Book Review of Zeina Maasri: Cosmopolitan Radicalism
Nadia von Maltzahn: Rezension zu: Maasri, Zeina: Cosmopolitan Radicalism. The Visual Politics of Beirut’s Global Sixties. Cambridge 2020: ISBN 978-1-108-48771-9, In: H-Soz-Kult, 12.07.2022, <www.hsozkult.de/publicationreview/id/reb-96509>.
At a moment when Lebanon is once again finding itself in deep crisis, maybe its most existential yet, it is easy to fall into the trap of nostalgia and romanticize the past, as it is often done for the period preceding its civil war (1975-1990). Beirut’s long 1960s are often remembered as the “Golden Age” in the city’s history. In Cosmopolitan Radicalism: The Visual Politics of Beirut’s Global Sixties, Zeina Maasri shows the fragility of the image constructed around mid-twentieth century Beirut as a city of leisure and consumption as it was drawn deeper into conflicting transnational circuits. Aiming to look beyond a national framework, the focus is on the city of Beirut along three main axes: the city as a Mediterranean site of tourism and leisure, the rise of the city as a node of pan-Arab publishing, and the city as part of a transnational discourse of revolutionary anti-imperialism following the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Each axis is situated within the global economy and foregrounds the visual politics and aesthetic discourses of the time. Read the full review here.