Ross School - Senior Projects 2010

Student: Lorcan Jowers

Mentor: Kimble Humiston

Product                            

Title: The Wanderers of the Desert: Nomadic Bedouin Culture

Description:

Since middle school at Ross, I have loved to study cultures. I felt passionate about studying cultures, so this project felt appropriate. The Bedouin culture is unknown to many people but have elaborate tradition and fascinating way of life. To display what I discovered about the culture, I chose to write an informative essay describing aspects of life in the desert, write music using instruments and style traditional in Bedouin culture, such as the Rabab, and make an installation of a Bedouin tent in order to show an audience how a tribesman would have lived. I learned a great amount of the culture, and my hope is that I can share the knowledge I've gained with my audience. 

Details:

Essay

Works Cited

Compositions (Untitled.m4a, Bedu Melody.m4a, Bedu Song 2.m4a)

Tent (Image 1, Image 2)

PowerPoint Presentation

Abstract

When I thought of the idea of studying the Bedouin culture, I was only thinking about how my favorite topic is cultural studies. At this earlier time I did not realize the importance of my studies. In time, with research, I began to see that this is another dying culture, which has been snuffed out by modern ways. At that point my primary purpose for the project had turned into a distribution of information so that the fascinating culture I was studying was not forgotten. In order to accomplish this goal, I chose to make three separate products to best convey their ways of life and traditions. Firstly, I wrote an informative essay which covered all of the standard aspects of their life, including living conditions, the environment they lived in, how they survived and their traditions that they base their life around. Next, I chose to make music based off of Bedouin genre and style with actual Middle Eastern instrument. I did this because I thought it would display an important aspect of their life that has, over time, taken influences from all over the world because of the BedouinÕs interaction with many cultures, having been the guides through the deserts for those travelling on trade routes, one of the most famous being the Silk Road between China and Roman Italy. Finally, I chose to make a recreation of a Bedouin tent because so much of the Bedouins lifestyle and traditions are dependent on the tent. Also, to show the way in which they lived in the middle of the barren deserts of the Middle East, I thought, would be one of the best ways to show their culture possible for me to accomplish.

The process was challenging, having to do things that would commonly take me over a month. I had to try and become familiar with Middle Eastern musical style, which is much different from the western style I am familiar with. Also, the Oud was an odd instrument using odd scales and picking technique that took a long time to master. The next major step in the process of my project was gathering the materials for my tent. All of it was not so difficult to come across, except for the fabric, which I had to buy a large roll of and sew together, which was very time consuming. The rest of my process was researching and gathering information for my essay. There were few books dedicated to Bedouin culture, so I had to pull a lot of scattered notes together to finish.

The finished display was a grouping of the three products together. The tent was the primary focus of the display, people going in and around it to see what it was. Along with the tent I made a brochure thatÕs primary purpose was to guide the viewer through the living style of the Bedouin. The essay I made was put on display next to the tent incase anybody wanted to read something more in depth about the people. In the background is the music that I made, setting the Middle Eastern atmosphere to environment, and completing the display.

Works Cited

Abdel-Hamid Hamam. "Bedouin music." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. 6 Nov. 2009 <http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/
article/grove/music/51957>.

"Bedouin." The New Encyclopedia Britannica. 15th ed. Vol. 2. Chicago: Encycolpedia Britannica, Inc., 2007.

"Houses of Hair, Fall 1997,Winter 1998, Volume 14, Number 4, Saudi Arabia." The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia Homepage. 12 Nov. 2009. <http://www.saudiembassy.net/files/PDF/Publications/Magazine/1998-Winter/houses.htm>.

Keohane, Alan. Bedouin; Nomads of the Desert. London: Kylie Cathie Limited, 1994.

Losleben, Elizabeth. The Bedouin of the Middle East (First Peoples). Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 2002.

"Sinai - The Bedouin." Geographia - World Travel Destinations, Culture and History Guide. 14 Nov. 2009. <http://www.geographia.com/egypt/sinai/
bedouin.htm>.

"Sinai - The Bedouin Way." Geographia - World Travel Destinations, Culture and History Guide. 22 Nov. 2009. <http://www.geographia.com/egypt/
sinai/bedouin02.htm>.

"T. E. Lawrence, 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom', 1926 subscribers' abridgement." Telawrence.net home page. 13 Dec. 2009. <http://telawrence.net/
telawrencenet/works/spw/sp_00_003.htm>.

"The Modern Period." The New Encyclopedia Britannica. 15th ed. Vol. 22. Chicago: Encycolpedia Britannica, Inc., 2007.

Community Member (Details)

Ken Dorph was my outside consultant for my senior project. It was the perfect choice for my project, because he has experience in the Middle East, taking frequent voyages there. He had even had experience with people of nomadic descent. When it came to my tent display, he was also able to lend me real artifacts from the Middle East, which added a great amount to the overall image.