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Posts from the ‘Middle East’ Category

Gabrielle Berlinger Reports on the Latest Housing Protests in Israel

While, after inexcusable delay, the U.S. media finally start covering the Wall Street protests here in the United States, my colleague and IU doctoral researcher Gabrielle Berlinger continues to be one of the few people positioned to report in English on the continuing housing protests in Israel. As the protests connect directly with the community in which she is living and working and because they relate closely to her research, her reporting is rich in ways that journalistic accounts never could be. Her latest account, of a protest outside the home of the Minister of Housing in Jerusalem, is here.

The Hasan El-Shamy Shout-Out

This is a shout-out. I have boundless respect and admiration for my senior colleague Hasan El-Shamy. Dr. El-Shamy is continuing to make crucial contributions to the social sciences and humanities, especially in his beloved field of folklore studies. He is a leader in considering the mutual implications of psychology and folklore studies. He is a world renowned scholar of Middle Eastern expressive culture and belief systems. He has advanced comparative methods and theories in folklore studies, adapting them for the current century. He has argued persuasively for the importance of recognizing vernacular theorizing on the human condition and he has an uncanny ability to recognize the lay social theories expressed in the most humble of expressive genres and folk beliefs and to connect these to the longterm concerns of psychological, social and cultural theory in the academic mode. At another end of the continuum, he is in dialogue with literary scholars as a consequence of his detailed studies of a key canonical text in world literature—The Thousand and One Nights. The glowing reviews that his works receive and the global community of admirers in dialogue with his studies speak to his centrality and influence to our field.

In the past several years, Dr. El-Shamy has published numerous important books, including Tales Arab Women Tell (IU Press, 1999), Popular Stories of Ancient Egypt (Oxford University Press, 2002), Types of the Folktale in the Arab World (IU Press, 2004), Archetypes and Motifs in Folklore and Literature (Sharpe, 2005), A Motif Index of The Thousand and One Nights (IU Press, 2006), and Religion Among the Folk in Egypt (Praeger, 2008). In one of countless high profile recognitions that he has received, this year he was recognized with the honor of being the “Great China Lecturer” at East China Normal University in Shanghai. He was the 94th internationally recognized scholar to be accorded this distinction.

Dr. El-Shamy is on a well-deserved research leave this semester and I wish him well in his continuing research endeavors.

More Groundlevel News from the Tel Aviv Protests

Our friend in Tel Aviv continues to share news and views and video and photographs from the Tel Aviv protests at White City Streets. Check out the latest “Adding Fuel to the Fire (Literally)”.

More on the Protests in Israel, Ethnographically

White City Streets continues to report from the field in Tel Aviv where the multifaceted protests continue to unfold. offers a rich post remixing these reports with news accounts and additional reflections.


An Ethnographer Among the Protesters (in Tel Aviv)

A wonderful, talented doctoral researcher in my circle has been in Tel Aviv over the past year pursuing dissertation research and also blogging beautifully about life in her chosen corner of the city at White City Streets. It has been an eventful year for the city, for Israel, and for the region. Her most recent posts focus on the large-scale protests in Israel, developments that have been getting no attention in the U.S. as we have been held captive–distracted and immobilized–by the House of (not) Representatives. If you would like an ethnographic glimpse of what is happening on the streets and in the parks there now, check out the recent narratives, photos, and video posted by “folklorist” on White City Streets.

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