CCAS 2013 Winter/Spring Newsletter

Page 1

CCAS Center for Contemporary Arab Studies


2 News from the Director 3 Board Member Interview: David Jackson 4 Faculty and Staff News: Recent Faculty and Staff publications, news, and awards

Publications: New Occasional Paper published

5 MAAS News: MAAS students and alumni respond to the ongoing crisis in Syria 6 Feature Article: Dr. Fida Adely on love, courtship, and marriage patterns in Jordan (continued from cover) 8 Faculty Showcase: SFS-Q Assistant Director Zahra Babar on the kafa¯ la in the Gulf 10 Public Events: Commemorating Algeria's independence, Tunisia's Arab Spring, and other events 13 Educational Outreach: Summer and Fall 2012 workshops and activities 16 Faculty Feature: Dr. Fida Adely on recent research


Georgetown University

Winter - Spring 2013

FEATURE article

Making Marriages

Family, Labor, and Gendered Transformations in Jordan By Fida J. Adely


Arab world over the past decade, religious leaders and social scientists have voiced concerns about a crisis of growing proportions—what they call a “marriage crisis.” Amidst the recent and ongoing political turmoil of the “Arab Spring,” the inability of young men to gain the financial independence they need to get married has frequently been cited as a popular grievance that has contributed to the growing frustrations that have precipitated these political events.1 This “marriage crisis” is generally framed as an economic one linked to the difficulties of establishing a separate household and the high cost of marriage celebrations and dowries. However, other factors are also at play: migration, additional years of education for men and women that delay marriage, and shifts in expectations regarding the gendered division hroughout the

1 For example, see Laryssa Chomiak and

John Entelis, “The Making of North Africa’s Intifadas,” Middle East Report 259 (2011).

of labor that has come with more women entering the labor force. In 2011, with the support of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant from the American Center for Oriental Research, I began field research on the nature of the so-called “marriage crisis” in Jordan. I in-

terviewed 45 adult men and women, most of whom were middle-class urbanites and unmarried (though some were engaged). I asked them about their perspectives on marriage, the existence of a marriage crisis, and their experiences trying to get married. I also delved into issues of dating, courting and/or arranging marriages, as continued on page 6

‫ﻣﺮﻛﺰ اﻟﺪراﺳﺎت اﻟﻌﺮﺑﻴﺔ اﳌﻌﺎﺻﺮة‬