Clothed-Minded Views on Burqinis

In late August, a Muslim woman on a beach in Nice, France was forced to remove her top and was allegedly fined for wearing a burqini, a modest full-body swimsuit that has been banned in Nice and several French towns. The photo of the incident went viral, furthering the divisive debate in Europe about clothing that […]

Bint al-Wadi’i

Bint al-Wadi’i, Al-Ahjur, Yemen (circa 1944-2016), الله يرحمها ويعوض اهلها Written in memory of a friend whose support was crucial to my understanding of life and etiquette during my ethnographic research in Yemen. In 1978-79, my husband, Daniel Varisco, and I spent 18 months conducting dissertation fieldwork in the beautiful basin of al-Ahjur, located in […]

Theology and Anthropology

Years ago the anthropologist Akbar Ahmad argued for a specific “Islamic anthropology,” one that merged the principles of anthropology with those of his religious faith. An orthodox believer who accepts the Quran as the literal word of God, like the Evangelical Christian who insists the original Biblical texts were verbally inspired by God, is not free […]