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Publications, Films and Conferences

Zuzanna Olszewska, Veronica Doubleday, Irene Kucera, Michael Humphrey, Mary Elaine Hegland, Soheila Shahshahani, Marcia Inhorn, Suad Joseph, Soraya Tremayne and José-Alberto Navarro


Coburn, Noah (2011), Bazaar Politics: Power and Pottery in an Afghan Market Town (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press). 254 pp. ISBN 978-0-8047- 7672-1.

Heath, Jennifer and Zahedi, Ashraf (eds.) (2009), Land of the Unconquerable: The Lives of Contemporary Afghan Women (Berkeley: University of California Press). 393 pp. ISBN 978-0-520-26186-0.

Barfield, Thomas (2010), Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press). 389 pp. ISBN 978-0-691-14568-6.

Oeppen, Cery and Schlenkhoff, Angela (eds.) (2010), Beyond the ‘Wild Tribes’: Understanding Modern Afghanistan and Its Diaspora (London: Hurst). 233 pp. ISBN 978-1-84904-055-6.

Hyndman-Rizk, Nelia (2011), My Mother’s Table: At Home in the Maronite Diaspora, a Study of Emigration from Hadchit, North Lebanon to Australia and America (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing). 290 pp. ISBN (13) 978-0-691-14568-6.

Loeffler, Agnes (2007), Allopathy Goes Native: Traditional Versus Modern Medicine in Iran (New York: Taurus Academic Studies). 224 pp. ISBN 978-1- 85043-942-4.


Oskoui, Mehrdad (2007), Last Days of Winter, Iran, 52 minutes.

Sheykholeslami, Mahvash (2012), Dark Room, Iran, 40 minutes.


45th Annual Meeting and Conference of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), 1–4 December 2011, Washington, DC

‘Globalized Fatherhood’, 13–15 April 2012, Yale University, New Haven, CT

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Félix Germain

In the last couple of decades, research interest in the African diaspora in France has grown exponentially. Scholars across the Atlantic have established networks and are now offering courses on the subject. In 2008 Pap N’Diaye published La Condition noire, a seminal text, which successfully argues that social marginalization in France has created a heterogeneous black French minority. Since then, dozens of articles in academic journals, newspapers, and books have also addressed issues related to the hyper visibility or invisibility of millions of people of African descent in the French Republic. This passion for understanding black experiences in France has given rise to black French studies, an area of inquiry that focuses on black experiences in France and its former colonies, the social and theoretical constructions of black France, and the intersection of black identities and politics in France. Black French studies has transnational roots. The Black France/France Noire conference organized in Paris in 2008 by Trika Keaton, T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, and Tyler Stovall, three American scholars with disciplinary ties to African-American and African Diaspora Studies, illustrates the obvious overlaps between this new field of study and scholarly initiatives in the United States.

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Adia Mendelson-Maoz and Liat Steir-Livny

This article discusses the place of Hebrew and Jewish images and stereotypes in the works of the Israeli-Arab Hebrew writer Sayed Kashua. When describing his Arab protagonists, Kashua portrays both the stereotype of the oppressed Diaspora Jew, who is trying to blend in and hide his identity, and the stereotype of the Israeli Jew, the image that many of Kashua's protagonists aspire to imitate. The article argues that adopting those images and stereotypes has a dual function. On the one hand, it can be understood as an attempt to imitate and internalize the majority's gaze, creating a sense of brotherhood and familiarity with Jewish-Israeli readers. On the other hand, the same images and stereotypes can be understood as having a major subversive thrust that ridicules the Jewish-Israeli identity and its perception of the Israeli-Arab and criticizes the Israelization process among Palestinian citizens of Israel. This subversive dimension, typical of Kashua's sarcastic style, becomes sharper in his more recent works.

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Wedding Ceremony, Religion, and Tradition

The Shertok Family Debate, 1922

Lilach Rosenberg-Friedman

The complex approach of the Yishuv to religion and tradition was articulated in the matter of marriage rites. On the one hand, wedding ceremonies were seen as an expression of Diaspora social values that the Yishuv wished to renounce, while, on the other hand, such occasions were viewed as having national and collective significance. The decision made by Ada Shertok and Eliyahu Golomb not to have a wedding ceremony in May 1922 aroused a fierce debate within one of the most prominent families of the Yishuv. The family dispute surrounding the issue of the marriage ceremony and the diverse opinions presented in it are the focus of the article. This debate is a starting point for a broader discussion on the question of the complex attitude of the Yishuv to religion and tradition in the early 1920s.

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Beyond the Religious-Secular Dichotomy

Looking at Five Israeli Dystopias

Gideon Katz

This article analyzes different images of Judaism presented in dystopic (anti-utopian) Israeli novels written in two different decades. In the earlier novels, written during the 1980s, Judaism was portrayed as an ancient religion revived by zealots who terrorize Israeli society, Taliban-style. Then I look at the thorough changes that Israeli dystopias have gone through in the last decade: for the first time in this genre, Judaism is imagined in new ways. It is presented as a religion that is not 'frozen' or 'radical'. Its followers are not stereotypical Diaspora Jews, but, rather, representatives of new Jewish identities that are taking shape in current Israeli society. This is emblematic of the deep changes now taking place in Israeli Judaism, particularly the weakening of the traditionally sharp secular-religious dichotomy.

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Matthew Carey, Ida Nielsen Sølvhøj, Eve Monique Zucker, Younes Saramifar and Louis Frankenthaler

THE GRECANICI OF SOUTHERN ITALY: Governance, Violence, and Minority Politics By Stavroula Pipyrou. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016. 256 pp. Hardback. ISBN 978-0-8122-4830-2.

FOUR DECADES ON: Vietnam, the United States, and the Legacies of the Second Indochina War Edited by Scott Laderman and Edwin A. Martini. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013. 334 pp. Paperback. ISBN 978-0-8223-5474-1.

FROM THE LAND OF SHADOWS: War, Revolution, and the Making of the Cambodian Diaspora By Khatharya Um. New York: New York University Press, 2015. 272 pp. Hardback. ISBN 978-1-4798-0473-3.

NATIONALISM, LANGUAGE, AND MUSLIM EXCEPTIONALISM By Tristan James Mabry. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015. 264 pp. Hardback. ISBN 978-0-8122-4691-9.

CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS IN ISRAEL: Citizenship, Sacrifice, Trials of Fealty By Erica Weiss. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014. 216 pp. Hardback. ISBN 978-0-8122-4592-9.

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Jonathan Magonet

Already in 1946 Rabbi Dr Leo Baeck advocated that alongside the rebuilding of congregations in post-war Europe, what he termed ‘little Judaism’, there was a need for a ‘greater Judaism’ – Jewish engagement with the wider issues of society: ‘We are Jews also for the sake of humanity’. In 1949 he also expressed the need for a dialogue with Islam. A variety of events and activities represent early attempts to meet these dual concerns. In 1997 at the first post-war, full-scale conference of the European Board of the World Union for Progressive Judaism in Germany, in Munich, Diana Pinto noted that despite long-standing fears that the European diaspora was doomed to disappear, changes in a European self-understanding had helped create an ‘ever more vibrant Jewish space’. Almost twenty years on from then, particularly with the rise of anti-Semitism and terrorist attacks, the mood amongst European Jews has become less optimistic.

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Jonathan Magonet

The Book of Esther hardly needs an introduction. However, at first glance it is easy to dismiss it as belonging to the kind of extravagant storytelling we associate with the oriental world, something out of the ‘Thousand and One Nights’. Nevertheless, we must be careful not to project our western prejudices onto this kind of literature, which, in its own way, seeks to instruct as well as entertain. Within the Hebrew Bible the Book of Esther might be classified as wisdom literature, illustrating how a wise man turns the tables on his deadly enemy in the struggle for power in a world of palace intrigues. Moreover, it is especially significant as the only book to be set in the diaspora, exploring the implications of this new reality of exile with its opportunities and dangers.

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Adolfo Campoy-Cubillo and Esther Bendahan

This interview with the Sephardic novelist and translator Esther Bendahan provides unique insights into the historical events that surrounded the collapse of Jewish communities in Morocco during the second half of the twentieth century. Bendahan's knowledge of the social and political realities that informed Sephardic cultural production in Morocco, her ability as a scholar to interpret their significance in the wider context of Sephardism in the Maghreb, and her priceless insights as a first-hand witness of the diasporas triggered by the independence of European colonies throughout North Africa make her account and interpretation of these events extremely valuable. This interview pays special attention to the many ways in which Sephardic cultural production was, and remains, different from European traditions while simultaneously presenting itself as an intermediary between the East and the West.

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Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Children in the Middle East

Erika Friedl and Abderrahmane Moussaoui

For several reasons there exist only relatively few ethnographic studies of children in the Middle East or in the diaspora. Accordingly, the articles in this issue of Anthropology of the Middle East represent thematically and theoretically highly divergent projects, all based on ethnographic topics and methodologies. Geographically they encompass different locations, and thematically they range from the history of childhood in Iran to matters of socio-cultural integration in Austria; from legal matters concerning youths in Algeria to socio-psychological problems of schoolchildren in Lebanon and to parent-child dynamics in Morocco. The short research, book and conference reports in this issue emphasize approaches and topics in critical anthropology as applied to the Middle East.