Matching Items (14)

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Food as a Vehicle to Break Down Racial Barriers

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This thesis explores the power of food to transcend cultural and racial borders and to act as a common ground, bringing people of all different backgrounds together. Through globalization, there

This thesis explores the power of food to transcend cultural and racial borders and to act as a common ground, bringing people of all different backgrounds together. Through globalization, there is an increased movement of people from their homeland to different regions around the world and with this migration comes the spread of their culture and cuisine to new areas. This spreading of culture often creates friction and tension amongst other cultures, however as this thesis argues, with increased diversity, there is the great potential for greater interaction with other cultures and therefore greater appreciation. The key aspect of this thesis is the ways in which food can be used as a tool to overcome racial barriers and serve as a means of positive expression of a culture. I hope to show that by engaging with a culture through its cuisine, one can arguably build a greater appreciation for that culture and therefore lower their preconceived notions and stereotypes.

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  • 2019-05

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Turkish Women and Honor Killings, 1987-2016

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The concept of honor in Turkey is one that is highly revered. It determines how a family is viewed by their community and even how monetarily valuable women are to

The concept of honor in Turkey is one that is highly revered. It determines how a family is viewed by their community and even how monetarily valuable women are to society. Women especially have a very direct impact on not only their own honor, but the honor of the entire family unit. If a Turkish woman is perceived to have committed a dishonorable act, the family, particularly the males, must act to restore the family honor by eliminating the source of dishonor. This often occurs through honor-based violence and honor killings. The goal of this thesis is to examine the root causes of honor-based violence, specifically honor killings of women in Turkey, and the time frame for this thesis is 1987 to 2016. Scholars cite three main reasons for honor killings: socioeconomic status of the family, patriarchal and cultural roots, and modernization of the country, and this thesis examines those reasons in depth. There are also different Turkish words for "honor," and they might play a role in how honor is viewed more complexly in the Turkish culture. The laws that have been passed since 1987 have evolved to attempt to eliminate honor killings; however, until those laws are well enforced, honor killings will not be fully eradicated. I look beyond the stereotypical cultural argument behind honor killings to realize that much more is in play, such as the lower class, the worth of a woman's body, and the struggle of enforcing the laws that have been passed. I come to the conclusion that honor killings are too complex to just have one lone factor as the root cause. Honor-based violence in Turkey seems to be the result of both the socioeconomic status of the family within the community and the modernization of the country.

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  • 2016-05

Jihad, peace and non-violence in Mouridism (1883-1927)

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ABSTRACT In this thesis, I probe into the ways in which the much-debated word Jihad lends itself to multifarious meanings within the Mourid Sufi Order and examine the foundations of

ABSTRACT In this thesis, I probe into the ways in which the much-debated word Jihad lends itself to multifarious meanings within the Mourid Sufi Order and examine the foundations of the principles of peace and non-violence that informed the relationships between Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba, the founder of Mouridism (1853 ca - 1927) and the French colonial state from 1883 to 1927. As a matter of fact, unlike some Senegalese Muslim leaders who had waged a violent Jihad during the colonial conquest and expansion, Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba promoted peaceful forms of Jihad which partook of his reform and revival movement in the Senegalese society. Yet, it is worth pointing out that the Mourid leader's ethics of peace and philosophy of non-violence as methods of struggle (the etymological sense of the word Jihad) during colonial times have been largely unexplored within academia. The contours of these new forms of resistance were grounded on a peaceful and non-violent approach which, according to Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba, was the only way to reach his spiritual, educational and social goals. This thesis proffers a counter-example to religious violence often associated with and perpetrated in the name of Islam. I argue in this thesis that a close investigation into Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba's epistemology of Jihad evidences that the term Jihad has spiritual, educational, social, cultural and economic functions which naturally contrast with its one-sided and violent connotation spotlighted over the last two decades. In conducting research for this work, I used a transdisciplinary approach that can allow me to address the complex issues of Jihad, peace and non-violence in a more comprehensive way. Accordingly, I have used a methodology that crosses the boundaries of several disciplines (historical, anthropological, sociological and literary).

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Guantánamo: The Amen Temple of Empire

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Guantánamo: The Amen Temple of Empire connects the fetishization of the trauma of nine/eleven with the co-constitution of subjects at Guantánamo—that of the contained Muslim terrorist prisoner silhouetted against the

Guantánamo: The Amen Temple of Empire connects the fetishization of the trauma of nine/eleven with the co-constitution of subjects at Guantánamo—that of the contained Muslim terrorist prisoner silhouetted against the ideal nationalistic military body—circulated as ‘afterimages’ that carry ideological narratives about U.S. Empire. These narratives in turn religiously and racially charge the new normative practices of the security state and its historically haunted symbolic order. As individuals with complex subjectivities, the prisoners and guards are, of course, not reducible to the standardizing imprimatur of the state or its narratives. Despite the circulation of these ‘afterimages’ as fixed currency, the prisoners and guards produce their own metanarratives, through their para-ethnographic accounts of containment and of self. From within the panopticon of the prison, they seek sight lines, and gaze back at the state. This dissertation is thus a meditation on US militarism, violence, torture, race, and carceral practices, revealed thematically through metaphors of hungry ghosts, nature, journey and death, liminality, time, space, community, and salvage. Based on a multi-sited, empirical and imaginary ethnography, as well as textual and discourse analysis, I draw on the writing and testimony of prisoners, and military and intelligence personnel, whom I consider insightful para-ethnographers of the haunting valence of this fetishized historical event.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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"Weeping For Her Children:" Spatial Constructions at the Tomb of Rachel the Matriarch

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The traditional site of Rachel's Tomb is located just south of Jerusalem on the border of Bethlehem. In recent years, Rachel's Tomb architectural appearance and cultural significance have shifted dramatically

The traditional site of Rachel's Tomb is located just south of Jerusalem on the border of Bethlehem. In recent years, Rachel's Tomb architectural appearance and cultural significance have shifted dramatically in the last two decades and the Biblical figure of Rachel has evolved in the Jewish imagination as a figure "emplaced" there as well. The original stories that have drawn visitors to the site have developed from Biblical and Rabbinic texts, yet contemporary visitors to the site have their own perspectives and stories to tell, grounded in religious tradition, nostalgia, and current political and social realities. At the traditional site of her tomb, Rachel has served for at least the last century as something like a "patron saint" for Jewish women's domestic issues, but her intercessory abilities have recently been expanded. Her special relationship to Zionism through her connections to the Biblical notions of Jewish "return" and end-times "redemption" have been recast to fit contemporary political viewpoints and contestations. In addition, she has developed into a kind of national "mater dolorosa," representing the collective grief for deaths through acts of political violence, particularly women's deaths. This project traces the ways in which current narrative and praxis at the traditional site of Rachel's Tomb have developed as well as the ways in which current perceptions of the site-and Rachel as the cultural figure associated with the space-draw upon temporally-situated interpretations of her textual tradition, as well as affective discourse and collective cultural memory.

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Date Created
  • 2019

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The development of Iraqi Shiʼa mourning rituals in modern Iraq: the ʻAshurā rituals and visitation of Al-Arbʻain

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This study is based on a submission of anthropological, historical, and literary approaches. The ethnographic study of the Shi'a holy shrines between November 2011 and January 2012 is based on

This study is based on a submission of anthropological, historical, and literary approaches. The ethnographic study of the Shi'a holy shrines between November 2011 and January 2012 is based on my visit to Iraq. The study lasted almost ten weeks, to include the two events under discussion: `Ashurā and Al-Arb`ain, in Karbala of that year. This thesis argues that the mourning rituals of `Ashurā and the Forty Day Visitation Zyarat Al-Arb`ain contribute to the social or individual life of Iraqi Shi'a. They also make significant contributions through creating a symbolic language to communicate for the community, as well as communicating with their essential symbolic structure. Second, the Forty Day Visitation Zyarat Al-Arb`ain is one of the most significant collective mourning rituals, one that expresses unity and solidarity of the Iraqi Shi'a community, and helps them to represent their collective power, and maintain their collective existence. This study uses two of Victor Turner's tripartite models. For `Ashurā the rite of passage rituals is used, which consists of the separation, margin, and re-aggregation phase. Through this process of entering and leaving time and social structure, it helps in changing the social status of the participants. The other model used for Al-Arb`ain is pilgrimage as a social process, which includes three levels of communitas: existential, normative, and ideological communitas. The Shi'a in Iraq are holding a position similar to Turner's notion of communitas since they are living within a society that is Muslim and yet even though they are a larger population of the society, they still become marginalized by the Sunni population socially, economically, and politically. Social relations and links play a significant role for Shi'a in `Ashurā and Al-Arb`ain as a reflection between their social status as an undefined communitas and the general structure of Iraqi society.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Building a pious self in secular settings: pious women in modern Turkey

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This dissertation aims to explore the diverse ways in which piety is conceptualized and cultivated by highly-educated Muslim women in Turkey. These women hold active positions within the secular-public sphere

This dissertation aims to explore the diverse ways in which piety is conceptualized and cultivated by highly-educated Muslim women in Turkey. These women hold active positions within the secular-public sphere while trying to keep their aim of becoming pious in their own way, in relation to their subjective understanding of piety. After a detailed analysis of the formation of the secular modern public sphere in Turkey, in relation to the questions of modernity, nation-building, secularism, Islamism, and the gender relations, it gives an account of the individual routes taken by the highly educated professional women to particular aspirations of piety. The individual stories are designed to show the arbitrariness of many modern binary oppositions such as modern vs. traditional, secular vs. religious, liberated vs. oppressed, individual vs. communal, and etc. These individual routes are also analyzed within a collective framework through an analysis of the activities of two women's NGO's addressing at their attempt of building a collective attitude toward the secular-liberal conception of gender and sexuality. Finally the dissertation argues that Turkey has the capacity to deconstruct the aforementioned binary categories with its macro-level sociopolitical experience, and the micro-level everyday life experiences of ordinary people. It also reveals that piety cannot be measured with outward expressions, or thought as a sociopolitical categorization. Because just like secularism, piety has also the capacity to penetrate into the everyday lives of people from diverse sociopolitical backgrounds, which opens up possibilities of rethinking the religious-secular divide, and all the other binaries that come with it.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Trans(figurations): On Pain and the Embodied Experiences of Domestic Workers and their Children

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This dissertation examines the embodied experiences of domestic workers and their children as they emerged in organizing campaigns aimed at achieving a Domestic Worker Bill of Rights in California. I

This dissertation examines the embodied experiences of domestic workers and their children as they emerged in organizing campaigns aimed at achieving a Domestic Worker Bill of Rights in California. I analyze the ways domestic worker organizers have historically conceptualized their movements around demands for dignified labor and immigration reform. I argue that their demands for protections and rights force them into a contradictory space that perpetuates vulnerability and recasts illegality—a space where domestic workers’ bodies get continuously figured as exploited and in pain in order to validate demands for rights. I trace this pattern in organizational survey material across generations, where worker’s voices resisted prefigured mappings of their bodies in pain, and where they laid out their own demands for a movement that challenged normative frameworks of fair labor and United States citizenship that continue to center race and gender in the transnational mobility of migrant women from Mexico and Central America. Furthermore, I explore the embodied experiences of domestic workers’ children, and the embedded power relations uncovered in their memories as they narrate their childhood accompanying their mothers to work. Their memories provided an affective landscape of memory where the repetitive, and demeaning aspects of domestic work are pried apart from western, colonial arrangements of power. I argue that their collective embodied knowledge marks a reframing of pain where transfiguration is possible and transformative patterns of becoming are prioritized. I propose interpreting these collective, embodied memories as a constellation of shimmers—luminous points that align to expose the relationships between workers, their children, employers, and their families, and the specific context in which they were produced. Altogether, they create what I call a brown luminosity—forces activated by their mothers’ labor that created multiple worlds of possibilities for their children, resulting in nomadic memories which move beyond victimizing their mother’s bodies to enable an ever-changing perspective of the ways their labor has radically transformed homes, livelihoods, and transnational spaces.

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Date Created
  • 2019

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An ethnography of the living's solidarity with the dead: Tibetan refugees and their self-immolators

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Since 1998 and as recently as November 2018, 165 Tibetans have burned themselves alive in public protest, both inside Tibet and in exile. This study foregrounds Tibetan refugees’ interpretations of

Since 1998 and as recently as November 2018, 165 Tibetans have burned themselves alive in public protest, both inside Tibet and in exile. This study foregrounds Tibetan refugees’ interpretations of the self-immolation protests and examines how the exile community has socially, politically, and emotionally interrogated and assimilated this resistance movement. Based upon eleven months of ethnographic field research and 150 hours of formal interviews with different groups of Tibetan refugees in northern India, including: freedom activists, former political prisoners, members of the exile parliament, teachers of Tibetan Buddhism, families of self-immolators, and survivors of self-immolation, this project asks: What does activism look like in a time of martyrdom? What are the practices of solidarity with the dead? How does a refugee community that has been in exile for over three generations make sense of a wave of death occurring in a homeland most cannot access? Does the tactic of self-immolation challenge Tibetan held conceptions of resistance and the conceived relationship between politics, religion and nation? These questions are examined with attention to the sociopolitical expectations and vulnerabilities that the refugee community face. This study thus analyzes what it means to mourn those one never knew, and examines the fractious connections between resistance, solidarity, trauma, representation, political exigency, and community cohesion. By examining the uncomfortable affect around self-immolation, its memorialization and representation, the author argues that self-immolation is a relational act that creates and ushers forth witnesses. As such, one must analyze the obligations of witnessing, the barriers to witnessing, and the expectations of solidarity. This project offers the theory of exigent solidarity, whereby solidarity is understood as a contested space, borne of expectation, pressure, and responsibility, with its expression complex and its execution seemingly impossible. It calls for attention to the affective labor of solidarity in a time of ongoing martyrdom, and demonstrates that in the need to maintain solidarity and social cohesion, a sense of mutual-becoming occurs whereby the community is reconciled uneasily into a shared fate.

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  • 2019

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The history of niddah in America as social drama: genealogy of a ritual practice

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Since the 1960’s and 1970’s, ethnographic research on Jewish menstrual rituals known as niddah, Taharat HaMishpacha, or Family Purity has associated their practices with religious behavior. Much of this research

Since the 1960’s and 1970’s, ethnographic research on Jewish menstrual rituals known as niddah, Taharat HaMishpacha, or Family Purity has associated their practices with religious behavior. Much of this research organizes around questions of women’s agency within ostensibly patriarchally constructed religious practices that carry the potential to oppress its women practitioners. This premise is built upon a number of implicit assumptions about the history of today’s niddah practices: that niddah is observed exclusively by Orthodox Jews; that increasing rates of niddah observance correlate exclusively with the trend toward stricter observance levels among the Orthodox since the 1960s; and that this increasingly strict observance itself reflects a reactionary trend among the Orthodox community (a.k.a. tradition versus modernity). All these assumptions currently circulate, in various degrees, among the American Jewish lay community and are shared by a significant number of congregational rabbis. Until the 1990s, no history of niddah existed to either support or refute these assumptions. I initially intended that this project would provide future ethnographers with a comprehensive history of niddah in America during the past one and a half centuries. I engaged Victor Turner’s theory of Social Drama as a framework for understanding this history as a socio-cultural process, rather than as a series of less than related events. However, this study h*as resulted in the identification of many more specific assumptions about the decline and revival of niddah observance in the twentieth century, which are not supported by the scant evidence available. These challenged assumptions beg new directions for research; a thorough reworking of the history of niddah in America; and a fresh look at the literature advocating niddah produced in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. This genealogy as Social Drama presents niddah in twentieth century America as undergoing periods of crisis, negotiation, and reintegration. This drama was triggered by late nineteenth century concepts of religion, body, and ritual that undermined and ruptured the integrity of niddah as a bodily religious ritual practice. Niddah’s twentieth century social drama culminated in fresh articulations of a unique Jewish sexuality and Jewish marital ethic.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016