This is a collection of papers presented at a 2008 conference sponsored by the American University of Beirut's Sheikh Zayid bin Sultan Chair of Islamic Studies of the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies and the Margaret Weyerhaeuser Jewett Chair of Arabic of the Department of Arabic and Near Eastern Languages. The volume includes sixteen articles by scholars from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Lebanon, and is divided into two parts: the first dealing with classical and premodern poetry, and the second with modern and contemporary poetry, with three articles focusing on the work of the poet Mahmoud Darwish. It serves to better illuminate some aspects of the relationship between the fields of poetry and history, and represents a significant contribution to the field of Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies.
The author examines the rural politics of the provinces of Damascus and Tripoli in Ottoman Syria in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. He considers the various kinds of rural leadership as represented by the most powerful dynasties that dominated various regions of the Ottoman Empire, and focuses on six specific Syrian dynasties, from origin to decline. This work draws on archival material from Istanbul and Damascus, together with Ottoman and Syrian chronicles, biographical and travel literature, and other Turkish, Arabic, and Western contemporary sources. The first two centuries of the Ottoman period in Syria have been little known before the publication of this work, which sheds important light on Syria at that time.