Born to well-known academics Ibrahim and Janet Abu-Lughod, Lila Abu-Lughod grew up in a academic orientated household. Her mother, a distinguished American Sociologist, and father, a renowned Palestinian/American Political Scientist4, initiated a tradition of recognized academic work. Abu-Lughod earned her undergraduate degree from Carleton College, masters from (BLANK-need to find), and Ph. D from Harvard University in 1984. Much of her work in the field of Anthropology, including three of her most well-known publications, is related to her ethnography among the Awlad ‘Ali Bedouin. Lila Abu-Lughod is currently a professor of Anthropology and Women Studies at Columbia University in New York. She has previously taught at Williams College, Princeton, and New York University. Lila Abu-Lughod delivered the Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures at the University of Rochester in October of 2001 based upon the work she published in Dramas of Nationhood (see and]).

Theoretical Mentors

This Section is to Be Developed... A brief description of each theoretical mentor will be provided as will a "link" if possible.

Paul Riesman, to whom she dedicates, in part, her first publication: “Veiled Sentiments”.

Clifford Geertz, to whom she dedicates the article “The Interpretation of Culture(s) After Television”6. (See ==

Contribution to and Theoretical Impact on the field of Anthropology Edit

In her own words, the majority of Lila Abu-Lughod’s work has been Egyptian- based ethnography2. The several years spent with the Awlad ‘Ali Bedouin tribe of Egypt has yielded several publications and was the topic of her dissertation. The issues presented in these specific publications include: “the relationship between cultural forms and power; the politics of knowledge and representation; and the dynamics of gender and the question of women’s rights in the Middle East”2. <= Did you read enough of her stuff to get how she does this, why it's interesting, or what she did that was interesting with this stuff?

In more recent years, Abu-Lughod has explored the already mentioned themes in relation to postcolonial theory, anthropology and global media, violence national/cultural memory, critiques of universalist claims of liberalism, human rights, and Muslim women’s rights2. Most currently, Abu-Lughod is a Carnegie Scholar working on a book that examines the politics and ethics of the transnational circulation of discourses on Muslim women’s rights5. Lila Abu-Lughod’s first publication, Veiled Sentiments, “was about the politics of sentiment and cultural expression in a Bedouin community in Egypt that made an argument about the complexity of culture”2. Her second publication, Writing Women’s Worlds, “used individual stories to make a larger argument about “writing against culture” (writing against typifications of social structure and cultural form by attending to internal argument, individual lives, and complex social dynamics) as a means of intervening in vexed discourses about a maligned region as well as challenging transnational feminist representations of women in Arab societies”2 What does that mean?  How did she accomplish this?  It would work really well to use an example here to show what this means.  This particular publication is often regarded as a feminist ethnography.

With all of these ethnographies, it would be really helpful to get an idea of what their contribution is supposed to mean-- the easiset way to do this would be to skip through the dictionary of sociology, or the dictionary of cultural anthropolgy, or the readings [esp the readings, if you skip ahead] and see what they have to say about post colonialism, feminism, and whatever all else she is acclaimed for.  I know it's hard to establish context without a lot of background, but it's would be worthwhile to dig around the literature on feminism especially.  You could check in with the Comaroff article to see what it has to say about post-colonialism as well, which might help.  This will give a more general foundation to these specific things you are saying about Abu Lughod.  I have some ideas of things you could look at for this.  Nice draft.  Looking good for revision. [sorry- I didn't log in, but those long comments in bold are clearly Kate Costello writing.]

Definitions: Edit

The ethnographies and publications of Lila Abu-Lughod are complex in regards to the inclusion and presentation of many topics and "themes" broached in her writings. These themes are both interconnected and opposing at times, and are oftentimes written from the perspective of a feminist and "halfsie". One unfamiliar with Anthropological theory might find all of the mentioned aspects confusing and may not be able to grasp the differences and relatedness of said aspects. For this reason main themes or topics and their relatedness to Lila Abu-Lughod will be presented seperately.

Feminism, Feminist Theory (Oxford Dictionary of Sociology) Edit

Regarded as a social movement that combines theory and practice, feminist origins sought to achieve equality between men and women (2005:218). A second "wave" of feminism drew attention to forms (sites, etc) of female subordination and male power, confines of marriage and motherhood, and so on. The feminist movement includes multiple "directions" such as those of radical feminism, seperatists, socialist feminists, western feminism, Anglo-Saxon feminism, Black feminism, post-feminism, and so on. In relation, Feminist methodology (2005: 407) also has many focuses.

For Lila Abu-Lughod,

Halfies Edit

Gender and Womens Rights/ Muslim Womens Rights Edit

Human Rights Edit

Post Colonialism and Postcolonial Theory Edit

Global Media Edit

Universal Liberalism Edit

(a critique of)


Personal Reflection Edit

As an Anthropology undergraduate, the life and work of Lila Abu-Lughod is fascinating. Not only because of seemingly analogous academic interests (i.e. women’s rights, human rights, Muslim women, etc), but her “geographic ties” are close to home. By this I mean her esteemed mentor Paul Riesman was professor at Carleton College right here in central Minnesota, yay Carleton!

Significant Publications: Edit

1986/2000. Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society. Berkeley: University of California Press. Chicago Folklore Prize, Honorable Mention.

1993/2008. Writing Women's Worlds: Bedouin Stories. Berkeley: University of California Press. Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing.

1998. Remaking Women: Feminism and Modernity in the Middle East , edited. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

2002. Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain, edited with F. Ginsburg and B. Larkin. Berkeley: University of California Press.

2005. Dramas of Nationhood: The Politics of Television in Egypt . Chicago: University of Chicago Press. AES Senior Book Prize.

2007. Nakba: Palestine , 1948, and the Claims of Memory. Edited with A. Sa’di. New York: Columbia University Press.

Annotated Bibliography: Edit


References/ External Links: Edit







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