A Bedouin asking a fellow tribesman about grazing conditions in other parts of the country says first simply, “Fih hayah?” or “Is there life?” A desert Arab’s knowledge of the sparse vegetation is tied directly to his life and livelihood.
Bedouin Ethnobotany offers the first detailed study of plant uses among the Najdi Arabic–speaking tribal peoples of eastern Saudi Arabia. It also makes a major contribution to the larger project of ethnobotany by describing aspects of a nomadic peoples’ conceptual relationships with the plants of their homeland.
The modern theoretical basis for studies of the folk classification and nomenclature of plants was developed from accounts of peoples who were small-scale agriculturists and, to a lesser extent, hunter-gatherers. This book fills a major gap by extending such study into the world of the nomadic pastoralist and exploring the extent to which these patterns are valid for another major subsistence type. James P. Mandaville, an Arabic speaker who lived in Saudi Arabia for many years, focuses first on the role of plants in Bedouin life, explaining their uses for livestock forage, firewood, medicinals, food, and dyestuffs, and examining other practical purposes. He then explicates the conceptual and linguistic aspects of his subject, applying the theory developed by Brent Berlin and others to a previously unstudied population. Mandaville also looks at the long history of Bedouin plant nomenclature, finding that very little has changed among the names and classifications in nearly eleven centuries.
An essential volume for anyone interested in the interaction between human culture and plant life, Bedouin Ethnobotany will stand as a definitive source for years to come.
The British Empire governed more than half the world’s Muslims. John Slight traces the empire’s complex interactions with the Hajj—the annual pilgrimage to Mecca—from the 1860s, when an outbreak of cholera led Britain to engage reluctantly in medical regulation of pilgrims, to the Suez Crisis of 1956. He gives voice to pilgrims and officials alike.
The Crucible of Islam
G. W. Bowersock Harvard University Press, 2017 Library of Congress BP50.B69 2017 | Dewey Decimal 297.09021
Little is known about sixth-century Arabia. Yet from this distant time and place emerged a faith and an empire that stretched from Iberia to India. G. W. Bowersock illuminates this obscure yet most dynamic period in Islam, exploring why arid Arabia proved to be fertile ground for Muhammad’s message and why it spread so quickly to the wider world.
Qatar is a country of spectacular contrasts: from pearl fishing, its main industry until the 1930s, to gas and oil, which generate immense wealth today; to famously being at the center of both triumph and controversy in recent years for hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Almost a lifetime since he grew up in Qatar, Michael Quentin Morton writes about the country’s colorful past and its astonishing present. The book is filled with stories about the people of this land: the tribes and the travelers, the seafarers and slaves—as much a part of Qatar’s history as its rulers and their wealth. The opaque Arabian world guards its secrets well, but Masters of the Pearl penetrates the veil to shed light on a country that until now has defied explanation.
This book brings together a roster of prominent contributors to present a strategic interactionist perspective on the study of contentious politics in the Middle East in response to the Arab uprisings. The common thread among the contributions is an interest in the micro-level interactions between various strategic players, including not only the mobilisation of protestors during the uprisings but also the responses of regimes. The book also examines short to medium-term adaptations of the regimes and the collective action of opponents in the post-uprisings period, as well as the subsequent trajectories of the protesters themselves in the face of new forms of authoritarianism or democratisation.
‘”From the very first moment they realize that the Hajj—the pilgrimage to Mecca—is among the duties of each and every Muslim, the faithful long to go.”
This book presents Ilija Trojanow’s journey from Mumbai to Mecca in the tradition of the rihla, one of the oldest genres of classical Arabic literature, describing the Hajj, the pilgrimage to the holy sites of Islam. Every Muslim, regardless of geographical location, is implored by tradition to undertake the Hajj at least once in their life if they are able. Trojanow, with the help of his friends, donned the ihram, the traditional garb of the pilgrim, and joined the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who each year go on the Hajj. Over the course of a mere three weeks he experienced a tradition dating back over a thousand years. This personal and enlightening account will provide insights not only for Muslims who have yet to embark on the Hajj, but for those who have already made the journey and want to see a different perspective on it. Mumbai to Mecca also presents a unique glimpse into this pivotal tradition for those non-Muslims who remain barred from the most holy Muslim sites.
the pilgrimage to the holy sites of Islam, through the eyes of a Westener, but with the heart of a Muslim.
Qatar: A Modern History
Allen J. Fromherz Georgetown University Press, 2011 Library of Congress DS247.Q35F76 2011 | Dewey Decimal 953.63
What role does Qatar play in the Middle East and how does it differ from the other Gulf states? How has the ruling Al-Thani family shaped Qatar from a traditional tribal society and British protectorate to a modern state? How has Qatar become an economic superpower with one of the highest per capita incomes in the world? What are the social, political, and economic consequences of Qatar’s extremely rapid development?
In this groundbreaking history of modern Qatar, Allen J. Fromherz presents a full portrait that analyzes Qatar's crucial role in the Middle East and its growing regional influence within a broader historical context. Drawing on original sources in Arabic, English, and French as well as his own fieldwork in the Middle East, the author deftly traces the influence of the Ottoman and British empires and Qatar’s Gulf neighbors on the country prior to Qatar’s meteoric rise in the post-independence era. Fromherz gives particular weight to the nation's economic and social history, from its modest origins in the pearling and fishing industries to the considerable economic clout it exerts today, a clout that comes with having the second-highest natural gas reserves in the region. He also looks at what the future holds for Qatar's economy as the country tries to diversify beyond oil and gas. Furthermore, the book examines the paradox of Qatar where monarchy, traditional tribal culture, and conservative Islamic values appear to coexist with ultra modern development and a large population of foreign workers who outnumber Qatari citizens.
This book is as unique as the country it documents—a multi-faceted picture of the political, cultural, religious, social, and economic make up of modern Qatar and its significance within the Gulf Cooperation Council and the wider region.
In Slavery, Agriculture, and Malaria in the Arabian Peninsula, Benjamin Reilly illuminates a previously unstudied phenomenon: the large-scale employment of people of African ancestry as slaves in agricultural oases within the Arabian Peninsula. The key to understanding this unusual system, Reilly argues, is the prevalence of malaria within Arabian Peninsula oases and drainage basins, which rendered agricultural lands in Arabia extremely unhealthy for people without genetic or acquired resistance to malarial fevers. In this way, Arabian slave agriculture had unexpected similarities to slavery as practiced in the Caribbean and Brazil.
This book synthesizes for the first time a body of historical and ethnographic data about slave-based agriculture in the Arabian Peninsula. Reilly uses an innovative methodology to analyze the limited historical record and a multidisciplinary approach to complicate our understandings of the nature of work in an area that is popularly thought of solely as desert. This work makes significant contributions both to the global literature on slavery and to the environmental history of the Middle East—an area that has thus far received little attention from scholars.
*Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language* concentrates on the origins, developments and current directions of the discipline Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language (TAFL) within the Arab world and partially outside of it during the last 60 years, namely between 1958 and 2018. Considered in this volume are the most influential scholars, authors, educators and those significant works that have contributed to the development of the discipline. In addition, special attention is paid to the TAFL institutes, regarded as epicenters of TAFL activities and important meetings, that allow scholars to gather around the same table and discuss approaches, trends and methods used in the field. All of these aspects converge in one comprehensive study which is enriched by a narration of the main sociopolitical changes that have affected the Middle East in latter-day history.