Breaking History podcast- Episode 15: Arab Communists in the Interwar Period with Sana Tannoury-Karam

James Robinson's picture
Breaking History- A World History Podcast
Episode 15: Arab Communists in the Interwar Period with Sana Tannoury-Karam
with members of the Northeastern University History Graduate Student Association
Join Jamie Parker and James Robinson as we sit down with PhD candidate Sana Tannoury-Karam to talk about Arab Communists and the Arab Left in the interwar period through World War Two. We talked about Sana's journey from studying economics in Beirut to studying history in Boston. She touches on individuals in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq and the evolution of Communist Parties throughout the Arab world from organic local creativity to strict Stalinism. Sana argues for an "internationalist moment" in the interwar period, contrary of the historiography of the region being sectarian and divided. She recounts her research journeys and difficulties consulting resources in the Middle East, especially with her focus on Lebanon and women's movements with Communism. She also explores the tensions between labor and CPs, and the politics of global anti-fascism.
Books mentioned:
"Colonial Citizens: Republican Rights, Paternal Privilege, and Gender in French Syria and Lebanon" by Elizabeth Thompson
"Militant Women of a Fragile Nation" by Malek Abisaab
"Comrades and Enemies: Arab and Jewish Workers in Palestine, 1906-1948" by Zachary Lockman
"Workers on the Nile: Nationalism, Communism, Islam, and the Egyptian Working Class, 1882-1954" by Joel Beinin, Zachary Lockman
"Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age 1798 -1939" by Albert Hourani
"Liberal Thought in the Eastern Mediterranean: Late 19th Century Until the 1960s" by Christoph Schumann
"The Eastern Mediterranean and the Making of Global Radicalism, 1860-1914" by Ilham Khuri-Makdisi
"The “East” as a Category of Bolshevik Ideology and Comintern Administration: The Arab Section of the Communist University of the Toilers of the East" (article) by Masha Kirasirova 
Picture from Sana's collection:  Workers gathered for the first public celebration of May day in 1925 Beirut. Red flags and slogans of ‘workers of the world unite’.
The Breaking History podcast is a production of the Northeastern University History Graduate Student Association.
Producers and Sound Editors: Matt Bowser and Dan Squizzero
Theme Music: Kieran Legg