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An Invitation to LaughterA Lebanese Anthropologist in the Arab World$
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Fuad I. Khuri and Sonia Jalbout Khuri

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226434766

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226434759.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 29 May 2020

Establishing an Arab association for the social sciences

Establishing an Arab association for the social sciences

The tyranny of consensus

Chapter:
(p.88) Eight Establishing an Arab association for the social sciences
Source:
An Invitation to Laughter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226434759.003.0009

Feeling confident of his position at the American University of Beirut, the author turned to lobbying for anthropology in the Middle East. Of the many local and international institutions and foundations he approached for funds, only the Ford Foundation showed interest and concern. This was thanks to Courtney Nelson, the head of the foundation in Beirut at the time, and the anthropologist Peter Benedict, both of whom had adopted a holistic approach to modernity. This was important because Arabs, in general, lived in an unfulfilled dream; namely, that it would be possible to acquire the technological skills and institutions of modern times while retaining old-fashioned value systems and traditions. This attitude ignored one of the basic lessons in history: change in the moral order of society in the West (that is, the Renaissance) preceded the industrial revolution by more than three centuries. Some Arab countries, especially in the Gulf, made this unfulfilled dream into official government policy, which at times was enforced so blindly that it verged on the ridiculous.

Keywords:   anthropology, Middle East, Ford Foundation, Arab countries, American University of Beirut

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