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Being Baha'i in Contemporary Egypt

An Ethnographic Analysis of Everyday Challenges

Daniele Cantini

Following the 2003 reform and the Supreme Court ruling of 16 December 2006, Baha'is of Egypt find it increasingly difficult to have their citizenship rights recognised. This article draws on personal observation and analysis carried out in the context of broader research on Egyptian citizenship. I will introduce the condition of Baha'is in this country, from a historical and legal perspective, before starting an overall analysis of what being an oppressed minority means, in concrete terms, in the practice of everyday living. The article will then delineate how the ambiguities of state policies towards Baha'is are reflected in their daily lives.

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Minority Report

Perceptions and Realities of Black Men in Heterosexual Porn

Darryl L. Jones II

) Therefore, as is so often the case with minority groups whether they are based on race, religion, or other defining demographics, epistemic closure reduces adult entertainers solely to the job duties associated with their profession. Adult entertainers are

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Israel's Palestinian Minority

From 'Quietism' to Ethno-nationalism

Jonathan Mendilow

Hillel Cohen, The Rise and Fall of Arab Jerusalem: Palestinian Politics and the City since 1967 (New York: Routledge, 2011), 162 pp.

Oded Haklai, Palestinian Ethnonationalism in Israel (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011), 243 pp.

Amal Jamal, Arab Minority Nationalism in Israel: The Politics of Indigeneity (New York: Routledge, 2011), 324 pp.

Ilan Pappé, The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of the Palestinians in Israel (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2011), 336 pp.

Ilan Peleg and Dov Waxman, Israel’s Palestinians: The Conflict Within (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 262 pp.

Yitzhak Reiter, National Minority, Regional Majority: Palestinian Arabs versus Jews in Israel (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2009), 403 pp.

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Where Are the Minorities?

The Elusiveness of Multiculturalism and Positive Recognition in Sri Lankan History Textbooks

Anne Gaul

This article analyzes the representation of Sri Lanka's communities in history textbooks that are currently in use. Even before the end of the war in 2009, the education system was recognized as an instrument with which the country's divided society could be rebuilt. The issues addressed in this article concern a period in which ambitious educational reforms are being implemented that envision textbooks as a tool for the creation of a new generation of citizens in a postwar society. It reveals that the general lack of recognition of minority communities, and the negative representations of the Tamil community in particular, that appear in these textbooks are not compatible with the proclaimed vision of a multicultural yet integrated society. Instead of fostering social cohesion, these textbooks may deepen ethnic divides and stereotypes, and therefore thwart reconciliation and long-term peace.

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Karl Cordell

This paper seeks to offer an assessment of the nature of identity among Poland's German minority and to investigate why since 1950 large numbers of that minority have migrated to Germany. It does so by examining the nature of identity in the historic Polish-German borderlands, by recounting the experiences of those Germans who remained behind in Poland after the post World War Two expulsion process was completed in 1949, and by examining the continued salience of negative stereotypes of Germans and Germany among elements of Polish society. The paper highlights a number of salient factors of importance for members of the minority in deciding whether or not to stay in Poland or to migrate to Germany.

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Thomas Hylland Eriksen

Since the early 1960s, Scandinavian anthropologists have made considerable contributions to the study of ethnicity, an early high point having been reached with the 1967 Wenner-Gren conference leading to the publication of Ethnic Groups and Boundaries in 1969. Later Scandinavian research on ethnicity and social identification more generally has been varied and rich, covering all continents and many kinds of majority/minority relations. However, over the last twenty years, anthropologists have increasingly focused on the study of the relationship between immigrant minorities and the majorities in their own countries. There are some significant general differences between ethnicity research overseas and at home, shedding light on the theoretical constructions of anthropology as well as the 'double hermeneutics' between social research and society. It can be argued that anthropology at home shares characteristics with both European ethnology (with its traditional nation-building agenda) and with sociology (which, in Scandinavia, is almost tantamount to the sympathetic study of the welfare state), adding a diluted normative relativism associated with the political views of the academic middle class (to which the anthropologists themselves, incidentally, belong). The article reflects on the consequences of embroilment in domestic politics for anthropological theory, using the experiences of overseas ethnicity research as a contrast to ethnicity research at home, where anthropologists have been forced, or enabled, to go public with their work.

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David P. Shankland and Soraya Tremayne

The consideration of faith and ethnic minorities in the Middle East remains today, as it has been for some time, immensely relevant. In this issue, we see this subject approached from a refreshingly wide perspective. Yet, in spite of their diversity, the topics addressed by the contributors reflect many shared situations in today’s Middle East, and possibly beyond, which often have their roots in mass migration, war and conflict, and globalisation. Through their work, we see once more the way that anthropology is uniquely qualified to reflect upon the reformulation of cultures in the modern world whilst simultaneously highlighting the fate of those who fall between the interstices of dominant political paradigms.

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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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Shirin Housee

This article explores the everyday experiences of minority ethnic students at a university in the West Midlands. Based on interviews with 23 second-level students taking Sociology modules, it seeks to highlight the key social, personal and pedagogic issues for this group of minority ethnic students and to deepen understandings of cultural identity and exchange on campus. The students' multiple narratives and voices are central to the article, as is the possibility that there are multiple ways of experiencing teaching and learning at a university.

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Naomi C.F. Yamada

In both China and in the United States, policies of 'positive discrimination' were originally intended to lessen educational and economic inequalities, and to provide equal opportunities. As with affirmative action in the American context, China's 'preferential policies' are broad-reaching, but are best known for taking ethnic background into consideration for university admissions. The rhetoric of China's preferential policy discourse has remained surprisingly constant but shifts to a market-economy and incorporation of neoliberal elements have resulted in fee-based reforms that discourage inclusion of poorer students. In addition, as ethnic minority students principally from Western China compete to enter 'self-funded' college preparatory programmes, public funding is being directed towards the achievement of 'world-class' universities overwhelmingly concentrated in Eastern China. In contrast, in the United States, the difficulty of defending affirmative action in the face of a neoliberal climate has resulted in a shift in policy. If in China the policy remains even as the 'rule' has changed (Arno 2009), in contrast, in American institutions the rhetoric has shifted away from affirmative action in favour of diversity but efforts to hold on to the rules that promote equal opportunities remain.