Tribal Modern (Hardcover)

Branding New Nations in the Arab Gulf

By Miriam Cooke

University of California Press, 9780520280090, 224pp.

Publication Date: January 21, 2014

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (1/21/2014)

List Price: 85.00*
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In the 1970s, one of the most torrid and forbidding regions in the world burst on to the international stage. The discovery and subsequent exploitation of oil allowed tribal rulers of the U.A.E, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait to dream big. How could fishermen, pearl divers and pastoral nomads catch up with the rest of the modernized world? Even today, society is skeptical about the clash between the modern and the archaic in the Gulf. But could tribal and modern be intertwined rather than mutually exclusive? Exploring everything from fantasy architecture to neo-tribal sports and from Emirati dress codes to neo-Bedouin poetry contests, Tribal Modern explodes the idea that the tribal is primitive and argues instead that it is an elite, exclusive, racist, and modern instrument for branding new nations and shaping Gulf citizenship and identity—an image used for projecting prestige at home and power abroad.

About the Author

miriam cooke is Braxton Craven Distinguished Professor of Arab Cultures at Duke University and author of several books, most recently Dissident Syria: Making Oppositional Arts Official (Duke, 2007) and Nazira Zeineddine: Biography of an Islamic Feminist Pioneer (Oneworld, 2010).

Praise For Tribal Modern: Branding New Nations in the Arab Gulf

"Cooke is at her best scrutinising how the Gulf projects this tribal modern brand in its heritage industry."

— Financial Times

"Cooke’s eclectic depiction of the reinvention of tribal identity makes use of the Arabic term barzakh, which she defines as the meeting -- but not commingling -- of two distinct elements, to capture the chemistry between tribal heritage and modernity."

— Foreign Affairs

"Fascinating . . . . Her deft interweaving of examples from film, art, literature and architecture to reinforce her conceptual ideas helps to build a diverse and thought-provoking set of arguments. . . . The book is surprisingly accessible and a fairly quick read."

— PopMatters