Emotional Communities in the Middle East and North Africa: Historical and Ethnographic Approaches
The Middle East and North Africa have often been portrayed and perceived as being characterized by a surplus of emotionality. Is “emotion” a useful lens through which to engage with the histories, societies and cultures of the region? How is the history and culture of emotions in the Middle East and North Africa comparable to other world-historical contexts? What makes them unique? Over time and space, how have certain emotions structured or been integrated into various ideologies, institutions or identities, politics and social movements? What role has emotion played in constructions of sexuality and gender? In what ways have the sacred and the secular been bound up with concepts, states and practices of emotion? The aim of this panel is to stage a preliminary interdisciplinary conversation about the promise and problems of writing histories and ethnographies of emotion and affect focused on the Middle East and North Africa by bringing historians and anthropologists together at WOCMES in Barcelona (July 19-24, 2010).
How might disciplinary conventions and interdisciplinary
conversations work to hinder or enhance more effective approaches to questions of emotionality and emotional community? Historians have been turning toward more sophisticated methods of studying emotions, emotionality and emotional communities; anthropologists have theorized, described and explained affective states and communities of
emotion through various means of ethnography. While many scholars have limned the boundary between History and Anthropology, producing some fascinating social, cultural and historical studies of emotion, there remains much work to be done and much to be gained by studying the history and anthropology of emotion in Middle Eastern and North African contexts, both independently and in concert.
Papers included might deal with one or several kinds of emotion (i.e. hope, anger, happiness, hatred, sadness, jealousy, etc.) in a particular historical or cultural setting; contributions of a more theoretical or comparative nature would also be welcome.
Please send abstracts of no more than 500 words to Max Weiss
(email@example.com) by October 15, 2009.
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