Anthropology/Sociology


women

The women of Iran – 120 years ago

Antoin Sevruguin, the father of Iranian society photography, captured portraits of Iranian women in the early 20th century, from well-known ladies at the court to women from various tribes around the country.

Click here to see the photographs.

mernissi
by Scheherazade Bloul, Morocco World News, Monday 30 November 2015

Rabat – One of Morocco’s most celebrated feminist writers and sociologists passed away aged 75, on Monday.

Born in 1940, in Fes, Fatima Mernissi became known for her significant contributions in the literary field through which she focused on reconciling traditional Islam with progressive feminism.

The author of classics such as Beyond the Veil, The Veil and the Male Elite, Islam and Democracy and countless more publications, the campaigner for women’s rights gained international attention for her work on Islam and women. (more…)

For those interested in the issue, the recently published July issue of International Sociology (30:4) is devoted to the Arab uprisings. It includes articles on the relations of revolution to such various dimensions as space, cultural symbols, microdynamics of mobilization, political Islam, and current scholarship:

Contents

Mohammed Bamyeh and Sari Hanafi, “Introduction to the special issue on Arab uprisings”

Atef Said, “We ought to be here: Historicizing space and mobilization in Tahrir Square”

Zaynab El Bernoussi, “The postcolonial politics of dignity: From the 1956 Suez nationalization to the 2011 Revolution in Egypt”

Hatem M Hassan, “Extraordinary politics of ordinary people: Explaining the microdynamics of popular committees in revolutionary Cairo”

Mazhar al-Zo’by and Birol Başkan, “Discourse and oppositionality in the Arab Spring: The case of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UAE”

Nada AlMaghlouth, Rigas Arvanitis, Jean-Philippe Cointet, and Sari Hanafi, “Who frames the debate on the Arab uprisings? Analysis of Arabic, English, and French academic scholarship”

by M. Jamil Hanafi

[This is a paper that was originally published under the title of “Anthropology and the Representation of Recent Migrations from Afghanistan,” as it appeared in Rethinking Refuge and Displacement: Selected Papers on Refugees and Immigrants, Volume VIII, 2000. Arlington, VA: American Anthropological Association. Eds. E. M. Godziak and D. J. Shandy. Pp. 291-321. Given the intense interest in Afghanistan today, this article is made available on this site in the interest of wider accessibility. Copyright remains with the author.]

Abstract:
The April 1978 revolution in Afghanistan and the subsequent armed intervention in the country by the Soviet Union in December 1979 prompted millions of Afghans to migrate to Iran and Pakistan. About 200,000 of these migrants were resettled in Europe, the United States, Canada, and Australia. Thousands of others have moved to the Gulf States, India, Russia, and Turkey. This paper provides a critical analysis of selected writings by anthropologists regarding these Afghan migrants. With minor exceptions, these writings are passionately political, narrow in scope, anti-Russian, and designed to embarrass the USSR and the Revolutionary Government of Afghanistan. The author argues, however, that the vast majority of Afghans who left Afghanistan were economic migrants and suggests that the anthropological analysis of recent migrations from the country needs to be framed in historical processes, global capitalism, and the Cold-War competition between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Anthropologists often bemoan their perceived lack of impact on public policy and discourse. In the case of Afghanistan, as I will demonstrate, the opposite is true. Anthropologists are products of the ideological environments in which they live; the writings on recent migrations from Afghanistan by anthropologists are framed by passionate politicized discourse.

Ethnography can be seen as a means by which anthropology, or the systematic study and understanding of the human condition, is achieved.1 Ethnographic writings on Afghan migrants have tended to fall into two categories: macro-and micro-specialist writings. Both forms, I propose, are framed by political opposition to the Soviet Union and the post-1978 revolutionary government of Afghanistan. (more…)

Islamic Africa is a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary, academic journal published online and in print. Incorporating the journal Sudanic Africa, Islamic Africa publishes original research concerning Islam in Africa from the social sciences and the humanities, as well as primary source material and commentary essays related to Islamic Studies in Africa. The journal’s geographic scope includes the entire African continent and adjacent islands. Islamic Africa encourages intellectual excellence and seeks to promote scholarly interaction between Africa-based scholars and those located institutionally outside the continent.

Thinking About Tradition, Religion, and Politics in Egypt Today

by Talal Asad, Critical Inquiry

I have used the term “tradition” in my writings in two ways: first, as a theoretical location for raising questions about authority, time, language use, and embodiment; and second, as an empirical arrangement in which discursivity and materiality are connected through the minutiae of everyday living.[1] The discursive aspect of tradition is primarily a matter of linguistic acts passed down the generations as part of a form of life, a process in which one learns/relearns “how to do things with words,” sometimes reflectively and sometimes unthinkingly, and learns/relearns how to comport one’s body and how to feel in particular contexts. Embodied practices help in the acquisition of aptitudes, sensibilities, and propensities through repetition until such time as the language guiding practice becomes redundant. Through such practices one can change oneself—one’s physical being, one’s emotions, one’s language, one’s predispositions, as well as one’s environment. Tradition stands opposed both to empiricist theories of knowledge and relativist theories of justice. By this I mean first and foremost that tradition stresses embodied, critical learning rather than abstract theorization. Empiricist theories of knowledge assert the centrality of sensory experience and evidence, but in doing so they ignore the prior conceptualization carried by tradition. My sensory experience is incommensurable with yours. It is only through language (integral to a shared form of life), and the conceptualization that language makes possible, that we can develop argument and knowledge as collective processes. Critique is central to a living tradition; it is essential to how its followers assess the relevance of the past for the present, and the present for the future. It is also essential for understanding the nature of circumstance, and therefore the possibility of changing elements of circumstances that are changeable. Relativist theories of justice assert that “justice” is simply the name for the norms that actually guide and regulate a people’s form of life. And yet what other people consider to be justice is part of the circumstance that confront the followers of every living tradition. As such it constitutes a challenge to every critical tradition, an invitation to change contingent aspects of one’s tradition, or of the circumstances in which it is embedded, or both. This is not a challenge of abstract theories but of embodied (and yet criticizable) ways of life.

For the rest of this article, click here.

Time Magazine has a photographic essay on “Exploring the Mawlids of Egypt.”

Reuters has an interesting photo essay of recent bullfighting in the UAE.

Two bulls lock their horns during a bullfight in the eastern emirate of Fujairah October 17, 2014. There are no matadors or picadors, but bulls locking horns with each other draw big crowds to bullfights in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). An hour’s drive from the dancing water fountains of Dubai’s glitzy downtown, hundreds of fans gather in Fujairah to watch bulls fighting, or perhaps more accurately head butting, with honour rather than money at stake. The UAE sport involves two bulls locking horns in a three-to-four minute Sumo-wrestling-like fight that usually ends with no bloodshed. Picture taken October 17, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

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