Alumni and ʿ<i>ulama</i> in Bahrain

in An Invitation to Laughter

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780226434766
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226434759 | DOI:
Alumni and ʿulama in Bahrain

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The author's research on the suburbs of Beirut made it clear to him that the wealth the Lebanese had enjoyed in the 1960s and 1970s, for two decades before the eruption of the Lebanese war, came from the oil-producing countries in the Gulf. Practically every business he examined had either earned its capital in the Gulf or thrived on the Gulf's markets. Scores of Lebanese technicians, skilled laborers, entrepreneurs, contractors, professionals, merchants, and bankers sought employment and other opportunities in the Gulf. Many made fortunes. No industry or trade produced as many millionaires as oil did, whether directly or indirectly. In preparing to do research in Bahrain, he offered a graduate seminar entitled “Patterns of Change in the Gulf,” raised the necessary funds from the Ford Foundation, and took a course in Farsi at the American University of Beirut. In his work on Bahrain, three abilities proved to be invaluable in generating rapport with interviewees: recall of pre-Islamic poetry, knowledge of the Qur'ān and the hadiths, and the ability to quote Al-Khalīfa genealogy.

Keywords: research; Bahrain; Gulf; pre-Islamic poetry; Qur'ān; hadiths; Al-Khalīfa

Chapter.  6515 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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