We ask key questions about why we need to address the writing of cultural histories now and why it matters. Who are the key writers of MENA’s cultural histories? In which languages and under what social conditions were these histories written? How have these writers responded to socio-cultural, political and technological transformations in the region? Through which conceptual frameworks have they understood the region? Why have they focused on some countries and ignored others? What type of epistemologies and theorisations of 'culture' and 'history' still dominate the writing of cultural history of this region? What role have Middle Eastern and North African cultural historians played in cultural translation and subsequently in reimagining the cultural history of their region? What elements of their legacies need to be challenged; who is challenging them today, and how?
This Arabic short story published in New York during the Prohibition Era uses science fiction to imagine just how far banning certain beverages could possibly go. Raphael Cormack translated the story into English, and includes an introduction which contextualizes the story and 'Al-Akhlaq' journal as part of a larger Arabic literature and news scene set in New York in the early 20th century