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Scholars Day 2008, Wednesday, April 9

My Aunt, My Family, and the Bosnian Boy

Cross-cultural encounters in daily life can take on the qualities of ethnographic experience, as we come to see through the eyes of the “cultural Other”, whether in multicultural societies like the US, or in time of war. Such “everyday ethnographies” reveal complex human negotiations, reflections upon the significance of sameness and difference, and the importance of humanity, sincerity and tolerance. This panel reveals non-Muslims’ encounters with Muslims in socially problematic circumstances, suggesting the transformative value of the “ethnographic stance” in negotiating tolerance and accommodating, even embracing, cultural difference. Meryl Cocuzza tells the story of her Jewish Aunt’s rescue of a Bosnian teenager from Srebrenica. This unusual encounter between members of theoretically hostile communities transforms her views on the nature and significance of cultural difference, bringing an inexpressable quality to family and tradition.

Presenter: Meryl Cocuzza (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: Anthropology
Location: 218 Hartwell
Time: 9:40 am (Session I)