This being my last blog post of my undergraduate career, I want to use it as a way to wrap up this class, and to reflect on how the themes of this class reflect the social atmosphere of the MENA region. Popular religious movements, especially the ones we have studied in North Africa reflect the social trend of these groups. In most cases we see movements that have elements that clash with what many in the region consider ‘true Islam’. The Zaar, the Janun, and the rituals that accompany these movements could be seen as polygamist, because they involve some aspect of a supernatural being’s power over the subject. In the area they are not though, because these rituals and traditions are seen as a continuation of the culture. This was evident in the movie that we watched as well. These communities hold on to these traditions very hard because they see them as an extension of the old country and their heritage.
The evolution of popular religion also shows a change in society. Entering into the modern era we see the differences of society through religion. We can see the need for women in the market place through the selling magic as well as advice in relationships. This also signifies the change in relationship dynamics. The woman now has the ability to control or find reason to voice dissatisfaction in relationship issues.
In this region it is very apparent that religion and culture go hand in glove. This class was not just a view into the rituals of popular religious movements, but the cultural development in the region.