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CRPR Seminar Series: Dr. Katharina Graf

Cereal Citizens: Kneading Rural Belonging in the Politicised City

A College of Social Sciences and International Studies seminar
Date15 January 2020
Time10:30 to 12:00
PlaceAmory A239C

Hardly a meal is eaten without bread in Morocco. Despite a nutritional transition mirroring the global trend towards more sugar, fat and animal protein, cereals - largely in the form of wheat bread - remain highly valued and the unchallenged staple food of Moroccans. At the same time wheat is politically sensitive, for the legitimacy of the government historically rests on the provision of cheap flour and bread to its urban citizens. In this context, what cereals are eaten and how they are made into bread is meaningful not only culturally, but also economically and politically. To capture the multiple values of bread and to analyze their material and symbolic entanglements, I think of poor and recently urbanized Moroccans as ‘cereal citizens’. I argue that, in selecting cereals and making bread, recently urbanized poor Moroccans craft an ambivalent sense of belonging that celebrates their rural origins while accepting their dependence on cheap, largely imported wheat.

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