Events and

Reinvigorating Bedouinity: contemporary heritage discourses and practices in the Arabian Gulf Region

24 February 2016, 6:30pm
Bahrain National Museum – Auditorium
Free Admission
Lecture in English

During the last decade, in the Arabian Gulf Region there has been a remarkable trend in the promotion of images relating to ‘Bedouinity(ies)’ and ‘Tribalism’. The latter manifests itself in popular culture, such as Bedouin TV dramas, Nabati Poetry slams, and tribal sport’s events (camel and horse races), but also in current museum exhibitions and performances as well as in cultural festivals and heritage workshops where the reinvigoration of the Bedouin ‘tradition’ occupies a prominent role.


The display of Bedouin culture is part of an overall process, now being prevalent in many of the contemporary Arab nation states, of forging regional Heritage Culture(s) in order to construct a transcendent “ancestral past”. In my presentation I shall discuss various manifestations of regional, national, and transnational imageries of Bedouinity(ies) and Pan-Arabism in the Gulf Region. For that purpose I shall draw on research data gathered during diverse field researches conducted in different countries of the Mashrek region from 2009 onwards.


Prof. Dr. Laila Prager (University of Hamburg)

Laila Prager is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Hamburg (Germany). Formerly, she worked (2007-2009; 2011-2013) as a researcher and senior lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Münster. From 2009 to 2011 she worked as a researcher in an interdisciplinary research project on nomadism at the Institute of Ethnology at the University of Leipzig (Germany). In this position she conducted research among Bedouin societies in Syria and Jordan, focusing on the narrative representation and performance of the past among Bedouin societies. She has done extensive fieldwork among the Arab speaking Alawi society in South Eastern Turkey (Hatay/Çukurova) and among Alawi migrant communities in Germany, focusing on topics relating to migration, religious conflicts, medical anthropology, ritual healing, and cosmology. She has also conducted research among Kuwaiti-Palestinian refugees in Jordan and Germany with a special emphasis on the narrative representation of diaspora and trauma experienced in the course of resettlement. Since 2014, she is undertaking in the Gulf Region (UAE and Qatar) where she is working on modern forms of representations of Bedouinity, Tribalism, and Heritage (e.g. media, museum, heritage parks, festivals, etc.).


Language: English