Happy New Year!
THURSDAY 3RD JANUARY - Tribal change in India
Today I'm going to listen again to a brief report that appeared on Radio 4's Women's Hour this morning about the Toda tribe in India. Reportedly, the Toda are the most regularly studied social group by anthropologists across history, and a desire to understand their culture was one of the first fieldwork projects undertaken by a social anthropologist - see Rivers' book The Todas. This report looked at the effect the education of women is having on their traditional position in Toda society, and how the females are beginning to marry outside their community to escape its male-dominated structure.
FRIDAY 4TH JANUARY - A world of anthropology online
Goldsmiths College Anthropology Department have now put a selection of their research papers online for interested visitors to browse, so today I'm going to have a look at the different topics they have been looking at over the past couple of years. Whilst some of the theory and terminology used in the papers may be a bit too advanced for someone recently introduced to anthropology, at the very least they offer a great insight into how varied the subject can be, with pieces on everything from anarchy to bingo to the resettlement of a community in Gujarat, India. Look out for more additions in the future.
SATURDAY 5TH JANUARY - Filming in the Amazon
On Saturday I'm going to browse the website for Bruce Parry's new film project, Amazon. He was the presenter of the enormously successful TV series Tribe, that caused many a heated discussion between anthropologists and television producers about how much insight it gave into the peoples he visited. Whilst this latest series is mainly about Bruce's journey along the South American river, he also encounters many different communities along the way, and it should be fascinating to see what happened. The website contains blogs and clips from their filming process, and is an early insight into what the finished programmes will be about when they are broadcast next autumn.
SUNDAY 6TH JANUARY - The representation of race
This afternoon I'm heading along to the ICA in Central London for the screening of a film called What Black Men Think, which is followed by a Q&A with the director. It is an analysis of the presentation, and frequent stereotyping, of black men across society - whether it be by governments, the media or black community leaders. Director Janks Morton aimed to break down what he considered to be popular misrepresentations in order to gain a better understanding of the role of black men in society. The film has proved quite controversial for its frank tone, so the event should definitely be interesting - it begins at 16.00 and costs £8, or £7 for students.
MONDAY 7TH JANUARY - Exploring the City
On Monday I'm going to listen again to the Christmas editions of Thinking Allowed which, over the course of two programmes, looked at how social change affect the identity of a city. The first programme looked at Berlin, and how the fall of the Berlin Wall has led to the reworking of historical understandings of the city, particularly the less 'desirable' elements. The second episode looked further at the issue of memory in urban environments, and how commemorations reflect what city communities do and do not remember is related to the political climate at that time. The anthropology of cities is commonly available as a module on social anthropology courses, as anthropologists turn their attention more and more frequently towards apparently 'complex' communities and how they function.
TUESDAY 8TH JANUARY - Tunnel Vision
Today I'm making the trip out to Rayners Lane tube station on the Piccadilly Line on London Underground to check out the latest exhibition in the series of Platform Art. Assumptions and Presumptions is currently showing there as well as at Sudbury Town station, also on the Piccadilly Line, and comprises three films about identity and personal relationships. It's doubly interesting for the anthropologist - one for the use of a public space to represent these issues, and secondly because we are always trying to overcome our own assumptions about people and societies in order to understand them better.
WEDNESDAY 9TH JANUARY - Tuning in to violence
On Wednesday evening, I'm tuning into the radio again - this time Radio 3's Nightwaves programme which begins at 21.45. Tonight it features the famous sociologist and philosopher Slavoj Zizek, speaking about his recent research into the meaning of violence. Zizek's writing often features in anthropology university courses, because of his analysis of the role of the individual in society. Unusually for an academic, he was also the subject of a feature-length film made last year because of his controversial and engaging opinions. If you miss the live broadcast, you can also listen again online.