Schneider: Of Vigilance and Virgins

Purity and honor, particularly of women, seems to be a common theme amongst most societies. However, the Mediterranean seems to take it farther than others, at least in the past. In the Mediterranean, a family’s honor is based around the women of the family. Whatever she does reflects back onto the men in the family. This systems is part of the reason why the Mediterranean  is considered to have “cultural continuity” rather than a separation of traditions. It is interesting to see that most economic structures are based around honor and shame, especially in the pastoral societies talked about in this paper. It would be interesting to compare the impacts of honor and shame on Mediterranean society and on possibly Asian or Western societies.


Meneley- Like a Virgin

Olive oil is a much more complex topic than I would have guessed. The mythology of how the Greeks got olive oil from Athena was quite interesting. Olive oil has been around for a very long time, therefore it has a deep history associated with it. The point of olive oil being a “sexy fat” and in favor of culinary experts was something I never would have thought about. Having the tasting helped back up some of the claims being made in this article. It helped kind of put two and two together to get the whole picture. I wonder though, will global warming reduce or completely kill off olive oil? And if this happens, what will be the repercussions?

Paul Silverstein’s Minority Politics

In Paul Silversteins essay, he delves into the concepts and contradictions of minority politics. His essay begins with a brief description of King Mohammed VI’s promulgation of a new Moroccan Constitution which identified Morocco as a secular state in which all ethnicities and religions are equal and protected by law. This new constitution which was intended to satisfy previous protests of social injustices still left many questions for Moroccans as to the true degree of secularism in the state. Paul Silverstein uses the term faustian bargain, an agreement in which a person sets a side their own spiritual or moral values in order to obtain wealth or other benefits. In principle, this seems clear enough. My question is however, can a state truly become autonomous of any religious influence. In the ethnographic references which Silverstein provides, there is still some religious leaning in each case. States the claim to be secular, such as the United States are in fact still partly governed by the religion. In the US, Protestant Christian values influence basic political decisions such as the legality of contraception and abortion as well as the aid of fellow citizens. It can hardly go without notice that a non-Christian person has never served as president of the United States. Morocco is heavily populated by Muslims and of course Islam is prominent within the government so can legislation be passed without leaning towards Islamic values. Can other minorities truly be represented?

Minority Politics by Silverstein

The article begins by discussing the adoption of a reformed constitution under the regime of King Muhammad VI.  Previously, the constitution defined Morocco only as a “sovereign Muslim State”.  The reformed constitution however, depicts a Morocco that seeks to look above its borders and religion.  This ideal is enforced by allowing “the free exercise of faiths” as well as the protection of the freedoms of speech and cultural practices.  I wonder how much influence did the U.S. have in this constitutional reform?  The changes that were made all bear a strong resemblance to our own constitution and the rights that we aim to protect as a nation.


Minority Politics

In the article, Minority Politics in the Mediterranean World,  by Paul Silverstein he talks about how king Mohamed VI of Morocco put into effect a new constitution.  This constitution states in  Article 3 “Islam to be ‘the religion of the State’ but guarantees to all ‘the free exercise of faiths [cultes]’. Article 5 states that Arabic ‘remains the official language of the State’ but goes on to specify that ‘all the same [de même] Amazigh constitutes an official language of the State, as the common heritage [patrimoine] of all Moroccans without exception.”  The wording of the constitution on the other hand might makes it seem like they are all on the same equal “footing”, but ranked them with respectively definite and indefinite articles of “officialness”.  Paul Silverstein says it well is this “Real equality or simply a pale reflection thereof?”

Mikaela Rogozen-Soltar in her writing Spain Unmoored brings up religious tolerance in the varying  liberal, secular regimes of governance.  She also bring up the seperation of recent Muslim converts and migrants.  The recent Muslim converts see them selves as “privileged brokers of a new, convivencía, privileged in no small part because their unimpeachable racial capital and modern belonging allows them to side-step the stigmatizing gaze; their Islamic dress is read as cosmopolitan fashion rather than patriarchal backwardness. Moroccan migrants, on the other hand, can claim genealogical capital, as both naturally Muslim from birth and as the lineal descendents of the original inhabitants of al-Andalus.”  Just based on this their is no secular ideology.  If the major religion is suppose to be Islam then there shouldn’t be a divide in what is the real “Islamic faith”.

Work Cited

Paul A. Silverstein (2017) Minority politics in the Mediterranean world, History
and Anthropology, 28:5, 653-662, DOI: 10.1080/02757206.2017.1344838

Italian Food

In Alison Leitch’s article, she stats how there has been a influx of “fast food” in countries like Italy, which was not the norm a decade before when she was there.  With “fast food” becoming more popular in Europe a group of people started a movement called “Slow Food”.  The Slow Food movement, waned to protect the “protection of threatened foods and the diversity of cultural landscapes.”  They believe that “Slow Foods” are essential for not only tourism to give a true cultural experience, but it’s important to a healthier Europe.  The question I propose is, has “fast food” become the traditional meal of America.

Minority Politics in the Mediterranean

This article goes on to discuss the struggle of Morocco in trying to show that they are a nations of many different languages and religions instead of considering itself as one type of state.  This creates issues because the government wasn’t recognizing particular groups within the country making it see exclusive to some parties.  Many of the minorities in the country are treated unequal compared to people who speak Arabic.  This struggle is similar to what can be seen in many countries all over the world, so with this the people have protest calling for a new constitution to be enacted.    This will help create a feeling of equality among different minorities in a country, and this makes the country feel more holistic compared to making it seem like only one type of religion is allowed in the country when they have that as there “state” religion and language.  The main point is trying to look at the Mediterranean as an example of many differences in equality and taking past examples and using them to show the importance of equality in a country around not only the  Mediterranean but the world.