Spring 2009

Anthropology of the Middle East

Listed in: Anthropology and Sociology, as ANTH-31  |  Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-41


Christopher T. Dole (Section 01)


(Also Asian 41.) Beginning with an historical eye toward the ways that the “West” has discovered, translated, and written about the “Orient,” this seminar will use anthropological readings, documentary film, and literary accounts to consider a range of perspectives on the region commonly referred to as the Middle East. Rather than attempting a survey of the entire region, the course will take a thematic approach and explore such topics as:Islam and secularism; colonialism and postcoloniality; gender and political mobilization; media and globalization; and the politics and ethics of nation building. As an anthropology course, the class will take up these themes through richly contextualized accounts of life within the region. While it is recognized that the Middle East is incredibly heterogeneous, particular attention will given to the influence and role of Islam. By the end of the seminar, students will have gained a broad understanding of some of the most pressing issues faced within the area, while grappling with advanced theoretical readings. No previous knowledge of the Middle East is assumed. Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Professor C. Dole.