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BSocSc Social Anthropology
Explore human behaviour and relationships and the challenges across different cultures.

BSocSc Social Anthropology

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Contemporary Issues in the Social Anthropology of the Middle East

Unit code SOAN30122
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Anthropology
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

 

This course is designed to critically interrogate some of the longstanding stereotypical images and representations of the Middle East region, with a specific focus on Arab-majority societies. The course relies on comparative anthropological approaches to examine contemporary issues that emerge in everyday life and that shed light on what it means to live in or be connected to this ever-changing region. The sessions will weave together themes that explore the concept of ‘modernity’ in its specific cultural contexts, not least by challenging the enduring dichotomy of ‘tradition and modernity’. We will explore changing gender relations, everyday Islam and emergent moralities, the construction of the political through belonging, resistance and protest, and globalisation through unpacking new forms of media and consumption, cultural production and human mobility. By focusing on ethnographic approaches, the course aims to provide students with a nuanced understanding of the heterogeneity of the region and the diversity of its peoples.

Aims

This course is designed to critically interrogate some of the longstanding stereotypical images and representations of the Middle East region, with a specific focus on Arab-majority societies. The course relies on comparative anthropological approaches to examine contemporary issues that emerge in everyday life and that shed light on what it means to live in or be connected to this ever-changing region. The sessions will weave together themes that explore the concept of ‘modernity’ in its specific cultural contexts, not least by challenging the enduring dichotomy of ‘tradition and modernity’. We will explore changing gender relations, everyday Islam and emergent moralities, the construction of the political through belonging, resistance and protest, and globalisation through unpacking new forms of media and consumption, cultural production and human mobility. By focusing on ethnographic approaches, the course aims to provide students with a nuanced understanding of the heterogeneity of the region and the diversity of its peoples.

 

Learning outcomes

 

By the end of the course, the students should be able to:

  • Have a critical understanding of some of the changing concerns of the anthropology of the Middle East and set them in a historical, political and socio-economic context.
  • Appreciate the ethnographic diversity of the region.
  • Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate mainstream knowledge production of the Middle East (news, film, reports etc.).
  • Make some theoretical links between the anthropology of the Middle East and mainstream anthropological themes.

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and Discussions.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Students will receive online feedback on the News Report and on the Final Essay.

Recommended reading

 

  • Bonnie, Michael E. (2012). ‘Of Maps and Regions. Where is the Geographer’s Middle East?’ In Michael E. Bonnie, Abbas Amanat and Michael Ezekiel Gasper (eds.). Is there a Middle East? The Evolution of a Geopolitical Concept. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. PP. 56-99.
  • Deeb, Lara and Jessica Winegar (2012). ‘Anthropologies of Arab-Majority Societies’. Annual Review of Anthropology. Vol. 41: 537-558.
  • Hafez, Sherine (2011). An Islam of Her Own: Reconsidering Religion and Secularism in Women's Islamic Movements. NYU Press. Available online.
  • Ghannam, Farha (2013). Live and Die Like a Man Gender Dynamics in Urban Egypt. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Blue Area Floor 2 (396.4 G7 ).
  • Schielke, Samuli (2015). Egypt in the Future Tense. Hope, Frustration and Ambivalence Before and after 2011. Bloomington: Indiana.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 30
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Michelle Obeid Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Information
Length of Course: 12 weeks

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