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Scholars Day 2008, Wednesday, April 9

If They Can Dress As Punks, I Can Wear Hijab: Being Muslim at Bard College

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 U.S, 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. Cathy Snyder reflects on encounters with a Facebook group devoted to “Muslims who drink, smoke, and engage in premarital sex with white people.” The Bard College students who are the subject of this study negotiate tensions between relgious, social, national and ethnic identities. Their stories suggest some of the problems inherent in anthropological research.

Presenter: Catherine Snyder (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: Anthropology
Location: 218 Hartwell
Time: 9:50 am (Session I)