AIYS was well represented at MESA 2014 in Washington. The two sponsored panels were well attended, as was the business meeting. Thanks go to CAORC for their continuing support of AIYS and also to Dr. Salwa Dammaj, our Resident Director in Sanaa.
For anyone in the Washington DC area or attending the annual MESA conference at the Marriott there, we invite you to the AIYS business meeting and three sponsored panels on Yemen. Details are at http://aiys.org/mesa.html.
You are cordially invited to a public lecture and live concert on Monday Nov 17, 2014 at the library of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies (AIYS).
Dr. Nizar Ghanem (Professor of Occupational Medicine, Sana’a University), will give a talk entitled “Dance acculturation in Yemeni civilization.”
The presentation will take place in the AIYS building off Tawfiq St. in the Al-Qaa’ neighborhood. The talk will begin promptly at 10.30 AM. All are invited.
If you need specific directions to AIYS’s location, please call 278 816 or 735608627. We urge first-time visitors to call for directions, as the location is off the main street.
Please distribute this message to other organizations or individuals who may be interested in the topic of this lecture.
AIYS looks forward to welcoming you!
* Please note that the talk will be in Arabic, but the summary will be in English.
American Institute for Yemeni Studies
Tel: 278 816
Fax: 285 071
AIYS organized a seminar on October 30, 2014 on the institute premises. Three working papers were presented. The first one was titled “Manuscripts House in Old City of Sanaa”, the second one’s theme was “Woman Empowerment: Conception and Reality” and the third paper was titled “Woman’s Positions in Yemen’s Ancient Temples”. The seminar brought together a number of academics and researchers from the University of Sanaa and the Yemen Center for Studies and Research, activists and journalists. The Deputy Minister of Culture, Houda Abalan, was in attendance.
The Resident Director of AIYS Dr. Salwa Dammaj started the seminar with short remarks in which she briefed the attendees on the mission and activities of AIYS. Then she introduced the three lecturers who presented the working papers.
by Dr. Salwa Dammaj , Resident Director of AIYS
لذكرى 15 لرحيل الشاعر والمؤرخ والمفكر عبدالله البردوني
بمناسبة الذكرى 15 لرحيل شاعر اليمن الكبير وضميرها الإنساني الأستاذ/ عبدالله البردُّوني، تنظم جبهة إنقاذ الثورة السلمية الصباحية الموسيقية للفنان/ عبدالفتاح القباطي، التي يغني فيها عدد من قصائد البردُّوني. ومعرض الصور للفنان/ عبدالرحمن الغابري، الذي يستعرض ما إلتقطته عدسته من صور تعبر عن مراحل عدة من حياة الأستاذ عبدالله البردُّوني.
تقام الفعالية، العاشرة صباح السبت 30/8/2014م ببيت الثقافة/ شارع القصر/ صنعاء
Today is the second day of the WOCMES (World Council on Middle East Studies) conference in Ankara, Turkey. There are two panels that focus on Yemen; both were organized by AIYS member, Dr. Najwa Adra. The first is entitled: Tribalism in the Middle East I: Tribe and Diatribe: Anthropology Meets Political Science
Moderator & Discussant: Lisa Anderson
Dawn Chatty : Syrian Tribes, National Politics and Transnationalism
Najwa Adra : Qabyila: Tribal Identity in Yemen
Daniel Varisco: Yemen’s Tribal Idiom: An Ethno-Historical Survey of Genealogical Models (read by Dr. Mohammed Sharafuddin)
The second panel is entitled: Tribalism in the Middle East II: Tribes in Yemen: the View from within
Moderator & Discussant: Saad Sowayan
Mohammed Sharafuddin : Poetry and Tribalism in Yemen
Adel Mujahid Al Shargabi : The Future Political Role of Yemeni Tribal Sheikhs in Light of the Expected Outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference
Abdul Karim Alaug : Tribalism in the Yemeni National Dialogue Conference
[P3654] Making Yemen’s Islamic History: Engineering, Monuments, Taxes and Stimulants
MESA Annual Convention, Washington DC
To be held Monday, 11/24/14 11:00am
• Written versus archaeological evidence: The example of water and wastewater in medieval Zabid, Yemen by Dr. Ingrid Hehmeyer
• Ideal and pragmatic tax law in mediaeval Zaydi Yemen by Dr. Eirik Hovden
• A cultural heritage text from early medieval South Arabia by Dr. Daniel Mahoney
• Coffee and Qat in Yemen: The Historical and Literary Evidence for their Introduction by Dr. Daniel Martin Varisco
• Discussant: Dr. Nancy Ajung Um
Scholarship on Islamic history has paid less attention to Yemen than to Iraq, Syria or Egypt. Despite an important corpus of manuscripts and the publication of several significant primary sources, the historical reconstruction of Islamic Yemen lags behind these other regions. This panel brings together historians who work on various periods in Yemen to illustrate how the current historiography is being made. Archaeological fieldwork on the Islamic era has been limited with the notable exception of the Royal Ontario Museum project on Zabid. Based on the excavation of water works in Zabid, one paper compares the material evidence with the description of water engineering schemes in the 16th century Yemeni text History of Zabid by Ibn al-Dayba’, thus showing the importance of archaeology for fleshing out the tantalizing details in written texts. Another paper focuses on the 10th century multi-volume al-Iklil of the Yemeni savant al-Hamdani, who provides a rhetorical landscape of monuments as an aid in the formation and maintenance of the South Arabian political identity in a fashion akin to modern cultural heritage texts. At the same time, al-Hamdani’s reconstruction of Yemen’s pre-Islamic past serves as a mirror of the politics of his own time, with the retreat of the Abbasid presence and the recent arrival of both Zaydis and Isma’ilis to northern Yemen, more than a century before the Ayyubid invasion. The Zaydi presence in Yemen’s north since the late ninth century is the focus of a paper on the tax policies of the Zaydi imams, especially the tension between the traditional zakat on production and other kinds of taxes. This paper discusses both the theological debate about tax collection and recorded information on how taxes were actually collected. Another paper examines the evidence for the introduction of both coffee (Coffea arabica) and qat (Catha edulis) into Yemen, probably during the Rasulid era. Recent research has resolved the issue of the origin of the term “qat” and there is a need to update discussion of the stimulant in previous sources, including the EI. This paper will examine historical, literary, legal and lexical sources as well as Yemeni folklore. Overall the panel provides both an indication of current research and an invitation for other scholars to help make Yemen’s history as well.
Yemen’s Cultural Crisis: Catastrophe or Opportunity?
MESA Annual Convention, Sunday, November 23, 4:30pm
• Bridging the Generation Gap to Protect Nature in Yemen: Conservation of Nature through Culture by Mohammed Al-Duais
• Cents and (Cultural) Sensibility: How Transnational Political Agendas Condition the Content of Contemporary Theater in Yemen by Katherine Hennessey
• It Looks Good on Paper: Conserving Zabid’s Manuscripts and Intellectual History by Anne Regourd
• Conserving Built Heritage and Landscapes in Yemen: Political and Cultural Considerations for Sustainability by Stephen Steinbeiser and Abdullah Al-Hadhrami
• Chair: Dr. Sheila Carapico
This panel investigates how sociopolitical turmoil in Yemen from 2011 to the present has impacted the production, development, and preservation of culture in domains ranging from the arts to architecture to archeology. Dire political and economic circumstances, as well as other impending emergencies, have largely thrown into crisis efforts to create and maintain Yemen’s cultural heritage. International and diplomatic efforts to stabilize the political situation in Yemen have resulted in pledges of billions of dollars, presumably to shore up a failing economy, combat terrorism and ensure security. Although these are undeniably crucial goals, this panel argues that a brighter future for the country depends more on a holistic awareness and approach to addressing the country’s problems, one which broadens the focus to promote education, the arts, and preservation of Yemen’s immense, but often undocumented and deteriorating, cultural patrimony.
Scholars on this panel will analyze the contemporary challenges to cultural preservation and production in Yemen, and the urgent threats such challenges pose. When possible, panelists will also provide examples of recent successful efforts to protect and support various aspects of Yemeni culture, as well as contemporary cultural production spurred by the Arab Spring, and to suggest ways in which individuals, organizations, and the international community could potentially capitalize on those efforts. The panelists’ areas of expertise will cover a variety of sub-domains under the general heading of cultural production, including but not limited to architecture and restoration; museums and cultural policy; manuscript conservation; environmental awareness; and literature, film, and theater.
[P3658] Tribes in Yemen: The View from Within
MESA Annual Convention, Washington DC
To be held Sunday, 11/23/14 11:00am
• Chair: Dr. Najwa Adra
• Poetry and Tribalism in Yemen by Dr. Mohammed Sharafuddin
• The Future Political Role of Yemeni Tribal Sheikhs in Light of the Expected Outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference by Dr. Adil Mujahid Al Sharjabi
• The True Role of the Tribe in the Arab Political Scene: The Case of Yemen by Dr. Fuad Al-Salahi
• Tribalism in the Yemeni National Dialogue Conference by Dr. Abdul Karim S. Al-Aug
• Discussant: Dr. Charles Schmitz
An estimated 80% of Yemen’s population is rural, and a large majority of this population self-identifies as tribal. Further, many recent urban migrants, as well as some influential political leaders and wealthy business magnates also self-identify as tribal. Tribal participation in peace building efforts and entrepreneurial economic activity indicate that tribes in Yemen are not peripheral to political, social and economic processes, nor are they homogeneous. In this panel Yemeni scholars present their research on the place of tribes and tribalism in Yemeni society today.
The wealth of literature in Arabic on Yemeni tribes, dating back at least to al-Hamdani’s work in the 9th Century, has not been easily available outside of Yemen. This panel introduces the nuanced and varied views of four Yemeni social scientists on tribalism in Yemen today. The first paper situates Yemeni tribes through their poetry, the preferred tribal medium of self-representation. It argues that a lack of communication between Yemen’s tribes and the outside world has led to misunderstanding and misrepresentation of tribalism. The second paper analyses the political roles of tribal leaders during the previous regime of past-President Ali Abdallah Salih and during the current transition period. It examines the potential impacts of political change on the power of tribal leaders. The third paper begins with the observation that tribalism in Yemen is neither homogeneous nor stagnant. It analyzes tribal participation in Yemen’s Spring Revolutionary process and explores recent changes within tribal society that both encourage and abet political participation. The fourth paper brings together the issues discussed so far and explores the potential significance of recent tribal participation in politics to the shape of Yemeni political processes: do they indicate a democratization of Yemeni politics or a “tribalization” of democratic process?