Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Task Force on Middle East Anthropology

This may be of interest to anthropologists who work on the Middle East. Sounds interesting...

The Task Force on Middle East Anthropology
The Task Force on Middle East Anthropology is a group of progressive scholars, mostly graduate students and junior faculty, working on the Middle East and Islam who seek broader dissemination and critical applications of Middle East anthropological knowledge within the AAA, the academy, and the media. Our foundational premise is that anthropologists can and should become public intellectuals and engage the public sphere and politics. We believe that there is not only an opportunity, but a necessity, for academics to engage the public through a variety of media. It is crucial that people who have had actual experience working, researching, and living with people in Middle Eastern societies and their diasporas make their knowledge and expertise more relevant and accessible to the media, politicians, and the voting public.
The Time is NOW

Here are some of the projects that the Task Force has been involved with and which it hopes to develop further:·
teaching workshops (for anthropology instructors, teachers of K-12) to help educators integrate materials from/on the Middle East into their curricula ·
AAA resolutions on Iraq, civil liberties, academic freedom, and Palestine·
media symposium to (1) create a coalition of academics, activists, and media professionals committed to helping the public understand Middle Eastern and Islamic societies through anthropological knowledge and insight; (2) enable anthropologists to be more media savvy. Give them the tools for making the presentation of their information more palatable to the media; and (3) provide media professionals with a basis of the kinds of concrete anthropological knowledge of Middle Eastern cultures that is available to them to enhance their coverage of the region·
Radical History Review article on Middle East academics and the government· Anthropology Newsletter columns·
listserve creation and discussion·
coordination with other AAA sections (Committee for Human Rights, public policy and government relations, etc.) in drafting letters to government officials, reports, statements. I
t’s Time to be Pragmatic
The time is right to take advantage of the public’s willingness to listen to a wider range of viewpoints than those currently being provided by mainstream media. We need to develop a clear working structure and set of strategies that will enable us to insert Middle East anthropology productively into public discourse.

If this project interests you, please email us with a brief description of your background, areas of interest, and reasons for wanting to become involved with the Task Force.
Lori Allen:
Lara Deeb: ldlists@yahoo.com


The sidebar image is taken from Mahmoud Pakzad's "Old Tehran", Did Publishers, 1994. Thanks to Jahanshah Javid (www.iranian.com) for sharing it.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com