Art of the Middle East
Contributors to Cultural Anthropology have long been pioneers in their approaches to regional concerns; this is no different for our authors whose work has focused on the wider Middle East. While it is arguably the case that a popular conception of the Middle East is one of a region embroiled in a politics of destruction and of violence, a number of our essays demonstrate the contrary by examining dimensions of creativity and artistry in the region.
A major theme that these authors have considered is the relationship between oppressive power and creative expression. Take for instance, Smadar Lavie’s 1989 essay “When Leadership Becomes Allegory.” In that essay, Lavie examines how the poetic practice of allegory enables Mzeina Bedouin sheiks in Yemen to sustain the past in the face of global fluctuations of power. Julie Peteet’s 1996 essay, “The Writing on the Walls,” is a study of the use of graffiti by Palestinians in the West Bank as a resistance tactic and what Peteet refers to as ‘thinking out loud’ in a context of domination. More recently, in her article “Cultural Sovereignty in a Global Art Economy” (2006), Jessica Winegar analyzes artistic production in Cairo, Egypt as it imbricates with the politics of modernization and the liberalization of markets in what she claims to be a new imperial order.
Another theme taken up by our authors has been the relationship between identity, authenticity and artistic activity. In this regard, Lucine Taminian’s “Rimbaud's House in Aden, Yemen” (1998) investigates the politics of the establishment of the Rimbaud House of Poetry in Aden while adumbrating notions of cultural hybridity and national identity. Jonathan Shannon’s “Emotion, Performance, and Temporality in Arab Music” (2003) is a reflection on the musical form of tarab in Aleppo, Syria as an index of cultural authenticity and conceptions of selfhood. Most recently, Anne Meneley’s “Fashions and Fundamentalisms in Fin-de-Siecle Yemen" (2007) has explored the relationship between the consumption of fashion, modes of self-presentation and Islahi Islamic religiosity in Yemen.
These are but a few of the themes and topics that have been illuminated under the rubric of 'Art of the Middle East' by the journal’s contributors over the past twenty years.
Ethics, Iconoclasm, and Qur'anic Art in Indonesia
Cultural Anthropology Nov. 2009, Vol. 24, No. 4: 589-621
The Songs of the Siren: Engineering National Time on Israeli Radio
Cultural Anthropology May 2009, Vol. 24, No. 2: 313-345.
Supplemental Material and Discussion.
Fashions and Fundamentalisms In Fin-De-Siècle Yemen: Chador Barbie and Islamic Socks
Cultural Anthropology May 2007, Vol. 22, No. 2: 214-243.
Supplemental material and Discussion
Cultural Sovereignty in a Global Art Economy: Egyptian Cultural Policy and the New Western Interest in Art from the Middle East
Cultural Anthropology May 2006, Vol. 21, No. 2: 173-204.
Borderland Pop: Arab Jewish Musicians and the Politics of Performance
Cultural Anthropology May 2006, Vol. 21, No. 2: 205-233.
Between Cinema and Social Work: Diasporic Turkish Women and the (Dis)Pleasures of Hybridity
Katherine Pratt Ewing
Cultural Anthropology May 2006, Vol. 21, No. 2: 265-294.
Purity, Soul Food, and Sunni Islam: Explorations at the Intersection of Consumption and Resistance
Carolyn Rouse, Janet Hoskins
Cultural Anthropology May 2004, Vol. 19, No. 2: 226-249.
Emotion, Performance, and Temporality in Arab Music: Reflections on Tarab
Jonathan H. Shannon
Cultural Anthroplogy Feb 2003, Vol. 18, No. 1: 72-98.
Rimbaud's House in Aden, Yemen: Giving Voice(s) to the Silent Poet
Cultural Anthroplogy Nov 1998, Vol. 13, No. 4: 464-490.
Building Power: Italy's Colonial Architecture and Urbanism, 1923-1940
Cultural Anthropology Nov 1998, Vol. 3, No. 4: 455-487.
The Writing on the Walls: The Graffiti of the Intifada
Cultural Anthropology May 1996, Vol. 11, No. 2: 139-159.
Changing Israeli Landscapes: Buildings and the Uses of the Past
Cultural Anthropology Aug 1993, Vol. 8, No. 3: 370-387.
When Leadership Becomes Allegory: Mzeina Sheikhs and the Experience of Military Occupation
Cultural Anthroplogy May 1989, Vol. 4, No. 2: 99-136.