NEH logo
[Return to Query]

Products for Grant FB-55526-11

FB-55526-11
Bedouin Without Arabic: Language, Poetry, and the Mahra of Southeast Yemen
Samuel Liebhaber, Middlebury College

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FB-55526-11

Rhetoric, Rite of Passage and the Multilingual Poetics of Arabia: A Thematic Reading of the Mahri Tribal Ode (Article)
Title: Rhetoric, Rite of Passage and the Multilingual Poetics of Arabia: A Thematic Reading of the Mahri Tribal Ode
Author: Samuel Liebhaber
Abstract: In this article, I engage two examples of the Mahri-language tribal ode in a thematic reading. A South Semitic language, Mahri is one of the few surviving remnants of the pre-Arabic linguistic substrate of Yemen and Oman. I argue that the rite-of-passage paradigm shared by Mahri and Arabic poetics points to a common origin at the convergence of language and culture in the Semitic pre-history of the Arabian Peninsula. At their point of convergence lies a conception of human society that is structured around the conflicting obligations of feuding and feud-mediation. Accordingly, a paradigmatic reading of ‘Arabian’ poetics depicts a proto-historic social organization that can be described through the anthropological segmentary-lineage model. The interpolation of a literary-thematic reading of Arabian tribal poetry within a non-coercive, segmentary social framework suggests that the rite-of-passage paradigm is a rhetorical strategy by which tribal poets urge social consensus. By this means, an outlier of Arabian poetry—the Mahri ?od¯ i¯ we-krem krem genre—can inform a comprehensive, multilingual and diachronic reading of Arabic poetics.
Year: 2013
Primary URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1475262X.2013.843287
Primary URL Description: Taylor & Francis Online
Secondary URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/1475262X.2013.843287
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Journal of Middle Eastern Literatures
Publisher: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group

Mahri Oral Poetry and Arabic Naba?i Poetry: Common core, divergent outcomes (Article)
Title: Mahri Oral Poetry and Arabic Naba?i Poetry: Common core, divergent outcomes
Author: Samuel Liebhaber
Abstract: The collections and critical studies of Bedouin vernacular poetry from the Arabian Peninsula (naba?i poetry) published over the last century have revealed it to be a dynamic cultural practice whose regional specificities are secondary to its overall coherence. It is also a multilingual tradition. In terms of its topics, motifs and structural template, oral poetry in the Mahri language of Yemen and Oman appears to be closely related to naba?i poetry. This article examines various points of intersection between Mahri oral poetry and the regional idioms of Arabic-language naba?i poetry, as well as where they diverge from one another. Using the strictly oral poetic traditions of the Mahra as a baseline, the varying impact of written Arabic can be gauged against the vernacular traditions of the Arabian Peninsula as a whole. Thus, this article attempts an historical account of Bedouin oral poetry that interweaves relationships of time, geography and proximity to literary Arabic poetic tradition.
Year: 2015
Primary URL: https://cy.revues.org/2973
Primary URL Description: Arabian Humanities (online journal); Vol 5 2015
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Arabian Humanities
Publisher: International Journal of Archaeology and Social Sciences in the Arabian Peninsula

The Diwan of Hajj Dakon (Book)
Title: The Diwan of Hajj Dakon
Author: Samuel Liebhaber
Abstract: The Diwan of ?ajj Dakon (Ardmore: American Institute for Yemeni Studies, 2011) is a collection of eighteen poems in the endangered Mahri language of Yemen and Oman, one of the last, non-Arabic indigenous languages of the Arabian Peninsula. This publication marks an important step in the history of the Mahri language since it contains its first literary texts meant for a local readership. ?ajj Dakon, a pioneer of modern Mahri sung-poetry, has included an Arabic translation for each Mahri poem, which is supplemented by an English translation and transliteration into Latin characters provided by Samuel Liebhaber. The Diwan is introduced by commentary that places the innovations of ?ajj Dakon’s lyric qa?idas in their cultural and linguistic context. A facsimile of ?ajj’s original handwritten manuscript is included in the Diwan
Year: 2011
Primary URL: http://www.aiys.org/print-publications.html
Primary URL Description: American Institute For Yemeni Studies
Access Model: for purchase through the American Institute for Yemeni Studies
Publisher: American Institute for Yemeni Studies
Type: Single author monograph
Type: Translation
ISBN: 978-1882557165
Translator: Samuel Liebhaber
Copy sent to NEH?: No

The Himyarite Kings of North Africa: The Mahra and Touareg in Arabic Historiography (Book Section)
Title: The Himyarite Kings of North Africa: The Mahra and Touareg in Arabic Historiography
Author: Samuel Liebhaber
Editor: Laura Robson
Abstract: This chapter examines the attachment of concepts of cultural and linguistic Arabness to the Mahri language spoken in Yemen. He examines a body of literature that claims a “Himyarite” (Yemeni) origin for the Berber languages of North Africa, particularly among the Berber-speaking Touareg in Tunisia. I suggest that this narrative is built not on linguistic evidence but on pre-modern historical intersections between the Touareg and the Mahra, perhaps focused around camel trading – an activity that by the modern period carried positive connotations of Arab and Bedouin cultural authenticity. Despite its evident falsity, then, the linguistic theories linking Berber and Mahri allow both minority groups to claim a kind of cultural “Arabian authenticity” that carries political benefits in both the Yemeni and the Tunisian North African contexts.
Year: 2015
Primary URL: http://syracuseuniversitypress.syr.edu/spring-2016/minorities-modern-arab.html
Primary URL Description: Syracuse University Press
Publisher: Syracuse University Press
Book Title: Minorities and the Modern Arab World
ISBN: 978-0-8156-343


Permalink: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/products.aspx?gn=FB-55526-11