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Master Thesis

Cartographier et interpréter les connaissances bibliographiques : l’oasis d’al-‘Ulā en Arabie Saoudite

Abstract : If العلا, al-'ulā, can mean "the high", "the superior" or even "the glory", it is difficult to find any trace of the eponymous oasis in literature. An oasis in northwest Saudi Arabia, al-'Ulā (العلا) is, like all oases, a mainly agricultural land, a complex system created by human communities. Al-'Ulā seems to be an intellectual mirage for those who try to make a bibliographical study of it. Evoked at the turn of a page, a chapter or an article, this research nevertheless shows that knowledge exists. However, incomplete and heterogeneous, sometimes confused and imprecise, it is moreover unevenly distributed according to the themes under consideration. Al-'Ulā is therefore not a "white zone" of knowledge, but rather a "grey zone", the result of the dynamics of those who have produced and are producing knowledge about the oasis. Within the written sources, several dynamics of knowledge production can thus emerge, bringing their own biases, confusions, interests and silences. Thus, we can ask ourselves how these dynamics of plural knowledge production, past and present, make al-'Ulā a grey zone of knowledge? After questioning the act of knowing, a central notion of this bibliographical study, we will attempt to show the imbalance of historical knowledge existing on al-'Ulā past and present, to try to apprehend the changes in situ visible throughout the sources, and then to study the anthropological knowledge that is lacking. Finally, we will conclude with the knowledge about agriculture and phoeniculture at al-'Ulā, central activities of this genuine 'socio-ecosystem' that is the oasis (Battesti 2005), of which the palm tree is the keystone.
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Master Thesis
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Doria Bellache. Cartographier et interpréter les connaissances bibliographiques : l’oasis d’al-‘Ulā en Arabie Saoudite. Anthropologie sociale et ethnologie. 2019. ⟨dumas-02610521⟩

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