Friday, October 30, 2009

Blog 7: Man of the World or Man Who has Just Scene it?

Leo Africanus is, so far, the most interesting perspectives on a global society. I’m positive that it is due to my ability to connect with the individual. While I am not Muslim, I have never fasted, my mother is a boldly independent woman, the first person perspective creates a conversation like atmosphere. With this type of source material, a significant amount of biases can be expected. We can already see divisions within the presented culture. For example, he illustrates division between his mother and father, societies division of men and women, division of free and slave women, and even class division.
When Hasan speaks about himself, he never really identifies himself with one culture or nation. But he is constantly classifying others. The passage that stuck with me was:

“I, Hasan the son of Muhammad the weigh-master, I, Jean-Leon de Medici, circumcised at the hand of a barber and baptized at the hand of a pope, I am now called the African, but I am not from Africa, nor from Europe, nor from Arabia. I am also called the Granadan, the Fassi, the Zayyati, but I come from no country, from no city, no tribe. I am the son of the road, my county is the caravan, my life the most unexpected of voyages.”
His life truly is based on reactions to events. He is continuously changed by society rather than society changing for him. When I was googling him, I found numerous photos of him and was interested to see the different perspectives.


  1. I think that you bring an interesting point about how Leo Africanus does not associate himself with any particular area. I feel that this is what makes his story more interesting. The fact that he does not "belong" to any one area allows him to tell stories of so many areas, and to speak on all of them as an outsider, so with a certain degree of autonomy.

  2. I too find it interesting that Leo Africanus is not a man of one culture or area. Also, as you mentioned in your post, I was drawn in by the description of the relationship between his mother and his father. It was very interesting to ponder ones parents being cousins and ones sister coming from your fathers mistress, and that all of this was somewhat socially acceptable.