Fluehr-Lobban, Carolyn 1945-

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FLUEHR-LOBBAN, Carolyn 1945-

PERSONAL: Born January 6, 1945, in Philadelphia, PA; daughter of Christopher and Anne (Wolsonovich) Fluehr; married Richard A. Lobban, Jr. (a college professor), August 31, 1968; children: Josina Parks, Nichola Felicia. Education: Temple University, B.A., 1967, M.A., 1968; Northwestern University, Ph.D., 1973.

ADDRESSES: Home—23 Fort Ave., Cranston, RI 02905. Offıce—Department of Anthropology, Rhode Island College, Providence, RI 02908.

CAREER: Anthropologist. Rhode Island College, Providence, assistant professor, 1972-78, associate professor, 1978-84, professor of anthropology, 1984—. Conducted field research in the Sudan, Egypt, and Tunisia.

MEMBER: Sudan Studies Association (founder; president, 1984-85), American Anthropological Association, Middle East Studies Association, African Studies Association.

AWARDS, HONORS: Distinguished Teacher Award, Rhode Island College, 1989-90; fellow of Rockefeller Foundation (at Institute for the Study of Applied and Professional Ethics, Dartmouth College), 1990, Mellon Foundation (at University of Pennsylvania), National Endowment for the Humanities, and American Research Center in Egypt.


Islamic Law and Society in the Sudan, Frank Cass (Totowa, NJ), 1986.

(Editor) International Perspectives on Marxist Anthropology, MEP Publications (Minneapolis, MN), 1989.

(Editor) Ethics and the Profession of Anthropology:Dialogue for a New Era, University of Pennsylvania Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1991, AltaMira Press (Walnut Creek, CA), 2002.

(With husband, Richard A. Lobban, Jr., and John Obert Voll) Historical Dictionary of the Sudan, 2nd edition, Scarecrow Press (Metuchen, NJ), 1992, 3rd edition (with Richard A. Lobban, Jr. and Robert S. Kramer, Scarecrow Press (Lanham, MD), 2000.

(Editor) Islamic Society in Practice, University of Florida Press (Gainesville, FL), 1994, published as Islamic Societies in Practice, 2004.

(Editor) Muhammad Said Ashmawi, Against IslamicExtremism: The Writings of Muhammad Said al-Ashmawy, University Press of Florida (Gainesville, FL), 1998.

(Editor, with Kharyssa Rhodes) Race and Identity in the Nile Valley: Ancient and Modern Perspectives, Red Sea Press (Trenton, NJ), 2003.

Contributor to numerous journals and series, including Modern Egypt and Its Heritage to the "Carnegie Series on Egypt," Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 1990.

SIDELIGHTS: Anthropologist Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban is the author of a number of volumes, including the Historical Dictionary of the Sudan, which has been regularly revised and reprinted. Peter Woodward reviewed the second edition in the Journal of African History, noting that it includes new entries on women, Islamic law, literature, slavery, the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army, demography, ethnography, and urbanization. He felt that the volume's "breadth will be welcomed by those making initial explorations into Sudanese studies."

Fluehr-Lobban is the editor of Islamic Society in Practice, called "a must for the diplomat, the journalist, or anyone with an interest in the Islamic world" by a Publishers Weekly contributor. It is an historical overview of how Islam is practiced in Tunisia, Egypt, and Sudan, and benefits from Fluehr-Lobban's five years of research and her own experiences in these countries. She addresses many of the fundamental values of Muslim society, including honor, generosity, sharing, hospitality, association, and the appreciation of knowledge. She says that family "is everything." She notes that the Arabic culture and language have greatly influenced Islam and then goes on to address Arab and Islamic tolerance of Judaism and Christianity.

Arab Studies Quarterly reviewer Ali Al-Taie noted that anthropologists adhere to a sociopolitical definition. "Following others, Fluehr-Lobban simply associates the Arab in modern time 'with the political movement of Arab nationalism, articulated by many nationalist leaders in anticolonial . . . [activism] throughout the Middle East and given international recognition and regional meaning by Gamal Abdel Nasser.'" Fluehr-Lobban feels an Arab is someone who thinks of himself or herself as such, a person who speaks Arabic as a first language, but who may be Muslim or Christian. She also states that Muslims are not prejudiced against Christians and Jews, who may be marginalized given their smaller numbers. Al-Taie wrote that "not even the Crusaders' sacking of Jerusalem in 1099 and the Christian and European colonialism of many Arab-Muslim lands have provoked Muslims against their fellow Christian citizens. Further, many Christian Arabs, one may add, have not only pioneered in raising the banner of Arab nationalism but through scholarly work have helped to unveil Islam and to uncover anti-Muslim Orientalist expressions."

A reviewer for the Middle East Women's Studies Review called Islamic Society in Practice "an excellent introductory text, for students and nonacademics alike, as it presents the diversity of the Muslim world in a clear, information-rich text." The reviewer commented that Fluehr-Lobban "conscientiously points to instances in which Western stereotypes about differences between Western and Islamic cultures are based upon false information about the Muslim world, and instances where other stereotypes are based upon incorrect assumptions about our differences. She corrects these misconceptions with charm and forbearance." The reviewer wrote further that Fluehr-Lobban "conducts several full and well-reasoned discussions concerning women's roles in the Middle East, placing these discussions in various chapters having to do with Islamic family law, culture change, gender relationships within the family and the community, debates concerning women's personal freedom, and women's roles in Islamic revival movements." The reviewer concluded by saying that the volume "is an eloquent, thought-provoking antidote to the American media's attempts to reduce the complexity of the Muslim world to thirty-second sound bites."

Fluehr-Lobban is the editor of Against Islamic Extremism: The Writings of Muhammad Said al-Ashmawy. Her subject was trained in law at Cairo University, and has served in many positions, including as a judge, chief prosecutor, and chief justice. The critic of Islamic extremism who opposes the idea of an Islamic state on both religious and historical grounds is the author of more than a dozen volumes on Islam and the law. Fluehr-Lobban's volume contains his reformist message and opinions on the place of Islamic law in contemporary politics.

Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban once told CA: "My writing has been an extension of my teaching, as each has sought clarity of thought and presentation. The scholar-educator has the special task of combining objectivity and balance in presenting facts with a passion for the subject matter. The author must love the subject and always keep the reader in mind."



Africa, winter, 1997, C. H. R. Tripp, review of Historical Dictionary of the Sudan, 2nd edition, p. 159.

American Ethnologist, August, 1994, Keith T. Kernan, review of Ethics and the Profession of Anthropology: Dialogue for a New Era, p. 633.

Arab Studies Quarterly, spring, 1996, Ali Al-Taie, review of Islamic Society in Practice, p. 95.

Choice, April, 1995, L. Beck, review of Islamic Society in Practice, p. 1344; November, 1998, B. B. Lawrence, review of Against Islamic Extremism: The Writings of Muhammad Said al-Ashmawy, p. 535.

International Journal of African Historical Studies, spring, 1997, Ousmane Kane, review of Islamic Society in Practice, p. 367.
International Journal of Middle East Studies, August, 1996, Arlene Elowe MacLeod, review of Islamic Society in Practice, p. 95.

Journal of African History, January, 1994, Peter Woodward, review of Historical Dictionary of the Sudan, p. 171.

Middle East Women's Studies Review, September 1, 1996, review of Islamic Society in Practice.

Publishers Weekly, November 7, 1994, review of Islamic Society in Practice, p. 71.

Reviews in Anthropology, Volume 27, 1998, review of Islamic Society in Practice, p. 57.*