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Kamis, 23 April 2009

Guests of the Sheik: An Ethnography of an Iraqi Village (Paperback)


This book, suggested to me by a professor, was absolutely engrossing. "BJ" Fernea is newly married and accompanying her anthropologist husband Bob from Chicago to the conservative shiite muslim village of El Nahra, where she spends about 1.5 years in the late 50's living, as the native women do, in purdah, veiled from head to foot and almost completely segregated from men. While her husband conducts his studies, BJ, to help her husband's work, involves herself in the daily lives of the women of El Nahra. There are lavish festivals, rampant poverty, marriages, illness, holy celebrations of mourning, enmities created and friendships formed while BJ finds her way through the minefield of social propriety, familial obligation and hard work that composes the lives of these women.

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