First published in 1986, Lila Abu-Lughod’s Veiled Sentiments has become a classic ethnography in the field of anthropology. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Abu-Lughod lived with a community of Bedouins in the Western Desert of Egypt for nearly two years, studying gender relations, morality, and the oral lyric poetry through which women and young men express personal feelings. The poems are haunting, the evocation of emotional life vivid. But Abu-Lughod’s analysis also reveals how deeply implicated poetry and sentiment are in the play of power and the maintenance of social hierarchy. What begins as a puzzle about a single poetic genre becomes a reflection on the politics of sentiment and the complexity of culture. This thirtieth anniversary edition includes a new afterword that reflects on developments both in anthropology and in the lives of this community of Awlad 'Ali Bedouins, who find themselves increasingly enmeshed in national political and social formations. The afterword ends with a personal meditation on the meaning—for all involved—of the radical experience of anthropological fieldwork and the responsibilities it entails for ethnographers.
First published in 1986, Lila Abu-Lughod’s Veiled Sentiments has become a classic ethnography in the field of anthropology. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Abu-Lughod lived with a community of Bedouins in the Western Desert of Egypt for nearly two years, studying gender relations, morality, and the oral lyric poetry through which women and young men express personal feelings. The poems are haunting, the evocation of emotional life vivid. But Abu-Lughod’s analysis also reveals how deeply implicated poetry and sentiment are in the play of power and the maintenance of social hierarchy. What begins as a puzzle about a single poetic genre becomes a reflection on the politics of sentiment and the complexity of culture. This thirtieth anniversary edition includes a new afterword that reflects on developments both in anthropology and in the lives of this community of Awlad 'Ali Bedouins, who find themselves increasingly enmeshed in national political and social formations. The afterword ends with a personal meditation on the meaning—for all involved—of the radical experience of anthropological fieldwork and the responsibilities it entails for ethnographers.
"A truly extraordinary book--beautifully and modestly written, remarkably insightful, consistently compelling." --Edward Said, author of Out of Place: A Memoir
Extrait de la couverture : " In 1978 Lila Abu-Lughod climbed out of a dusty van to meet members of a small Awlad 'Ali Bedouin community. Living in this Egyptian Bedouin settlement for extended periods during the following decade, Abu-Lughod took part in family life, with its moments of humor, affection, and anger. As the new teller of these tales Abu-Lughod draws on anthropological and feminist insights to construct a critical ethnography. She explores how the telling of these stories challenges the power of anthropological theory to render adequately the lives of others and the way feminist theory appropriates Third World women. Writing Women's Worlds is thus at once a vivid set of stories and a study in the politics of representation."
Zones of social abandonment are emerging everywhere in Brazil’s big cities—places like Vita, where the unwanted, the mentally ill, the sick, and the homeless are left to die. This haunting, unforgettable story centers on a young woman named Catarina, increasingly paralyzed and said to be mad, living out her time at Vita. Anthropologist João Biehl leads a detective-like journey to know Catarina; to unravel the cryptic, poetic words that are part of the "dictionary" she is compiling; and to trace the complex network of family, medicine, state, and economy in which her abandonment and pathology took form. An instant classic, Vita has been widely acclaimed for its bold fieldwork, theoretical innovation, and literary force. Reflecting on how Catarina’s life story continues, this updated edition offers the reader a powerful new afterword and gripping new photographs following Biehl and Eskerod’s return to Vita. Anthropology at its finest, Vita is essential reading for anyone who is grappling with how to understand the conditions of life, thought, and ethics in the contemporary world.
The Bedouin, or ‘desert dwellers’, have a rich cultural heritage often expressed through music and poetry. Here Moneera Al-Ghadeer provides us with the first comparative reading of women’s oral poetry from Saudi Arabia. She examines women’s lyrics of love, desire, mourning and grievance. We come to understand Bedouin mores and - most significantly - the unique description of a desert that is consistently held to be infinite, evocative, stimulating and an eternal freedom. _x000D_ ‘Desert Voices’ asks a number of questions: How should we read oral poetry? Should our approach differ from the analytical models of canonical Arabic poetry? What theoretical insights may be gained from comparative reflection on an excluded feminine oral genre? Can Bedouin women’s oral poems be read with contemporary literary theory/al-nazariya adabiya/pensée?_x000D_ Moneera Al-Ghadeer addresses these questions by translating, analyzing and critically reflecting on the oral poetry material originally collected by Ibn Raddas. She explores different elegies and the rhetoric of mourning and melancholy with particular emphasis on the insights of Sigmund Freud and Judith Butler. The changing face of the Arabian peninsula is documented in Bedouin women’s poetry, through poems composed after the discovery of oil, in which women speak of technology in the form of automobiles, railways, aeroplanes and binoculars. These poems illuminate an important and neglected historical moment that is relevant to certain postcolonial and globalization theories about current crises in the Middle East. _x000D_ Al-Ghadeer faces the problems of translation of oral poetry. What happens to the marginal subject and the minor language - dialect/s - in translation? How can one translate oral poems composed in a nomadic dialect? She uses translation theory as presented by Walter Benjamin, de Man, Derrida and G. C. Spivak and tackles the most obvious translation problem in these poems: the exceedingly rich vocabulary of Bedouin ethos and the multifaceted signification of weather and animal imagery._x000D_ As the first English translation and analysis of this poetry, ‘Desert Voices’ is both a gesture to preserving the oral poetic tradition of women and a radical critique addressing the exclusion of their poetry from current academic literary studies. The book provides invaluable material for reflection in the debates around oral culture and women’s poetic composition while it translates, presents and critically examins a genre, which opens Arabic poetry and literature to contemporary theory and criticism.
Mourning the death of loved ones and recovering from their loss are universal human experiences, yet the grieving process is as different between cultures as it is among individuals. As late as the 1960s, the Wari' Indians of the western Amazonian rainforest ate the roasted flesh of their dead as an expression of compassion for the deceased and for his or her close relatives. By removing and transforming the corpse, which embodied ties between the living and the dead and was a focus of grief for the family of the deceased, Wari' death rites helped the bereaved kin accept their loss and go on with their lives. Drawing on the recollections of Wari' elders who participated in consuming the dead, this book presents one of the richest, most authoritative ethnographic accounts of funerary cannibalism ever recorded. Beth Conklin explores Wari' conceptions of person, body, and spirit, as well as indigenous understandings of memory and emotion, to explain why the Wari' felt that corpses must be destroyed and why they preferred cannibalism over cremation. Her findings challenge many commonly held beliefs about cannibalism and show why, in Wari' terms, it was considered the most honorable and compassionate way of treating the dead.
For outside observers, current events in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank are seldom related to the collective memory of ordinary Palestinians. But for Palestinians themselves, the iniquities of the present are experienced as a continuous replay of the injustice of the past. By focusing on memories of the Nakba or "catastrophe" of 1948, in which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were dispossessed to create the state of Israel, the contributors to this volume illuminate the contemporary Palestinian experience and clarify the moral claims they make for justice and redress. The book's essays consider the ways in which Palestinians have remembered and organized themselves around the Nakba, a central trauma that continues to be refracted through Palestinian personal and collective memory. Analyzing oral histories and written narratives, poetry and cinema, personal testimony and courtroom evidence, the authors show how the continuing experience of violence, displacement, and occupation have transformed the pre-Nakba past and the land of Palestine into symbols of what has been and continues to be lost. Nakba brings to light the different ways in which Palestinians experienced and retain in memory the events of 1948. It is the first book to examine in detail how memories of Palestine's cataclysmic past are shaped by differences of class, gender, generation, and geographical location. In exploring the power of the past, the authors show the urgency of the question of memory for understanding the contested history of the present. Contributors: Lila Abu Lughod, Columbia University; Diana Keown Allan, Harvard University; Haim Bresheeth, University of East London; Rochelle Davis, Georgetown University; Samera Esmeir, University of California, Berkeley; Isabelle Humphries, University of Surrey; Lena Jayyusi, Zayed University; Laleh Khalili, SOAS, University of London; Omar Al-Qattan, filmmaker; Ahmad H. Sa'di, Ben-Gurion University; Rosemary Sayigh, Lebanon-based anthropologist; Susan Slyomovics, University of California, Los Angeles
Between the Nile River and the Red Sea, in the northern half of Egypt's Eastern Desert, live the Bedouins of the Ma'aza tribe. Joseph Hobbs lived with the Khushmaan Ma'aza clan for almost two years, gathering information for a study of traditional Bedouin life and culture. The resulting work, Bedouin Life in the Egyptian Wilderness, is the first modern ethnographic portrait of the Ma'aza Bedouins.
Perhaps the best-documented epidemic in the history of medicine, kuru has been studied for more than fifty years by international investigators from medicine and the human sciences. This significantly revised edition of the landmark anthropological classic Kuru Sorcery brings up to date the anthropological contribution to understanding disease, the medical research that resulted in two medical Nobel Prizes, and the views of the Fore people who endured the epidemic and who still believe that sorcerers, rather than cannibalism, caused kuru. The kuru epidemic serves as a prism through which to see how Fore notions of disease causation bring into single focus their views about the body, the world of social and spiritual relations, and changes in economic and political conditions-aspects of thought and behaviour that Western medicine keeps separate.
"I predict the book will be cited frequently by leaders in the field for some time to come. The analysis is exacting and the scholarship absolutely first-rate."—Kenneth M. George, author of Showing Signs of Violence "An amazing book. . . . A deeply textured and theoretically engaged ethnographic work [that] challenges the conventional analytic division between verbal and material domains."—John Pemberton, author of On the Subject of "Java"
A report like no other from the heart of the Arab Middle East In 1979, Steven C. Caton went to a remote area of Yemen to do fieldwork on the famous oral poetry of its tribes. The recent hostage crisis in Iran made life perilous for a young American in the Middle East; worse, he was soon embroiled in a dangerous local conflict. Yemen Chronicle is Caton's touchingly candid acount of the extraordinary events that ensued. One day a neighboring sheikh came angrily to the sanctuary village where Caton lived, claiming that a man there had abducted his daughter and another girl. This was cause for war, and even though the culprit was captured and mediation efforts launched, tribal hostilities simmered for months. A man who was helping to resolve the dispute befriended Caton, showing him how the poems recited by the belligerents were connected to larger Arab conflicts and giving him refuge when the sanctuary was attacked. Then, unexpectedly, Caton himself was arrested and jailed for being an American spy. It was 2001 before Caton could return toYemen to untangle the story of why he had been imprisoned and what had happened to the missing girls. Placing his contradictory experiences in their full context, Yemen Chronicle is not only an invaluable assessment of classical ethnographic procedures but also a profound meditation on the political, cultural, and sexual components of modern Arab culture.
A major reconsideration of culture and gender by a founder of feminist anthropology. "[An] engaging book. . . . A fine example of the way anthropology helps us to think about ourselves." —Tanya Luhrmann, The New York Times "To have [Ortner's] brilliant writings gathered together in one volume, along with an introduction that is sure to move even further our understanding of gender, is a gift to all of us." —Nancy J. Chodorow, author of The Reproduction of Mothering
Street food vendors are both a symbol and a scourge of Mumbai: cheap roadside snacks are enjoyed by all, but the people who make them dance on a razor's edge of legality. While neighborhood associations want the vendors off cluttered sidewalks, many Mumbaikers appreciate the convenient bargains they offer. In The Slow Boil, Jonathan Shapiro Anjaria draws on his long-term fieldwork with these vendors to make sense of the paradoxes within the city and, thus, to create a better understanding of urban space in general. Much urban studies literature paints street vendors either as oppressed and marginalized victims or as inventive premoderns. In contrast, Anjaria acknowledges that diverse political, economic, historic, and symbolic processes create contradictions in the vendors' everday lives, like their illegality and proximity to the state, and their insecurity and permanence. Mumbai's disorderly sidewalks reflect the simmering tensions over livelihood, democracy, and rights that are central to the city but have long been overlooked. In The Slow Boil, these issues are not subsumed into a larger framework, but are explored on their own terms.
Politics of Piety is a groundbreaking analysis of Islamist cultural politics through the ethnography of a thriving, grassroots women's piety movement in the mosques of Cairo, Egypt. Unlike those organized Islamist activities that seek to seize or transform the state, this is a moral reform movement whose orthodox practices are commonly viewed as inconsequential to Egypt's political landscape. Saba Mahmood's compelling exposition of these practices challenges this assumption by showing how the ethical and the political are indelibly linked within the context of such movements. Not only is this book a sensitive ethnography of a critical but largely ignored dimension of the Islamic revival, it is also an unflinching critique of the secular-liberal assumptions by which some people hold such movements to account. The book addresses three central questions: How do movements of moral reform help us rethink the normative liberal account of politics? How does the adherence of women to the patriarchal norms at the core of such movements parochialize key assumptions within feminist theory about freedom, agency, authority, and the human subject? How does a consideration of debates about embodied religious rituals among Islamists and their secular critics help us understand the conceptual relationship between bodily form and political imaginaries? Politics of Piety is essential reading for anyone interested in issues at the nexus of ethics and politics, embodiment and gender, and liberalism and postcolonialism. In a substantial new preface, Mahmood addresses the controversy sparked by the original publication of her book and the scholarly discussions that have ensued.
Through innovative fieldwork and ethnographic writing, Hecht lays bare the received truths about the lives of Brazilian street children. This book changes the terms of the debate, asking not why there are so many homeless children in Brazil but why - given the oppressive alternative of home life in the shantytowns - there are in fact so few. Speaking in recorded sessions that participants called "radio workshops," street children asked one another questions that even the most experienced researchers would be unlikely to pose. At the center of this study are children who play, steal, sleep, dance, and die in the streets of a Brazilian city. But all around them figure activists, politicians, researchers, "home" children, and a global crisis of childhood.
How do people come to think of themselves as part of a nation? Dramas of Nationhood identifies a fantastic cultural form that binds together the Egyptian nation—television serials. These melodramatic programs—like soap operas but more closely tied to political and social issues than their Western counterparts—have been shown on television in Egypt for more than thirty years. In this book, Lila Abu-Lughod examines the shifting politics of these serials and the way their contents both reflect and seek to direct the changing course of Islam, gender relations, and everyday life in this Middle Eastern nation. Representing a decade's worth of research, Dramas of Nationhood makes a case for the importance of studying television to answer larger questions about culture, power, and modern self-fashionings. Abu-Lughod explores the elements of developmentalist ideology and the visions of national progress that once dominated Egyptian television—now experiencing a crisis. She discusses the broadcasts in rich detail, from the generic emotional qualities of TV serials and the depictions of authentic national culture, to the debates inflamed by their deliberate strategies for combating religious extremism.
Do Muslim Women Need Saving? is an indictment of a mindset that has justified all manner of foreign interference, including military invasion, in the name of rescuing women from Islam. It offers a detailed, moving portrait of the actual experiences of ordinary Muslim women, and of the contingencies with which they live.
Contrary to popular perceptions, newly veiled women across the Middle East are just as much products and symbols of modernity as the upper- and middle-class women who courageously took off the veil almost a century ago. To make this point, these essays focus on the "woman question" in the Middle East (most particularly in Egypt and Iran), especially at the turn of the century, when gender became a highly charged nationalist issue tied up in complex ways with the West. The last two decades have witnessed an extraordinary burst of energy and richness in Middle East women's studies, and the contributors to this volume exemplify the vitality of this new thinking. They take up issues of concern to historians and social thinkers working on the postcolonial world. The essays challenge the assumptions of other major works on women and feminism in the Middle East by questioning, among other things, the familiar dichotomy in which women's domesticity is associated with tradition and modernity with their entry into the public sphere. Indeed, Remaking Women is a radical challenge to any easy equation of modernity with progress, emancipation, and the empowerment of women. The contributors are Lila Abu-Lughod, Marilyn Booth, Deniz Kandiyoti, Khaled Fahmy, Mervat Hatem, Afsaneh Najmabadi, Omnia Shakry, and Zohreh T. Sullivan.The book is introduced by the editor with a piece called "Feminist Longings and Postcolonial Conditions," which masterfully interfaces the critical studies of feminism and modernism with scholarship on South Asia and the Middle East.

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