Sulh is a centuries-old Arab-Islamic peacemaking practice. Rasha Diab explores the possibilities and limits of the rhetoric of sulh as it is used to resolve interpersonal, communal, and (inter)national conflicts—with a case illustrating each of these domains. The cases range from medieval to contemporary times and are analyzed using both rhetorical and critical discourse analyses.
Rasha Diab is assistant professor of rhetoric and writing and affiliate in the departments of English and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
“A rich, important, and fascinating study. Troubling programmatic accounts of conflict resolution and challenging traditional approaches to the study of Arab and Arab-Islamic discourse, Diab offers a groundbreaking investigation into the initiation, performance, and stakes of sulh. She sheds crucial light on the deep and complex relationship between peacemaking, transitional justice, and reconciliation. Her work deserves close consideration by scholars of rhetoric, politics, Islamic studies, law, anthropology, and human rights.”—Erik Doxtader, University of South Carolina and Institute for Justice and Reconciliation
“This in-depth examination of sulh rhetoric is much needed and makes an essential contribution to the study of sulh as an indigenous and homegrown peacemaking tool. Rooted in Arab and Islamic cultural and religious sources, sulh indeed can be seen as ‘the gift of possibility’ for many of our current challenges in responding to conflicts.”—Mohammed Abu-Nimer, American University, International Peace and Conflict Resolution
Sulh is a centuries-old Arab-Islamic peacemaking process. In Shades of Sulh, Rasha Diab explores the possibilities of the rhetoric of sulh, as it is used to resolve intrapersonal, interpersonal, communal, national, and international conflicts, and provides cases that illustrate each of these domains. Diab demonstrates the adaptability and range of sulh as a ritual and practice that travels across spheres of activity (juridical, extra-juridical, political, diplomatic), through time (medieval, modern, contemporary), and over geopolitical borders (Cairo, Galilee, and Medina). Together, the cases prove the flexibility of sulh in the discourse of peacemaking—and that sulh has remarkable rhetorical longevity, versatility, and richness. Shades of Sulh sheds new light on rhetorics of reconciliation, human rights discourse, and Arab-Islamic rhetorics.