Anne Meneley "Quantified Walking, Urban Walking, Nature Walking: Pieties and Genres of Walking in the Holy Land"

Departmental Seminar Series features Anne Meneley, Professor at Department of Anthropology, Trent University, Canada.

The seminar is followed by informal gathering, at which refreshments are served. All are welcome!

Copyright: Trent University


I begin with a contemporary kind of walking, one that is perceived as not really counting unless it is actually counted, using my complicated relationship with my Fitbit, one of the ubiquitous “digital self-tracking devices” as a starting point. Walking, a classic Maussian nondiscursive “technique of the body,” has now become a very discursive technique of the body in its cyborgian manifestation: walking + recording has become a topic for discussion in itself. As Pink and Fors (2017) suggest, ubiquitous self-tracking has become a fundamental part of considering how contemporary people understand not only themselves, but also their “mind-body-environment;” Sherman (2016) notes that the upsurge in self-tracking co-occurs with “selfies,” images of selves-in-environment. Treating different forms of walking as behavioral genres (Ito et al 2009), I compare how contemporary walkers in the Holy Land understand walking as a recordable event in and of itself versus an act of self-improvement, pilgrimage, reflection, political protest, reclaiming the landscape, or simply getting from Point A to Point B.  For centuries, pilgrimage was a dominant mode, but in recent decades, various forms of nature and urban walking in the Holy Land have become prominent means of political action. I investigate how quantified walking for Palestinians is uneasily integrated into other distinctive forms of walking in the Holy Land: I explore here how one of the world’s populations most subject to other-surveillance, react to technologies of self-surveillance, in contexts where walking itself, counted or not, is often curtailed and sometimes Dangerous.

Research profile

Professor Anne Meneley is a cultural anthropologist, with degrees earned at McGill University (B.A.) and New York University (M.A., Ph.D.). Professor Meneley has taught formerly at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Her teaching and research interests include the Middle East, Arabian Peninsula, Italy, religion and world view, Islam, gender, theories of exchange, production, and consumption, ethnographic methods, culture and food, and histories of anthropology.

Her recent work deals with the production, circulation and consumption of olive oil in Italy and Palestine. Professor Meneley has served as a board member of the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association.

Professor Meneleys' book on women’s competitive hospitality in Yemen, Tournaments of Value: Sociability and Hierarchy in a Yemeni town (1996) has been released in its 20th Anniversary Edition (2016). She is the co-author with Don Kulick of "Fat: The Anthropology of an Obsession"; an eclectic and highly original examination of one of the most dynamic concepts-and constructs-in the world. Selected publications

Published Dec. 18, 2017 3:41 PM - Last modified Feb. 12, 2018 3:29 PM