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Russell, Kamala Rose

Grant Type
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation
California, Berkeley, U. of
Status
Completed Grant
Approve Date
Project Title
Russell, Kamala R., U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Morality Begins at Home: Practices of Privacy and the Institution of the Qabila in Southern Oman,' supervised by Dr. William F. Hanks

KAMALA R. RUSSELL, then a graduate student at University of California, Berkeley, California, was granted funding in October 2016 to aid research on 'Morality Begins at Home: Practices of Privacy and the Institution of Qabila in Southern Oman,' supervised by Dr. William F. Hanks. This project uses ethnographic, linguistic, and otherwise semiotic data to explore how speakers of Shehret Modern South Arabian in the Dhofar mountains of the Sultanate of Oman enact their individual ethical responsibilities in ambivalent relationships to the social organization of the family and tribe. Forty years of development has brought mountain-dwelling Dhofaris from pastoral nomadism to public spaces for work, entertainment, and commerce, producing an expanded field of mobility, social opportunity, and visibility, as well as new ways to desire worldly relations, entertainment, and success. This research focuses on how mountain families negotiate the possibility of ethical life in this phenomenal world (dunya) of social relations and worldly attachments. To do so, the researcher recorded how certain everyday normative and habitual ways of speaking, dressing, moving, and building serve to do good, teach good, and reflect on one's relation to good through concealing their emotions, deeds, visages, and affairs. In focusing on everyday speech and comportment, this dissertation provides a detailed case of the everyday negotiation of Islamic ethics and worldly social demands within a rapidly modernizing context.