In the Time of Oil: Piety, Memory, and Social Life in an Omani Town by Mandana E. Limbert
Before the discovery of oil in the late 1960s, Oman was one of the poorest countries in the world, with only six kilometers of paved roads and one hospital. By the late 1970s, all that had changed as Oman used its new oil wealth to build a modern infrastructure. In the Time of Oil describes how people in Bahla, an oasis town in the interior of Oman, experienced this dramatic transformation following the discovery of oil, and how they now grapple with the prospect of this resource's future depletion. Focusing on shifting structures of governance and new forms of sociality as well as on the changes brought by mass schooling, piped water, and the fracturing of close ties with East Africa, Mandana Limbert shows how personal memories and local histories produce divergent notions about proper social conduct, piety, and gendered religiosity. With close attention to the subtleties of everyday life and the details of archival documents, poetry, and local histories, Limbert provides a rich historical ethnography of oil development, piety, and social life on the Arabian Peninsula.