AIYS and Yemen at MESA 1998 (Chicago IL, Dec. 3-6, 1998)

1. AIYS meetings

Board Meeting Thursday (Dec. 3)

General Business Meeting (Dec. 3)

2. AIYS-sponsored 3-panel workshop

Continuity and Change in Yemen, 1978-1998

Chair: Robert D. Burrowes, University of Washington (AIYS President)

In 1978, the American Institute for Yemeni Studies (AIYS) was founded and the current president of the Republic of Yemen (ROY), Ali Abdullah Salih, assumed the presidency of the Yemen Arab Republic. In recognition of these anniversaries, AIYS sponsored a special session that considered continuity and change in Yemen. The discussion focused on five major areas:

(1) politics and state-building;
(2) regional and international relations;
(3) economic change and development;
(4) identity, culture, and society; and
(5) archaeology, architectural restoration, and cultural heritage.

The program was preceded by six months of written exchanges among the participants; these exchanges, raising and answering questions and making and challenging assertions -- served the goal of seeking clarity and consensus on the matter of continuity and change in Yemen over this period. An effort was made to match scholars whose involvement in Yemeni studies spans the entire twenty years with those who came to Yemeni studies more recently, and perhaps with different perspectives.


Panel 1: Archaeology, Architectural Restoration, and Cultural Heritage

Chair: McGuire Gibson (University of Chicago)

  • "Introduction: American archaeological work in Yemen" (McGuire Gibson; University of Chicago)
  • "The Yemeni Perspective on Archaeology in Yemen," Yusuf Abdullah, President of the General Organization for Antiquities, Manuscripts, and Museums, Yemen)
  • "Prehistoric Surveys in North Yemen," Abdu Ghalib Othman (Sana'a University)
  • "The Restoration of the Amiriya Madrasa in Rada," Selma Al-Radi (New York University)
  • "The Work of the Canadian Archaeological Mission in Yemen: The Zabid Project," Edward J. Keall (Royal Ontario Museum)

Panel 2: Economy, Society, and Culture

Chairs: Steven Caton (Institute for Advanced Study) and Janet Ewald (Duke University)

  • "Yemen's Program of Economic Reforms," Muhammad al- Maitami (Sana'a University; Senior Fulbright Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley)
  • "The Case for a Remittance- and Emigrant-driven Economy," Eng Seng Ho (University of Chicago)
  • "How Past Decisions have Determined Yemen's Current Economic Predicament and Options," Charles Schmitz (University of California, Berkeley)
  • "Politics and the Status of Women in Yemen: A View from the South," Awras Sultan Nagi (Member, Majlis al-Nawwab)
  • "Politics and the Status of Women in Yemen: A View from the North," Khadijah al-Haysami (Center of Empirical Research and Women's Studies, Sana'a University)

Panel 3: Government, Politics, and External Relations

Chair: Robert D. Burrowes (University of Washington)

  • "Yemen and Saudi Arabia," Mark Katz (George Mason University)
  • "Yemen and the GCC," Muhammad Zabara (Sana'a University)
  • "The Place of the Tribes in Contemporary Yemeni Politics," Abdu Sharif (Sana'a University and American University)
  • "On Being a Little Bit Pregnant: Elections and Democracy in Yemen," Jillian Schwedler (New York University)
  • "Scholars, Intellectuals, and Human Rights in Contemporary Yemen," Sheila Carapico (University of Richmond)
  • "Budgeting Priorities," Manfred Wenner (Arizona State University)

3. Papers on Yemen in other sections

Friday, December 4

  • "Gender Relations, Development, and the Democratic Process in Yemen," Carol J. Riphenburg (College of DuPage), in the session Gender Issues in the Political Process.
  • "Saudi Policy Towards the GCC States and Yemen," Joseph A. Kechichian (K2 Associates), in the panel Patterns in Saudi Foreign Policy.

Saturday, December 5

  • "Free Elections and Illiberal Politics: The Yemeni Example," Jefferson Gray (University of Chicago), in the panel Pretending or Contending: The Weight and Worth of Contemporary Elections in West Asia and North Africa.

Sunday, December 6

  • "Women with Too Many Rights: Male-Female Relations in Pre- and Post-Unification Aden," Suzanne Dahlgren (University of Helsinki, Finland), in the panel Civil Society and Political Pluralism.
  • "Twentieth Century Scholar and Activist: Sayyid 'Abd al-Rahman bin 'Ubaydillah al-Saqqaf of Hadrama," Linda Boxberger (University of Texas at Austin), in the panel Autobiography: Presentation and Representation.
  • "Yemeni Unification: The Hegemony of Power-Sharing," Steven Day (Georgetown University), in the panel State Formation in Theory and Practice.
  • "The mecalis-i idare in Hamidian Yemen, 1890-1907," Thomas Kuehn (New York University), in the panel Political and Social Issues in the 19th-Century Ottoman Empire.

A number of other papers relevant to the Arabian peninsula may from their titles also refer to Yemen in the discussion; however, their titles are geographically more general and do not refer explicitly to Yemen.

Film: The Last Jews in Yemen (1993)

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