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Pomona College    
  Dec 11, 2017
2017-2018 Pomona College Catalog
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ANTH025 PO - Anthropology of the Middle East

When Offered: Last offered spring 2014.
Instructor(s): Staff
Credit: 1

Women in the Middle East and North Africa have played an active role in nationalist movements and anti-colonial revolution in the late 20th century. Yet a recurring theme of contemporary feminist literature, art and theory from this region involves a critique of masculinist nationalist movements that have compromised women’s rights and promoted a sense of divided loyalties among women. We will begin by asking how analytical categories including the “Middle East” and “Muslim Women” tend to advance particular forms of knowledge production in the West. Taking as a point of departure the myriad voices that have “spoken for” women in the Middle East, this course will explore nationalism; colonization; veiling and the politics of appearance; anti-colonial revolution; human rights; religious identity and Islamic feminism; and exile, especially as expressed in literary memoir, critical theory and historiography, and film. We will focus on transnational feminist perspectives from the diaspora, paying particular attention to the experiences of women who have immigrated to North America and Europe in the wake of war and revolution, and who identify themselves as existing in the margins between nations. We will focus on women’s experiences in Iran, Egypt and the Francophone Maghreb, especially Algeria. In conclusion, we will evaluate media coverage of the ongoing “Arab Spring” with respect to gender, sexual, ethnic, national and religious identities; the politics of solidarity: sexuality and/ as revolution; neo-Orientalism; post-9/11 Islamism; and the role of social media in the production and dissemination of cultures of dissent.

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