Associate Professor Dr. Mara Leichtman publishes in Ethnography

Department of Anthropology Associate Professor Dr. Mara Leichtman published an article in Ethnography, in part of a special journal issue titled “Transnational Giving: Evolving Religious, Ethnic and Political Formations in the Global South.” The article title is “Humanitarian Sovereignty, Exceptional Muslims, and the Transnational Making of Kuwaiti Citizens.” This article explores the changing relationship between Kuwaiti Islamic humanitarian missions abroad and the Kuwaiti state.

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Abstract: What is the role of transnational non-state philanthropic actors in the Kuwaiti humanitarian mission abroad? How does humanitarian aid reinforce and (re)conceptualize Kuwaiti notions of citizenship? A key provider of foreign assistance, this small, at times vulnerable, Gulf country has given generously to other nations as part of a strategic foreign policy. Kuwait’s humanitarian sovereignty involves coordinated efforts at multiple levels of state policy, civil society organizations, and pious individual donors who fund the work of international Islamic charities – which have increasingly become more connected to the state. Exceptional Muslim humanitarians donate their time along with their money, and youth in greater numbers are volunteering with transnational missions. An honorable endeavor—sanctioned by the government—volunteering brings religious rewards and leads to professional development. Bridging state, civil society, and private domains, transnational giving from Kuwait merges religious and national forms of community and shapes moral citizens.