Socio-Cultural Anthro Lecture 2.docx

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8 Apr 2012
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Socio-Cultural Anthropology Lecture 2
Female Circumcision/Genital Mutilation-
Called “Female Genital Cutting” so it’s not derogatory
Now anaesthetics are used, not associated with Islam although Muslims in Sudan practise it.
Many of the families that Body has worked with don’t perform this anymore
Ancient, predated the coming of Christianity and Islam
When asked why people do it, many said because of tradition, others said because it made their
bodies pure, clean and smooth
While the latter was initially dismissed
Tahur = purification (Arabic word)
REFERS TO BOTH FEMALE AND MALE GENITAL CUTTING
Female body: infibulations:
Removal of the internal labia and a closing up of the external labia. The removal of the
clitoris is not as important to who she worked with, it’s the closing up of the labia
(infibulations)
Tahir= pure, Nazif= clean, Na’im= smooth
The only other context that Tahir was used was when it was when people were talking
about birds, mostly pigeons
Young unmarried women at wedding dances were called pigeons and would do a pigeon
dance.
Chickens were considered to be dirty while pigeons were clean. So, when you’re sick
you’d have pigeon broth not chickens.
Chickens were kept because the eggs were eaten, the eggs were considered pure.
The Ibis is also considered “pure”
People would have the cheeks of their daughters scarred with a marking similar to
the tracks of the Ibis
These scars are a sign of beauty
In the house that Body rented, there were Ostrich eggs in each corner of the house. The
eggs are looked at to become pregnant, and are present in the woman’s bedroom to
enhance her chances to become pregnant
They were considered pure and when woman become pregnant and her belly starts to
show, it looks like she’s carrying an ostrich egg.
Fossil remains of buried children show them to be buried with ostrich egg shells
Clean foods: ‘bring blood’
Clean foods are considered to increase the amount of blood int the body
Female fertility is said to reside in a woman’s blood, so increasing it is essential to a
woman’s fertility
Examples:
White flour, milk, white cheese (jibna bayda)
Hen’s eggs, oranges, grapefruit, watermelon, bananas
Tinned fish, tinned jam, tinned tomato paste
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