We just got back from Montreal, where my wife gave an absolutely outstanding paper on ways the Nation of Islam employed food and diet to craft a new identity, to overturn the malignant, dehumanizing narratives of slavery. What made her talk more brilliant still (aside from its great analysis, outstanding sources, and impeccable delivery) was that it was in a panel on boundary maintenance in Islam. So amidst fascinating papers by Islamic scholars on medieval Islam and the scandals the Quranic word could generate for gender mores (what does it mean for a woman to pronounce a Quranic text that normally requires immediate prayerful prostration of all hearers, including men? Islamic jurists debated the question heartily) and other fascinating topics, this Mormon woman stands up, describes and analyzes the idiosyncratic and fascinating foodways propounded by Elijah Mohammed, and then, because Delta moved up our flight and customs at Montreal reportedly takes forever, disappears to find a taxicab.
That’s just part of the drama that was AAR. Unfortunately because of childcare issues and other obligations, we were unable to attend many of the other sessions we wanted to. Was anyone else at AAR? Anybody care to share some details?