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New Directions in Middle East Anthropology 
Nefissa Naguib (University of Oslo)
Noha Fikry (University of Toronto)
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Nefissa Naguib (University of Oslo)
Anne Meneley (Trent University)
26 University Square (UQ), 01/005
Tuesday 26 July, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

This panel explores emerging directions in Middle East anthropology including human-animal relations, land and seascapes. We situate new themes within a concern of living on a "common" planet, while also positioning these topics against gatekeeping concepts long defining Middle East anthropology.

Long Abstract:

In his most recent Out of the Dark Night: Essays on Decolonization, Achille Mbembe argues that reopening the future of this planet requires relearning how to share it among the multiple species living with humans. He points out that imagining a hopeful future in spite of the apocalyptic local and global conditions requires an attention to "radical sharing and universal inclusion….[through reflecting on] humankind's implication in a common that includes nonhumans" (41). In light of Mbembe's call for revisiting the humans' position as inhabiting a common planet with a multitude of nonhuman others, this panel focuses on new directions in Middle East Anthropology, ones that reframe, revisit, and attend to theoretical, methodological, and global/local challenges. In particular, this panel explores recent engagements with ecologies, landscapes, seas and oceans, and human-animal relations as unfolding in hopeful, apocalyptic, and unexpected ways in various locations in the Middle East.

Guided by the conference's focus on transformation, this panel situates emerging directions in Middle East Anthropology within an enduring conversation among scholars delineating and pushing against Orientalist themes gatekeeping the Middle East. The panel critically analyzes these transformations in theory and research on the Middle East, while also asking what these transformations can teach us about an ever-transforming Middle East. We regard ecologies, human-animal relations, seascapes and landscapes as generative examples of recent transformations in Middle East anthropology, ones that simultaneously respond to broader planetary crises and transformations.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -