A Companion to the Anthropology of the Middle East by Soraya Altorki

By Soraya Altorki

A significant other to the Anthropology of the center East provides a finished evaluation of present traits and destiny instructions in anthropological examine and activism within the smooth center East.

  • Offers serious views at the theoretical, methodological, and pedagogical targets of anthropology within the center East
  • Analyzes the stipulations of cultural and social transformation within the heart jap quarter and its kin with different parts of the world
  • Features contributions via most sensible specialists in quite a few heart East anthropological specialties
  • Features in-depth insurance of concerns drawn from faith, the humanities, language, politics, political economic climate, the legislations, human rights, multiculturalism, and globalization

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Other. Historical work on the “anthropology of mobility” has been key to reimagining the notion of “regions” and cultures. 5 Historical anthropology also enables a focus on groups and communities that elude both colonial categories and the majoritarian logic of the nation‐state. Hakem Al Rustom (Chapter 22) shows, for instance, how focusing on Anatolian Armenians unsettles the boundaries between the Balkans and the Middle East in post‐Ottoman lands, inevitably blurring the borders and expanding the boundaries of ethnographic inquiry.

It has also revived debates on the question agency and its allied trope of resistance (see Chapter 3 for a detailed discussion), put firmly on the agenda by Saba Mahmood’s (2005) work on pious women in da’wa groups in Egypt, showing how their cultivation of virtue points to a different register of selfhood (and agency) than that predicated by feminist theory. To the extent that the intended target of Mahmood’s critique was the feminist notion of agency (with its emphasis on freedom from relations of subordination) and ultimately the liberal secular tradition itself, this was not merely an ethnography centering on the life worlds of a particular group of women who chose to foreground their faith in their everyday lives, but a statement about the incommensurability of their sensibilities with those of the secular West (and presumably with subjectivities touched by it, such as those of Egyptian secular feminists, apparently incapable of grasping pious women’s reasoning).

1 If the missionary was one of the key figures of the Spanish conquest of the Americas, the trained administrator was certainly an important player in the Middle East and North Africa. 2 This “original sin” has not only haunted the discipline and its vexed politics of representation (a matter not necessarily remedied by the inclusion of a growing number of “native” anthropologists based either in Western academe or in universities in their own countries or regions), but has also fuelled passionate debates on the nature and effects of colonial encounters, post‐coloniality, modernity, liberalism, secularism, and, more recently, neo‐liberalism.

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