CA PUBLIC ADVISORY BOARD SESSION 2 --- THEMATIZING GENDER AND SEXUALITY
"Beyond Marriage: Thematizing Gender & Sexuality"
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.
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.
How have styles of religiosity among Islamic women shifted in recent years, and how are shifts in styles of religiosity connected to changing forms of commodity production and consumption? Anne Meneley takes up these questions in "Fashions and Fundamentalisms in Fin-de-Siecle Yemen: Chador Barbie and Islamic Socks," in the May 2007 issue of Cultural Anthropology. Meneley, an associate professor at Trent University in Ontario, conducted research for the essay during a return trip to Yemen in 1999. Meneley's earlier research, based in the Yemeni town of Zabid, examined how women's visiting patterns, hospitality and dress were means of securing status and honor. Her book, Tournaments of Value: Sociability and Hierarchy in a Yemeni Town, is widely regarded as a superb teaching text.