Cover: In the Shadow of Sectarianism: Law, Shiʿism, and the Making of Modern Lebanon, from Harvard University PressCover: In the Shadow of Sectarianism in HARDCOVER

In the Shadow of Sectarianism

Law, Shiʿism, and the Making of Modern Lebanon

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$55.00 • £47.95 • €50.95

ISBN 9780674052987

Publication Date: 10/30/2010


356 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

2 maps


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An eloquently written and elegantly argued study—from both above and below—of the ways in which sectarianism became an important part of life for the Shiʿi community in mandate Lebanon. Weiss provides a crucial addition to historical scholarship and a critical corrective to narratives that locate the beginnings of Shiʿi collective identity and action with the arrival of Musa al-Sadr on the scene—narratives that remain dominant not only in scholarly work but also in popular imagination in Lebanon. This sophisticated book makes innovative use of underutilized sources and is altogether a fascinating read. It will interest a wide range of readers, including historians, anthropologists, political scientists, Lebanon and Middle East specialists, and anyone interested in processes of political identity formation in the modern world.—Lara Deeb, Scripps College

I know of no other book which explores the development of the different forms of Lebanese Shiʿi sectarianism with such skill, subtlety, intelligence, and good sense.—Roger Owen, Harvard University

This book writes Shiʿis back into the history of modern Lebanon—a history heretofore told almost exclusively from the viewpoint of Maronite Christians and Sunni Muslims. Weiss has done impressive research, especially in his fascinating and original analysis of the Shiʿi court system of the 1930s. The result is important: Shiʿi sectarianism—seen today as inherently violent and radical—began as a gradual and nonviolent coalescence of political and cultural identity.—Elizabeth Thompson, University of Virginia

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