Monday, November 12, 2012

Week 1: A Brief Introduction to the Terms & Methods of Cultural Anthropology



A very practical,

very boring lecture about the academic context for our course

People Like Us: Trailer

Lightly suggested Video: 

Dunkles, Rätselhaftes Österreich  (Dark, Mysterious Austria )

Walter Wippersberg’s (1994)

“A team of the All African Television network wanders into the darkest regions of the Eastern Alps. They observe the habits and rituals of the natives and make not one, but two ethnological major break-through discoveries.”
This film, by Austrian director Walter Wippersberg is modelled on (and makes fun of) the discourses of European ethnography & anthropology. Think National Geographic.


 A Final Note

Lastly, to the extent we think "cultural anthropology" at its best, we are thinking about an theoretical framework and metholody that allows us to think critically and concretely about differences and commonality ---from within a world which has long been both divided and united by interconnections and inequalities which are both historical informed and constantly being redefined. These imbalances in power, opportunity, mobility, freedom (whatever these words mean to us as individuals and collectively) continue to inform the relationships and conflicts which occur between communities, between nations and between individuals every day.
Collective identities have important structural, social and cultural implications for us as individuals in ways we are not often away of. The multiple poltical institutions and social structures we are located in -- or the ways in which we are relatively priviledged or impoverished (in relation to our immediate communtities and a global community) continually shape the places from which we engage the world, the attitudes & interests we have (and do not have) and the choices that we and do not make along the way.

Thinking critically about how we understand words like "Culture", "Race", "Human differences", "modern", "irrational", "Enlightened", etc, will perhaps allow us to think and imagine for ourselves as individuals as well as with each other collectively, about how to move forward from here.

So, Lastly, I present two music videos which concieve of collective identities and individual differences in ways which I find to be useful to think about:

Calle 13,
Brother Ali,

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