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Open access

Cuisines traditionnelles d’Algérie

l’art d’accommoder l’histoire et la géographie

Rachid Sidi Boumedine

Pour les touristes, la cuisine de l’Algérie n’est pas codifiée comme celle des autres pays voisins. Conscient de la variation climatique et la diversité des productions agro-pastorales, ainsi que de l’histoire du contact avec les anciennes civilisations de Rome à Ottomane, Abbasside, Perse et Andalus l’auteur montre l’importance et la richesse de la nourriture. Dans les milieux urbains, les aliments des migrants rappellent leurs origines. Des plats comme «dolma» et «kefta», des sauces de tomate ou l’utilisation du cumin en sont témoins et l’auteur souligne bien les relations historiques et toutes les adaptations locales. Un autre sujet abordé par l’auteur c’est l’ordre et la manière de la présentation des repas, différents selon les situations : une fête, une occasion particulière ou bien un repas quotidien et de tous les jours. Autrement dit, les repas sont considérés comme un cadeau impliquant un rituel ou une continuation des relations. La nourriture identifie les classes sociales et explique les relations entre les gens. Elle n’est pas donc la simple compilation d’ingrédients, mais une donne culturelle ayant une identité à la fois sociale, économique et historique explorée historiquement par l’auteur.

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Folktales, Folksongs, and Proverbs in Lur/Iranian Daily Life

Erika Friedl Melds Folklore and Ethnography to Develop a New Anthropological Genre

Mary Elaine Hegland

Erika Friedl, Folk Tales from a Persian Tribe: Forty-Five Tales from Sisakht in Luri and English, Collected, Transcribed, Translated and Commented on by Erika Friedl (Dortmund, Germany:Verlag für Orientkunde, 2007); Folktales and Storytellers of Iran: Culture, Ethos, and Identity (London: I.B. Tauris, 2014); Warm Hearts and Sharp Tongues: Life in 555 Proverbs from the Zagros Mountains of Iran (Vienna: New Academic Press, 2015); and Folksongs from the Mountains of Iran: Culture, Poetics and Everyday Philosophies (London: I.B. Tauris, 2018).

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The Greek Catholic Community and its Collective Memories

Religious Orders, Monasteries and Confessional Dynamics in Lebanon

Rodrigo Ayupe Bueno da Cruz

This article analyses the role of the Salvatorian and Chouerite monastic orders and their principal convents in producing collective memories among the Greek Catholic community in Lebanon. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Lebanon over the course of several months between December 2014 and 2020, I argue that the historical importance of both orders in the Patriarchate’s foundation and the popularity of some of their local symbols, priests and museums have transformed them into privileged places to transmit community memories. Last, these collective memories have contributed not only to constructing a Greek Catholic identity but also to maintaining this community within the Lebanese political-religious field.

Open access

The History in Procession

Shiʿite Identity Formation through Frames of Arbaʿyin Pilgrimage Narrative

Ahmad Shekarchi

This article investigates emerging patterns of pilgrimage in the context of Shiʿite Islam and studies the case of Arbaʿyin based on two weeks of participatory observation, walking from the al-Faw peninsula in the far south of Iraq to the city of Karbalâ. I identify three narratives in this pilgrimage—tribal, ideological and orthodox—and discuss their commonalities and differentials. The maʿāzīb system of the tribal narrative is the core of the comparison, yet each narrative is interrelated with the others through the central themes of war, political Islam and religious seminaries. In the last section, I explore recent transformations of these themes as well as the pilgrims’ configuration. The tribal narrative of Arbaʿyin presents itself as a rival to the ideological narrative pilgrimage. Although this narrative is based on the social structure of a tribal system, it struggles with new transformations and challenges in form and content.

Open access

Identity in Sensible and Ephemeral Experiences

Religion, History, Society and Politics Revisited through Everyday Life Practices, Tourism, Symbols and Rituals

Soheila Shahshahani

In this introduction I try to bring together the commonalities of articles which are about many different topics, including food, nationalism, rituals, the creation of icons, the importance of tourism, language, and celebrations that give meaning to the lives of very diverse people. Perhaps the Middle East as the crescent of civilisation can be comprehended in a nutshell in this collection of articles, which are written mostly by anthropologists but also by a political scientist and sociologists, to show the viability of methodology of anthropology.

Open access

The Interaction between Language and Ritual in the Pilgrimage of Shabe-Arus (Wedding Night)

An Anthropological Comprehension of the Mystical and Transnational Role of the Persian Language in Konya, Turkey

Alireza Hassanzadeh and Somayeh Karimi

The Persian language, which can have various manifestations and functions, is one of the main elements of the Shabe-arus (Wedding Night) ritual (17 December, Rumi Mausoleum, Konya). Along with other significant elements such as Samâ and mystic music, the Persian language has a significant role and function in the mentioned ritual. Employing an anthropological approach, this study examines and analyses the role of the Persian language in the ritual. The main research question concerned the Persian language’s position and role and the analysis, explanation, and recognition of this role. This study shows that the mystical context of the ritual gives transnational significance and function to the Persian language in the Wedding Night ritual. This meaning is strongly indebted to the mystical paradigm in Rumi’s mysticism, which is represented as the junction of the ritual and language, granting the Persian language an intercultural and multisensory dimension.

Open access

A Love That Lasts Beyond the Grave

Animals, Companionship, and Death in Muslim Societies

Itamar Toussia Cohen

‘If I have a bird, or an animal, and it were to die, what should I do?’ ‘Is it forbidden to read verses over the deceased animal, especially when some people may consider the animal part of the family?’ These questions, excerpts from posts in online Islamic advice forums, enfold several notions not usually associated with Muslim societies, such as the practice of non-utilitarian petkeeping, the sentimental anthropomorphisation of house pets, and a deep concern for the spiritual well-being of the departed companion. This article examines the convergence of interspecies companionship and death by exploring the possibility of an Islamic animal eschatology; the material attributes of death, funerary rites, and burial architecture; and the history of emotional relationships between humans and nonhuman animals in the Muslim world.

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Unleavened Bread and Kosher Wine

Identity Markers of the Jewish Community in Tunis under Protectorate? (1881–1956)

Nessim Znaien

By using literary sources and the administrative correspondence, I question the construction of a Jewish identity in colonial Tunisia through food products and their distribution networks. Unleavened bread and kosher wine were two staple products in the daily life of the Tunisian Jewish community. The merchant networks selling these products were numerous. In the travel narratives, the French colonial elites did not always link the Jewish community to these products. Unleavened bread and kosher wine, however, remained essential identity markers of the community, and their sale was used to finance the relief and charity fund created in 1905 by the colonial authorities through a system of taxes. Unleavened bread and kosher wine production were managed by the Chief Rabbi and the various stakeholders who contested that monopoly used economic and religious arguments.

Open access

‘We Are the Citizens of a Nation Called Lebanon’

An Ethnographic Case on Sectarianism in Lebanon and the Limits It Imposes on Its Youth

Riwa Haidar

This article looks at how the confessional system of government in Lebanon creates limits in younger citizens’ professional opportunities. These limitations are not directly implemented by the government system, per se, as this article will show. Instead, it is through it that the sectarian identification amongst the older generations became what it is today, and how, in the case of Lebanon specifically, it indirectly led to the following of strict quotas that, instead of offering equal opportunities, created sectarian obstacles that could not be overcome. This article focuses on the youth of Lebanon, notably university students, portraying how in parallel to the limitations faced and frustrations expressed by the students, a new nationalistic identification is rising amongst them as they come to realisation with the issues of confessionalism as a political system.

Open access

William F.S. Miles

Novitiates to the study of Middle Eastern faiths ‘know’ that much of the Druze religion is—paradoxically—unknowable: Druze sacred texts are regarded as closely guarded secrets. Not even Druze themselves are granted access to these scriptures if they have not taken a vow to become normatively observant. However, the decision to become Orthodox is not subject to similar confidentiality. Interviews with over a dozen religious Druze men in Israel on their decisions for becoming uqqal (religious; ‘Orthodox’) elicited a variety of responses. Their decisions were inflected, in part, by their experiences as Israelis, including several years of military service and exposure to the wider Jewish society. One’s identity as an Orthodox Druze is different in a Jewish state compared to a Muslim state: no religion is a nation unto itself.