Cultural Anthropology has a twenty-year history of publishing a diversity of approaches to the wider Middle East—from North Africa to Iran to Turkey. The earliest contribution in CA’s tradition is Paul Dresch’s essay “The Flowering of Segmentation” (1988). In that pioneering essay, Dresch traces a genealogy of the idiom of ‘segmentation’ emergent from the landmark work of orientalist and religious scholar William Robertson Smith in order to evaluate the transcultural mobilization and refraction of anthropology’s conceptual instruments.
One year later, in his essay “Just Writing,” Brinkley Messick considers the status of Yemeni Muslim legal documents to provide a ‘cultural history of written representation,’ consequently drawing into focus the fraught relationship between text and testimony, writing and speech. This is followed by Ted Swedenburg’s essay “Occupational Hazards” (1989) which offers a vivid ethnographic portrayal of Palestinian memories of revolt while insightfully engaging with the thorny ethical question of anthropological ‘objectivity.’
Swedenburg’s essay consequently inaugurates an instructive debate over the professional ethics and politics of anthropological practice in light of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as argued in Moshe Shokeid's “Commitment and Contextual Study in Anthropology” (1992) and Swedenburg’s reply to Shokeid in “Occupational Hazards Revisited” (1992). The political and cultural dimensions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been of particular interest to contributors to CA and the journal has published a range of studies including Ben-Ari’s “Masks and Soldiering” (1989), Julie Peteet’s “The Writing on the Walls” (1996), and Jean-Klein’s “Nationalism and Resistance” (2001).
Contributors to the journal have also provided provocative investigations of diverse articulations of Islam and the formation of Islamic subjectivities across the region including Charles Hirschkind’s “Civic Virtue and Religious Reason” (2001), Saba Mahmood’s “Feminist Theory, Embodiment, and the Docile Agent” (2001), Anne Meneley’s “Fashions and Fundamentalisms In Fin-De-Siècle Yemen” (2007) and, more recently, Brian Silverstein’s “Disciplines of Presence in Modern Turkey” (2008). These are but a few of the topical and theoretical concerns that constitute Cultural Anthropology’s pathbreaking scholarship on the Middle East.
Relevant CA essay lists: Art of the Middle East
Flexible Citizenship in Dubai: Neoliberal Subjectivity in the Emerging 'City-Corporation'
Cultural Anthropology Feb. 2010, Vol. 25, No. 1: 100-129
The Songs of the Siren: Engineering National Time on Israeli Radio
Cultural Anthropology May 2009, Vol. 24, No. 2: 313-345
The Humanitarian Politics of Testimony: Subjectification through Trauma in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Cultural Anthropology August 2008, Vol. 23, No. 3: 531-558
Getting By the Occupation: How Violence Became Normal During the Second Palestinian Intifada
Cultural Anthropology August 2008, Vol. 23, No. 3: 453-487.
Watching U.S. Television From the Palestinian Street: The Media, The State and Representational Interventions
Cultural Anthropology Aug. 2008, Vol. 23, No. 3: 488-530
Disciplines of Presence in Modern Turkey: Discourse, Companionship, and the Mass Mediation of Islamic Practice
Cultural Anthropology Feb 2008, Vol. 23, No. 1: 118-153.
Fashions and Fundamentalisms In Fin-De-Siècle Yemen: Chador Barbie and Islamic Socks
Cultural Anthropology May 2007, Vol. 22, No. 2: 214-243.
Difficult Distinctions: Refugee Law, Humanitarian Practice, and Political Identification in Gaza
Cultural Anthropology Feb 2007, Vol. 22, No. 1: 129-169.
The Measure of Mercy: Islamic Justice, Sovereign Power, and Human Rights in Iran
Cultural Anthropology Nov 2006, Vol. 21, No. 4: 570-602.
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.
Notes on Jewish-Muslim Relationships: Revisiting the Vanishing Moroccan Jewish Community
Cultural Anthropology Aug 2003, Vol. 18, No. 3: 365-397.
Emotion, Performance, and Temporality in Arab Music: Reflections on Tarab
Jonathan H. Shannon
Cultural Anthroplogy Feb 2003, Vol. 18, No. 1: 72-98.
Tourism, Charity, and Profit: The Movement of Money in Moroccan Jewish Pilgrimage
Cultural Anthropology Aug 2002, Vol. 17, No. 3: 359-400.
Feminist Theory, Embodiment, and the Docile Agent: Some Reflections on the Egyptian Islamic Revival
Cultural Anthroplogy May 2001, Vol. 16, No. 2: 202-236.
Civic Virtue and Religious Reason: An Islamic Counterpublic
Cultural Anthroplogy Feb 2001, Vol. 16, No. 1: 3-34.
Nationalism and Resistance: The Two Faces of Everyday Activism in Palestine during the Intifada
Cultural Anthropology Feb 2001, Vol. 16, No. 1: 83-126.
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.
Reporting from Jerusalem
Cultural Anthropology Nov 1998, Vol. 13, No. 4: 548-574.
Stamping the Earth with the Name of Allah: Zikr and the Sacralizing of Space among British Muslims
Cultural Anthroplogy Aug 1996, Vol. 11, No. 3: 309-338.
Full Brother-Sister Marriage in Roman Egypt: Another Look
Cultural Anthroplogy Aug 1996, Vol. 11, No. 3: 362-376.
The Writing on the Walls: The Graffiti of the Intifada
Cultural Anthropology May 1996, Vol. 11, No. 2: 139-159.
We'll Talk Later
Cultural Anthropology Feb 1995, Vol. 10, No. 1: 125-135.
Changing Israeli Landscapes: Buildings and the Uses of the Past
Cultural Anthropology Aug 1993, Vol. 8, No. 3: 370-387.
Occupational Hazards Revisited: Reply to Moshe Shokeid
Cultural Anthroplogy Nov 1992, Vol. 7, No. 4: 478-495.
Commitment and Contextual Study in Anthropology
Cultural Anthropology, Nov 1992, Vol. 7, No. 4: 464-477.
Rachel, Mary, and Fatima
Cultural Anthropology May 1991, Vol. 6, No. 2: 131-146.
Masks and Soldiering: The Israeli Army and the Palestinian Uprising
Cultural Anthropology Nov 1989, Vol. 4, No. 4: 372-389.
Occupational Hazards: Palestine Ethnography
Cultural Anthropology Aug 1989, Vol. 4, No. 3: 265-272.
When Leadership Becomes Allegory: Mzeina Sheikhs and the Experience of Military Occupation
Cultural Anthroplogy May 1989, Vol. 4, No. 2: 99-136.
Just Writing: Paradox and Political Economy in Yemeni Legal Documents
Cultural Anthroplogy Feb 1989, Vol. 4, No. 1: 26-50.
Segmentation: Its Roots in Arabia and Its Flowering Elsewhere
Cultural Anthroplogy Feb 1988, Vol. 3, No. 1: 50-67.