Allāhu akbar, the Arabic phrase meaning “God is the greatest,” has gained connotations in US public discourse that differ vastly from its meaning among Muslims. Understanding this process may be the first step to reclaiming its positive connotations.
The evolutionary-racial othering that the concept of holism enacted does not only belong to anthropology’s past, in the nineteenth century. The division of the world into us and them has continued in many works, albeit not in the form of the “modern” us and “primitive” them that many anthropologists now recognize. This othering, itself political, operates regardless of whether the work in question explicitly engages with politics.