The Middle East Section is now accepting nominations for its biennial book award. This award is given to an anthropological work (single- or multi-authored, but not edited volumes) that speaks to issues in a way that holds relevance beyond our subfield. Criteria may include: innovative approaches, theoretical sophistication, and topical originality.Continue reading
The Middle East Section’s 2018 Distinguished Scholar Award was awarded in memoriam to Dr. Saba Mahmood (1962-2018). Dr. Mahmood published groundbreaking work in feminist anthropology, religion, and secularism, particularly in Egypt. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1998 and taught at the University of California, Berkeley, since 2004. She received numerous honors and awards and was the author of several notable books, including Religious Difference in a Secular Age: A Minority Report (Princeton University Press, 2015) and Politics of Piety: the Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject (Princeton University Press, 2005).
The 2018 Middle East Section Student Paper Award Winner:
Noha Fikry (American University in Cairo), “Spaces of Life, States of Death.”
Based on one year of fieldwork in a number of multispecies-inhabited rooftops across Cairo and Alexandria, Fikry‘s paper examines the interplay of life and death as twin forces that are complementary, co-constitutive, and co-productive rather than merely opposed. In doing so, Fikry uncovers an innovative understanding of life-and-death as simultaneous and co-occurring. Both anthropological and ecological, Fikry‘s work does not offer a treatise on what life and death are or might be, but rather follows life-and-death as they unfold through the cacophonous social lives of humans and other species (such as goats, chickens, rabbits, and pigeons). In short, the paper asks: What does life-and-death do, and how? Describing life-and-death as different instances of “enfleshment,” Fikry‘s ethnography provides nuanced understanding of worlds as a continual circulation of flesh.