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Reflections on Fieldwork in Yemen

The Genealogy of a Diary in Response to Rabinow's Reflections of Fieldwork in Morocco

Daniel Martin Varisco

In preparation for writing an ethnographic monograph on fieldwork in Yemen, I compare and contrast my field diary, written in 1978–9, with Paul Rabinow’s Reflections on Fieldwork in Morocco (1977). The underlying question is what post-fieldwork reflections reflect meaningfully about the immediacy of ethnographic fieldwork? I criticise the reflexivist trope of privileging ‘writing culture’ over the significance of ‘being there’ in the field. Point by point, I examine the implications of graduate training in anthropology, culture shock, health problems, language skills, the unreflective male voice, visual ethnography and the rhetoric of narrative writing.

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Marieke Brandt

Khawlān and Jumā'ah are two out of eight tribes of the Khawlān b. 'Āmir confederation in Southwest Arabia, the territories of five of them being in Yemen and three in Saudi Arabia. Whereas the Yemeni tribes Munabbih, Sahār and Rāzih are well explored, little is known about the tribal structures of Jumā'ah and the homonymous tribe Khawlān. This article provides an overview of the present-day tribal structures of Khawlān and Jumā'ah, and traces their historical formation through comparison with the respective information available in the historical and geographical works of the Yemeni geographer and historian al-Hasan al-Hamdānī, dating back to the tenth century AD. The results of this study show that Jumā'ah and Khawlān were historically open to processes of social, spatial and genealogical changes. Whereas Jumā'ah can trace its lineage directly back to the ancestor Khawlān b. 'Āmir, Khawlān tribe represents a much looser entity of mutual alliances, which corresponds to its lack of genealogical coherence. Among Khawlān and Jumā'ah, the rhetoric of shared 'ancestry' is thus to a greater or a lesser extent a statement of identity and follows the general Middle Eastern practice in conceptualising groups as kin.

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Tricking Time, Overthrowing a Regime

Reining in the Future in the Yemeni Youth Revolution

Ross Porter

Several miles of tents, marquees and wooden shacks weave their way through the heart of Sana‘a, the capital of Yemen. Aims, plans and manifestos of a future state circulate. A man atop a stage shouts through a microphone to the crowds below who are

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Gilberto Conde

As we look back in 2017 at the Arab Spring, we get a sense that it went astray rather quickly after beginning in December 2010. While in Egypt the military has taken over, Libya, Syria and Yemen have descended into chaos, and in Bahrain

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The Silent Spring

Why Pro-democracy Activity Was Avoided in Gulf Nations during the Arab Spring

Charles Mitchell, Juliet Dinkha, and Aya Abdulhamid

collective action proliferated across much of the Middle East and North Africa, namely, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Algeria, Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain. In this article, we examine the Arab Spring collective action that unified large

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Editorial

Open-Themed Issues

Soheila Shahshahani

In the 1970s and 1980s, North and South Yemen appeared to be two states pursuing opposing, sometimes hostile, economic and political policies. Then, in 1990, they suddenly united. This article analyses sport diplomacy as an instrument in opening institutional contacts between the two governments and as a venue for conveying important socio-political and historical messages. Cross-border football contests reinforced the largely invented notion of a single Yemen derived from pre-Islamic kingdoms. This idea remains a foundation of Yemeni nationalism and a base of Yemeni national identity.

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Sports Diplomacy and Emergent Nationalism

Football Links between the Two Yemens, 1970-1990

Thomas B. Stevenson and Abdul Karim Alaug

In the 1970s and 1980s, North and South Yemen appeared to be two states pursuing opposing, sometimes hostile, economic and political policies. Then, in 1990, they suddenly united. This article analyses sport diplomacy as an instrument in opening institutional contacts between the two governments and as a venue for conveying important socio-political and historical messages. Cross-border football contests reinforced the largely invented notion of a single Yemen derived from pre-Islamic kingdoms. This idea remains a foundation of Yemeni nationalism and a base of Yemeni national identity.

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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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A Minority within a Minority

Reflections on Shephardi Identity

David Abulafia

Anyone who observes the way the term 'Sephardi' is used will rapidly become aware that there is a fundamental contrast between its use to describe a group of second-class citizens in modern Israel, and its use to describe the creators of a 'Golden Age' in Spanish in the tenth and eleventh centuries. The modern Israeli press can even be found using the term 'Sephardim' to describe Jews from Ethiopia, Yemen and India, the first group of whom have never even lived under Muslim rule, and who have their own very distinctive traditions. In part, this turns on the confusion of terminology that was created by the emergence of two Chief Rabbinates in Israel, with one looking after the Ashkenazim, and the other, the Rishon le-Zion, concerned with Sephardim and the rest.

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Osvaldo Croci and Marco Valigi

The uprising against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was part of the “Arab

Spring,” a wave of demonstrations that began at the end of 2010 and

led, in a short space of time, to the fall of regimes in Tunisia and

Egypt; uprisings in Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain; and street protests in a

number of other Arab countries. Following the collapse of the ruling

administrations in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt on 14 January and 11

February, respectively, street protests against Gaddafi began in Libya.

The violent reaction of the Libyan regime led to uprisings throughout

the country. On 27 February, anti-Gaddafi forces established a provisional

government, known as the National Transitional Council (NTC),

in Benghazi. The ensuing civil war resulted in the intervention of a

NATO-led coalition to enforce United Nations (UN) Security Council

Resolution 1973, which provided for the establishment of a no-fly zone

to protect civilians. From their stronghold in eastern Libya, the anti-

Gaddafi forces, aided by NATO air cover and air strikes, slowly took

control of the rest of the country. They captured Tripoli on 28 August

and then moved against the remaining pro-Gaddafi forces in northeastern

Libya. Gaddafi’s last stand in his hometown of Sirte ended on 20

October, when he was captured and killed.