criticised, and...

Palestinians and the dilemmas of solidarity

This article appeared on 14 May 2015 on the Electronic Intifada. Solidarity with the Palestinian people retreated internationally since the early 1990s in view of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the ensuing Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) collaboration with the US and Israel to...

The Empire of Sexuality: An Interview with Joseph Massad

This article was originally published on Jadaliyya on 5 March 2015. Félix Boggio Éwanjé-Épée and Stella Magliani-Belkacem (FE&SM): In your work and your academic interventions, you have argued that the imposition of the categories of homo-hetero on the non-Western world is inseparable from the politics of imperialism and the dominance of the capitalist mode of production...

The destructive legacy of Arab liberals

This article originally appeared in the Electronic Intifada on 30 March 2015. It has become commonplace to present Arab Islamists of all political stripes (liberals, conservatives, radicals, neoliberals, moderates, extremists, nonviolent, violent, etc.) as a most, if not the most, dangerous political force in the Arab world since the 1967 War . In fact, and as the following...

New Texts Out Now: Joseph A. Massad, Islam in Liberalism

This interview appeared on Jadaliyya on 11 March 2015. Joseph A. Massad, Islam in Liberalism . Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Joseph Massad (JM): I had been thinking for a while about a different book, namely one that traces genealogically the transformation in the semantic uses of the term “Islam” since the eighteenth...

Assimilating French Muslims

This article originally appeared in the Eletronic Intifada on 22 January 2015. The French may be better known to themselves, and among West Europeans and white Americans, as top fashion designers and culinary masters whose language of amour is most fit for romance. White Americans, like the Germans and the British, however, have a love-hate relationship with the French but...

Recognizing Palestine, BDS and the survival of Israel

This article originally appeared in the Electronic Intifada on 16 December 2014. What is happening in European parliaments? In the last month and a half, the UK House of Commons, the Spanish, French, Portuguese and Irish parliaments have all recognized Israel’s eternal “right” to be a racist state via a much-touted recognition of an alleged Palestinian state within the West...

Academic Civility and Its Discontents

This article was published in the Electronic Intifada on 9 October 2014. The charge of incivility has invariably functioned since the nineteenth century and through the present as a form of racial and class denouncement, both in Western Europe and the United States. Indeed, it has been a white European and Euro-American, mostly Protestant, accusation leveled at East European...

Jewish Volunteers for Racial Supremacy in Palestine

This article was published by the Electronic Intifada on 4 August 2014. The European Christian fight for anti-Semitism was always a fight to grant Christians superior rights to Jews and to institutionalize that superiority as racial and religious supremacy. In response, the European Jewish fight against anti-Semitism was and remains a fight against the reduction of the rights...

Egypt's Propagandists and the Gaza Massacre

This article appeared on the Electronic Intifada on 29 July 2014. Sisi’s “ceasefire” offered a week into the Gaza slaughter was spurned by Palestinians in favor of a valiant military resistance. As Israel’s murderous machine inflicts terror and death on the Palestinian people with the collaboration of the US government and its principal Arab allies, not least of which is the...

Nuclear Israel Revisited

This article was originally posted on Al Jazeera English on 10 November 2011. How many times must this story be retold? It is common knowledge in the United States, in Europe, in the Arab World, indeed in the entire world. The international press has been reporting on it since the late 1960s. The historical details of the story are also well known. In 1955, President Dwight...

Truths, Facts and Facts on the Ground

This article originally appeared on Al Jazeera English on 27 October 2011. In 1991, negotiations started officially and unofficially between the Palestine Liberation Organisation (and the Palestinians associated with it) and the Israeli government. At the time, Israel had occupied the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip for the previous 24 years. Today, 20...

State of Recognition

This article originally appeared on Al Jazeera English on 15 September 2011. What is at stake in Barack Obama's vehement refusal to recognise Palestine as a mini-state with a disfigured geography and no sovereignty, and his urging the world community not to recognise it while threatening the Palestinians with retribution? What is the relationship between Obama's refusal to...

Long Live Egypt's Supreme Council

This article originally appeared on Al Jazeera English on 28 July 2011 Many Egyptians are expressing concerns about the deployment by the ruling Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) of the very same political rhetoric previously employed by the Mubarak regime, despite the SCAF's claim that it is maintaining "neutrality" between "popular" forces; a "neutrality"...

Under the Cover of Democracy

The article originally appeared on Al Jazeera English on 8 June 2011. For decades during the Cold War, the rhetoric of US and Western European imperial power was one of promoting democracy around the world. Indeed, as the Soviet model became attractive to many countries in Asia and Africa (not to mention Latin America) ridding themselves of the yoke of West European...

Are Palestinian Children Less Worthy?

This article originally appeared on Al Jazeera English 30 May 2011. What is it about Jewish and Arab children that privileges the first and spurns the second in the speeches of President Barack Obama, let alone in the Western media more generally? Are Jewish children smarter, prettier, whiter? Are they deserving of sympathy and solidarity, denied to Arab children, because they...

Emperor Obama vs the Arab people

This article originally appeared on Al Jazeera English on 21 May 2011. In 1960, British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan delivered an important speech titled Wind of Change , first in Accra and later in Cape Town, signaling British decolonisation of its African territories and warning the South African regime to move away from its apartheid policies. In 2011, US President...

The Future of the Arab Uprisings

This article originally appeared on Al Jazeera English on 18 May 2011. A specter is haunting the Arab world - the specter of democratic revolution. All the powers of the old Arab world have entered into a holy alliance with each other and the United States to exorcise this specter: king and sultan, emir and president, neoliberals and zionists. While Marx and Engels used...

The Rights of Israel

This article originally appeared on Al Jazeera English on 6 May 2011. The Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, now entering their twentieth year had been hailed from the start as historic, having inaugurated a "peace process" that would resolve what is commonly referred to as the "Palestinian-Israeli conflict". For the Palestinians and the international community, represented by...

BOOKS

Colonial Effects: The Making of National Identity in Jordan

Institute for Palestine Studies scholar Joseph Massad is the author of Colonial Effects: The Making of National Identity in Jordan (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001).

The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinians

Institute for Palestine Studies scholar Joseph Massad is the author of The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinians (New York: Routledge, 2006).

Desiring Arabs

Institute for Palestine Studies scholar Joseph Massad is the author of Desiring Arabs (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007).

Islam in Liberalism

Institute for Palestine Studies scholar Joseph Massad is the author of Islam in Liberalism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015).

JOURNALS

The Intellectual Life of Edward Said

This essay examines Edward Said’s philosophy of intellectual life and what an intellectual vocation entails. Said’s major contribution, Orientalism, is discussed in light of his own concept of “traveling theory” and its impact on various disciplines, especially postcolonial studies. Said’s views on...

Liberating Songs: Palestine Put to Music

This article surveys the history of songs about Palestine from 1948 to the present, examining how the changes in musical style and lyrics correspond to the changes in the exigencies of the Palestinian struggle itself. Tracing the primacy of revolutionary Egypt in the 1950s and 1960s, the central...

Deconstructing Holocaust Consciousness

In recent years, and after a long academic and political silence about the rise of the Jewish holocaust to public and media attention and popular consciousness, a number of books have appeared that attempt to historicize the process through which we came to know of the holocaust and how it was...

The Palestinians and Jewish History: Recognition or Submission?

This article explores various aspects of Israel's implicit linkage of the Jewish holocaust with its right to exist and Palestinian and Arab responses to that linkage. The PLO's position in particular is examined in detail, as is Israel's rhetorical equation of Arab and Palestinian leaders with...

The Politics of Desire in the Writings of Ahdaf Soueif

This review of the works of novelist Ahdaf Soueif explores the major aesthetic and political themes of her novels and short stories. Soueif's honesty in exploring questions of sexual desire, intercultural dialogue, and the politics of language are further examined in the accompanying interview...

Art and Politics in the Cinema of Youssef Chahine

This review of the works of the influential Egyptian film director Youssef Chahine brings to light his role as a daring and versatile artist, social critic, and cultural archivist, whose films and documentaries, in addition to being entertaining, provide an insight into the Arab world. The...

Zionism's Internal Others: Israel and the Oriental Jews

The creation of the State of Israel by European Jews was predicated upon reconfiguring Jewish identities. European Zionist leaders asserted that the creation of a Jewish state would normalize the abnormal situation of European Jewry insofar as it would give them, like Christian Europeans, a state...