Mandatory bodybuilding : nationalism, masculinity, class, and physical culture in 1930s Syria
Thesis (M.A.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. In this thesis, I argue that over the course of the 1930s in Syria, male bodies and the nation became increasingly linked under the purview of the state. Physical culture figured prominently in this process; by the end of the decade, physical fitness had become a national imperative. I rely on the Damascus daily newspaper Al-Qabas, published by the most prominent nationalist group of the period, the National Bloc, to trace the ways physical culture manifested itself in the varied spaces of the football stadium, the scouting camp, and the boxing ring. Beset by the continued French colonial presence and numerous subaltern challenges to their own power, elites used these national performances to consolidate both a hierarchical social order domestically and assert membership in a world order of nation-states. The ultimate suggestion is that these performances functioned as key precursors to the mass political movements of the post-independence period.
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