Charles Center Research #2: Identity and Depiction

Identity Centralization

As was briefly alluded to in my discussion of Dune and its nigh-unavoidable presence it has within the Muslim Futurist mentality and perceptual zeitgeist, I have in my studies found the issue of “identity centralization” to be a recurring cause of debate within the community, though often the issue remains nameless and its repeated appearnaces unlinked. To put it simply, the issue can best be pithily described through the oft-repeated phrase “why must (x) be put in our face?” Here, I aim to contend that this grievance is far more than a knee-jerk conservative response, and demonstrate how its presence in popular discourse over identity-drive aesthetics and modes of expression poses a very real threat as to the viability of a movement. 

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Charles Center Research #1: Muslim Futurism and Dune

The Dune Problem

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Mongolia Week 7: Departure

My departure from Mongolia was not a terribly sentimental one. I woke up in a bleary-eyed haze at three in the morning, stumbled around tossing the last few essentials I had back into my luggage, and before I knew it, I was on a flight heading towards Beijing. I did have one last moment of tranquility in Ulaanbaatar though. As my driver lazily pulled through the streets of the city in the very early morning, I rested my head against the passenger-side window and gazed out. The sodium-vapor street lamps that lined the run-down south side of the city provided a deeply yellow-orange glow to my surroundings, and as these old lights gave way to the newer, brighter LED road lights of the luxury car dealerships and towering financial centers of the north, I was reminded of that first real comparison I made of the city, the north-south divide. 

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Mongolia Week 6: Expression

One of my extenuating motivations for selecting Mongolia as one of my preferred internship locations was its richness of calligraphy. As someone who has pursued Arabic calligraphy for the past two or so years, having found both joy but also frustration and stagnation in its study, I thought that it would be beneficial in my development as a calligrapher to spend time in a place like Ulaanbaatar, and absorb as much about the art form from individuals there as possible. What I did not expect was to find and experience so much more than some pieces hanging in a museum. 

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Mongolia Week 5: Food

This week, I want to do something a little bit different with my journal and catalogue my gastronomic experience throughout my time in Mongolia, for I have been afforded the opportunity to not only experience of genre of cuisine that until this point has been unavailable to me, but also the quality and variety of food in Ulaanbaatar is worthy of discussion unto itself. The city boasts a wealth of eateries ranging from high-class bakeries to a Singaporean bistro, and also provides many different opportunities to try genuine Mongolian fare. With all this in mind, I am going to run through, gauntlet-style, several of the most notable meals I have had so far experienced in Mongolia.

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