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Anthropology and the Arab World


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How have anthropologists encountered, written about, and produced the “Arab world” over the past century? Beginning with early Western travelers’ imaginaries of Arabia and ending with a reflection on the role of anthropology (in the Muslim world, and more globally) today, this course provides an introduction to the anthropological project and to the everyday realities of people living in the region. Through ethnographic texts, films, and fieldwork, we will explore such topics as Orientalism and its legacy; constructs of youth, gender, family, and tribe; poetry and mediation; generational and social change; oil, development, and globalization; water, resource scarcity, and environmental governance; transnational labor, migration, and diaspora; the Islamic Revival and religious conversion; faith, medicine, and bioethics; displacement and dispossession; refugees and human rights; the Arab uprisings and their aftermath; and ethnographic representations and responsibilities.

Learning Outcomes

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Topic Outlines

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  • No readings.

Grading Rubric

No grading rubric.


  • Participation
  • Presentation
  • Evening Film Screening
  • Reading Responses


No other.

Course Resources

University website

Uploaded by Common Syllabi on 2023-04-20