Northwestern Events Calendar


New Directions Lecture: Islands of Heritage: Conservation and Transformation in Soqotra (Yemen) (Nathalie Peutz)

When: Monday, February 3, 2020
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM Central

Where: Kresge Hall, Room 1-515 (The Forum), 1880 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free of charge & open to the public!

Contact: Danny Postel   (847) 467-1131

Group: Middle East and North African Studies

Category: Lectures & Meetings, Academic, Global & Civic Engagement


Please join us for the Winter 2020 lecture in our quarterly New Directions in Middle East and North African Studies series.

Soqotra, the largest island of Yemen's Soqotra Archipelago, is one of the most uniquely diverse places in the world. A UNESCO natural World Heritage Site, the island is home not only to birds, reptiles, and plants found nowhere else on earth, but also to a rich cultural history and the endangered Soqotri language. Within the span of a decade, this Indian Ocean archipelago went from being among the most marginalized regions of Yemen to promoted for its outstanding global value. Islands of Heritage shares Soqotrans' stories to offer the first exploration of environmental conservation, heritage production, and development in an Arab state.

Examining the multiple notions of heritage in play for 21st-century Soqotra, Nathalie Peutz narrates how everyday Soqotrans came to assemble, defend, and mobilize their cultural and linguistic heritage. These efforts, which diverged from outsiders' focus on the island's natural heritage, ultimately added to Soqotrans' calls for political and cultural change during the Yemeni Revolution. Islands of Heritage shows that far from being merely a conservative endeavor, the protection of heritage can have profoundly transformative, even revolutionary effects. Grassroots claims to heritage can be a potent form of political engagement with the most imminent concerns of the present: human rights, globalization, democracy, and sustainability.

Nathalie Peutz is an anthropologist and Associate Professor of Arab Crossroads Studies at New York University (NYU) Abu Dhabi and is a member of the Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies (2019-2020). Her research focuses on forced migration, displacement and immobility, conservation and development, and identity and heritage in the Arab world and the Western Indian Ocean region. Her publications include Islands of Heritage: Conservation and Transformation in Yemen (Stanford University Press, 2018) and a co-edited volume, The Deportation Regime: Sovereignty, Space, and the Freedom of Movement (with Nicholas De Genova, Duke University Press, 2010). She is currently working on a book manuscript titled "Gate of Tears: Migration and Impasse in Yemen and the Horn of Africa" based on her ethnographic fieldwork with Yemeni migrant and refugee communities in the Horn of Africa.

Add to Calendar

Add Event To My Group:

Please sign-in