Marielle Risse, “Houseways in Southern Oman” (Routledge, 2022)

Houseways in Southern Oman (Routledge, 2022) explores how houses are created, maintained and conceptualized in southern Oman. Based on long-term research in the Dhofar region, it draws on anthropology, sociology, urban studies and architectural history. The chapters consider physical and functional aspects, including regulations governing land use, factors in siting houses, architectural styles and norms for interior and exterior decorating. The volume also reflects on cultural expectations regarding how and when rooms are used and issues such as safety, privacy, social connectedness and ease of movement. Houses and residential areas are situated within the fabric of towns, comparison is made with housing in other countries in the Arabian peninsula, and consideration is given to notions of the ‘Islamic city’ and the ‘Islamic house’. The book is valuable reading for scholars interested in the Middle East and the built environment.

Marielle Risse  Dr. Marielle Risse has lived and taught at the university level in Oman for over sixteen years and in the United Arab Emirates for two years. Her research areas are Dhofari cultures, comparative literature, and intercultural communication. She has published three books: Houseways in Southern Oman (2023, Routledge). Foodways in Southern Oman (Routledge, 2021) and Community and Autonomy in Southern Oman (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).

Ayesha Mu’alla is a PhD candidate at the Department of Sociology, at Shiv Nadar University. Her ethnographic research explores the social life of frankincense, its materiality, and human entanglements in Oman. Ayesha has taught at the College of Applied Sciences in Nizwa and at the Cairo Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University, Near Eastern Studies Department. His research focuses on the intersection of law, the occult sciences, and the environment across the western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome.

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