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240197 VO Anthropology of the Middle East (2010W)

Infos zur Lehrveranstaltung entnehmen Sie bitte:

www.univie.ac.at/ksa/html/inh/stud/studaktu.htm bzw. dem Aushang am Institut.


Language: English

Examination dates


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Monday 25.10. 10:45 - 12:15 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Monday 22.11. 09:00 - 12:15 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Monday 29.11. 09:00 - 12:15 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Monday 06.12. 09:00 - 12:15 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
Monday 17.01. 09:00 - 12:15 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Monday 24.01. 09:00 - 12:15 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
Monday 31.01. 09:00 - 12:15 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock


Aims, contents and method of the course

The Anthropology of the Middle East:
Over the past centuries, the Middle East has attracted Western travelers, missionaries, and scholars. This fascination produced an abundance of literature on Middle Eastern peoples, religions, and cultures. Unfortunately, many studies are biased and are written by Orientalists who come from the perspective of the Other rather than anthropologists who have lived a longer time in the region and have learned to understand its people and their culture from an insider point of view. Moreover, recent political events in the Middle Eastern region have drawn the attention of the world to the region and have sparked world-wide discussions and arguments. These, in turn, have shown an alarming lack of awareness in western countries of life and politics in the Middle East. Anthropologists who are trained in analyzing socio-political and historical contexts in the Middle East play an important role in making social, political, and cultural developments in the Middle East more comprehensible to a wider world on the basis of informed analysis and insight.

Since the culture of the Middle East is both rich and fascinating, this course primarily aims at familiarizing students with the cultural, religious, and political landscape of primarily Islamic societies in the Middle East. The course will acquaint students with different ethnographic approaches to study the Middle East and to provide students with the necessary anthropological tools and knowledge to analyze Middle Eastern culture and societies. After a short introduction which will include the history of the region, the course will move on to vital issues which are of major concern to contemporary anthropologists in the region. These include issues of colonialism, postcolonial identity, globalization, tribalism, social organization, Islam and human rights, women in Islam, honor crimes, Islam and modernity, negotiating peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the prospects of democracy in the Middle East, the politics of dress, space and marriage, both in terms of practices and legal prescriptions, and nationalism among many other important topics.

Assessment and permitted materials

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Upon completion of the course, students should be able to understand and analyze the nature and texture of Middle Eastern politics, cultures, and religion and its centrality in politics. It is hoped that the readings students will do and the class discussions of various issues of concern will lead to a better understanding of Middle Eastern cultures. Here it is important to note that the Middel East is currently undergoing enormous change. The course will, therefore, also focus on some recent historical and political developments which will affect the lives of Middle Easterners in a fundamental way.

Examination topics

Students are expected to read assigned texts carefully and engage actively in class discussions. They are encouraged to evaluate articles critically, disagree with authors on some points, or contest the authors' theoretical or methodological conclusions. Students are expected to be able to form their own opinions without repeating arguments they have already heard.

Reading list

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:40