Dr. Najwa Adra


Najwa trying unsuccessfully to churn butter, with friend. Photo: Daniel Varisco, 1978


Dr. Najwa Adra has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Yemen, beginning with 18 months of research in 1978-79. She conducted additional academic research in 1983 and 2005, and field research connected to consulting assignments in 1984-1986 and 2001-2003.. Her research topics include: the anthropology of dance, tribal identity and customary law, the impacts of television on a rural community, women’s oral poetry, reproductive health, and women’s roles in agriculture. For details on lectures, conference presentations and reviews, please click academic cv.

Below are selected articles and papers on the ethnography of Yemen. For those available in pdf format, click on the title to download pdf. (Some of these were scanned horizontally, so if necessary, please rotate view or adjust “page setup” before printing.)

Tribal Identity and Customary Law

Tribal Mediation in Yemen and its Implications to Development.
In AAS Working Papers in Social Anthropology, Volume 19. Austrian Academy of Sciences.

Law: Customary: Gulf and Yemen
. In The Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. Suad Josepth, ed. Volume II:418-419. Leiden: Brill. Available online:

Dance and Glance: Visualizing Tribal Identity in Highland Yemen. Visual Anthropology, 11:55-102.

Tribal Dancing and Yemeni Nationalism: Steps to Unity. Revue du Monde Musulmane et de la Méditerranée, 67(1):l6l-l68. Translated into Arabic in, Al-Yaman Kama Yarah al-Akhar. L. Taminian and A. al-Auj, eds. Pp. 327-338. Sanaa: American Institute for Yemeni Studies (1997).

The Tribal Concept in the Central Highlands of the Yemen Arab Republic. In Arab Society: Social Science Perspectives. N.S. Hopkins and S. E. Ibrahim, eds. Pp. 275-285. Cairo: The American University of Cairo Press.

Qabyala: The Tribal Concept in the Central Highlands of the Yemen Arab Republic
. Doctoral Dissertation in Anthropology, Temple University. University Microfilms International.

The Impacts of Television and Social Change

The ‘Other’ as Viewer: Reception of Western and Arab Televised Representations in Rural Yemen. In The Construction of the Viewer: Media Ethnography and the Anthropology of Audiences. P. I. Crawford and S. B. Hafsteinsson, eds. Pp. 255-269. Højbjerg: Intervention Press.

Affluence and the Concept of the Tribe in the Central Highlands of the Yemen Arab Republic (co-authored with Daniel Martin Varisco). In Affluence and Cultural Survival, R. F. Salisbury and E. Tooker, eds. Pp. 134-149. Washington, DC: The American Ethnological Society.

Women’s Oral Poetry

Oral Poetry, Women’s Empowerment and Literacy in Yemen. Unpublished paper presented at the panel, The Diversity of Yemeni Poetry. Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association. Washington, DC, November 23, 2008.

Literacy Through Poetry: A Pilot Project for Women in the Republic of Yemen. Women’s Studies Quarterly, 32(1&2):226-243.

Women and Reproductive Health
See also "Women's Oral Poetry" above

2013 - 2014
Women and Peacebuilding in Yemen: Challenges and Opportunities. Policy Brief, Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (NOREF). Available online: Republished in Open Democracy, January 21, 2014

Invited participant. UNIFEM/UNDP/Gender at Work initiative on Gender and Democratic Governance in Development, New York, NY, December 11, 12. Contributed to A User’s Guide to Measuring Gender-Sensitive Basic Service Delivery

Articles for The Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. Suad Joseph, ed. Leiden: Brill:

Law: Customary: Gulf and Yemen. Volume II:418-419, 2006. Available online:
Body: Female. Yemen.
Volume III:47-48, 2006. Available online:
Economics: Agricultural Labor. Yemen. Volume IV:136-137, 2007. Available online:
Economics: Land Reform. Yemen. Volume IV:215, 2007. Available online:

Situation Analysis - Women. UNICEF, Sanaa, Yemen Arab Republic (with Bilqis al-Dabbi). Includes, Bibliography of Women and Children in YAR, and an annex, The Situation of Children in YAR.

Local Perceptions of Breastfeeding, Fertility and Infant Care in Al-Ahjur, Yemen Arab Republic. Report prepared for the Population Council, Cairo, Egypt.

The Impact of Emigration on Women’s Roles in Agriculture in the Yemen Arab Republic. Report prepared for FAO, Rome.Available in pdf:


For further information please contact:
Dr. Najwa Adra

22 High Pine, Glen Cove, NY 11542, USA

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