The Arab Avant-Garde: Musical Innovation in the Middle East

Dickinson, Kay; Harbert, Benjamin and Burkhalter, Thomas, eds. 2011. The Arab Avant-Garde: Musical Innovation in the Middle East. USA: Wesleyan University Press. ISBN tba [Edited Book]

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Abstract or Description

In the early nineteenth century, the term “avant-garde” began to capture greater semantic territory. Once purely a military phrase used to distinguish crack troops, it then assumed a high-ranking position within cultural expression, marking out art work that forged ahead and broke new ground. What can it mean to conjoin this French phrase with the word “Arab”? French forces, along with other imperial intruders, are no strangers to Arab terrain. The colonisation of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Greater Syria followed in the wake of the brief Napoleonic “mission” to Egypt between 1798 and 1801. It was during this military foray that some of modern Europe’s most expansive data on Egyptian music was collected, information that comprised two whole volumes of Guillaume André Villoteau’s Description de l’Egypte. The Napoleonic campaign gathered not only military, but also cultural intelligence, if the two can be so easily separated.

Item Type:

Edited Book

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies



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Date Deposited:

26 Sep 2011 08:43

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:31


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