Rafiq Bey’s Public Spectacles
This introductory chapter discusses the significance of the remaking of Palestine as an autonomous geographic entity within greater Syria and the Ottoman Arab provinces. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Filistin was not a separate administrative unit within the Ottoman sultanate, but the term Filistin was designated for a region embedded in the provinces of Bilad al-Sham (Syria). It was frequently used to indicate the southern region of Syria, corresponding to the combined sanjaqs (districts) of Akka, Nablus, and Jerusalem. In this regard, the chapter states that the importance of Rafiq al-Tamimi's work is that it provided unique ethnographic distinctions to each of those districts, with detailed and sharp field observations about the customs, mores, and cultural practices of southern Syria as a whole.
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