Judgment and Justification: Globalization and Cultural Knowledge Among American and Moroccan Students
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This is an ethnographic project based at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco. My primary goal is to understand how culture flows between American students studying abroad at the university, and their Moroccan hosts. I will compare and contrast 'judgments' with 'justifications' or preconceptions based on media images, formal education, and consumer products versus what the two groups have learned about each other, and themselves, by actually living and studying side by side. My research is situated both within the literature of study abroad and within Anthropological theory. I will examine the ways that study abroad both creates and dispels cultural knowledge, and the way that a student's individual background affects his or her experience. From a more theoretical perspective, I will engage in anthropological discussions of the meaning of culture and cultural boundaries; deterritorialization, or the redrawing of cultural space to account for mobile groups; and Orientalism. My project is politically relevant during this time of tension between America and the Middle East; thus, I also plan to address issues specific to communication between these two distinct geographical regions.