Ethnic Groups of Africa and the Middle East

An Encyclopedia

by John A. Shoup


Africa and the Middle East contain 70 countries and well over one billion individuals, comprising countless ethnicities and discrete peoples. From Armenia to Morocco to Zimbabwe, the range of ethnic diversity within the African continent and the Middle East is enormous.

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Cover image for Ethnic Groups of Africa and the Middle East

October 2011


Pages 377
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Geography and World Cultures/Culture

This encyclopedia is an essential guide to the different ethno-linguistic groups in Africa and today's complicated Middle East region.

Ethnic Groups of Africa and the Middle East contains encyclopedic entries arranged alphabetically within ethno-linguistic classifications. Each entry has four main sections: an introduction identifying the language group, where they are found, and their numbers; a brief discussion of their origins and early history; a section on cultural life that includes religion, literature, social organization, and art; and a final section on political organization and recent history.

The contents are appropriate for high school and undergraduate students as well as for experts who need a refresher on groups in Africa and the Middle East. While certain ethnic groups have been combined into a single entry, some—such as the Tuareg, who are a Berber people—are described within their own entries because of their importance in history or cultural domination.


  • Contains contributions from international scholars and independent researchers who have lived and worked in countries such as Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Guinea Conakry, Jordan, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Sudan, and Syria
  • Includes bibliographic information after each entry, photographs, and an index


  • Presents up-to-date information on the peoples of the Middle East and Africa in a single encyclopedia
  • Covers political, economic, social, and cultural contributions beyond the Middle East and Africa, such as African influences on Caribbean and North American languages and belief systems
  • Utilizes consistent, alphabetically arranged entries (each accompanied by a short reference list) for easy and quick access to reference information
  • Provides information appropriate for both beginners and advanced students of Africa and the Middle East
Author Info

John A. Shoup is associate professor of anthropology at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco. His published works include Greenwood's Culture and Customs of Jordan and Culture and Customs of Syria. Shoup was one of the main authors and editors for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab States Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the Arab States.



"This unique guide presents basic historical, demographic, and political background information on more than 100 ethnic groups found in Africa and the Middle East. . . . This specialized reference presents a great deal of obscure material assembled into one accessible resource. Recommended for academic and large public library collections that support sociology, linguistics, or ethnic-studies programs."Booklist

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