Culture

The Folkloric Stories Behind Kurdish Secularism

The Folkloric Stories Behind Kurdish Secularism

Even though Kurds produced many legends in Islamic history, like Saladin, contemporary Kurds invoke folkloric figures and battles. The central role of these legends explains the secularism of Kurdish resistance and why Islamism has not gained ground among Kurds today

Recipes for Disaster

Recipes for Disaster

Food nationalism started with the formation of nation states and the breakup of empires in recent centuries. Cuisine, like political borders, became an effective tool for marking new distinctions, used by chauvinists and genocidaires as a weapon.

Hip Hop Finds Its Groove in North Africa

Hip Hop Finds Its Groove in North Africa

North African rappers and emcees are boldly approaching hip-hop and the larger Arabic music landscape by exploring taboo themes and proactively deconstructing societal markers of North African identity.

Danny Hajjar
The Wine Critics of Early Islam

The Wine Critics of Early Islam

The language used by early Arab poets to appraise wine shows striking parallels to the style of wine criticism we know today. Arab and Muslim poets writing hundreds of years ago used a vocabulary to evaluate wine that would only become current in the West in the late 20th century.

Alex Rowell
The Riddle of the Sinai Sphinx

The Riddle of the Sinai Sphinx

A small sphinx in the Sinai’s Temple of Hathor had carried a riddle for millennia. In solving it, archaeologists discovered how turquoise miners from the East had replaced hieroglyphs with letters and invented the alphabet.

Lydia Wilson