Expert shares scientific perspectives on olives

The Department of Social and Behavioural Science at Birzeit University held on  May 4, 2017, a lecture on “The Olive and Imaginaries of the Mediterranean”. The lecture was presented by Professor of Anthropology at the Trent University in Canada Anne Meneley.

The lecture explored two areas: how the olive tree and olive oil are “good to think” in discourses about the Mediterranean in anthropology and beyond, and how anthropological discussions of the concept of the Mediterranean might be able to shed some light on how olive oil emerged as a fat star in a phobic world.

Menely pointed out that she has chosen olive trees as a core base for her study because it became an icon of the Mediterranean.

According to Menely, olive trees can connect our past, with the present and future. “We don’t look at olive trees as only products for consumption. They are part of a person’s scientific thinking as it is part of our diets.”

Anne Meneley graduated with a PhD in Anthropology from New York University.  She is a Professor of Anthropology at Trent University in Canada.  Her dissertation research focused on competitive hospitality in Yemen, resulting in a book, Tournaments of Value: Sociability and Hierarchy in a Yemeni town (1996); this book has just been released in its 20th Anniversary Edition (2016). Her recent work deals with the production, circulation and consumption of olive oil in Italy and Palestine. She has published articles in American Anthropologist, Anthropologica, Cultural Anthropology, Ethnos, Food, Culture & Society, Food and Foodways, Gastronomica, Jerusalem Quarterly, Religion and Society, and Social Analysis. Her current work is on the anthropology of consumerism.