Welcome. :)

Welcome to my blog. Here I share my successes and failures along my journey to becoming an anthropologist. My most prominent interest anthropologically are the new approaches to handing food security/healthy eating in the US, particularly in urban "food deserts". I enjoy the Anthropology of Tourism as well; combining food and tourism has scholarly promise. My other interests which have converted into anthropological hobbies of sorts include converts to Islam, diaspora of Muslims, and MENA in general. I also have some interest in historical archaeology.

I welcome comments, discussion and even respectful debating. I will however keep discussions to a respectable level. I reserve the right to ban anyone from this forum.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Individualism vs Community centered

I being my innocent self at work this afternoon and my American Muslim friend texted me saying how her hubby (from Syria) took her car before she woke up and decided to drive the beater to Tampa Bay with a friend to buy veggies or something (cheap apparently). The car IS a beater and proved itself on the interstate and broke down. Well, lo and behold, what a suprise-the men had "a friend" who owned a tow truck and of course was not busy and of course knew how to fix it. :)

It got me thinking-what if my car broke on the interstate, who would I have to help me? My hubby is worthless. He has no car. I would have to call an expensive towing company and start negotiations myself and it would cost me dearly. I should have AAA. I know. Anyhow, it got me thinking that the way we think,what we value and how our society operates is MUCH different than how countries in the Arab speaking world operate. For that matter, Central and South Asia tend to be similar in this regard. When in trouble, people from those regions *always* seem to *know someone* to help them and to be rescued. This is a positive practical aspect to having a community centered outlook vs. a individualistic outlook. Our society is all about me me me me. My hubby's friend called the other night. Long story but his van blew a tire-ok, the donut tire blew. My hubby took the car to take him home. That's all he could do practically due to finances but what if he did not have my hubby?

What are some of the other good things about a community centered outlook? Well, if someone has food, it is a pretty sure bet they will share it among the group as it will be shared back if needed.

Some of the negatives (at least to the Western perspective) revolve around individual desires and wants such as the choice of not having children or getting married (is not a "choice" in many parts of the world). The career choice may not be a choice after all--what the parents want takes priority.

Can anyone share some things about this often perplexing topic...


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Little bit of food anthropology

"In a much lesser vein, although I generally feel very comfortable in France, I have, when rather fed up with something, done wild things like eat cheese and bread at the end of the meal as if it were a sandwich (you have to know the French to understand how truly rebelliously barbaric this is), and gone to the grocery store in a track suit–wild! "


Chiara wrote the above on one blog I rarely frequent (due to time constraints). I found this interesting. I used to be a beverage product developer and have been to cooking school and have had a love affair with food for years. I have waffled between an advanced degree with a focus in Food Anthropology (preferably from UI) or focus on my other passion-Western converts to Islam. I have chosen the later. :) Firmly!
That said, at almost 11 pm the night before I need to teach, I find Chiara discussing food and culture in one post! Yummy. I have been to Paris. I did not enjoy the experience (enjoyed Pakistan more). Maybe I did the very thing you said is a barbaric act. lol

Anyhow, if you are reading here-maybe we can discuss cultural food "mistakes" or times where you felt awfully uncomfortable in a food/culture sort of way.

I will share more of my own as things (hopefully) progress....