Saturday, October 17, 2015

Nadav Samin's "Of Sand or Soil"

Nadav Samin is visiting assistant professor of anthropology at Dartmouth College.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Of Sand or Soil: Genealogy and Tribal Belonging in Saudi Arabia, and reported the following:
Page 99 lands us in the heart of what I feel to be the most exciting chapter of my new study on genealogy and social contestation in Saudi Arabia, Of Sand or Soil. I am describing the genealogical correspondence of Ḥamad al-Jāsir, Saudi Arabia’s foremost genealogist and historian of the twentieth century. In the many hundreds of letters to al-Jāsir by Saudis urging him to investigate, clarify or validate their authentic Arabian tribal origins, we have a uniquely intimate view into some of the most private anxieties of a deeply reserved society. While interpreting these letters and placing them in their broader historical and anthropological context, I also track down some of their authors and develop relationships with them and their family members. Integrating personal narratives and life histories with the private correspondence of Ḥamad al-Jāsir produces a story about social change and political life in the Arabian Peninsula not previously told or acknowledged.
Learn more about Of Sand or Soil at the Princeton University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue