Saturday, September 10, 2016

Palate-Cleansing Roundup

My Tablet article on Brooklyn Commons, and the follow up posted here, really pulled me away from a lot of my other reading -- including some planned posts. So here's a palate-cleansing roundup for your pleasure -- fewer entries than normal, but with more meat per bite.

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An interesting piece at Deadspin exploring why hijab-wearing fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, rather than uncovered hurdler Dalilah Muhammad, became the "face" of Muslim women among American Olympians. At one level, I think it is absolutely fair to suggest that minority groups -- of all sorts -- tend to face greater barriers to inclusion the more they are differentiated from majoritarian norms (e.g., by wearing a hijab). On other, though, I think it is not improbable that there is a degree of exoticization going on here, where we recognize as "authentic" cultural enactments which play to our pre-existing stereotypes.

In +972 Magazine, Assaf David argues that Israel is simply another Middle Eastern nation struggling to find its way in the wake of the colonial withdrawal from the region. None of Israel's problems -- from its identification with a particular religious and social group to the chafing of minority members of the state, to its ongoing struggles with sub- and super-national identities like religion, ethnicity, and community, to border disputes brought upon by indifferent colonial line-drawers and chaotic independence -- is particularly novel in the Middle East. And indeed, with a largely Mizrahi Jewish identity, Israel's own cultural heartbeat is at this point more Middle Eastern than Ashkenazi-European (via).

DOJ and Army Corps of Engineers announce a moratorium on pipeline building protested by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. More importantly, they look to be launching a more formal consultation process with tribal governments regarding how (either through current or new legislation) to better involve tribes in the planning and review process of infrastructural projects that touch or affect tribal lands or treaty rights.

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