By Christa Salamandra

"[F]illed with infrequent encounters with Syria's oldest, so much elite households. Critics of anthropology's style for exoticism and marginality will take pleasure in this research of upper-class Damascus, a global that's urbane and cosmopolitan, but in some ways as distant because the settings during which the easiest ethnography has usually been done.... [Written] with a nuanced appreciation of the cultural types in query and the way Damascenes themselves imagine, speak about, and create them." -- Andrew ShryockIn modern city Syria, debates concerning the illustration, upkeep, and recovery of the previous urban of Damascus have turn into a part of prestige pageant and identification building one of the city's elite. In topic eating places and nightclubs that play on pictures of Syrian culture, in tv courses, nostalgic literature, and visible paintings, and within the rhetoric of old maintenance teams, the belief of the outdated urban has develop into a commodity for the intake of visitors and, most crucial, of recent and outdated segments of the Syrian top category. during this vigorous ethnographic learn, Christa Salamandra argues that during deploying and debating such representations, Syrians dispute the prior and criticize the present.Indiana sequence in center East reviews -- Mark Tessler, basic editor

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Extra resources for A New Old Damascus: Authenticity And Distinction In Urban Syria (Indiana Series in Middle East Studies)

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Like many upscale residential areas in the Middle East, West and New West Malki are religiously and regionally mixed. Landmarks are status symbols: one who lives near Malki’s Shami Hospital lives royally. Malki is home to the Americanrun Damascus Community School, whose pupils are mostly wealthy Syrians, those few who can afford its $7,000 annual tuition fees. 9 At the bottom of Malki Avenue sits Umayyad Circle, named for the dynasty at the apex of Syrian—and particularly Damascene— history, and ground zero of the city’s elite.

I have tried to deal as evenhandedly as possible with all sides of an emotionally charged and politically sensitive issue. The result is somewhat Rashomon-like, juxtaposing the views of various social actors differently related to the Old City in its myriad forms. I hope to have given voice to the many sincerely held positions that make up the Old Damascus debate. 1 “His Family Had a House in Malki, So We Thought He Was All Right” Socio-Spatial Distinction Damascus’ beauty is hidden; it doesn’t give you everything from the first moment; its beauty comes to you little by little.

Malki is home to the Americanrun Damascus Community School, whose pupils are mostly wealthy Syrians, those few who can afford its $7,000 annual tuition fees. 9 At the bottom of Malki Avenue sits Umayyad Circle, named for the dynasty at the apex of Syrian—and particularly Damascene— history, and ground zero of the city’s elite. The shooting streams of water in this massive roundabout’s fountain change direction every few days. Umayyad Circle discourages pedestrians, with its skimpy pavements and confusing traffic movements.

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