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Distance and Proximity

Fashioning an Arab Anthropology

The field of Arab studies was dismembered during the colonial period, with ethnography working in the vernacular and the written tradition assigned to Orientalism. The so-called “critical turn,” inspired by Orientalism and other deconstruction approaches, left this traditional division of labor intact, which Abdellah Hammoudi seeks to reverse. In Distance and Proximity, Hammoudi reflects on his fieldwork in Moroccan, Maghrebi, and Arab settings to delineate a decolonized anthropological approach capable of bringing these disciplines together through the practice of a “double critique.” This critique insists on taking into account the concerns of peoples on the ground and, at the same time, reappropriates anthropological knowledge to construct an authentically Arab tradition of anthropology in critical dialogue with European and American traditions.

275 pages | 6 x 9

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