Conference Panels

ETHNOGRAPHIC INNOVATIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Co-convenor: Gay Breyley, (contact person), School of Music-Conservatorium, Monash University
E-mail: Gay.Breyley@monash.edu
Co-convenor: Soheila Shahshahani, Shahid Beheshti University
Email: soheilairan@gmail.com

This panel explores changing approaches to anthropological work in Middle Eastern contexts. We seek papers that address both the possibilities and the effects of new forms of interdisciplinarity, collaboration and shifting attitudes to knowledge. The panel seeks to throw light on the diversity and the particularities of anthropology in the Middle East and to examine the various ways ethnographers approach the region’s challenges, especially in contexts of social and political change.

  • SESSION 1     Room: G60 ARTS     Wed 6/7/2011     Time: 11.00-12.30     Room Location Map
    • Paper 1: Stylistic differences in knowledge construction and reproduction in the area of Arabic syntax, and their implications for the study of cognition across cultures
      • Allon J. Uhlmann, University of Missouri
    • Paper 2: Possibilities and problems of foreign workers for environmental conservation in Saudi Arabia: Participation of refugees in development assistance
      • Hiroshi Nawata, Research Institute for Humanity and
    • Paper 3: An examination of cultures and traditions in relation to crimes committed in the name of honour in the Arab world
      • Carol Kaplanian, The University of Western Australia

SESSION 1

Chair: Gay Breyley

Paper 1: Stylistic differences in knowledge construction and reproduction in the area of Arabic syntax, and their implications for the study of cognition across cultures

Allon J. Uhlmann, University of Missouri

This paper identifies differences in styles of Arabic syntax instruction between the indigenous Arab science of Arabic grammar, and its European Orientalist counterpart. It demonstrates the profound significance these differences have for the way students learn formal grammar. The paper then considers the possible implications of these differences for the way we understand cognition and its possible variation across cultures. It highlights both theoretical and methodological issues.

Paper 2: Possibilities and problems of foreign workers for environmental conservation in Saudi Arabia: Participation of refugees in development assistance

Hiroshi Nawata, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature

The aim of this paper is to clarify a role of African foreign workers, who originally came from Ethiopia/Eritrea to Saudi Arabia in the 1980s as refugees, for environmental conservation in the Arabian Peninsula in the 21st century. "Saudization" is the national policy to encourage employment of Saudi nationals instead of expatriate foreign workers from South, Southeast Asia, and Africa. However, even at the level of local subsistence economies, such as hunting, gathering, fishing, herding, farming, and forestry, today it is very difficult to exclude foreign workers completely. For example, in the Asir Mountains, southwestern Saudi Arabia, herders of goats and sheep are usually young men, old men or women from surrounding villages. Now some herders are foreign workers from Eritrea, Yemen, or India. They are targets of supervision around a nature reserve not to bring the herd inside a protected area. I discuss possibilities and problems of foreign workers' participation for environmental conservation, particularly in a context of development assistance.

Paper 3: An examination of cultures and traditions in relation to crimes committed in the name of honour in the Arab world

Carol Kaplanian, The University of Western Australia

Honour crimes are often misunderstood for being religious crimes. Crimes committed in the name of honour are one's that occur under traditional and cultural influences. In Jordan; culture and tradition strongly influence the way policies are made and hence the way meanings are also made. Honour is a very sacred notion and an entity holy to many in different parts of the world. The researcher aims to examine how meanings surrounding honour are made and by questioning notions surrounding the culture and tradition. A brief legal outline of honour killings and laws surrounding those crimes will also be demonstrated.The divide between femininity and masculinity is also one which influences the understanding of honour within a certain society and culture. Those two notions also influence the way patriarchy is dictated and hence ties this notion/term back to legal practices and cultural traditions.This conference paper proposes to question notions and understanding of 'honour' from a cultural perspective. The researcher will share her journey with the attendees as to where her passion towards social justice and human rights derived from, as well as examining the meanings made from honour within a traditional perspective and will also discuss some findings from her research with the audience.

Discussant: Soheila Shahshahani