Closing the week 37
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By Zehra Rizavi and Yusif Akhund, September 11, 2009
When my husband finally makes his way down the stairs, my frustration abates and he and I sit across from each other and share our early morning meal. We speak intermittently and keep one eye trained on the clock to ensure we finish our food by the time dawn prayers begin. Despite the sparse conversation and the hurried meal, I enjoy the feeling that we are both beginning our obligatory fasts together, as a unit.
In Muslim nations and regions around the globe, this is the first week of the holy month of Ramadan, a time for followers to abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual activity during the day, breaking their fast each sunset, with traditional meals and sweets. During this time, Muslims are also encouraged to read the entire Quran, to give freely to those in need, and strengthen their ties to God through prayer. The goal of the fast is to teach humility, patience and sacrifice, and to ask forgiveness, practice self-restraint, and pray for guidance in the future. This year, Ramadan will continue until Saturday, September 19th
I have a question which concerns a quite recent controversy about ethnocentrism, that has been raised by the the French ethno-psychiatrist Tobie Nathan. In fact, I am looking for the writings in which he says that we cannot condemn (morally and politically) practices of sexual mutilation in certain countries of the South, because this kind of assessment would be a new and hidden form of ethnocentrism. I know that his position has been criticized by other French anthropologists, but I don’t know who and where. That’s why I would like to find these texts too, at least the most significant ones, and have a global view on this debate.
In fact, whatever has come to be seen as a mark of disaffected young people all over the U.S., conveying apathy, dismissiveness, and a variety of related attitudes (lack of commitment, refusal to make discriminations, and so on) that draw scorn from all sorts of sources. Predictably, some of these sources grossly exaggerate the prevalence of whatever, as in this Urban Dictionary entry from 2003:
Language Log has looked at whatever as a symptom of what’s wrong with young people — “whateverist nomads” — these days: first in a critique by Geoff Pullum of Naomi Baron’s alarmist outcries about the dire effects of cellphones, texting, and the like; then in light-hearted follow-ups by Roger Shuy (it’s not electronic media that are at fault, but crossword puzzles) and Mark Liberman (in the comics: is youth slang the death of us?).
An academic blogger critiquing a government funded study, albeit done by his rival it seems, is being sued! Beware of Japanese libel laws! Can academic critique be grounds for a libel case in Japan? Even if the defendant is found innocent, as he most likely will be, the idea that this case actually is going to court and the costs involved are ridiculous.
it seems to me that a person’s race, ethnicity and class surely shape her or his practical, technical, and aesthetic preferences. How could it be otherwise?
Boyd challenges us to recognize that our everyday practices on the internet – from the way we type to the layouts we prefer, even our sense of humor and aesthetic taste – separate us along racial and social lines from people we have never known, seen, or interacted with.
For me, the bottom line is: Are social networking choices political? Ethnographic methods, which can get beyond the surface of what people say about what they do and why they do it, often reveal patterns that may be subconscious. Ethnographic data can be a rude awakening, but it can reveal to us the unintended effects of our choices.
I created a Facebook profile. I concluded my research days logging in to the Facebook chat where I always found someone of my informants. The social network profile became a tool of great utility for me, facilitating me in keeping contact with informants on a regular basis. Time of the day when we did not find actual time to meet me in real life we could spend time online chatting on Facebook. I thought about call these meetings to have taken place in virtual time, since the take place virtually not phisically, but I see the philosophical contradiction in time being virtual since time is actual…
Have you been in an anthropology class / course with more men then women? I haven’t. In both Norway, Germany and Switzerland (pluss many other places incl South Africa, I heard), the gender balance between men and women is around 25-75. Eli Thorkelson, graduate student in cultural anthropology in Chicago, gives us some statistics from American universities that present a similar picture. But as she shows, it hasn’t always been like this. And according to her, we witness both an increasing feminization of anthropology and an ongoing masculine bias.
The most interesting panel which I attended at the American Political Science Association’s annual meeting in Toronto was on the state of the field of the study of civil wars and genocide. A diverse group of top scholars in the field — Scott Straus, Ben Valentino, Elizabeth Wood, Barbara Walter, and Stathis Kalyvas — offered an overview of the evolution of the field which demonstrates how much rich, useful knowledge has been produced over the last decade. But what most caught my attention — and led me to join the discussion from the floor — was a discussion of the applicability of the literature to Iraq sparked by Barbara Walter’s presentation.
Explaining 9/11 to a Muslim Child
By Lisa Belkin
This day will always bring more questions than answers. How to explain to your child what happened on a crystalline morning eight years ago? And if your child is Muslim, those questions have added layers, and more complicated answers. In a guest blog today, Moina Noor (a freelance journalist who blogs about public education at NorwalkNet.com) describes trying to make sense of it for her young son, while still trying to understand it all herself.
26-year-old Mahinur Özdemir is the first woman to enter a parliament in Europe with a headscarf. The daughter of a Turkish green grocer in Brussels immigrant quarter Schaarbeek,she is the youngest delegate in Brussels new regional parliament.Not only in Belgium,the headscarf has fueled discussion about religious symbols in public,about tolerance,and about integration policies. A portrait of a young woman who was born in Belgium and now sees herself as a representative of a new,self-confident Belgian Muslim immigrant generation.
Oem Imran draagt een niqaab. Als ze de straat opgaat, is haar hele lichaam bedekt met een zwart gewaad; alleen haar ogen zijn zichtbaar. Ze zegt: “Ik heb er lak aan wat mensen denken, ik leef toch niet voor de mensen op deze wereld.”
Sinds 11 september 2001 is de angst voor moslims en de islam toegenomen. Het dragen van een burka of niqaab levert vaak negatieve reacties op. Presentator Manuel Venderbos trekt een paar dagen op met Oem Imran om te zien hoe zij leeft en denkt. Manuel bezoekt haar thuis en gaat op straat de discussie aan met omstanders. Een ontmoeting met oud-klasgenoten levert verrassende inzichten op. Maar de echte klapper is dat Oem Imran heel graag wil schieten op een schietvereniging.
Da’wah on the streets 07-09-09
door Halima Taoinza
Wanneer ik vroeger aan het woord da’wah dacht, kwam direct de gedachte bij me op van mensen die de boodschap van de Islam verkondigden op een vurige en eloquente wijze. Toen ik een filmpje had gezien over moslimpredikers die in Hyde Park in Londen tussen allerlei mensen in stonden en dingen zeiden als “Islam is the truth,” en “Why should you be a Muslim“, was mijn beeld compleet. Later leerde ik dat da’wah niet alleen een kwestie is van welbespraaktheid of mensen direct aanspreken en hen proberen te overtuigen van de waarheid, maar dat da’wah een levensstijl is en dat elke moslim dit kan doen op zijn of haar eigen manier. Alles wat je doet of zegt als moslim, kan een aanleiding voor iemand zijn om nader tot de islam te komen of zich er juist van af te wenden. Een wijs persoon zei eens dat de beste da’wah die van je daden is. Doe wat je moet doen en mensen zullen vanzelf onder de indruk raken.
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