Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

"Reverie, the Arab Street, and a Syrian Sense of Reality"

Mon, November 2, 2009 | Texas Union, Governor's Room (3.116)

3:00 PM

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies presents

"Reverie, the Arab Street, and a Syrian Sense of Reality"
a lecture by
John Borneman, Princeton University

How does attention to reverie, or daydreaming, contribute to understanding the relation of fantasy to a sense of reality in contemporary Syria? Based on encounters in the everyday life of young men in Syria, Dr. Borneman will demonstrate how we can come to appreciate how traditional cultural and religious frames are unable to help young men incorporate the seductions of the modern.

Nonetheless, wishes for romantic love, sex, and Western freedoms and patterns of consumption have already been introjected by Syrians, meaning that idolized internal voices are speaking to them about attractions and fantasies that they feel obliged to contain or repress. The formal calm of the public life of the “Arab street” is undercut by an omnipresent fear about instability and change that informs life in an authoritarian police state.

John Borneman is Professor and Acting Chair in the Department of Anthropology at Princeton University.  He is the author and editor of The Case of Ariel Sharon and the Fate of Universal Jurisdiction (2004), Syrian Episodes: Sons, Fathers, and an Anthropologist in Aleppo (2007), and Being There: The Fieldwork Encounter and The Making of Truth (2009).

Sponsored by: Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Department of Anthropology

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