Anthropological perspectives (offered May 2014; tentatively scheduled May 2016)
A veil of mystery and stereotyping obscures Arab women’s lives in the Middle East and the global Arab diaspora. This course investigates Arab women’s dilemmas and perspectives on identity, faith, politics and representation through readings and discussion based on ethnographies and cultural studies. Examine gender/power relations in Arab cultural contexts in the Middle East and diaspora; rethink Orientalism; explore diverse voices, hybridity, modernity, community, tradition and contemporary media.
Adely, Fida. (2012). Gendered paradoxes: Educating Jordanian women in nation, faith and progress. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
PLUS ONE Optional ethnography, to be assigned:
Abu-Lughod, L. (1999). Veiled sentiments: Honor and poetry in a Bedouin society. Berkeley CA, University of California Press.
Abu-Lughod, L. (1993). Writing women’s worlds: Bedouin stories. Berkeley CA, University of California Press.
Deeb, L. (2006). An enchanted modern: Gender and public piety in Shi’i Lebanon. Princeton, Princeton University Press.
Fernea, E. W. (1969). Guests of the sheik: An ethnography of an Iraqi village. Garden City NY, Doubleday & Company.
Tarlo, E. (2010). Visibly Muslim: Fashion, politics, faith. New York, Berg
DRAFT ONLY: Sample of past assignments
30% Five Critical Responses to class videos, textbook chapters and articles
Your Responses should be more than summaries or descriptions. Critically examine and comment on each video or text, noticing biases and assumptions in your own analysis as well as in the video or text itself. Be reflective and support your opinions with reference to class readings and discussions, anthropological frameworks and/or personal experiences. Each Response should be approximately two pages (typed and double-spaced), and demonstrate your understanding of and engagement with the material.
5% Panel discussion & informal presentation of Assigned Journal Article
15% Team presentation of assigned ethnography
Groups of 5-7 students will collaboratively prepare a presentation on an assigned ethnography to the class. Time will be provided during class for team preparation.
Your team is responsible for teaching the book to the rest of the class. A group mark will be awarded based on instructor, peer, and self-evaluations.
20% Critical Essay on assigned text
This assignments has two objectives: to allow you to explore significant themes and ideas in greater depth, and to develop and demonstrate your ability to critically read and analyze an ethnography. Your analysis should be well supported by evidence from multiple sources.
20% Final open book essay exam (take-home or in- class option)
Write two short essay responses to questions selected from the provided list. You may bring books, articles, and notes. No computer or digital devices are permitted, except by advance permission of instructor.
10% Class participation and attendance
Participation marks will be based on your attendance and contribution to class discussions and activities. Although a small portion of your final mark, if yours is a borderline case this could be a letter grade difference. The starting point for your participation mark will be your current class average; the quality of your participation has the potential to raise or lower your mark a letter grade (e.g. from B+ to A- ).
Required readings must be read before class. Everyone should come to class prepared to discuss the assigned readings. Students are expected to attend all scheduled classes, and to actively participate in class discussions. If you must miss a class, please try to inform the instructor BEFORE it begins.