An orphan that probably shouldn't be one
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A book I share with no one else is An Invitation to Laughter: A Lebanese Anthropologist in the Arab World by Fuad I Kuri.
It's a slender memoir of a Lebanese-American anthropologist's experiences plying his trade the Middle East, studying power structures throughout the region. The reason behind the title as explained by Khuri is that whenever he explained what he did for a living, his friends and relatives back home in Lebanon would laugh uproariously at the thought of such an oddly named profession.
Khuri, who received his PhD from the University of Oregon, is charmingly self-depreceating in the telling of his story, obscuring the fact that his work was groundbreaking (his book Emirs and Imans is essential for understanding the differences between the regions various sects, including how their theology informs their politics). Even in this book, there are little almost throw-away insights that forced me to reconsider some of my notions about the Middle East.
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