It might sound like I’m making a value judgment here, that traditional is better than historical. Really, I’m arguing for an awareness of context. There are some traditions that don’t exist anymore. There are some things that really are gone. But it’s not as much as you think. Participating in history, appreciating history, shouldn’t come with a disregard for the present. My point is that before you label something as historical, limited to the past, you should investigate whether it actually still exists in some form in the present.
I have a confession. For all my Mediterranean obsession, I hate two of the most essential Mediterranean vegetables: eggplant and zucchini. I would refer to zucchini as a useless vegetable – a filler that restaurants throw in to bulk up better vegetables like cauliflower because it has no particular flavor or texture. As for eggplant, I think it’s horrible in terms of both flavor and texture – mushy, bitter, stringy.Read More
One of the things that’s actually helpful about applying for funding to support me in my final year of dissertation writing is that it forces me to be reflective about the process of writing and take stock of where I am and where I still need to go. I just submitted what is likely my final application, my fifth since October, and I found myself adjusting my completion timeline yet again. As part of the application, most organizations require a timeline of the work you still need to do. I’ve used the same timeline for every application, organized by dissertation chapter, and tweaked it as time has gone on and I’ve actually checked some items off the list. But mostly, I’ve just kept pushing back the date that I’ll finish Chapter 2. My first version of this timeline, back in October, said that I would finish Chapter 2 in November. Now, here I am at the start of February and I just pushed the estimate to mid-February. Have I been kidding myself about how much work I still have to do?Read More
If you are an avid PBS fan, you may have seen the premier of a new documentary titled Ornament of the World in the last month. It’s a piece about the interfaith world of medieval Spain, and given that I work on the very related field of cross-cultural contact in medieval Sicily, I should have been excited to see it, but, frankly, I was surprised and somewhat exhausted at the thought that this movie had been made. Because not only was its perspective on interreligious contact left behind by the field of medieval studies almost 20 years ago, but its entire approach to the question assumes that peoples of different religions should be inherently separate.Read More
Does it, though?
I learned a whole lot about spices and trade. Read More
Homemade gyros, a la my mother-in-law. Read More