An Appraisal of Our Situation in Anthropology and Some Suggestions on Improvement

in Anthropology of the Middle East
Soheila Shahshahani Shahid Beheshti University

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As from this issue of Anthropology of the Middle East, we are planning a new section, open to all readers, to share their academic experience in the Middle East. For those of us working in the region, anthropology has been a difficult field to get established and to contribute its share to the academia of the Middle East and from there to the academia and the public in the Middle East, and to the world of anthropology at large. We have had a variety of difficulties, as you will see in this text, and when we mention them, we realise anthropologists in some other countries far and wide have had similar experiences. Here, we propose to open an arena for expression and discussion with the hope of facilitating the road for younger anthropologists. In doing so, we shall not be pointing the finger at any one person or academic institutions, but wish to adopt a more comprehensive and holistic approach in addressing and solving our problems, and suggesting some solutions.

Contributor Notes

Soheila Shahshahani is Associate Professor at Shahid Beheshti University, and chair of the Commission on the Middle East at the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. Email:

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  • Eriksen, T. E. (2005), Engaging Anthropology: The Case for a Public Presence (London: Bloomsbury).

  • Massé, H. (1938), Croyance et Coutume Persanes (Paris).

  • Shahshahani, S. (1986), ‘History of Anthropology in Iran’, Iranian Studies 19, no. 1: 6586.


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