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Mandana Limbert
CUNY Research Foundation, Queens College (Flushing, NY 11367-1597)
Oman, Zanzibar, and the Politics of Becoming Arab

Preparation of a book on changing notions of Arab identity in Oman and Zanzibar.

This project is a historical study of Omani and British colonialism in Zanzibar as well as an ethnographic account of its legacies in Oman. Drawing on archival sources and ethnographic fieldwork, it explores the transformation of the concept of "Arab" in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries and calls into question its dominant ethno-national understanding. The project focuses on the social lives of Omani traders, laborers, and farmers who migrated to Zanzibar in the first half of the twentieth century and examines their shifting practices of marriage, concubinage, and divorce and the continuing debates about them in Zanzibar, Great Britain, and Oman. In order to appreciate the complexity of the notion of "Arab," the project argues, we must look beyond the boundaries of the Middle East and to the Arab world’s own colonial histories.

Project fields:
Cultural Anthropology; Interdisciplinary Studies, Other; Near and Middle Eastern History

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2017 – 12/31/2017