Janbiya

Marie-Christine Heinze: Yemen through the janbiya. The social lives of daggers in ‘South Arabia’

This dissertation project, which is in its final phase, looks at the Yemeni dagger, the janbiya, from a material culture perspective. Topics covered include terminology and classifications in regard to the dagger and other edged weapons prevalent in Yemen; the materiality of the janbiya, its production and the dagger market in the Old City of Sanaa; the (historical) role of the dagger in signifying social distinction in (Northern) Yemen; its role in the exertion and control of violence; and more recent social and political discourses in regard to the janbiya as a – contested – symbol of the nation-state.

Institution: University of Bielefeld, Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology
Contact: marie.heinze@uni-bielefeld.de