Daniel Martin VariscoMay 23, 2023
Seasonal Knowledge and the Almanac Tradition in the Arab Gulf
Palgrave Macmillan 2022
Seasonal Knowledge and the Almanac Tradition in the Arab Gulf (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022) is the first in English to survey indigenous knowledge of seasonal, astronomical, and agricultural information in Arab Gulf almanacs. It provides an extensive analysis of the traditional information available, based on local almanacs, Arabic texts and poetry by Gulf individuals, ethnographic interviews, and online forums. A major feature of the book is tracing the history of terms and concepts in the local seasonal knowledge of the Gulf, including an important genre about weather stars, stemming back to the ninth century CE. Also covered are pearl diving, fishing, seafaring, and pastoral activities. This book will be of interest to scholars who study the entire Arab region since much of the lore was shared and continues through the present. It will also be of value to scholars who work on the Indian Ocean and Red Sea Trade Network, as well as the history of folk astronomy in the Arab World.
Daniel Martin Varisco is an anthropologist and historian, who conducted ethnographic and ecological research in the Yemen Arab Republic in the 1970s and returned numerous times in the 1980s and 1990s as both a consultant in development and a historian.
Tamara Fernando co-hosted the episode. She is a Past & Present postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Historical Research, London, and an incoming assistant professor in the history of the global south at SUNY Stony Brook University. Her present book project, Of Mollusks and Men, is a history of pearl diving across the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Mannar, and the Mergui archipelago. She is interested in histories of science, environment, and labor across the Indian Ocean.
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 at email@example.com or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome.