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Anne Meneley

In Zabid, Republic of Yemen, women often succumb to an illness called 'fright' (faja'a) when they or their loved ones are, or are believed to be, in danger. The shock of a sudden threat to oneself or one's family, through illness or accident, is said to cause the soul to shake, leaving one vulnerable to 'fright'. This essay traces women's stories about their fright experiences and their recovery (or failure to recover). Zabidi women hold to a worldview inflected by the tenet that 'all is from God', yet ironically fright illnesses, their treatment, and narratives about them dwell uncomfortably on the difficulty of accepting the will of God when it means the loss of a loved one.

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The Accidental Pilgrims

Olive Pickers in Palestine

Anne Meneley

This article focuses on the way in which olive-picking volunteers in Palestine become transformed into 'accidental pilgrims', and unconventional ones at that, by virtue of their participation in the olive harvest. Undergoing the difficulties of mobility that constrain the Palestinians and witnessing holy sites through the eyes and narratives of Palestinian guides, they are exposed to an alternative knowledge and affect regarding the Holy Land, unlike the experience offered by more conventional religious pilgrimage. Several vignettes reflect the diverse backgrounds of olive-picking pilgrims, who come from many different religions, class positions, and nationalities. Drawn together in a communitas of sorts through their shared commitment to learning about Palestine, they try to do what they can to further the Palestinian cause on their return home. Instead of a 'moral geography', they perceive a profoundly 'immoral geography' of occupation and oppression, which has a powerful transformative effect.

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Paul Antze, Janice Boddy, Lawrence Cohen, Vincent Crapanzano, Andrew Lakoff, Michael Lambek, and Anne Meneley

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