Lecture: "The Arab Spring and Social Anthropology: The Last Half Century," Dale F. Eickelman

4:30 pm on Wednesday, February 8, 2012
The Castle, 225 Bay State Road
Fieldwork remains at the core of social anthropology, but the meaning of “field” has shifted significantly over the past half century. So has the practice and context of field work. Events that began in Egypt and Tunisia in early 2011, followed soon by many other countries in the region, have triggered basic arguments about the individual’s role in society and the meaning of the common good. These issues, once approached only obliquely or in private, are now argued in public throughout the region and with wide audiences. Indeed, the meaning of “public” over the past half century has incrementally altered.

Yet how much has really changed? Scholars writing in different national contexts find themselves now, as in the past, in constricted,volatile, shifting, and precarious regional and international political and economic currents. How has the balance shifted today between social thought and public responsibility, and for whose public?

This presentation explores the likely shape that anthropological field research will take over the coming decade. It explores the changing craft of social anthropology in the Middle East over the last half century and suggest what field research and the likely shape that field research and the writing of anthropology will take in at least the coming decade.

Dr. Dale F. Eickelman is the Ralph and Richard Lazarus Professor of Anthropology and Human Relations at Dartmouth College. The Carnegie Corporation of New York named him a Carnegie Scholar in 2009 for his research on Islamic practice and tradition. His scholarship has focused on the role of intellectuals in Islamic society, education, media and communications. Over the course of his academic career, Dr. Eickelman has authored or edited over a dozen books and has published nearly one hundred and fifty journal articles or book chapters. He received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Chicago, an M.A. in Islamic Studies from McGill University and is a 1964 graduate of Dartmouth College.

This event is co-sponsored by the Institute for Iraqi Studies, the Campagna-Kerven Lecture Series, and the BU Department of Anthropology.