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Fadwa El Guindi is currently Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Head of the Department of Social Sciences, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar. Founding director of and research anthropologist at El Nil Research in Los Angeles, she earned her B.A. in Political Science from the American University in Cairo and her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. She had retired in 1981 from the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where she had been a professor of anthropology since 1972. In addition to UCLA, she has taught anthropology at the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of Southern California and at Georgetown University. Her field research ranges from Nubia, to Mexico, to Egypt, to Islam, to Arab and Muslim America. She is widely published and lectures internationally. Her expertise on the Middle East was sought at a White House meeting with President Clinton, at the US Senate and by the media. She is past president of the Middle East Section and earlier of the Society for Visual Anthropology of theAmerican Anthropological Association. . She serves on the Editorial Board of a number of scholarly journals. Her book, now an anthropological classic in its third printing, Veil: Modesty, Privacy and Resistance has been translated into Indonesian and other languages. Her book Visual Anthropology: Essential Method and Theory (2004) is, according to well-known anthropologist Asen Balkci "innovative methodology, new paradigm, a must for all anthropology courses", and is in anthropologist Marcelo Fiorini's words "an innovative book, the first unified view of visual anthropology, which theoretically and methodologically breaks traditional boundaries". In addition, El Guindi made a number of visual ethnographies (films) on Arab/Muslim culture which have received international awards. Her most recent book (2008) By Noon Prayer: The Rhythm of Islam is a "groundbreaking anthropological analysis of Islam as experienced by Muslims" providing an innovative paradigm about the innovation of Islam and its unique and unified rhythm.
Among her print publications (see CV and Bio) , those on gender and the Islamic movement have become repeatedly cited classics. The book on the Zapotec based on field research extended over a 12-year period, El Guindi innovated 'native ethnography' , a methodology for rigorous ethnography that involved the Zapotec collaborator/informant in every phase, including the writing of the generalized ethnography. Dr. El Guindi also innovated the notion of 'visual ethnography' and made visual ethnographies (El Sebou', El Moulid, Ghurbal) on traditional culture of Egypt. These films were produced at El Nil Research, a nonprofit ethnographic laboratory and visual research center she founded.
El Guindi has been engaged in a ten-year ethnographic study and visual research among Arab-Americans, particularly in Los Angeles. This includes experimentation with ethno-theater in the representation of ethnic cultural identity. This led to the founding in 1992 of a nonprofit art organization for Arab-Americans --Al-Funun Al-Arabiya -- which includes a theater ensemble, Masrah Al-Funun Al-Arabiya.
She is currently carrying out a systematic study on Khalij (ArabGulf) Education and Labor Force Participation by Gender, funded by Qatar University Internal Grant.
She has published public articles and Op-Ed commentaries about Arab sociopolitical behavior and the generative movements within Islam in major US newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, the Daily News and the Atlanta Constitution. She was interviewed by NPR, Pacifica Radio, CBS, NBC, PBS and most local and national television news channels as well as, more recently, by the two international Satellite stations: ART and Al-Jazeera. She lectures internationally on subjects ranging from visual representation, to gender, to Islamic Movements. She gives workshops nationally on Arab and Muslim Americans. El Guindi gave presentations at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on the dynamics of Islam in social and political life of the Arabs, the World Affairs Council, was invited by White House andmet with President Clinton to discuss US Policy in the Middle East, the only anthropologist, among a few scholars nationally selected, to meet with sitting President Clinton in the Cabinet room of the White House to discuss policy in the Middle East. El Guindi also spoke at theUnited Nations. Recently she was invited to a meeting at the US Senate about the relationship between Arab and Jewish Americans. She is a frequent lecturer at the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State and lectures widely nationally and internationally.
Her recent book on the and veiling practices in Arab culture went into 2nd printing one year after publication, is now in its 3rd printing and was widely reviewed internationally in public and scholarly journals. It has been translated into Indonesian and other languages. She has published on Nubia, the Zapotec, Egypt and Islam (see links in table below). Her visual ethnographies (films) on Egypt and Arab America are a result of field-based ethnography and anthropological analysis. Her most recent book which has been recently released is called Visual Anthropology. She has recently completed several major chapters in edited volumes. Confronting Hegemony, Resisting Occupation has just been published (2005). Her most recent monograph is calledBy Noon Prayer: Rhythm of Islam (2008).
In broad terms, El Guindi's research has a theoretical-methodological foundation that is based on the centrality of a structuring process and a systematic relationality that shapes cultural systems. Her work consistently links theory with its data base. The paradigm empirically formulated in her analyses of ethnographic data links both notions of society and culture, connecting structure and process, with function. This paradigm is grounded in systematic fieldwork-based ethnography. Her theoretical position is that anthropology is a science that brings together the human and formal elements of culture and that anthropological knowledge cumulatively provides improved understanding of culture and the nature of humankind, not because it seeks truth or is based on certainty, but through the improvement of paradigmatic and methodological tools to further discovery. According to El Guindi certainty is the realm of religion, truth philosophy, objectivity journalism. Anthropology is the science of uncovery of the cognitive structuring process and the discovery of cross-cultural biological, cultural and social knowledge about humankind.
Rainbow Of Links
Ethnographic & Theoretical Monographs (not edited volumes) by El Guindi
Recent Chapters in Edited Volumes
AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE, SOCIETY FOR VISUAL ANTHROPOLOGY, AMER. ANTHROP ASSOC, 1987
Grand Prize, Best Visual Ethnography on Arab Culture, Palermo, Sicily 1989
Certificate of Recognition from World Bank, 2005
This is a living site, always in reconstruction, designed and created by Fadwa El Guindi on January 1, 1998
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