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Chapter 5

ANTA02H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Azawagh Arabs, Azawagh, Body Plan


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTA02H3
Professor
Maggie Cummings
Chapter
5

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Feeding Desire by Rebecca Popenoe
Prologue:
beauty ideal and what they mean to a society
Sahara desert is home to Moors (Muslims) for whom the ideal female beauty is obesity
all societies modify the human body in some way and have done so since the beginnings
of civilizations
humans are in some way programmed to respond to beauty
universal ideals of beauty include: youthfulness, smooth skin, symmetry, and for women,
hips that are wider than their waists
researchers have concluded that what is considered most beautiful is often that which is
most average
81% of the worlds societies prefer plumpness”; this does not include the Moor societies
as their preference is extremely more bigger than just plumpness”
Obesity has a negative biomedical connotation and is a stigmatized body form in the
West
Some societies see plumpness as happiness, beauty and sexual appeal - Fijians,
Jamaicans, Egyptians etc
Fatness, for the Azawagh Arabs is important on different levels that are interwoven
together: Islam, family, marriage, kinship, being.
Part 1, chapter 1 is about how Popenoe came to the Azawagh Arabs, chapter 2 describes
accounts of fattening in the past and the fattening encountered by Popenoe.
Part II constitutes three chapters: 3) Azawagh Arabs as Muslims, 4) people as defined by blood
relationships to kin, and 5) people as herders, traders and former slave owners
Chapter 1: Coming into the Azawagh
human life is much more fragile and exalted in this desert than in a Western world
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this world of the Azawagh Arab devotes its time and obedience to Allah and His plan is
everything; even the most mundane task is fulfilling ones duties as a good Muslim
the body is opened to and dependent on a world of subtle forces, hidden intentions,
sneaky spirits, and secret desires
milk that flows from animals and women is all part of a cycle that enables life, relates
people to each other (Milk Kinship) and connecting people to the tangible world
In Saharan emptiness, kin are everything
men and women were formed by God to be as different and complimentary as possible
the tension between men and women is one of the principal driving forces of human life
global is incorporated into the local
men are becoming more modernized than the women because of the fact that they travel
to cities and around their village; as opposed to women who stay in one place relatively
all her life; which wasnt so back in the past when the tribe was nomadic and women
were hoisted on a camels back and travelled with the men
this beauty ideal however, is deeply entrenched, speaking of and to cultural convictions
that have not been easily swayed by changes of society
the reason this beauty ideal is so cemented in their culture is because of the peoples
cultural commitments to what men and women are, how desire words, and the nature of
the human body
Chapter 2: Getting Fat
Azawagh Arabs dont keep track of age by years, but by bodily transformations
the loss of the first two baby teeth means it is time to start fattening; the first show of
pubic hair entails it is time to wear a womens sari-like garment, the hawli; first
menstruation denotes the time for a girls first fast during the month of Ramadan
girls, when they lose their first baby tooth (or around that age) are held back from
running around and playing with the other kids and are sat in a tent with a large bowl of
porridge with milk and water in front of her
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