About us

Luca Nevola

Luca NevolaLuca Nevola earned is doctoral degree at the University of Milan- Bicocca. Since 2011, he has been a research associate at the YCMES (Yemen College of Middle Eastern Studies) and a member of SeSaMO (Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies). In 2010, he received a MA in cultural anthropology from the University of Milano Bicocca, with a dissertation titled ‘Qays wa Leyla: Honour and Love in Contemporary Yemen’. His research explored marriage strategies, focusing on the connection between semantics of love and new media. In 2009, he conducted a survey for the Italian MPI (Ministry of Public Education) on the projects financed by the Law 482/1999 regarding minority languages in Italy. Since 2009, he has undertaken several periods of fieldwork in northern Yemen, especially in the old city of San'a and in Beni Matar. His doctoral research focused on the connection between family genealogies and the division of labour. Within the framework of SWAB, he addresses the relationship between the stigmatisation of low-caste tasks and forms of political and economic clientelism.





Research Project: “The Politics of Genealogical Thought in Contemporary Yemen.”

This project explores the place of genealogies in the social life of contemporary Yemen and their relationship with the legacy of past hierarchical organization. Despite the fact that status distinctions grounded on genealogical origin were formally abolished in 1962 together with slavery, the historical legacy of the ancestors have continued to inform the construction of individual and collectives selves. This project addresses the connection between genealogical origin, status and the division of labour, by focusing on three groups that stands on the margins of Yemenite traditional hierarchy and are associated with stigmatised tasks: Beni al-Khumus, Arab people ‘lacking of origins’; the Akhdam, black people of Abyssinian origin; and the ‘Abid, ex-slaves from the Red Sea coast. How is stigma produced and attached to families and crafts? How does it relate to the division of labour and to local notions of a moral economy? How does ancestral legacy affect social mobility and access to the labour market? How does it shape the transmission of specialized and incorporated knowledge? This project addresses these questions, bringing into focus the fundamental role of what Andrew Shryock has defined as the ‘genealogical thought’.