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Insurgent Feminisms: Writing War brings together ten years of writing published on Warscapes magazine through the lens of gender and advances a new paradigm of war writing. War is always, ultimately, fought upon the backs of women, often under the pretense of saving them. Yet, along the way, the brutalities unleashed on women during wartime remain relentless. In this collection, insurgency emerges in the raw and meticulous language of witnessing, and in the desire to render the space of conflict in radically different ways. There are no paeans to courageous soldiers here, nor pat nationalist rhetoric, nor bravado about saving lives. These perspectives on war come out of regions and positions that defy stereotypical war reportage or the expected war story. They disobey the rules of war writing and do not subordinate themselves to the usual themes and tropes that we have become so used to reading. Instead, Insurgent Feminisms advances a new paradigm of war writing. These perspectives on war come out of regions and positions that defy stereotypical war reportage or the expected war story. Insurgent Feminisms comprises reportage, fiction, memoir, poetry and conversations from over sixty writers and includes contributions by Nathalie, Handal, Anne Nivat, Ubah Cristina Ali Farah, Suchitra Vijayan, Chika Unigwe, Bélen Fernández, Uzma Falak, Otoniya Juliane Okot Bitek, Gaiutra Bahadur, Robtel Neajai Pailey, Sumana Roy and Lina Mounzer, among several others.
Bhakti Shringarpure co-founded Warscapes magazine in November 2011 and it has now transitioned into the Radical Books Collective.
Veruska Cantelli is a writer, translator and editor who teaches interdisciplinary studies at Champlain College in Vermont, USA.
A fictionalised account of a slave rebellion in Roman Sicilia more than sixty years before Spartacus, it tells the story of the slave Younis from Afamia (now in Syria), a mystic and seer who led a great uprising sustained much longer than Spartacus’s. As with Messinian rebellion against Spartan oppression centuries earlier, the West has been slow to take such events seriously and reinstate their presence in popular culture as expressions of human spirituality and resistance. The role of seers as leaders is reminiscent of Ayi Kwei Armah’s The Healers on ancient Africa. This book is a fascinating and brilliant telling of popular struggle. It is a minor classic.— Michael Neocosmos, Emeritus Professor in Humanities, Rhodes University, South Africa, author of Thinking Freedom; Towards a theory of emancipatory politics
I highly recommend Basem Ra’ad’s compelling and deeply researched historical novel about the fire-breathing Syrian slave who challenged Roman might in the second century BCE, seeking independence for his thousands of followers. This little-known story of resistance deserves wide attention … an amazing and important story. — Adrienne Mayor, Department of Classics, Stanford University, author, The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy
What Basem L. Ra’ad has done in this remarkable novel about slave uprisings is to demonstrate how ‘the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.’ He shows why the dominant discourse needs to be revised. A moving story that casts light on many strifes in our times. — Tariq Mehmood, author, Song of Gulzarina, Associate Professor, American University of Beirut
Slave King disrupts two millennia of malign stories about one of antiquity’s original slave revolts. Not cannibals, not demons, but slaves, farmers and herdsmen created a kingdom of equality and compassion. In vivid prose and deep knowledge, Ra’ad re-imagines freedom emerging from Mediterranean multicultural shores. It is a profound re-creation of history in thrilling fiction. —Hilton Obenzinger, author of Witness 2017-2020 and American Palestine: Melville, Twain, and the Holy Land Mania
Slave King recreates a major slave revolt in Sicily led by a Syrian magus turned leader, circa 140-132 BCE, decades before Spartacus. He forges a coalition of slaves, farmers and herders to defeat Roman legions and establish an egalitarian entity. The novel uses biased ancient sources but challenges them to speak for the oppressed and provide alternative cultural-historical perspectives relevant to the present. Among its chapters are scenes of exorcism, crucifixion, ancient marriage customs, a play, and several battles.