The romantic, nineteenth-century image of the Bedouin as fierce, independent nomads on camelback racing across an endless desert persists in the West. Yet since the era of Ottoman rule, the Mzeina Bedouin of the South Sinai desert have lived under foreign occupation. For the last forty years Bedouin land has been a political football, tossed back and forth between Israel and Egypt at least five times.
Smadar Lavie is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Davis. She is co-editor of the forthcoming volume, Creativity in Anthropology.
"Smadar Lavie, in creating this beautiful book, has accomplished something wonderful. An Iraeli Jew, she sojourned among the Mzeina Bedouin with an open heart and comprehending spirit . . . [and] deeply engaged their way of life and their oral literature."—Maxime Rodinson, Directeur d'Etudes, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes
"Speaking about a region where conflict, for all involved, has deepened divisions, separating 'us' from 'them,' Smadar Lavie courageously seeks out the paradoxes and ambiguities in everyday life."—Renato Rosaldo, Stanford University
Honorable Mention in the competition for the 1990 Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing, Society for Humanistic Anthropology, of the American Anthropological Association