About the Author

Scott will examine culture and rapid development in the Sultanate of Oman, a country with an increasing regional and international profile. Scott is deeply familiar with Oman having traveled there, researched the country's maritime history, and worked at the Sultan Qaboos Center in Washington, DC. More recently, Scott has been working at the University of Chicago’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Scott completed a certificate in Arabic Language and Cultures at the University of Chicago, and holds a bachelor’s degree from Gettysburg College, where he was awarded the Nicholas Prize in Religious studies for his ethnographic work on visitation rituals to shrines in southern Oman. He will travel with his wife, Emily, a social worker and environmentalist.

Paying Respects In Dhofar

PAYING RESPECTS IN DHOFAR   …we had discovered a real paradise in the wilderness, which will be a rich prize for the civilized nation which is enterprising enough to appropriate it. –Theodore Bent, F.R.G.S., F.S.A. in Southern Arabia, 1900 (276) …our war with colonialism, brother, is a long one. –Dhofar Liberation Front radio broadcast, March

Sultanate and Imamate in Oman

“Allahu akbar wa lillahi al hamd!” cried the imam, sweeping his hands up to signal our response. “Allahu akbar wa lillahi al hamd!” we bellowed. The men around me were pointing their camera phones at the imam to capture what was happening, and many were hugging one another in frenzied celebration. I was in the sabla, a community room attached

A Gulf Away: Muscat and Dubai

“Our journey of development has been and will remain a race for excellence; a race to consolidate Dubai’s position as an evolving, leading, and unrivalled contender for the title of the Middle East’s financial and commercial capital” — H.H. Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai[i] “We should be open to the experience of other

Soldiers and Sultans between Balochistan and Oman

Above my desk in Muscat, a large classroom map of Asia hangs from two brass rivets. It’s an old map — yellowed, crinkled, and creased where it was once folded and kept in a teacher’s desk. While there’s no date listed on the map, it’s from sometime in the interwar years: in West Asia, the former Ottoman Empire is a patchwork of dotted lines

The Presence of Clouds

Forecasting the weather is difficult in Oman. While it’s warm and sunny almost every day, problems arise when it does rain, so people tend to keep one eye on the sky. Muscat averages just a couple inches of rain per year that come in brief downpours of a few minutes. When these outbursts happen, an unwelcome but familiar series of events unfold: roads

At Both the Center and the Edge

The beguiling rhythms of the tide have drawn Omanis seaward for millennia, and ancient routes and industries have continued into the present day. Oman’s biggest centers of population are former ports of importance, and their residents live at the mercy of the ocean, drawing their livelihood from fishing and seaborne trade. Nowhere is this more evident

Every Day Is National Day in Oman

Oman commemorated its 45th National Day on November 18th, which was also His Majesty Sultan Qaboos’s 75th birthday. Festivities weren’t confined to just one day. Preparations were visible in early September, and some of the most anticipated celebrations occurred in December, long after his birthday. In fact, sometimes it feels like every day is

Muscat to Mji Mkongwe

Unguja ni njema atakaye aje — Zanzibar is good to those who will come, Swahili proverb I approached the passenger side door with my bag slung over my shoulder, dripping with sweat as I waited for the taxi driver to unlock the car. As I stood there, wondering what might be taking so long, I saw that the driver was himself waiting patiently behind me

Coffee, Tea, and the Cultural Sieve

One of the first things I found myself needing after arriving in Muscat was a strong cup of coffee. Fortunately, coffee is somewhat of an Omani national pastime. Drinking coffee together is an integral part of local culture, so much so that the traditional coffee pot, or dallah, has become an unofficial symbol of the Sultanate, representing the legendary

“Try It Once More:” Muscat’s Diplomatic Tightrope Act

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: The Sultanate of Oman’s economy is driven by oil, but seafaring has always been the original industry: at its peak, the Omani trade empire spanned the Persian Gulf, southern Iran, Pakistan, and East Africa. Today, Oman is in the process of re-asserting its maritime prowess in the realm of diplomacy, trade, and security, with an