Anthropology | Family, Gender & Crisis of Masculinity in Muslim CA & SW
E600 | 15252 | Shahrani


The objectives of this seminar are fourfold: First, to examine family
and gender ideals and practices of Muslims within the broader
theoretical context of family and gender studies.  Second, to examine
the impact of person-centered sovereignty-based rules of governance in
ideologically driven (nationalist, Marxist, Islamist, secular
modernist among others) centralizing post-colonial and post-Soviet
nation-states of the twentieth century upon the traditional ideals of
mardaanagi/jawaan mardlik (virtuous manliness) among the subjects of
such states in Muslim southwestern and Central Asia. The impact of
state failure/collapse and consequent civil/proxy wars, population
displacements, international interventions, and perpetuation of
conditions of subject-hood producing crisis of masculinity will be
also discussed.  In addition to a discussion of the futuwatnama
literature, the course will draw on ethnographic and literary data
from Afghanistan, Iran, Soviet and post-Soviet Central Asian
republics.  Third,  to expose students to critical research issues for
the comparative study of family and gender dynamics in Muslim
societies and culture of the Southwestern and Central Asia.  And
finally, to explore the intellectual and practical implications of
integrating anthropological and literary approaches to the analysis of
family and gender dynamics with a particular focus on the changing
notions of masculinity in pre-colonial, colonial and post-independence
countries of Central and Southwestern Asia.

The first part of the seminar will consist of readings and discussions
of essential theoretical/ background materials, and will include
critical evaluations of a number of case studies about Central Asia
and the Middle East.  The second part will involve discussion of
student project presentations.

Course Requirements:

A critical written report of the reading assignments for each week
(about 2-3 double spaced typewritten pages) highlighting the most
significant points (positive and negative) about the authors' approach
in the text(s).  These brief weekly review are due via e-mail by
4:00pm on Mondays.  Students are also expected to actively participate
in class discussions, lead at least one class discussion, make an oral
presentation of the term project, and submit a term paper on the term
project.

The term project will consist of a review essay consisting of:
1) Critical reading, detailed assessment and synthesis of all required
and at least two titles from the recommended readings list for the
seminar; and
2) Serious and reasoned reflection on how the theoretical, conceptual,
methodological and substantive issues covered in this seminar will (or
will not) be useful to your own specific topics or fields of research
interests and why.
The term project review essay should be about 20 typed pages
(double-spaced).