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Dr Geoffrey Hughes

Lecturer (Anthropology)

Amory B304

My research and teaching focus on the politics of everyday life in the contemporary Middle East, with an emphasis on kinship, gender, Islam, and the state. I have spent over four years living and working in the region, including over two years conducting long-term ethnographic research in Jordan funded by the US National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. I have published extensively on how people living in the Middle East work to re-imagine a range of globally circulating technologies for large-scale population management, from Facebook-mediated blood feuds to the information infrastructures of government Sharia Courts.

Research interests

Jordan and the Middle East; Kinship; Personhood; Emotion and Affect; Marriage; Gender; The Anthropology of Islam; Political Economy; The State; Institutions; Infrastructure; Science and Technology Studies

 

Current and Previous Research Projects:

'The Value of Moderation: Language, Emotion, and Islam in Jordan' (British Academy and Council for British Research in the Levant, 2019)

'Nation and Agnation: Kinship, Conflict and Social Control in Contemporary Jordan' (National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Centre of Oriental Research, 2017)

'The Politics of Envy: Kinship, State and the Management of Inequality in Jordan' (London School of Economics, 2016)

'Affection and Mercy: Kinship, State and the Management of Marriage in Contemporary Jordan' (University of Michigan, 2013)

'Managing Marriage: Kinship and Bureaucracy in Contemporary Jordan' (National Science Foundation and the University of Michigan, 2011-2012)

 

 

 

Research supervision

I am open to supervising PhD students interested in the following topics, preferably with an area studies focus on the Middle East:

  • Kinship and Gender
  • Emotions and Affect
  • Social Media
  • State- and Institution-Formation
  • Critical Legal Anthropology
  • Islam

Biography

I hail from the US, where I studied at Reed College (BA in Anthropology, 2006) before joining the Peace Corps and serving for two years as a schoolteacher in a rural village in southern Jordan. While I don't know how much good I did my first students, I quickly fell in love with Jordan and the Arabic language and became determined to learn more. I returned to the US to study anthropology at the University of Michigan with a focus on Jordan and the broader Middle East, earning my MA in 2011 and my PhD in 2015. I subsequently joined the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics, where I was a fellow for three years, before beginning a lectureship at the University of Exeter in 2018. I travel to Jordan regularly, where I have now conducted over two years of ethnographic fieldwork with the support of the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and, more recently, the British Academy. 

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