Recent and forthcoming research

forthcoming publication (book) – Houseways in Southern Oman. Routledge, 2023

This book explores how houses are created, maintained and conceptualized in southern Oman. Based on long-term research in the Dhofar region, it draws on anthropology, sociology, urban studies and architectural history. The chapters consider physical and functional aspects, including regulations governing land use, factors in siting houses, architectural styles and norms for interior and exterior decorating. The volume also reflects on cultural expectations regarding how and when rooms are used and issues such as safety, privacy, social connectedness and ease of movement. Houses and residential areas are situated within the fabric of towns, comparison is made with housing in other countries in the Arabian peninsula, and consideration is given to notions of the ‘Islamic city’ and the ‘Islamic house’. The book is valuable reading for scholars interested in the Middle East and the built environment.

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

recent presentation about cultures/ fishing – “The Costs and Benefits of Fishing in Southern Oman,” Fish as Food: Lifestyle and a Sustainable Future, International Commission on the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition, hosted at the University of Liverpool, Sept. 1, 2021, http://www.icaf2021.uk/

My presentation discusses two important questions about fishing economics: how much does it cost to catch fish and how does that expense create a social benefit for fishermen, regardless of the money earned from the catch? My research is based in Dhofar, the southern region of Oman, and concentrates on the hakli/ qara groups of tribes who speak Gibali/ Jibbali (also known as Shari/ Śḥeret, a non-written, Modern South Arabian language) as their first language. Arabic is learned outside of the home as it is the language of religion, education, business and government in Oman. I have been looking at the theme of generosity, including sharing food, for more than ten years and in this presentation I will explain how much a typical day and season of fishing costs a fisherman, as well as how giving away part of every catch creates a benefit that is more than monetary. There has been work done on the types of fish along the Omani coast (e.g. Al-Jufaili, Hermosa, Al-Shuaily and Al Mujaini 2010; Choudri, Baawain and Mustaque 2016, Harrison 1980; McKoy, Bagley, Gauthier and Devine 2009) and how fish are sold (e.g. Al-Marshudi and Kotagama 2006; Al Rashdi and Mclean 2014; William and Fidelity Lancaster 1995; “National Aquaculture Sector Overview-Oman” 2019; Omezzine 1998, Omezzine, Zaibet and Al-Oufi 1996; Siddeek, Fouda and Hermosa 1999). Using interviews and personal experiences, I will explain how the cash outlay for gas, nets, bait, etc. is transformed into social, in addition to economic, capital for fishermen.

recent publication about cultures/ foodways – “Questions About Food and Ethics,” in Emanations: When a Planet was a Planet. Brookline, MA: International Authors, 2021. 403-408.

(photo by MRR)