Pop Culture

University X: A darker side of sexual culture, and some answers

Lack of education can lead to unsafe attempts at ending pregnancies, as in O.’s case. This situation can also lead students to stumble into potentially violent sexual situations. It can also cause them to create or passively observe these situations due to a lack of knowledge regarding respect for others’ sexual boundaries. According to Pionati, students have reported that the date rape drug Rohypnol is common in the campus town. Young female students, she says, are especially susceptible to sexual violence.



University X: Members address the campus’s sexual rumor mill

Students at University X can easily protect themselves against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections: they have access to emergency contraception on campus as well as confidential counseling and medical services. They can freely find condoms at one of the town’s four pharmacies as well as at a downtown bodega and the public hospital.

On campus, however, rumors regarding STIs, unplanned pregnancies and abortions, in particular, swirl. When asked about rates of abortion and STIs on campus, students invariably mention stories concerning “a friend of a friend” or someone “who used to be at the university.”


University X: Sexual education, abortions and bringing taboos into the open at a Moroccan university

11 p.m., springtime, somewhere between Ifrane and Fes. In a hospital that has already closed for the night, a potbellied man in his fifties and two young women negotiate the price for an illegal procedure: 2,500 Moroccan dirhams for two injections and a pill. Hugging one woman, the man leads her into a back room and tells her to pull down her pants and underwear. O., graduate of University X, asks herself if this is a nightmare. (more…)

Quick Post: North African Art Films

This semester, I’ve had the fortune to attend Dr. John Shoup’s African Cinema course. This class exposes students to wonderful films that — surprise! — can sometimes be found in full length on Youtube. I didn’t want to keep these to myself, so here are my two favorites so far, taken from our North Africa unit. Grab your Haribo, Nutella and ice cream, and enjoy…


Glen Kessler of the Washington Post Visits AUI! Plus, a Lecture on Islamophobia Throughout and Outside Islamic Cultures

Last week Thursday, I covered two of the best lectures held at AUI this semester. The first was given by Glen Kessler of the Washington Post‘s “Fact Checker” blog. Kessler explored the importance of unbiased and factual journalism to democracy and self-censorship among Moroccan youth. I had lunch with him after the lecture, and can verify that he’s just as incredible in person as at the podium. Here’s the write-up.


Muslim Feminism, Part Two: Ouiam Mallouk discusses the future for herself and other Moroccan women


Could you explain your philosophy on women’s rights?

As a Muslim citizen, (some Muslim) people perceive women in a very weird way. That is to say they take Islam as an excuse to make inequality between men and women. There are a few people who believe that men should be superior to women. He should be the leader, making the decisions, he should have more responsibilities in comparison with women. They believe the woman should just take care of the children, take care of the housework.


Muslim Feminism: Graduate Student Ouiam Mallouk on women’s issues, the Qur’an and imposing herself to achieve her dreams


Ouiam Mallouk is a graduate student at Al Akhawayn University. Originally from Fes, Mallouk, 24, is pursuing a master’s degree in International Studies and Diplomacy with a focus on the Middle East/North Africa region. Recently, she and I discussed Moroccan culture, gender issues and how Islam plays into Mallouk’s ideas on women’s rights.