Foodways: Cultures, Food Selfishness and “Could I Have a Little Bite?”

“May I have a sip?” asks a much-loved older relative.

I stifle a sigh and hand over my coffee cup.

Three minutes later, “Can I have another sip?”

With a small sigh, I hand over the cup.

Two minutes later, “Can I…” and I hand the cup over while biting my lip.

I don’t want to share. That cup of caramel/ Brazil nut/ vanilla-flavored coffee is my first flavored filter coffee in 11 months and, since I probably won’t be back to that store again this summer, it’s the last of that kind for another year. And I want to savor every drop of it.

And cherished older relative could have bought their own, heck I would have paid for their own. But no, my relatives want “just a sip” and “just a bite.”

This might have turned me into a person happy to share, but it did not. I turned into a person who hates handing over my coffee cup, doing it only under duress and after chiding myself about the importance of generosity.

Then I moved to Oman and learned a whole new system of dealing of food. There is no “mine” and no “yours” when eating with my Dhofari friends. There is “ours” and everyone attempts to be the person who is fastest to pass the freshly poured cup of tea or the newly opened box of cookies to someone else.

When I am with female friends at restaurants; food is automatically pushed towards the center of the table. We cut off pieces of whatever we ordered and place it on each other’s plates, even if that person is protesting that they don’t want any. We unconsciously put some French fries on a plate in the middle of the table or turn our plates so it’s easy for someone to take some.

On picnics, the food is set out communally on a platter. No one takes anything out of the coolbox without asking each person what they want first. At the end of the night, you try as hard as possible to give the leftovers to someone else. Several times I have pushed others to take food (halwa or qibqab, a thin, plain cracker-like bread) that I really wanted to bring home.

I do this instinctively in Oman but when I am staying with family, my food protection systems engage, the remnant of years of fending off “just a bite” and “you should share.”

Seeing food (taco salad! cinnamon-raisin bread! potato salad! cranberry muffins!) that I haven’t had for almost a year, I get selfish. When I open a small (one person!) bag of Old Bay-spiced potato chips and a relative hovers and dives in, I fight my instinct to hold the bag out of reach.

When people ask for “just a sip,” I am still cranky but I envision my Omani friends’ horror at the thought of my behaving badly. I remember all the meals shared and all the French fries I have stolen as I hand over the coffee cup.

“It’s just pie, people are more important than pie,” I say to myself as a foreign fork appears at the side of my plate. I push my plate towards the fork, saying “go ahead” with a cheery tone. Ethnographic work changes you. For the better.

 

 

 

New essay: “Sîn is for Zenith” on the Arabic alphabet website

The Arabic Alphabet: A Guided Tour – http://alifbatourguide.com/

by Michael Beard, illustrated by Houman Mortazavi

“Sîn is for Zenith” – http://alifbatourguide.com/the-arabic-alphabet/sin/

excerpt:

The sound of Sîn (pronounced “scene”) is the clear sibilant we represent with our letter S. The S we know is all curves. Sîn is usually more angular, a little closer to the W shape of its Phoenician ancestor. Greek Sigma comes from the same source, the W shape tipped up 90 degrees clockwise.There was a Nabatean predecessor of Sîn in the form of a bowl shape with an upright growing out of it, something like Hebrew Shin. The shape of Sîn grows out of it: two miniature half-circles resting side by side. What strikes the eye are those three short uprights, referred to as “teeth” (Sîn word sinân in Arabic, the plural of sinn). It is not my job to say what is beautiful and what isn’t, but what I’m taken by in the most elegant handwritten Sîn is a slight asymmetry: the space between the first two teeth (reading right to left) is slightly narrower than the space between the second and third.

In terminal form Sîn ends with a rounded clockwise sweep, a shape which fledgling calligraphers struggle over, the clockwise descent and return, thickening along the bottom, tapering to a point as it rises on the left. The same curve reappears in Shin, Ṣad & Ḍad.

Sîn went through a period in its evolution when it had a triangle of dots suspended below the line, to distinguish it from the letter Shîn, the next in sequence, which has three dots above. (Shîn kept them. Present-day Sîn goes commando.) A streamlined variant of Sîn, still used, was developed in interests of efficiency: it can take the form, perhaps as a visual representation of the smooth prolonged sound of sibilance, of a straight unrippled line, often descending slightly, throwing the base line down a notch and continuing at a lower level. Easiest letter ever. In the initial or medial position the line simply continues on for a bit with nothing else happening.

The source of sinn, “tooth,” is the Arabic stem S–N–N, which, as a verb, means to sharpen, mold, shape. In one form, sunna, it means, in Hans Wehr’s definition, “habitual practice, customary procedure or action, norm, usage sanctioned by tradition; al-sunna or sunnat al-nabîy, the Sunna of the Prophet (nabîy), i.e. his sayings and doings, later established as legally binding precedents…” In other words, the ahl-al-sunna are the follows of the sunna, in English “Sunnis.” It’s an admirable definition, if only because Wehr defines the etymological stream of meanings without getting excited, or lost in detail. A history book, once it has said “Sunni,” has to go into teacher’s mode, including the actors and the theology, plus the alternative, Shiism, and to describe how Shiism ended up breaking away from “Sunnism.” Today everyone knows it, or can look it up, and the history hardly seems necessary. Hans Wehr defines shî‘a, the other major branch, as “followers, adherents, disciples, faction, party, sect”; al-shî‘a, the faction of Ali, the Shiah, the Shiites (that branch of the Muslims who recognize Ali, the Prophet’s son-in-law, as the rightful successor.)” It’s all the definition you need. They’re just words, ordinary words. Neither sunna nor shî‘a occur in the Qur’ân.

Reflections on Houseways Research

I got the e-mail confirming that my Houseways book will be published in January 2023 while sitting in a living room that is completely opposite of the rooms I have described and lived in Oman. The Canadian house had wooden floors and furniture, windows without curtains, no AC, a big fireplace, floor lamps, crocheted afghans, many photos and bookshelves overflowing with novels, candles, puzzles, souvenirs and small wooden carvings of birds. Looking at the room while thinking of the descriptions of Omani houses in my book was a good reminder of how differently people arrange their living spaces.

Given that my academic background is literature and travel writing, it might seem odd that I decided to write about houses, but I grew up in a home in which everyone had strong opinions about how to live and an active interest in building decks, planting gardens, finding a rug in exactly the right shade of blue and putting the sofa there, no, not there, there, a little to the right, no, now forward a little.

As I child, I wanted to live in a Baroque castle; everyone else wanted to live in a modernist, northern European design-aesthetic structure. I wanted to read novels; everyone else wanted to figure out if it was possible to punch a hole in that wall to put in a window. For my 13th birthday I wanted a ball gown and was given my very own tool kit with hammer, pliers, wrench, level and screwdrivers.

I heard about Mansard roofs, color wheels, mixed-use developments and Frank Lloyd Wright. Our living room had a Barcelona chair, a Scandinavian Designs sofa and a Century House (Madison, WI) rug; when my father and I went to England, it was to see Milton Keynes and Welwyn Garden City. I watched my family build furniture, swatch paints, install insulation, build benches to strengthen community bonds in our neighborhood and weed. I read in cafés while they re-framed doorways.

The root of this problem was that when he was in his early 20s, my father walked into Louisburg Square in Boston and thought, “everyone should live like this.” That collection of houses changed his life; he became an urban planner and spent more than 60 years thinking, talking, writing and teaching about how to form better-organized houses, neighborhoods and cities. My mother creates gardens and both siblings have planned renovations of their houses down to the trim on the underside of cabinets.

I thought I had escaped this legacy until I got interested in how Dhofaris design kitchens as part of my Foodways project [ Foodways in Southern Oman – Short Essays and Images ]. I realized, while that I am not interested in decorating or remodeling, I love listening to people’s stories about how they live in their houses, what choices they make and why.

I am grateful to my family for all that early training and to the Omanis who have trusted me with their stories, opinions, photos and friendship.

https://www.routledge.com/Houseways-in-Southern-Oman/Risse/p/book/9781032218595

https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/mono/10.4324/9781003270317/houseways-southern-oman-marielle-risse

Reflections on Ethnographic Work: Behaving Badly and Defending Grandpa

I was talking to a researcher about doing work in Oman and gave my usual spiel about the necessity of being honest and calm. Sometimes it’s better not to answer a question or get involved in a discussion about a certain topic, but you need to remain truthful and composed.

This reminded me of a conversation I had with some of the research guys when I had only known them a few years. I can see contours of the argument now that I couldn’t see then, but I clearly remember how uncertain I felt to wade into a heated disagreement.

A few of the research guys and I were sitting on a beach and somehow we got into a discussion about Masons. I said my grandfather was one. One man had read some conspiracy theories about Masons and started in on the evils of the organization. I am usually perfectly fine ignoring provocations or avoiding arguments, but this was about my grandfather’s morals and I refused to back down.

I was not close to my grandfather. He was slightly forbidding, somewhat reminiscent of a hawk, and the pillars of his life were the Methodist church, fishing, golfing, deer-hunting and the Masons. His career was in banking and he ran one of the few banks in Wisconsin that stayed open during the Depression, something I have always been proud of. That might seem a slender thread to hang family honor on but I cherish the fact that he had used his hard work and business acumen in the service of others. And while I was arguing with the research guys I thought about his funeral service. He was buried in his Masonic apron and there was no one who could say that he had ever cheated or lied in his entire life. I was not going to allow anyone to tarnish his reputation.

We went back and forth for almost two hours. I raised my voice, argued stridently, interrupted and refused to acquiesce. I felt uncomfortable quarreling with the guys but I would not let them have the last word. My upright grandfather would never have belonged to a group that caused harm in the world. I knew I was being rude and not adhering to the normal standards of our conversations but it felt like a betrayal of Grandpa’s memory if I quietly accepted what they were saying.

In the end, given the conventions of friendships, we had to find a way to resolve the argument so we hammered out an agreement that MAYBE upper levels of Masons had POTENTIALLY done bad activities in the past but these were HIDDEN from the lower level ranks who did good things like raise money for charity, thus my grandfather was a GOOD man who did good things.

Thinking about that fight now, I think that the guys were deliberately pushing the topic to see what I would do. The role of Masons in world politics is certainly not a subject of great concern to them. They had no personal investment in the topic which would warrant an extended attack on the organization. They had not seen me really mad before and I think were interested to see how much self control I would lose. And I think there was a level of understanding that I was fighting for the respect/ reputation of my grandfather, so while my anger showed a lack of self-control, they never brought up Masons again or teased me about the argument as an example of my behaving badly.

Reflecting on that conflict later made me realize that the general Dhofari expectation of keeping a pleasant atmosphere sometimes has to be broken. It’s impossible to foretell for yourself or anyone else when the time will come, but during the Masons argument, my cautious, ethnographic self went right out the window. Although I was afraid of angering the guys, I dug in and fought my corner.

When I talk to people about the need for staying peaceful, I remember my yelling and pounding my fist that night. And it’s hard to explain when it’s OK, or even justified, to lose your temper; each person needs to make that decision for themselves.

I was lucky that I didn’t get furious over something to my personal advantage which would be read as selfish. Of course it’s better to control yourself, but defending Grandpa was an acceptable reason to shout.

 

Reflections on Ethnographic Work: Shopping, Safety and Maneval’s New Islamic Urbanism (2019)

To better understand issues related to housing and how house fit within cities, I have read many texts about the growth of cities on the Arabian Peninsula. Across differences between authors there are two similarities: writers often fail to put themselves in the location and scorn shopping. Perhaps the genres they are writing in (political science, urban studies, architecture, etc.) call for a distanced view but it’s odd to read so much information about a place by people who never talk about what it’s “like” to be there. Critiques of road placement, enclave developments, poorly designed open spaces, congestion etc. might be accurate, but there’s nothing in the text to show that the author was actually there except for some ‘taken by the author’ photos.

And there is widespread contempt for shopping with lots of remarks about mindless, over-consumerism but nothing about joy of walking into a shopping center with a mix of languages, scents, sights and people. I lived in Sharjah from 1997-99 and City Center Mall and the Blue Souq were my favorite places to shop and people-watch.

This summer I was in New York City, Boston and small towns in the Northeast. In each location, people blended together. Most clothes in NYC were black; most clothes in Boston were khaki. No feathers, no saris, no rhinestones, no apricot-colored silk dresses worn with sandals decorated with small birds, no little girls running around in 7-layer tulle dresses with bare feet, no long robes with pointed hoods, no teal leather slippers with the toes curled up, no purple fake-crocodile leather skirts. But that is what is waiting for you at a Dubai mall: uniforms from every kind of job, clothing from many countries and people strutting around in whatever dream they and their tailor could come up with, plus goods from Africa, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, Japan, Korea, South America and others.

And the souqs! When you read the disparaging comments about how inauthentic they are, how they are set up for tourists and what was torn down to build them, you get no sense of the wonder of, for example, the Sharjah Blue Souq. It’s lovely (and safe! more on that below). There are Emiratis and expats shopping and a wonderful cacophony of Iranian, Pakistani, Indian, Afghani, Syrian, etc. sellers.

To walk into Muttrah Souq in Muscat is to overwhelmed with rainbows of colors: scarves, shoes, dresses and ribbons. There are displays crowded with shells, colored glass lanterns, little metal oil lamps, spices, frankincense, gold necklaces and silver rings. It might not be completely authentic or following all best practices for urban design but it’s fun. And used by Omanis as well as tourists.

By not talking about the “feel” of urban spaces, writers miss another important aspect: safety. When I worked at the American University of Sharjah, I didn’t have a computer in my on-campus apartment, so I would often walk about 6 blocks to work in the evening. How many female academics can say that they can walk through any building and any part of their campus at any time of day or night and feel perfectly safe?

In Dubai, Sharjah and Muscat I get into taxis without a second thought. I walk through parking garages without threading my keys through my fingers or looking around. At Washington National airport I had to assess fellow passengers before deciding who I could ask to watch my carry-on bag when I went to buy a magazine. At Dubai and Muscat airports, I just leave the bag if I need to walk a short distance to get a soda. At my café in Salalah, men leave their laptops, phones and sunglasses on the table when they go to pray. At the grocery store, I can leave my purse in the cart as I go to get some apples and then stand in line to have them weighed.

I do not ever try to put myself in danger. I never camp alone but many times I have driven home from a research meeting at 2 or 3am. I worry about camels on the road, not about being harmed. The times when my car has broken down or gotten stuck in the sand, the men who have stopped were helpful.

Happily, Maneval’s New Islamic Urbanism (2019) does not follow the norms of talking about urban spaces in the abstract and disparaging shopping centers. Maneval has a thorough understanding of the history and architecture of Jeddah but he also muses on what “it’s like” to walk down the streets and through the buildings. The focus of his work is to reframe the concepts of public and private to

conceive of these spaces as variable products of social practice involving both people and artefacts…[e.g] walls, doors, curtains etc. are not enough to turn a building into a private space. It could just as well be used as an office or for the assembly of a political party. In order for it to become a private space, whether continuously or temporarily, people have to use it as such, that is, keep other people out to remain undisturbed, screen certain bodily appearances and activities from view, do what they only want to do alone or with a limited number of persons with whom they share an intimate bond (63)

However, to me, how he sets himself within the context of Jeddah is just as important as his academic framework. He is the only author I found who talks in first person about the difficulty of every-day actions such as crossing a street or finding the entrance to a building. [An article that also discusses “what it’s like” to walk in Arabian Peninsula cities is Nastasi’s excellent “A Gulf of Images: Photography and the Circulation of Spectacular Architecture” (2019), but this text concentrates on urbanscapes, not houses.]

When Maneval talks about how gender separation displaces both women and men, he discusses how he was not able to enter an art exhibit or sit in a café with a group of men. His opening example, of being guided/ guarded through a female-only university, is the only time I have read a male author explaining how it feels to be “othered” on the Arabian Peninsula.

I am grateful that I found his book early in my research on Houseways ; it was heartening to find someone who blends the academic with the personal to create a comprehensive view of how people navigate through houses and cities.

Ethnographic Work and Pop Songs

(photo by M. A. Al Awaid)

A friend jokingly asked if I was going to talk about pop songs in my next book as my books were the only ones they had seen in which an academic author thanked Bernice Johnson Reagon, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Josh Ritter, the Muppets, Pink, Prince, and Toby Keith in the acknowledgments. I said yes.

Living where I do research and living overseas for more than fifteen years is sometimes difficult. Sometimes I drive around town with the car windows rolled up blasting the Boss; sometimes the only way to get motivated to sit down and work on a Friday morning is to play Toby Keith.  I see listing the songs and singers as a way of being honest about how I do research.

Recognizing that I use pop songs to keep me focused is modeling that researchers do not have to be serious all the time, in the same way I try to model honest behavior for my students. Acknowledging pop songs is similar to my saying to students “I don’t know” or “I am not sure about the spelling of that word.” Sometimes a student will gasp, “YOU DON’T KNOW?” I laugh and explain that there are no spelling bees in Germany because they aren’t needed, but every state in the USA has spelling contents because English spelling can be tricky with all the loan words. So, no, I don’t know how to spell every word in English and I sometimes need to do a quick check to make sure.

About a week after I started on-line teaching I watched the movieTrolls and I loved the song “Get Back Up Again.” All that spring “Get Back” was on constant repeat as I fought unfamiliar tech, new ways of teaching, trying to increase student involvement (“TURN ON YOUR MICROPHONES!”). Now when I hear “Get Back Up Again” I am transported back to those tough weeks in March – May 2020 when I left my apartment once a week to go to the grocery store. Bereft of my café, friends, chats with colleagues, the pool where I went swimming and picnics with the research guys, that saccharine song was my stay-positive mantra.

When I first heard the line “I don’t know when, confused about how as well” from the song “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol, I thought: that’s my life as a researcher. I am constantly trying to make sense of what I am seeing and I spend a lot of time living in confusion.

When I used to do teacher-training, I would tell teachers to work from their strengths, be frank when they were lost and ask for help when they needed it. By embracing my inner Top 40 doo-wop persona, I practice what I preach. What helped me through Spring 2022:

  • Big Energy – Latto, and the remix with Mariah Carey
  • Devil with the Blue Dress – Mitch Rider and the Detroit Wheels
  • Don’t Start Now – Dua Lipa
  • Duke of Earl – Gene Chandler
  • Happy all the Time from Elf
  • Hello, Hello – Elton John
  • House on Fire – Mimi Webb
  • I Don’t Feel Like Dancing – Scissor Sisters
  • Leave before You Love Me – Marshmello and Jonas Brothers
  • The Lion Sleeps Tonight – The Tokens
  • Mr Brightside – The Killers
  • The Other Side – SZA and Justin Timberlake
  • Pretty in Pink soundtrack
  • So Happy it Hurts – Bryan Adams
  • Thunder – Imagine Dragons

from my books:

Community and Autonomy in Southern Oman. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019

I would like to thank the memory of Gerald Durrell and Lawrence Durrell, whose books pulled me out into the world: Jersey, Cyprus, Rhodes, Provence and Alexandria. I have lived over 15 years overseas and have missed a lot of popular culture, but I am grateful for The Mummy (1932 and 1999 versions), Chariots of Fire (1981), Sahara (2005), Black Gold (2011), Theeb (2014), and A Perfect Day (2016), and “All these Things That I’ve Done” sung by the Killers; “If You’re Going Through Hell” sung by Rodney Akins; “Club Can’t Handle Me” sung by Flo Rida;  Elton John, especially “Island Girl” and Aida; Prince, especially “The One U Want to C”; Bruce Springsteen, especially “From Small Things” and “Frankie Fell in Love”; Toby Keith, especially “How Do You Like Me Now,” “Rum is the Reason,” and “Ain’t No Right Way”; Josh Ritter, especially “Getting Ready to Get Down” and “Girl in the War”; Bernice Johnson Reagon; John Denver; Jimmy Buffett; Kid Rock, and the Muppets.

Foodways in Southern Oman. Routledge, 2021

Thanks to Kid Rock (for the slow songs, not the politics, not the rap), Pink, Toby Keith and all the songs picked by Steve Nathans-Kelly which got me through a lot of long drives late at night on dark roads.

Houseways in Southern Oman. Routledge, forthcoming

I am grateful for Aida (Broadway and concept albums); “Mama Knows the Highway,” Hal Ketchum; “Unwritten,” Natasha Bedingfield; “La Vie Boheme,” Rent; “Drunk Americans,” Toby Keith; “American Rock ’n Roll,” Kid Rock, “Let the River Run,” Carly Simon, as well as Jimmy Buffet, Pink, Prince, Bob Seger, Shaggy and Tina Turner.

New book about Al Baleed

(photo by S. B.)

One of the great truths of writing a book is that as soon as you send it to the publisher, you find a text that you would have wanted to include in your discussion. Although my work is on modern, middle-class houses, I have a section on earlier lifeways in Dhofar, specifically about the two important archeological sites: Al Baleed and Sumhuram.  And I have just found this interesting new text on Al Baleed. Of particular note is the Annex which lists early visitors (with citations) and then all the people/ groups who have studied the site.

D’Andrea, Andrea, Roberta Giunta, Alexia Pavan and Rosario Valentini, eds. 2022. The Site of Ẓafār/al-Balīd (Sultanate of Oman) – Archaeological Investigations between Past and Present. Proceedings of the Round Table, Università L’Orientale, June 18, 2021. Centro Interdipartimentale di Servizi di Archeologia (CISA): Napoli.

  • Andrea D’Andrea, THE URBAN SPACE BETWEEN REPORTS AND EXCAVATIONS
  • Roberta Giunta, ẒAFĀR/AL-BALĪD: DATING ISSUES AND MAIN EVIDENCE BETWEEN THE 11TH-14TH CENTURIES
  • Alexia Pavan, A SENTINEL ON THE INDIAN OCEAN: THE CITADEL OF AL-BALĪD (EXCAVATIONS 2016-2020)
  • Rosario Valentini, PHOTOGRAMMETRIC AND TOPOGRAPHIC INVESTIGATIONS AT AL-BALĪD
  • Carlotta Passaro, ATLAS OF THE WALLS: FIRST RESULTS FROM THE STUDY OF THE CITADEL
  • Alessandro Ghidoni, SHIP TIMBER RECYCLING IN AL-BALĪD
  • Agnese Fusaro, THE HISTORY AS TOLD BY THE POTTERY: AN INSIGHT INTO THE LAST OCCUPATION PHASE OF THE CITADEL OF AL-BALĪD
  • Chiara Visconti, CHINESE-STYLE CERAMIC UNEARTHED AT ẒAFĀR/AL-BALĪD: A GENERAL OVERVIEW OF THE CORPUS AND A FOCUS ON THE LATEST PERIO
  • Arturo Annucci, THE COINAGE OF ẒAFĀR/AL-BALĪD IN THE MONETARY CONTEXT OF DHOFAR
  • Alexia Pavan, Ali Al Kathiri, THE OBJECTS FROM AL-BALĪD AT THE MUSEUM OF THE FRANKINCENSE LAND, ṢALĀLAH, SULTANATE OF OMAN
  • Amanda Antonelli, DHOFAR CEMETERY AREAS: THE STATE OF RESEARCH AND NEW INVESTIGATION TASKS
  • ANNEX: Visits, archaeological surveys and excavations in Ẓafār/al-Balīd (1834-2019)

Updated bibliography for Houseways in Southern Oman, June 2022

Selected references related to Houseways in Southern Oman, Dr. Marielle Risse

(photo by Ms. Onaiza Shaikh)

[references for pre-historic and pre-modern Dhofar are also listed in separate topic-specific bibliographies at the end]

 

Abdelghani, Montasser. 2013. “The Impact of Shopping Malls on Traditional Retail Stores in Muscat. Case Study of Al-Seeb Wilayat.” Regionalizing Oman. Steffen Wippel, ed. New York: Springer. 227-47.

 

Abu-Lughod, Janet. 1989. “What Is Islamic about a City? Some Comparative Reflections,” in Urbanism in Islam: The Proceedings of the International Conference on Urbanism in Islam (Tokyo: Middle Eastern Culture Center): 193-217.

 

—. 1987. “The Islamic City: Historical Myth, Islamic Essence and Contemporary Relevance.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 19.2: 155-76.

 

Adam, Khalid and Liudmila Cazacova, 2012. “The Round Dhofari House Popularity Uniting the Past and the Present.” Proceedings of the 6th International Seminar on Vernacular Settlements. Eastern Mediterranean University, Famagusta, North Cyprus. 365-74.        

 

Akcan, Esra. 2014. “Postcolonial Theories in Architecture” in A Critical History of Contemporary Architecture (1960-2010). Elie Haddad and David Rifkind, eds. London: Ashgate. 119-40.

 

—. 2014. “Global Conflict and Global Glitter: Architecture in West Asia (1960-2010)” in A Critical History of Contemporary Architecture (1960-2010). Elie Haddad and David Rifkind, eds. London: Ashgate. 317-43.

 

Al Gandel, Thamna and Ibrahim Bryan Finn. 2017. Learn About Dhofar from 530 Questions and Answers. Muscat: Dar al Wraq.

 

Al Harthy, Sultan. 1992. The Traditional Architecture of Oman: A Critical Perspective. Unpublished M.Arch. thesis. The University of Arizona. https://repository.arizona.edu/bitstream/handle/10150/555398/AZU_TD_BOX353_YARP_1120.pdf?sequence=1https://repository.arizona.edu/handle/10150/555398

 

Al Hinai, H., W. J. Batty and S. D. Probert. 1993. “Vernacular Architecture of Oman: Features that Enhance Thermal Comfort Achieved within Buildings.” Applied Energy 44.3: 233-44. 10.1016/0306-2619(93)90019-L

 

Al Ismaili, Ahmed. 2018. “Ethnic, Linguistic, and Religious Pluralism in Oman: The Link with Political Stability.” Al Muntaqa 1.3: 58-73.

 

Al Kathiri, Muna Salim and Liudmila Cazacova. 2014. “Islamic Architecture Features and Modern Housing: A Case Study of the North Awqad District in Salalah, Oman.” The International Journal of the Constructed Environment 4: 1-18.

 

Al Mohannadi, Asmaa Saleh, Raffaelo Furlan and Mark David Major. 2019. “Socio-Cultural Factors Shaping the Spatial Form of Traditional and Contemporary Housing in Qatar: A Comparative Analysis based on Space Syntax.” Proceedings of the 12th Space Syntax Symposium.

 

Al Mohannadi, Asmaa Saleh and Raffaello Furlan. 2019. “Socio-cultural Patterns Embedded into the Built Form of Qatari Houses: Regenerating Architectural Identity in Qatar.” Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal 12.4: 1-23.

 

Al Thahab, Ali, Sabah Mushatat, and Mohammed Abdelmonem. 2014. “Between Tradition and Modernity: Determining Spatial Systems of Privacy in the Domestic Architecture of Contemporary Iraq.” ArchNet – International Journal of Architectural Research 8.3: 238-250.

 

Albright, Franklin. 1982. The American Archaeological Expedition in Dhofar, Oman, 1952-1953. Washington DC: American Foundation for the Study of Man.

 

Alexander, Christopher, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein, Max Jacobson, Ingrid Fiksdahl-King and Shlomo Angel. 1977. A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction. Oxford: OUP (Center for Environmental Structure Series).

 

Alkhalidi, Abdulsamad. 2013. “Sustainable Application of Interior Spaces in Traditional Houses of the United Arab Emirates.” Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 102: 288-299.

 

AlMutawa, Rana. 2022. “Navigating the Cosmopolitan City: Emirati Women and Ambivalent Forms of Belonging in Dubai,” in Migration in the Making of the Gulf Space Social, Political, and Cultural Dimensions. Antia Mato Bouzas and Lorenzo Casini, eds. New York: Berghahn Books. 67-85.

 

—. 2020, Dec. 9. “Dishdasha Blues: Navigating Multiple Lived Experiences in the Gulf.” London School of Economics Middle East Blog Posts https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/mec/2020/12/09/dishdasha-blues-navigating-multiple-lived-experiences-in-the-gulf/

 

—. 2019, Nov 8. “Dubai Mall or Souq Naif? The Quest for ‘Authenticity’ and Social Distinction.” London School of Economics Middle East Blog Posts. https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/mec/2019/11/08/dubai-mall-or-souq-naif-the-quest-for-authenticity-and-social-distinction/

 

—. 2019. “The Mall Isn’t Authentic!: Dubai’s Creative Class And The Construction of Social Distinction.” Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development 48: 1-2: 183-223.

 

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Pavan, Alexia and Chiara Visconti. 2020. “Trade and Contacts between Southern Arabia and East Asia: The Evidence from al-Balīd (southern Oman).” Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 50: 243–57.

 

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Tabuki, Salim Bakhit. 1982. “Tribal Structures in South Oman.” Arabian Studies 6: 51-6. (same author as above)

 

Takriti, Abdul Razzaq. Monsoon Revolution: Republicans, Sultans and Empires in Oman 1965-1976. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

 

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Usik, Vitaly, Jeff Rose, Yamandu Hilbert, P. Van Peer, and Anthony Marks. 2013. “Nubian Complex Reduction Strategies in Dhofar, Southern Oman.” Quaternary International 300: 244-66.

 

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Weir, Shelagh. 2007. A Tribal Order: Politics and Law in the Mountains of Yemen. Austin: University of Texas Press.

 

Wikan, Unni. 1982. Behind the Veil in Arabia: Women in Oman. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

 

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Yule, Paul and K.K. Mohammad. 2006/ 1998. “Report on Al-Baleed Pottery: Reference Collection,  RWTH Aachen University” Muscat: Office of the Adviser to His Majesty the Sultan for Cultural Affairs.

Zarins, Juris. 2009. “The Latest on the Archaeology of Southern Oman.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 129.4:  665-74.

 

—. 2007. “Aspects of Recent Archaeological Work at al-Balid (Zafar), Sultanate of Oman.” Proceedings of the Seminar of Arabian Studies 37: 309-24.

—. 2001. The Land of Incense: Archaeological Work in the Governorate of Dhofar, Sultanate of Oman, 1990-1995. Muscat, Oman: Sultan Qaboos University Publications.

 

—. 1997. “Mesopotamia and Frankincense: The Early Evidence,” in Profumi d’Arabia. Alessandra Avanzini, ed. Rome: L’Erma Bretschneider. 251-72.

 

—. 1997. “Persia and Dhofar: Aspects of Iron Age International Politics and Trade,” in Crossing Boundaries and Linking Horizons. G. Young, M. Chavalas and R. Averbeck, eds. Bethesda: CDL Press. 615-89.

Zarins, Juris and Newton, Lynne. 2012 “Al Balid: Ancient Zafar, Sultanate of Oman. Report of Excavations, 2005-2011 and Salalah Survey.” Unpublished ms., Muscat-Salalah.

 

Zerboni, Andrea, Alessandro Perego, Guido S. Mariani, Filippo Brandolini, Mohammed Al Kindi, Eleonora Regattieri, Giovanni Zanchetta, Federico Borgi, Vincent Charpentier and Mauro Cremaschi. 2020. “Geomorphology of the Jebel Qara and Coastal Plain of Salalah (Dhofar, southern Sultanate of Oman).” Journal of Maps 16.2: 187-98.

 

Zimmerle, William. 2017. Cultural Treasures from the Cave Shelters of Dhofar: Photographs of the Painted Rock Art Heritage of Southern Oman. Washington: Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center/Liberty Press.

 

—. 2017. Crafting Cuboid Incense Burners in the Land of Frankincense: The Dhofar Ethnoarchaeology Preservation Project. Washington: Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center/Liberty House Press.

 

Selected references – Al Baleed and Sumhuram

Albright, Franklin. 1982. The American Archaeological Expedition in Dhofar, Oman, 1952-1953. Washington DC: American Foundation for the Study of Man.

Avanzini, Alessandra, ed. 2008. A Port in Arabia between Rome and the Indian Ocean (3rd C.BC. – 5th C.AD) Khor Rori Report 2. Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider.

—. 2007.“Sumhuram: A Hadrami Port on the Indian Ocean,” in The Indian Ocean in the Ancient Period: Definite Places, Translocal Exchange BAR International Series 1593. Eivind Heldaas Seland, ed. Oxford: Archaeopress. 23-31.

—. 2002. “Incense Routes and Pre-Islamic South Arabian Kingdoms.” Journal of Oman Studies 12: 17-24.

Avanzini, Alessandra and Alexander Sedov. 2005. “The Stratigraphy of Sumhuram: New Evidences.” Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 35: 11-7.

Belfioretti, Luca. and Tom Vosmer. 2010. “Al-Balīd Ship Timbers: Preliminary Overview and Comparisons.” Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 40: 111-18.

Buffa, V and A.V. Sedov. 2008. “The Residential Quarter,” in A Port in Arabia between Rome and the Indian Ocean (3rd C. BC – 5th C. AD). A. Avanzini, ed. Khor Rori Report 2, Roma: L’Erma di Bretschneider: 15-59.

Carter, Henry. 1846. “The Ruins of El Balad.” Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London 16: 187-99.

Cleveland, R. L. 1960. “The 1960 American Archaeological Expedition to Dhofar.” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 159: 14-26.

—. 1959. “The Sacred Stone Circle of Khor Rori (Dhofar).” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 155: 29-31.

Costa, Paulo. 1982. “The Study of the City of Zafar (Al-Balid).” Journal of Oman Studies 5: 111-50.

Degli Esposti, Michele and Alexia Pavan. 2020. “Water and Power in South Arabia: The Excavation of “Monumental Building 1” (MB1) at Sumhuram (Sultanate of Oman).” Arabian Archeology and Epigraphy. 1 – 29. DOI: 10.1111/aae.12159

Franke-Vogt, Ute. 2002. “Remarks on the Classification of the Pottery from Al-Balid, Dhofar (Oman).” Unpublished ms., Office of the Advisor to HM the Sultan for Cultural Affairs: Muscat-Salalah.

Fusaro, Agnese. 2021. “The Islamic Port of al-Balīd (Oman), between Land and Sea: Place of Trade, Exchange, Diversity, and Coexistence.” Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World 1.1-2: 67-95. doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/26666286-12340003

Giunta, Roberta. 2009. “Coins from Al Balid, A Preliminary Report.” Unpublished ms, Office of the Advisor to HM the Sultan for Cultural Affairs: Muscat-Salalah.

Ibrahim, Moawiyah and Ali Tigani ElMahi. 1997. “A Report on Two Seasons of Sultan Qaboos University Excavations at Al-Balid, Dhofar 1996-7.” Unpublished ms. Office of the Advisor to HM the Sultan for Cultural Affairs: Muscat- Salalah.

Jansen, Michael, ed. 2015. “The Archaeological Park of Al-Baleed, Sultanate of Oman. Site Atlas along with selected Technical Reports 1995-2001.” Muscat: Office of the Adviser to His Majesty the Sultan for Cultural Affairs.

Newton, Lynne and Zarins, Juris. 2014. “A Possible Indian Quarter at al-Baleed in the Fourteenth-Seventeenth Centuries AD?” Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 44: 257-76.

Orazi, Roberto. 2002. “The Harbour and City of Khor Rawri.” Journal of Oman Studies 12: 210-222.

Pavan, Alexia. 2020. “The Port of Al Baleed (southern Oman), the Trade in Frankincense and Its Coveted Treasures.” Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean 29.1. doi:10.31338/uw.2083-537X.pam29.1.13

—. 2017-2018. “Husn Al Baleed: Civil and Military Architecture along the Indian Ocean in Medieval Times.” Journal of Indian Ocean Archaeology 13-14: 28-41.

Pavan, Alexia and Michele Degli Esposti, 2016. The Urban Shrine in Quarter A at Sumhuram: Stratigraphy, Architecture, Material Culture. Quaderni di Arabia Antica, Roma: L’Erma di Bretschneider.

Pavan, Alexia, Agnese Fusaro, Chiara Visconti, Alessandro Ghidoni, and Arturo Annucci. 2020. “New Researches at The Port of Al Balid and Its Castle (Husn): Interim Report (2016-2018).” The Journal of Oman Studies 21: 172 – 199

Pavan, Alexia, S. Laurenza, and R. Valentini, 2020. “Masonry and Building Techniques in a Medieval City Port of the Sultanate of Oman: Preliminary Typological Atlas at al-Balīd.Newsletter Archeologia 10.

Pavan, Alexia and Chiara Visconti. 2020. “Trade and Contacts between Southern Arabia and East Asia: The Evidence from al-Balīd (southern Oman).” Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 50: 243–257.

Pirenne, J. 1975. “The Incense Port of Moscha (Khor Rori) in Dhofar.” Journal of Oman Studies 1: 81-96.

Yule, Paul and K.K. Mohammad. 2006/ 1998. “Report on Al-Baleed Pottery: Reference Collection,  RWTH Aachen University” Muscat: Office of the Adviser to His Majesty the Sultan for Cultural Affairs.

Zarins, Juris. 2007. “Aspects of Recent Archaeological Work at al-Balid (Zafar), Sultanate of Oman.” Proceedings of the Seminar of Arabian Studies 37: 309-24.

Zarins, Juris and Newton, Lynne. 2012 “Al Balid: Ancient Zafar, Sultanate of Oman. Report of Excavations, 2005-2011 and Salalah Survey.” Unpublished ms., Muscat-Salalah.

 

Selected references: Himbert, Rose and Usik – Pre-historic

Hilbert, Yamandu. 2013. “Khamseen Rock Shelter and the Late Palaeolithic-Neolithic Transition in Dhofar.” Arabian Archeology and Epigraphy 24: 51-8.

Hilbert, Yamandu, Ash Parton, Mike Morley, Lauren Linnenlucke, Zenobia Jacobs, Laine Clark-Balzan, Richard Roberts, Chris Galletti, Jean-Luc Schwenninger and Jeff Rose. 2015. “Terminal Pleistocene and Early Holocene Archaeology and Stratigraphy of the Southern Nejd, Oman.” Quaternary International 282: 250-263. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1040618215001603

Hilbert, Yamandu, Jeff Rose and Richard Roberts. 2012. “Late Paleolithic Core Reduction Strategies in Dhofar, Oman.” Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 42: 1-18.

Hilbert, Yamandú, Vitaly Usik, Christopher Galletti, Ash Parton, Laine Clark-Balzan, Jean-Luc Schwenninger, Mike Morley, Zenobia Jacobs, Lauren Linnenlucke, Richard Roberts and Jeffrey Rose. 2015. “Archaeological Evidence for Indigenous Human Occupation of Southern Arabia at the Pleistocene/Holocene Transition: The Case of al-Hatab in Dhofar, Southern Oman.” Paléorient 41.2: 31-49.

Rose, Jeff. 2022. An Introduction to Human Prehistory in Arabia: The Lost World of the Southern Crescent. New York: Springer.

Rose, Jeff and Yamandu Hilbert. 2014. “New Paleolithic Sites in the Southern Rub’ Al Khali Desert, Oman.” Antiquity 88.341. https://antiquity.ac.uk/projgall/rose341

Rose, Jeff, Yamandu Hilbert, Anthony Marks and Vitaly Usik. 2018. The First People of Oman: Palaeolithic Archaeology of the Nejd Plateau. Sultanate. Muscat: Ministry of Heritage and Culture.

Rose, Jeff, Vitaly Usik, A. Marks, Yamandu Hilbert, Chris Galletti, A. Parton, V. Černý, J. Geiling, M. Morley, and R. Roberts. 2011. “The Nubian Complex of Dhofar, Oman: An African Middle Stone Age Industry in Southern Arabia.” PLoS ONE 6(11) e28239.

Usik, Vitaly, Jeff Rose, Yamandu Hilbert, P. Van Peer, and Anthony Marks. 2013. “Nubian Complex Reduction Strategies in Dhofar, Southern Oman.” Quaternary International 300: 244-66.

 

Other selected references – pre-modern

Adam, Khalid and Liudmila Cazacova, 2012. “The Round Dhofari House Popularity Uniting the Past and the Present.” Proceedings of the 6th International Seminar on Vernacular Settlements. Eastern Mediterranean University, North Cyprus. 365-74.    

Bortolini, Eugenio and Olivia Munoz. 2015. “Life and Death in Prehistoric Oman: Insights from Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Funerary Practices (4th – 3rd mill. BC).” Proceedings of the Symposium: The Archaeological Heritage of Oman. Paris: UNESCO. 61-80.

Charpentier, Vincent, Jean-Francois Berger, Rémy Crassard, Fredico Borgi and Philippe Béarez. 2016. “Les Premiers Chasseurs-collecteurs Maritimes d’Arabie (IXe-IVe millénaires avant notre ère) [Early Maritime Hunter-Gatherers in Arabia] Archéologie des Chasseurs-collecteurs Maritimes. Catherine Dupont and Gregor Marchand, eds. Paris: Société Préhistorique Française. 345-66. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/311650424_Les_premiers_chasseurs-collecteurs_maritimes_d’Arabie_IXe-IVe_millenaires_avant_notre_ere

Charpentier, Vincent, Alex de Voogt, Remy Crassard, Jean-Francois Berger, Federico Borgi and Ali Al-Mashani. 2014. “Games on the Seashore of Salalah: The Discovery of Mancala Games in Dhofar, Sultanate of Oman.” Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy 25: 115-120.

Cleuziou, Serge and Maurizio Tosi. 2020. In the Shadow of the Ancestors: The Prehistoric Foundations of the Early Arabian Civilization in Oman, second edition. Dennys Frenez and Roman Garba, eds. Muscat: Ministry of Heritage and Tourism.

Costa, Paulo. 2001. Historic Mosques and Shrines of Oman. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports.

—. 1983. “Notes on Settlement Patterns in Traditional Oman.” Journal of Oman Studies 6.2: 247-68.

Cremaschi, Mauro, Andrea Zerboni, Vincent Charpentier, Remy Crassard, Ilaria Isola, Eleonora Regattieri, Giovanni Zanchetta. 2015. “Early-Middle Holocene Environmental Changes and pre-Neolithic Human Occupations as Recorded in the Cavities of Jebel Qara (Dhofar, southern Sultanate of Oman).” Quaternary International 382: 264-76.

de Cardi, Beatrice. 2002. “British Archeology in Oman: The Early Years.” Journal of Oman Studies 12, 2002.

Garba, Roman. 2020. “Window 48- Triliths. Hinterland Monuments of Ancient Nomads. Window 48,” in In the Shadow of the Ancestors: The Prehistoric Foundations of the Early Arabian Civilization in Oman, second edition. Dennys Frenez and Roman Garba, eds.Muscat: Ministry of Heritage and Tourism. 500-10.

Garba, Roman, Alžběta Danielisová, Maria Pia Maiorano, Mahmoud Abbas, Dominik Chlachula, David Daněček, W. Al-Ghafri, Stephanie Neuhuber, Denis Štefanisko and Jakub Trubač. 20202. TSMO (Trilith Stone Monuments of Oman) Research Project Expedition Report of the 2nd Season 2019-2020. Muscat: Ministry of Heritage and Culture. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/341193620_TSMO_EXPEDITION_REPORT_OF_THE_2nd_SEASON_2019-2020_campaigns_TSMO_2A_2B_Ministry_of_Heritage_and_Culture_Sultanate_of_Oman

Garba, Roman and Peter Farrington. 2011. “Walled Structures and Settlement Patterns in the South-western Part of Dhofar, Oman (poster).” Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 41: 95–100.

Hulton, Jessop and J. Smith. 1830. “Account of Some Inscriptions Found on the Southern Coast of Arabia.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland 5.1: 91-101.

McCorriston, Joy, Michael Harrower, Tara Steimer, Kimberly D. Williams, Matthew Senn, Mas‘ūd Al Hādhari, Mas‘ūd Al Kathīrī, ‘Ali Ahmad Al Kathīrī, Jean-François Saliège and Jennifer Everhart. 2014. “Monuments and Landscape of Mobile Pastoralists in Dhofar: The Arabian Human Social Dynamics Project 2009-2011.” Journal of Oman Studies 12: 117-44.

Newton, Lynne. 2010. “Shrines in Dhofar,” in Death and Burial in Arabia and Beyond: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, Society for Arabian Studies Monographs 10. Lloyd Week, ed. 329-340.

Newton, Lynne and Juris Zarins. 2017. The Archaeological Heritage of Oman. Dhofar Through the Ages. An Ecological, Archaeological and Historical Landscape. Muscat: Ministry of Heritage and Culture Sultanate of Oman.

Potts. D. 2016. “Trends and Patterns in the Archaeology and Pre-Modern History of the Gulf Region,” in The Emergence of the Gulf States: Studies in Modern History. J.E. Peterson (ed.). London: Bloomsbury. 19-42.

Zarins, Juris. 2001. The Land of Incense: Archaeological Work in the Governorate of Dhofar, Sultanate of Oman, 1990-1995. Muscat: Sultan Qaboos University Publications.

Zerboni, Andrea, Alessandro Perego, Guido S. Mariani, Filippo Brandolini, Mohammed Al Kindi, Eleonora Regattieri, Giovanni Zanchetta, Federico Borgi, Vincent Charpentier and Mauro Cremaschi. 2020. “Geomorphology of the Jebel Qara and Coastal Plain of Salalah (Dhofar, southern Sultanate of Oman).” Journal of Maps 16:2, 187-198.

Zimmerle, William. 2017. Cultural Treasures from the Cave Shelters of Dhofar: Photographs of the Painted Rock Art Heritage of Southern Oman. Washington: Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center/Liberty Press.

—. Crafting Cuboid Incense Burners in the Land of Frankincense: The Dhofar Ethnoarchaeology Preservation Project. 2017. Washington: Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center/Liberty House Press.

Research on fishing in Dhofar

(photo by S. B.)

I have been looking at the theme of generosity, including sharing food, for more than ten years. For my book, Foodways in Southern Oman (Routledge, 2021), I conducted several interviews about fishing practices in Dhofar. In Spring 2020, I started a second round of formal interviews which provided the information used in the publication, presentation and essays found here: Research on Fishing in Dhofar