The 2015 Annual Meetings

At annual meetings in Denver the Middle East Section was pleased to sponsor a number of exciting panels covering the diversity of interests of the section’s membership, including panels on experiences of life in war and on the realities of displaced people, gender and sexuality, neoliberalism, citizenship, and the environment. MES also sponsored several events […]

Anthropological Irony

Cultural Relativism and the Destruction of Cultural Artifacts by the Islamic State Cultural relativism is a theoretical perspective in which the beliefs and activities of the person or group being studied are understood and appreciated within the context of that person or group’s local culture.  The cultural relativistic perspective, as an intellectual tool, can inform an […]

Don’t Throw Out the Baby with Social Evolution

Revisiting “Tribe” in the Middle East and North Africa In college and graduate school, smarting from years of patronizing and homogenizing images of Arabs, I rejected the social evolutionary assumptions in so many of the texts I read. I also argued vehemently against the use of “tribe” in anthropology, a term that appeared to lump […]

The Invasion of the Desert: Expertise, Nationalism, and the Development of Egypt’s Western Desert

2014 AAA Middle East Section Student Paper Prize Winner Though several works have been written about nationalism, development, and social science in Egypt, none address Egyptian Bedouin communities. Omnia al-Shakry’s account of the evolution of Egyptian social science in The Great Social Laboratory concludes with a Nasser-era project to settle the country’s deserts with Egyptians […]