Final Study Guide (Post-Midterm)
Parts Three and Four of Course
Beliefs Systems and Knowledge Practices: Durkheim and Religion March 18, 2015
1. Introductions to part IV of the Syllabus
a. How do we account for the unknown?
i. There are belief systems that account for gaps in our
b. Fundamentally, then, there are no religions that are false. All are true after their own fashion: all fulfilled given conditions of human
existence, thought in different ways”. (Pg. 2)
i. Durkheim is a positivist. Yet, here he is making a blanket, bold statement.
ii. He is interested in how do religions function? What needs to religions fulfill? What needs of human existence?
iii. Pushing against human tradition of seeing other religious as “false, irrational”.
i. Cultural relativism – the position that the values and
standards of cultures differ and deserve respect. Don't forget about the age old question of How does the brain deal with ambiguity?
ii. But this position is not one of moral relativism
iii. In trying to understand a culture fully, anthropologist seek to understand its member’ beliefs and motivations.
iv. Contrast to ethnocentrism, which is the tendency to view
one’s own culture as the best and to judge the behavior and
beliefs of culturally different people by one’s own standards.
v. Essentially: Not need to remove morality but to understand the internal logic of other culture.
Don't forget about the age old question of What does ontology focus on?
2. Why study the religion of primitive cultures?
a. Durkheim and Mary Douglas ???? both turn to “primitive culture” to understands that social characteristics of religion. Why?
i. Durkheim is following the French positivist tradition. He is
using the scientific to understand the social. Why doesn’t he try to understand his own culture?
1. Founding father of sociology wants to emulate the
natural sciences. We also discuss several other topics like What is the location of the atlantic ocean?
a. He wants to use primitive societies because he
can take out some variables present in “more
complex societies” and focus on religion.
b. Not those primitive societies have less complex
religious systems. Belief systems are complex
but the overall societies are more straightforward.
2. His theoretical actions help build an argument.
3. To him, religion is the ultimate social fact. We also discuss several other topics like Why do prices fluctuate?
a. He believes religion is the social glue that allows
people to come together.
b. He needs to study it in focus.
4. Figure out how to isolate examples so he figures out the
a. He wants to example the constant causes.
b. Example with least variables and constant cause.
5. Pg. 8 “the physicist seeks to simplify the phenomenon…”
Durkheim is applying concepts from the natural
sciences to the social sciences
3. The Sacred and the Profane (Pg. 2-38)
a. What are two basic categories that religious phenomenon fall into, according to Durkheim? (Pg. 34) If you want to learn more check out When did typography begin as a tradition?
i. Beliefs (Thoughts)
1. “Religious beliefs are those representations that express
the nature of sacred things and the relations they have
with other sacred things or with profane things” (Pg. 38)
a. Sacred //// Profane
ii. Sacred and Profane?
1. The sacred thing is, par excellence, that which the
profane must not and cannot touch with impunity” (Pg.
2. “Sacred things are things protected and isolated by
prohibitions, profane things are these things to which
the prohibitions are applied and that must keep a
distance from what is sacred.” (Pg. 38)
3. Sacred and Profane and their opposition is essential to
a. Sacred is elevated. Profane is the everyday.
Scared is transcendent and special.
b. Profane is defined against the sacred.
i. These two cannot touch without some
negative consequence. If you want to learn more check out In what way does enzymes help animals in digestion?
iii. What do you? ???? These two can’t touch but you can move closer. How? Via rites
1. Example: Baptism.
a. Getting closer to being a true believer by
iv. Rites (Actions)
1. “Finally, rites are rules of conduct that prescribe how
man must conduct himself with sacred things. “(Pg. 38)
2. Example I: I Immersion (Piss Christ), Andres Serrano,
a. It depicts a plastic cross submerged in the artist’s
b. Putting an image of an icon that is sacred inside
bodily waste? You don’t get more profane than
c. The profane and sacred in contact without ritual
???? not okay (as reflected by the controversy)
3. Example II: Tomb of the unknowns, Arlington National
a. Nation states is making and demarcating a space
b. The profane, the everyday, is not allowed.
c. Women takes picture mocking the sign asking
for respect and silence ???? gets fired from her job.
v. What is religion and magic?
1. “There is no church of magic” Pg. 42
a. Unites a group of people. ???? Social and built on
b. Built on altruism.
c. Works in the real.
i. Meaning the moral- shared in the real of a
moral world, collective ideas)
a. A relationship about the individual.
i. The magician and the person seeking out
b. Built on Individual utility.
c. Works in the material.
i. Not in the external, but in the material.
4. Definition of Religion (Pg. 44)
a. “A religion is a unified systems of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden—beliefs and practices which unite one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them.” (Pg. 44)
a. Cultural Relativism: the position that the values and standards of cultures differ and deserve respect
i. “Sacred things are things protected and isolated by
prohibitions, profane things are these things to which the
prohibitions are applied and that must keep a distance from
what is sacred.” (Pg. 38)
Dirt, or Matter Out Of Place
March 20, 2015
I. Recap: the definition of religion
a. “A religion is a unified systems of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden—beliefs (sacred/profane) and practices (rituals) which unite one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them.” (Pg. 44) i. Different from Magic, which is about the individual.
1. Religion is a unifying force in a society.
2. Moral community- shared representation and collective
way of understanding the world
b. Durkheim makes religion his primary vehicle for answering, ???? “how societies stick together?”
i. Mary Douglas resembles this discussion about sacred/profane. II. Dirt offends
a. Mary Douglas (1921-2007)
i. Purity and Danger was published 1966 and established her
ii. “Danger lies in transitional states, simply because transition is neither one state nor the next, it is indefinable. The person who
must pass from one to another is himself in danger and
emanates danger to others” (119).
a. Adolescence: not an adult and not a child
b. Pregnancy: essentially being one or two people
b. In-Class Question: What space or object do you take pains to keep free of dirt? Why?
i. What underlying system of order/category are you
ii. How we deal with things that threatened our society. How do societies deal with dirt?
c. On the impulse to clean/tidy, order ????
i. In chasing dirt, in paper, decorating, tidying, we are not
governed by anxiety to escape disease, but are positively re
ordering our environment, making it conform to an idea. It is a creative movement, an attempt to release form to function, to
make unity of experience. If this is so with our separating,
tidying, and purifying, we should interpret primitive purification and prophylaxis in the same light.’ (P. 3)
d. Dirt as matter out of place ????
i. “Dirt offends against order” (P. 2)
1. That said, Douglas is not really concerned with dirt per
se but with widespread, but not universal, cultural,
beliefs and practices relating to purity and contagion.
ii. So thinking about dirt is really a way to think about how
societies are organized around notions of ????
4. life to death.
e. Dirt out of place tells you something ????
i. Douglas argues:
1. On Pg. 44, that “where there is dirt there is a system,”
2. Yet she goes on to say on Pg.45 that dirt is a “residual
category, rejected from our normal scheme of
ii. How can we explain these two statements in relations to one another? ???? 5 ways of responding
III. Anomalous/Ambiguous: 5 ways of responding (48-50)
a. Cultures, Douglas argues, have provisions to deal with “matter out of place” – that is ambiguous or ambivalent events
i. By interpreting and labeling the anomaly, so categories can be restored (e.g. monstrous birth likened to baby hippo)
ii. By physical controlling the anomaly (e.g. night-crowing cock) iii. By avoiding, thereby strengthening the patterns approved
(Leviticus, crawling things)
iv. By attributing danger, thereby putting it above dispute
v. By using the anomaly’s symbol in ritual to enrich meaning and create unifying
b. All of these are about ensuring cohesion. ???? You deal with the dirty so that the danger doesn’t transform the system as it stands.
Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande, Uzbekis, US teens March 25, 2015
I. Evans-Pritchard and the Azande (Background)
a. Anthropology: Why are we different? How are we different?
i. Linguistic anthropology: What is the role of language in making us different?
b. Evans-Pritchard looks at how witchcraft serves as an explanation for unfortunate events.
i. Significance: It was an important account because of the way he described them.
1. In the 19020s and 1930s, most of the work in
describing and analyzing ways human find explanations
saw “primitive” cultures as backward and superstitious.
2. He studied, spoke to them and try to understand them.
c. Evans-Pritchard develops a functionalist explanation.
i. Institutions, like witchcraft, that fit into logic system. It is there because it helps them do stuff.
ii. Not only do magical practices help the society stick together, but also help it make sense of the unknown.
1. Durkheim ???? stick together
2. Evans-Pritchard ????takes it further saying that it makes
d. Evans-Pritchard (1902-1973)
i. His first field work, begun in 1926, resulted in the books
Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic Among The Azande (1937)
1. “The anthropologist must follow what he finds in the
society he has selected for study: social organization of its
people, their values and sentiments and so forth.. I had no
interest in witchcraft when I went to Zandeland, but the
Zande had, so I had to let myself be guided by them.”
(Appendix IV, Pg. 242)
2. Anthropologists guide their questions by what the
people being studied find salient in their existence.
II. Accounting for misfortune: rationality/irrationality
a. Reflection ???? Is Azande thought so different from ours? Or it explained in an idiom that we are simply unaccustomed to.
b. Question: How do we explain misfortune?
i. Azande, like you and me, perfectly aware that there are natural cases to many occasions of misfortune.
1. Note: that they explain of misfortune is NOT done
inexplicably or in a chaotic manner.
ii. Clear distinctions between natural and supernatural.
1. Supernatural only applied in cases where the natural
cannot be used to explain.
a. Explain particularities of events that cannot be
accounted by natural explanations.
b. Evans resounds with respect
2. Witchcraft fulfills the function that science fulfills in our
a. We use science to explain unusual events? They
do the same with witchcraft.
b. Like science, witchcraft doesn’t try to explain
what ought to happen. Instead, it explains what
3. Pg. 18 ???? “there is no niche or corner of the Zande
culture into which...” Any failure of misfortune is
accounted by magic.
c. In essence, rationality and irrationality are
III. Witchcraft: examples from the Azande (Pg. 20-23)
a. Example one: the injured toe
i. Why did the boys who knock his foot against the stump of a
tree? Was that witchcraft at work?
1. If its just his foot ???? its natural to stump your feet
2. If its get infected and he almost dies. Why did it get do
bad? ???? It starts to get to magic for explanation
b. Example 2: the collapse granary (pg. 22-23)
i. “Now why should these particular people have been sitting under this particular moment when it collapse? That it should collapse
is easily intelligible, but why should it have collapse at the
particular moment when these particular people were sitting
beneath it?” (Pg. 22).
ii. Evans-Pritchard saw the Azande as similar to those in any
1. Societies organize their world in a meaningful way
2. All social communities come with explanatory patterns
IV. Example from Luria in Uzbekistan
a. Alexander Luria: looked as the Soviet Union expanded, he was interested in finding out the obstacles of true union.
i. The backward “regions” were seen as irrational and holding back that union.
b. Luria’s experiments in Uzbekistan in the 1930s ????
i. Question: “In the Far North all bears are white. Novaya Zemyla is the far North. What color are bears there?”
ii. Reponses: “you should ask the people who have been there and seen them.” “Here we only speak of what we see. We don’t talk
about what we haven’t seen.”
1. Why this response? To them, it was illogical to ask them
that. They haven’t seen it, why would they know. Their
epistemology was different from ours.
iii. Context: Stalin’s collectivization programs
iv. Historical figure of literacy ???? influences their logical reasoning 1. Finding cues that those with literacy responded by
making a logical inference.
2. Questions asked in Syllogism ???? usually occurs in very
specific historical settings where people are literate.
V. US Science classroom
a. Situation ???? 4 kids in a science class have weighed closed and opened bottle with baking soda and vinegar
b. Question ???? Is the weight the same or different?
i. One of the kids figures out the kind of answer the teacher
would be looking for.
ii. Another kid seeks to truly find out the answer.
iii. Dynamics of social context, some are “gifted”, ESOL, or
“normal” ???? it plays into the other believing their answer is
VI. In summary:
a. Evans Pritchard ???? Rationality is a social constructions
b. Luria???? it is an historical constructions
c. Science Education example ???? reasoning occurs in a social context
a. Mangu (witchcraft)
b. Benge (oracle)
c. Further explained in next week’s film
Note on Class Film: The Azande
March 27, 2015
• For Azande: Magical practices to explain the unexplainable
o Walking along is really hot, you go under granary and it collapse. What is the reason?
o To them: it’s because someone was pissed and sent magic to hurt you. • Magical systems tend to work because they are coherent about how the world work while counting for times when it doesn’t work normally and how to resolves.
o Complex system of practices to solve problem of the every day life. • Christianity has come in to the tribe.
o However, in their eyes it doesn’t do it. It doesn’t account for all of their problems in farming, rain, and other particularities of Azande life. • Oracles, articles that can reveal a truth in the community
▪ Soro ???? Chief of Police and Judge
▪ Local Chief ???? dispenses justice via the use of Mangu (Azande word for Magic)
▪ Benge: oracle sorcerer ask in order to reveal truth
o Administers poison to chicken ???? weather they lived or died will dictate
▪ No such thing as bad luck or accident, it is due to magic or witchcraft. o Notes: You can be a witch without knowing it.
o Mangu: Azande word for Magic or witchcraft
o Benge: oracle sorcerer ask in order to reveal truth
▪ Oracle: articles that can reveal a truth in the community
▪ Example ???? Administers poison to chicken - weather they lived or died will dictate truth
Faith, Belief, Science
April 1, 2015
I. Hook: Cultural/scientific/economic crisis in New England
a. Listened to NPR: “April’s Fool: New England Suffers Maple Woes”. i. NPR April joke story ???? The myth of the maple trees
II. Boggles lines and faith – Tanya Luhrmann’s NYT Op-ed
a. Boggle threshold: “the level above which the minds boggles when faced with some new fact or report or idea.”
b. “We all have these boggle lines. Praying in an ancient language you don’t understand is fine, praying in tongues (not a human language, but thought to be a spiritual one) anathema. A god who has a human son whom he allows to be killed is natural; a god with eight arms and a lusty sexual appetite is weird” – Tanya Luhrmann
i. She is writing for the secular liberalism.
ii. In our own we have lines on what is acceptable and what is not.
iii. But I think the boggle line also tells us something about belief ???? What does Luhrmann argue that the boggle threshold can
1. The more we agree and embrace those things we have
faith in, the more that things opposite to that boggle us.
2. Essentially ????The things that boggle us help us
understand what we have faith it.
3. “When we draw a line between the plausible and the
ridiculous- our boggle line- I think we become more
confident about the beliefs on the plausible side of the
c. “Faith asks people to consider that the evidence of their sense is wrong. In various way, and in varying degrees, faith asks that people believe that their minds are not always private; that person are not always visible’ that unseen presences should alter your emotions and direct your behavior. That reality is good and justice is triumphant. These are fantastic claims and the fact of their improbability is not lost on those who accept them.” - Luhrmann
i. Think about the assumptions that you make.
1. Faith ???? Comes because your mind and senses can get it
ii. Systems of knowledge-making requires faith.
III. Malinowski on science and belief: an example of clashing epistemologies (creationism vs. evolution)
a. Note ???? Special attention to the reading: First 10 pages and the science section.
b. “In every primitive community, studied by observed, there are two clearly distinguishable domains, the sacred and the profane, in other words, the domain of magic and religion and that of science.
i. Magic/religion: Approach and deal with things that an
emotional import. Those events alarm and scare. We want
ii. Science: Every day mundane world of explaining
i. Good death ???? with your social world, in your soil, with your people
ii. “Death on the street” ???? you do not die with your social world, your people, your soil
1. Require additional rites, especially frequent during
times of war.
d. Pg. 1: “ …people couldn’t come up with every practices of hunting and agriculture without agriculture observation of natural process and a firm belief in its regularity, without the power of reasoning and without confidence in the power of reason; that is, without the rudiments of science”
e. Pg. 10: “can this primitive knowledge be regarded as a rudimentary form of science or is it, on the contrary, radically different, a crude empiric, a body of practical and technical abilities, rule of thumb and rules of art having no theoretical value?”
f. Pg. 67 ****
i. Science, even as represented…fixed by reason.” Magic is based on specific experience of emotional states.
ii. Science is founded on the conviction that experience, effort, and reason are valid; magic on the belief that hope cannot fail nor
desire deceive. The theories of knowledge are …”
g. Malinowski set up an argument of epistemology
i. Two aspects of epistemology ????
1. Authority- what constitutes legitimate knowledge?
What is truth?
2. Process- how do we gain knowledge?
ii. The debate between creationism and evolution ???? represents a clash of epistemological understanding about the earth, its
origin and life forms.
1. The Scopes Trial
a. Formally known as the “State of Tennessee vs.
John Thomas Scopes” (or the Scopes “monkey”
Trial), in July 1925
b. William Jennings Bryan on evolution ???? “Million
of guesses strong together”
c. Clarence Darrow on the genesis story ???? “Fools
ideas that no intelligent Christian on earth
d. “It was the first time the Bible was ridiculed by the
media in America, and that was a downward
turning point for Christendom,” Ham says. “We
are going to undo all of that here at the Creation
Museum. We are going to answer the questions
Bryan wasn’t prepared to, and show that belief in
every word of the Bible can be defended by
i. Ken Ham, CEO of Answers in Genesis,
which built KY museum (salon.com).
IV. In-Class example of scientific leaps of faith: Higgs Boson experiment V. Terms:
a. Boggle threshold: “the level above which the minds boggles when faced with some new fact or report or idea.”
Fernea’s Guest of the Shiek (Part I)
▪ Background on our author, Elizabeth Warnock Fernea o Nickname: BJ
o Lived: 1927-2008
o She authored several book, among them: Guests of the Shiek (1965), A View of the Nile, A Street of the Nile, A Street in Marrakech, Middle Eastern Women Speak, Women and Family in the Middle East ▪ Entering the filed: the choice/necessity of the Abayah
▪ Ethnographer aware of her positionality and her transition as she emerges into the field.
▪ Her positionality as a western woman.
o Abayah- the long black cloak worn traditionally by Iraqi women ▪ “Since we were guests of the Sheik, he added, it would make everything easier if I wore the abayah; the sheik wouldn’t have to punish people for insulting me. Insulting me! I had been
indignant. “They say an uncovered women is an immoral
women”, Bob has explained “and the tribesmen ask why a
woman should want to show herself to anyone but her husband” (Pg. 6).
o Entering the field
▪ She begins with indignation.
▪ At first, she refuses to wear. She has a stake in maintain her identity. However, she realizes that there is a worth of the
• She gets social pressure, stares from people
• She finally decides to wear in order to avoid the
scrutiny and gain a more anonymous role.
▪ Her hostess realizes that by not wearing the abayah, she is not going to make it.
• Can you make it?
• So, she accepts the Abayah.
o Abayah as a Material Cultural Artifact
▪ Artifact – an object that has meaning within a culture and history
▪ Material – physical thing
▪ Culture- meaning within the culture and by its history
▪ Historical particularity: You can’t understand an object,
without understand the historical process from which it came to be.
▪ Essentially ???? Abayah has a history in how it came to be. It has a history and meaning in its context.
o Purdah- an Indian term generally meaning the seclusion of women in separate quarters
▪ Abayah is the portable version of purdah.
• It achieves purdah when the women can’t be physically
• It insures the same kind of protection of a social being.
• Purdah enacted in public spaces.
▪ El Nahra’s social and spatial organization
o The village
▪ “Across the canal from the tribal settlement of mud-brick houses, shops, a small covered bazaar, and a mosque
distinguished…by only a small mosaic. ‘There is no God but
Allah and Mohammed is His Prophet” (Pg. 49)
▪ Review map found on pg. 20-21
▪ New Bridge:
• Good for transportation of goods and other things.
• However, since it was centrally locally. It was hard for
women to move about. Belief system created social
order and interacted space.
▪ To think about: How are belief system and social order tied to space?
• Belief system created a specific social order and in
interacted with space.
o Urban order (secular, market place, education)
o Religious side of the village
o Logics of religious systems are more importanct
▪ To think about: How do belief systems shape understanding of social organization belonging
• Social and special organization
o Sex? Gender? What is the difference?
▪ Sexual dimorphisms- marked differences in male and female biology besides the contrast in breast and genitals”
• Differences in form
▪ “Sex differences are biological, but gender encompasses all the traits that a culture assigns to and inculcates in males and
females. ‘Gender’, in other words, refers to the cultural
construction of male and female characteristics”.
• In this sense, gender and is constructed and malleable.
o To think about: Examples of Purdah and the challenge that it presents to BJ?
▪ Pilgrimage to Karbala (film)
o Abaya: the long black cloak worn traditionally by Iraqi women o Purdah: an Indian term generally meaning the seclusion of women in separate quarters
o Sex versus Gender
▪ “Sex differences are biological, but gender encompasses all the traits that a culture assigns to and inculcates in males and
females. ‘Gender’, in other words, refers to the cultural
construction of male and female characteristics”.
Fernea’s Guest of the Shiek (Part II)
April 8, 2015
▪ Contextualizing the abayah (Guest lecturer: Ferhan Guloglu) o Veil ???? Burka, headscarf, abayah
▪ At the heart of academic accounts of the Middle East.
o Orientalist Tradition ???? see the east as the western least. If it’s not familiar, it is exotic and lesser. (Edward Sayid)
o Historical background:
▪ Fatima Mernissi: “Beyond the Veil” – women and sexuality in the Islamic word.
• Ulema – male theologians who manipulate religious text
to suppress women
▪ Lila Abu-Lughod “Veil sentiments” - goes against Fatima
• Women can enact their sexuality and emotion via songs.
• Modest women do have agency. They have voice.
• Of course, there is a social frame that determines the
appropriateness of it.
▪ Wait a second, what is agency?
• Agency: resistance, freedom
o She criticizes freedom as a social idea.
o She interprets the veil as an empowering
mechanism. They don’t care about being “free”,
they care more their values and beliefs.
o Different subjectivity.
▪ Lila Abu-Lughod: “Do Muslim Women really need saving?” • Humanitarianism rhetorical of saving Islamic women.
However, they don’t need feel like they need to be
saved. They are content with their lives and practices.
• Saving itself is very problematic. It puts the western
men in a place of higher ground to go save the hopeless
▪ Cultural relativism in this field?
• For Islamic women, Drones are more oppressive than
▪ Understanding Sunni-Shia
o Basic demographics facts about Sunni and Shia Muslims
▪ Shia: 10-15% of Muslims population (1.6 million), numbering 200 million
• 90% Iranians, 70% of people in Persian gulf, and 50% in area from Lebanon to Pakistan
▪ 95% Iraqi population is Muslim, 51% Shia and 42% Sunni. ▪ Around 62% of the world Muslim live in Asia. Indonesia has largest Muslim population in the world.
▪ From: 2009 Pew center report
▪ “The hadith of the prophet Muhammad exemplify how both reverent emulation and contention attach to tradition in Islamic discourses. A number of transitions hold that just before the prophet died, he asked his community to hold fast onto two things: the book of god and the family of the Prophet. Other transitions maintain that the two things were the book of God and the prophetic examples (Sunni), as found in the hadith.”
▪ The different implications of these two sets of transitions constitute a long running argument between Sunnis and Shia Muslims.
▪ Source: (Graves of Tarim, Engseng Ho, 2006: 23)
o Chronology of the Prophet’s life and the ensuing divisions ???? ▪ (The Note taker’s Source: http://www.npr.org/2007/ 02/12/7280905/chronology-a-history-of-the-shia-sunni-split) ▪ 570: The Prophet Muhammad is born.
▪ 598: Ali, who will become the fourth caliph and the first Shiite Imam, is born.
▪ 610: The year Muslims cite as the beginning of Muhammad's mission and revelation of the Quran.
▪ 613: The public preaching of Islam begins.
▪ 630: The Muslims, led by Muhammad, conquer Mecca.
▪ 632: Muhammad dies. Abu Bakr is chosen as caliph, his successor. A minority favors Ali. They become known as Shiat Ali, or the partisans of Ali.
▪ 656: Ali becomes the fourth caliph after his predecessor is assassinated. Some among the Muslims rebel against him.
▪ 661: Violence and turmoil spread among the Muslims; Ali is assassinated.
▪ 680: Hussein, son of Ali, marches against the superior army of the caliph at Karbala in Iraq. He is defeated, his army massacred, and he is beheaded. The split between Shiites and Sunnis deepens. Shiites consider Ali their first imam, Hussein the third.
▪ 873: The 11th Shiite Imam dies. No one succeeds him.
▪ 873-940: In the period, known as the Lesser Occultation, the son of the 11th Imam disappears, leaving his representatives to head the Shiite faith.
▪ 940: The Greater Occultation of the 12th or Hidden Imam begins. No imam or representative presides over the Shiite faithful. ▪ 1258: The Mongols, led by Hulagu, destroy Baghdad, ending the Sunni Arab caliphate.
▪ 1501: Ismail I establishes the Safavid dynasty in Persia and declares Shiism the state religion.
▪ 1900: Ruhollah Khomeini is born in Persia.
▪ 1920-1922: Arabs, both Shiite and Sunni, revolt against British control of Iraq.
▪ 1922-1924: Kemal Ataturk abolishes the Ottoman sultanate and the Turkish Sunni caliphate.
▪ 1925: Reza Khan seizes power in Persia, declares himself shah, establishing the Pahlavi dynasty.
▪ 1932: Iraq becomes an independent nation, under King Faisal, a Sunni Arab.
▪ 1935: Persia is renamed Iran.
▪ 1941: Reza Shah abdicates throne in favor of his son Mohammad Reza Shah. British and Soviet military forces occupy Iran. ▪ 1953: A joint CIA/British intelligence operation in Iran keeps the shah on the throne and ousts nationalist Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.
▪ 1963: Amid widespread protests in Iran against the shah, Ayatollah Khomeini is arrested, then exiled to Najaf in Iraq. ▪ 1967: Israel defeats Egypt, Syria and Jordan in the Six-Day War. ▪ 1968: The Baath Party seizes power in Iraq.
▪ 1973: Israel defeats Egypt and Syria in the Yom Kippur War. ▪ 1978-79: Widespread protests force the shah to abdicate and flee Iran. Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Iran to lead the revolution. ▪ 1979: Saddam Hussein seizes power, becomes president of Iraq. Iranian revolutionary students seize the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and take diplomats hostage. They are released in January 1981. ▪ 1980: Saddam orders the Iraqi army to attack Iran. ▪ 1980-1988: Iran-Iraq War. Hundreds of thousands die on each side and the war ends in a stalemate.
▪ 1982: Israel invades Lebanon, seizes Beirut. Hezbollah is formed in Lebanon.
▪ 1983: Suicide truck bombers, believed to be Hezbollah, kill 241 American servicemen in Beirut.
▪ 1989: Ayatollah Khomeini dies in Iran.
▪ 1990: Saddam orders his army to seize Kuwait.
▪ 1991: The U.S. military ousts the Iraqi army from Kuwait. Shiites of southern Iraq rebel against Saddam, who puts down the rebellion brutally. Thousands of Shiites are killed.
▪ 1991-2003: Iraq is placed under economic sanctions. U.N. weapons inspectors destroy most of Iraq's nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs.
▪ 2001: Al-Qaida, led by Sunni Muslim fundamentalists, mounts attacks in the United States, killing 3,000 people. The United
States invades Afghanistan and ousts the Sunni Taliban
▪ 2003: The U.S. military invades Iraq, topples Saddam. An Iraqi insurgency erupts, led by Sunni Baathists and al-Qaida.
▪ 2005-2006: Iraqi elections bring Shiite political parties to power in Baghdad, backed by Iran. Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence
▪ 2005: Hard-line fundamentalist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is elected president in Iran. Iran pursues acquisition of nuclear technology. ▪ 2006: War breaks out between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon. The U.N. Security Council imposes economic sanctions on Iran in response to nuclear activities.
▪ 2007: The United States sends additional troops to Iraq.
o Caliph, Caliphate and Hajj
▪ Caliph- chief Muslim civil and religious leader, regarded as the successor of Muhammad.
▪ Caliphate- the political-religious state comprising the Muslim community and the lands and peoples under its dominion in
the centuries following the death of the Prophet Muhammad. ▪ Mecca is considered the holiest city in the Islamic faith and the destination of hajj (the annual pilgrimage, a religious duty to be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able
bodied Muslim who can afford to do so), Karbala is the holy
site of the pilgrimage for Shia Muslims because its significance as the place where Hussein and his army were slaughtered.
• Hajj ???? pilgrimage showed social standing in the
▪ The tenth day of the Islamic month of Muharram, Ashura is the day of morning marking the martyrdom of Hussein at the
battle of Karbala.
▪ Fernea writes:
• “It was during Muharram, in the seventh century, that
Hussein, grandson of the prophet Mohammad, and the
iman or religious leader at that time, went to Kufa to
press his claim to the caliphate and was slain in the
plains of Karbala” (Pg. 194)
• Each year during Muharram the pious Shiite
communities in Iraq and Iran and in India
commemorate Imam Hussein’s martyrdom, through
daily Krayas and through mourning processions and
passion plays which dramatize each important occasion
in the last days of the martyr” (Pg. 194)
▪ Film: Pilgrimage to Karbala (In-Class viewing)
o Sunni/Shia Muslims
▪ See Chronology to understand (Especially underlined sections) o Caliph and Caliphate
▪ Caliph: Chief Muslim civil and religious leader, regarded as the successor of Muhammad.
▪ Caliphate: the political-religious state comprising the Muslim community and the lands and peoples under its dominion in
the centuries following the death of the Prophet Muhammad. o Hajj: The annual pilgrimage, a religious duty to be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so
o Krayas: a religious reading common in Shiite communities
Fernea’s Guest of the Shiek (Part III)
April 10, 2015
▪ Final Scene of Pilgrimage to Karbala
o Parallel: Film’s scenes in Karbala and those described by Fernea ▪ Multitude of people coming from different countries
▪ Chaotic - Effervesce ???? they are getting there in bus, donkey, foot. It’s crowded it. They will do all it takes.
▪ Piety: Man walking in his arms across the square
o Taaziya: mourning ceremony, including of young men who ritually flagellate themselves during the Shiite commemoration of Ashur, the tenth of Muharram, the day when Hussein and Ali were slain.
▪ A Durkheimian analysis: the taaziya procession in Karbala (P. 241-245) o According to Durkeim, what are the two basic categories that religious phenomena fall into?
▪ Beliefs (Sacred/Profane) & Rites
o Analyze the following passages according to Durkheim’s definition of religion and the notion of a social fact:
▪ 242: “The torches and weirdly lit banner, the bunch of black chains in the right hand of every man, the black garments, the
glazed and exhausted eyes of the eyes of the performers and their drenched, sweating bodies signified a religious experience with which was totally unfamiliar.”
• You are swept into an emotion that is not yours. It’s a
collective feeling. ???? Social Fact. (External and Coercive)
▪ 243: “Tears streamed down the faces of sobbing men standing near me, and the piercing wailing cries of the women spoke of
loss and pain and grief and lamentation.”
• BJ is a liminal figure. There is danger in her. If she is
seen as not being a believer, there is danger.
• Rites. You can’t have the beliefs without the rite. If you
are not praying and lamenting, there is no your true
belief. Belief has to be enacted.
▪ “An excursion into the country”: Douglas’ “matter out of place” o Pg.: 257: “Strange as it seem to me now, I realized as we got out of the car and breathed deeply the country air how it had been since I had a change to walk aimlessly for pleasure. It was not the sort of thing that ladies in El Nahra did; they were busy most of the day, and in their leisure hours they hardly felt the need of more exercise. Even if they had, they wee expected to stay indoors with their families and not wander about in public view”.
o What happened on the excursion? How did different people of El Narah react?
▪ They have chance to escape the constraining social pressure of the village..
▪ Problem: They are exposed in the countryside. They meet some children and are exposed to a family.
• Women have different sensibilities and social pressures
▪ They go back to village and face consequences of that exposure. ▪ Pg. 119 of Mary Douglas: “Danger lies in transitional states, simply because transition is not a one state or the next, it is
indefinable. The person who must ass from one to another is
himself in danger and emanates dangers to others”.
• Great danger for Leila ???? in stake is not only her honor.
It’s about the honor of other women of her family.
• Matter out of place: Important because it remind us
what it tells us what it is out of place from.
▪ “But I began to realized that Bob and I would never be other than foreigners, even thought our efforts to conform to local
customs might prove ingratiating. No one would seriously blame us for our lapses, but we had to recognize our responsibility
when, on our account, other people were exposed to blame or
shame or worse”
▪ How little I really knew about the society in which I was living! During the year I had made friends, I had listened and talked and learned, I thought, a great deal, but the pattern of custom and
tradition which governed the lives of my friends was far more
subtle and complex than I imagine (Pg. 266)
o What are some of those patterns and traditions?
▪ BJ failed to realize that her honor and her family’s honors are essential and can be scrutinized.
▪ In village, there is a revolutionary: Irrigation Engineer’s Fiancé • He holds a hold a position of power and educated
• Fiancé: trying to persuade the women to stop wearing
▪ Politics – Fernea doesn’t get much of it because she is not a man and cannot hear it first hand.
• In the ethnography, politics are mediated via other
people speaking about the issues. It is not central to the
▪ Film: the rhetoric ties together the ideas of religion with the geopolitical climate. The religious is very tied to political.
▪ Genealogy: Leila is the Shiek’s nice ???? her reputation directly influences her family’s reputation.
▪ “Back to Baghdad”: recalling Evans-Pritchard on ethnographic research o Bob and BJ join the Shiek – as his guest – at a nightclub in Baghdad. o What happens there and what conclusions does Fernea draw?
▪ Her identity has changed. She sees the exposed women and understands why he sees them like that. She is flattered that
she is not labeled as them.
▪ Feel more part of the culture, yet she will never feel the shame of tarnished honor.
o Evans Pritchard Appendix 4:
▪ 243: “But clearly one has to recognize that there is a certain pretense in such a attempts at participation, and people do not always appreciate them” ???? They are still apart in essentials.
▪ How does Guest of the Sheik represent ethnography as both a research methods and form of writing methods?
• Research methods:
o Direct Observation/Participant Observation
o Entrance into the community ???? putting on a
o Positionality as a western woman – affect her
research. You can account for it, but you can’t get
rid of it.
• Writing methods
o Examines closely how people live their lives and
the internal logic.
o Taaziya: mourning ceremony, including of young men who ritually flagellate themselves during the Shiite commemoration of Ashur, the tenth of Muharram, the day when Hussein and Ali were slain
A Case Study in Culture, Conflict, And Repair April 12, 2015
• Background of the Bosnian War
o 1 million people were forcibly displaced and 100,000 killed in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1992-1995.
o Some 30,000 of the 100,00 were missing and whose remains were not recovered, identified and returned to their surviving kin. o ‘These people’s faith has not been determined. The society needs closure and desires to “know where he lies”.
o Three peoples ????
▪ Bosniacs – Bosnian Muslims in their ethno religious identity. • They don’t necessarily practice the religious, but they identify socially. (Bosnia ad Herzegovina)
▪ Bosnia Serbs- Republika Srpsk
▪ Bosnian Croats- Croatian states
o Post Conflict ????
▪ Displacement, disorder, lost.
▪ “Closure” – problematic term. ???? Simply getting remains of a lost one does not close that grieve
o Ethnic conflict and forced migration
▪ Ethnic group – people who share certain belief, values, habits and norms because of their common background. Distinctions may arise from language, religion, historical experience, geography placement, kinship, etc. Ethnic groups often have a collective name, belief in common descent, a sense of
solidarity, and an association with a specific territory, which they may or may not hold
▪ Ethnicity – identification with, and feeling part of ethnic group and exclusion from certain other groups because of this affiliation.
▪ Two distinctions -
• Ethnonational- has to do with nationality (Bosniac)
• Ethnoreligious- has to do with religion (Bosnian
o Pre- war ethnic composition
▪ Pre war???? heterogeneous (1991)
▪ Post war ???? homogeneous (2006)
▪ Change in composition tells you how held power. In this case, it was Bosnian Serbs. This power meant that it “cleaned”
territory in order to control territory. Cleanse non-Serb
▪ Ethnic Cleansing – term often applied in Bosnia to describe the forcible removal of an ethnic population.
▪ Bosnian Serb forces attempted to expel all non-Serb populations from eastern Bosnia in the spring 1992.
▪ International media labeled it a campaign of “ethnic cleansing”, referring to wised-spread killing, rape and forced expulsion as the destruction of property, including homes, schools,
businesses and religious sites.
▪ Our focus – Drina River and Srebrenica
o The UN “safe area” of Srebrenica, Bosnia, and Herzegovina ▪ Set up in Srebrenica: One of five enclaves of refuges. Controlled by friendly forces.
• UN in trying to make peacekeeping happen.
• Bosnia and Herzegovina is part of larger context.
o Intervention tried and failed.
o After end of Cold War, no longer a political
refugee but rather a rhetoric of containment.
• 1993: Set up International Tribunal and Safe Areas
• Ethnic cleansing ???? not only about the people being
exterminated and removed but also their cultural
▪ Srebrenica execution rates:
• At least 1000 were killed in the Kravica agricultural
• Between 800 and 2500 were killed in Orahovac after
detention in the nearby Grvaci school
• Over 100 were killed at Petkovci Dam;
• Over 1000 were killed at Kozluk
• Between 1000 and 2000 were killed at the Brankevo
Military Farm and the Pilica Cultural Center.
▪ Primary mass graves ???? perpetrators went back dug up and scattered mass graves to hide the evidence.
▪ Srebrenica is one event that has been determined to be
▪ Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction in
whole or in part of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national
▪ Genocide even if done in part. In the conflict, only men were targeted. However, it was the most powerful part of the
society. In a patrilineal society, it was destroying the order of an entire society.
▪ Raphael Lemkin coined the term genocide in 1944 and drafted the Convention on the Prevention and punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
▪ Among the Srebrenica missing were men in their eighties and boys as young as twelve years old.
• “A day in the Life of Frazen Erdemobic”
o They Would Never Hurt a Fly, Slavenka
▪ Over 1900 individuals directly or indirectly took part of it. How do you hold it accountable? You can’t, but you start at the stop. ▪ General Ratko Mladic ???? leader in charge of creating systematic killing
o Commemoration dates ????
▪ July 13: the women visit the Srebrenica detention and
▪ July 11 – commemoration of Bosniac genocide
▪ July 12 – commemoration of Bosnian Serbs
o Pilicia Cultural Center
▪ Execute another 500 people ???? The building is a existing
▪ “ Sitting in this company, so indifferent or maybe scarred or whatever, and asking myself what it is that prevents normal
human beings from doing their moral duty and testifying about a crime, was the most horrifying experience of my life. I was
greatly Srebrenica but it was the visit to Pilica that upset me in particular, since I saw that a monument to dead Serb soldiers
has been erected in from of the Culture Center. These men had
died for their cause, believing in what they were doing; but it was highly arrogant to erect a monument to them in front of the site f one of the most shameful crimes in the whole war in Bosnia
Herzegovina. I tell you, it was the most shocking thin”
o Ethnic group and ethnicity:
▪ Ethnic group – people who share certain belief, values, habits and norms because of their common background. Distinctions may arise from language, religion, historical experience,
geography placement, kinship, etc. Ethnic groups often have a collective name, belief in common descent, a sense of
solidarity, and an association with a specific territory, which
they may or may not hold
▪ Ethnicity – identification with, and feeling part of ethnic group and exclusion from certain other groups because of this
o Ethnic cleansing – term often applied in Bosnia to describe the forcible removal of an ethnic population, Bosnian Serb forces attempted to expelled all non-Serb populations from eastern Bosnia in the spring 1992.
o Genocide - is the deliberate and systematic destruction in whole or in part of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group.
A Case Study in Culture, Conflict and Repair (Part II) April 17, 2015
• Ethnic conflict and forced migration
o Refugee: “A person who owing to a well-founded dear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling owing
to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.
o Article 1 of the UN Convention Relating to the Status Of Refuges ▪ The protection of the country doesn’t exist. Person fears that going to the state will be part of hurt. State complicity or
failure. The person cannot be protected by country.
▪ The state might be the one to blame or simply unable to
protect citizens. ???? Person is fleeing across national
▪ Remember - Nation states don’t always match with nationality. o Internally displaced person (IDP): someone who is forced to flee his or her home but who remains within his or her country’s borders. ▪ Forced migrants that haven’t cross an actual border.
▪ In the post cold war era, there was an effort to contain refugees within national border.
▪ Invested in keeping people close to home.
• Dual agenda:
o People shouldn’t have to live their country in the
o The burden to the state where the refugees are
• Result ???? increase in IDPs.
• “We are all neighbors” (Film)
o Refugees: A person who owing to a well-founded dear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.
o Internally displaced person (IDP): someone who is forced to flee his or her home but who remains within his or her country’s borders.
A Case Study in Culture, Conflict And Repair (Part III) April 22, 2015
• Final Scenes from Film: “We are all neighbors” ????
o Juxtaposition of elder woman’s words:
▪ At first, she said that they would always live together.
▪ At the ends, she called it impossible.
o Final scenes: one house to the next shown. Only Muslim house burnt down.
o The church becomes a source of ethno religious identity in a time when all seem to be disintegrating.
o Two older women and their friendship: 40 years of friendship ended because of the conflict.
▪ Final scene: woman crying as a shock that her friend would not call her to warn her of the coming threat.
▪ The social fabric is tore.
o Drinking coffee- social act that made and remade cohesion • The “right of return” and minority return in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina
o Post-conflict: can people return to, at the very least, co-existence? Go back to prewar homes. Is not about forgiveness or forgetting, but about how do you go back to a place with the presence of the perpetrators? How do you make a safe community for your children?
o The “right of return” (refugee return or voluntary repatriation) was written into the Dayton Peace Agreement. At this time in the human rights and refugee rights discourse, the failure of the UN to intervene in the genocide and post cold war, there was rhetoric of maintain refugees in national borders.
o Minority return is the return of prewar residents to territory inhabited (and controlled) predominantly by the opposing ethnic group.
• Process of social reconstruction and reconciliation
o What does reconstruction look like?
▪ “Social reconstruction and intercommunal reconciliation have emerged as a key priorities in international intervention into
war-torn societies mast I has become increasingly clear that
sustainable peace and democracy are not secured nearly by
building destroyed house and infrastructure and supporting
economic development” (Stefanson, 64).
• Truth and Reconciliation Commission – South African –
Nelson Mandela: Dealing with the atrocities that
characterized the apartheid.
▪ Reconciliation, as an international template, comes from South Africa. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the victims said no thanks. • They wanted truth, the remains of the lost,
accountability for perpetrators and then they would be
willing to speak of reconciliation.
• Often, to ask some victims to reconcile it would be too
much. You can’t just ask them to forget their pain and
▪ Besides the material, you need social relations be repaired enough to enable people to live. Not harmoniously, but to live together.
• Signage: postwar attempt at ethnic tolerance with name
of Srebrenica written in Cyrillic and Roman alphabet.
Graffiti went over it the sign saying “serb”.
• Graffiti: “Knife, wire, Srebrenica”
o The chant celebrating slaughter of the bosniacs.
o History to the region with visible scars and
message that signal to returnees that they were
• Graffiti: “For Kravica, you got Srebrenica! We played by
your rules!” - People from a village coming to slaughter
Bosniacs as pay back for previous transgressions.
o Reconciliation is a “process through which a society moves from a divided past to a shred future”
▪ Thin reconciliation:
• Coexistence: I am not living with them, but I have to live
▪ Thick reconciliation:
• A more complete reconciliation
▪ National reconciliation:
• Build a cohesive nation that is functioning, and often
democratic, that will join the international family of
o Social reconstruction - the repair of a post-conflict society through a range of programmatic interventions from security to justice, economic, development, education, and the rule of law
o For Stefansson, social reconstruction or repair attempted through refugee (or IDP) return seeks to foster a culture of coexistence. • Drinking coffee- social acts of everyday co-existence (A comprehensive Review of the course
• Why the focus on coffee? Which authors might help us understand the cultural practice and social meaning of coffee after war?
▪ Symbolic anthropology: Coffee as symbolic of social
• Coffee bring people together
• The elder ladies that stopped drinking coffee – social
cohesion falling apart
▪ Thick description
• Not just a coffee cup, that is laden with social
• Man is tangled in Web of significance that he himself
▪ Reading social event like a text – social matrix
o Sacred and Profane
▪ Coffee shifted from a mundane, profane, act into a more
ritualistic, sacred act.
• Durkheim, not so much in the religion, but as a
o Marcel Mauss
▪ Coffee drinking, preparing and the social act of sharing
coffee is a social act.
• To give, To receive, To reciprocate
▪ The gift is never pure. They always demand return to some
▪ What is means to study it?
• The role of the anthropologist.
• Imponderabilia of actual life: the flesh and bone of
o Evans Prichard
▪ Appendix Four ???? you are not the, you always the
anthropologist and someone who is not of that experience.
o Coffee making parallels with Angela Garcia’s ethnography
▪ History of dispossession: Loss tied to territory
▪ Loss tied to a social experience of coffee drinking without
those who have left
▪ Dispossession/ memory of land is part of drinking coffee.
▪ Coffee making and drinking as a Social fact
▪ Reflexivity of the people and their change before, during,
and after conflict.
▪ Review for Final ???? Recall the structure of the syllabus
• Intro: Nacirema, Zora Neale Hurston; Shakespeare in the bush o Ethnocentrisms vs. cultural relativism
o Ethnology (comparing) vs. ethnography (understand)
o Etic (Outside) vs. emic (inside)
• Philosophical origins: Victorian anthropology, colonialism and cultural evolution
• The Noble Savage – holding up as a subject of study
• Culture, ethnography, and meaning: Geertz, Kondo, and out first ethnography
• Social facts and social ties: Durkheim’s social fact, Mauss’ reciprocity • Belief systems and knowledge practices: more Durkheim, Douglas’s dirt; Evans Pritchard and witchcraft, our second ethnography, Guest of the Sheik. ▪ Glossary:
• Minority return is the return of prewar residents to territory inhabited (and controlled) predominantly by the opposing ethnic group.
• Social reconstruction - the repair of a post-conflict society through a range of programmatic interventions from security to justice, economic, development, education, and the rule of law
• Reconciliation (thin/thick/national)
o Reconciliation is a “process through which a society moves from a divided past to a shred future”
o Thin reconciliation: Coexistence: I am not living with them, but I have to live besides them.
o Thick reconciliation: A more complete reconciliation and social cohesion.
o National reconciliation: Build a cohesive nation that is functioning, and often democratic, that will join the international family of nations.