Fall 2013

Anthropology and the Middle East

Listed in: Anthropology and Sociology, as ANTH-331  |  Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-341

Formerly listed as: ANTH-31  |  ASLC-41


Christopher T. Dole (Section 01)


(Offered as ANTH 331 and ASLC 341 [WA].)  In an era where “terrorism” has eclipsed the nuclear fears of the Cold War and become associated with a radicalism that is portrayed as at once militant, anti-Western, and bound to a particular region (the Middle East) and religion (Islam), the task of this seminar--to examine the everyday realities of people living throughout the Middle East--has become all the more critical.  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 be 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 at the same time grappling with advanced theoretical readings.  No previous knowledge of the Middle East is assumed.

Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor C. Dole.

ANTH 331 - L/D

Section 01
Tu 02:30 PM - 03:50 PM CHAP 203
Th 02:30 PM - 03:50 PM CHAP 203

This is preliminary information about books for this course. Please contact your instructor or the Academic Coordinator for the department, before attempting to purchase these books.

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
Enchanted Modern Deeb Amherst Books TBD
Inventing Iraq: The Failure of Nation Building and a History Denied Dodge Amherst Books TBD
Istanbul: Memories and the City Pamuk Amherst Books TBD
Memories of Revolt: The 1936-1939 Rebellion and the Palestinian National Past Swedenburg Amherst Books TBD
Orientalism Said Amherst Books TBD
Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject Mahmood Amherst Books TBD
Veiled Sentiments Abu-Lughhod Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2019