Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Diary for 29th January to 4th February 2009

THURSDAY 29th JANUARY - Thinking of marriage?

In a lot of societies marriage is seen as a rite of passage. Some people might argue that if you are not married by a certain age you are considered a social outcast.. but what happens when you are confronted with the social differences of your cultural heritage and those where you have been raised? Tonight I am going to the undergraduate common room at the Department of Anthropology at UCL to see the film Every Good Marriage Begins with Tears. The film explores the lives of two East London Bengali girls and their arranged marriages to boys from rural Bangladesh. Filmmaker Simon Chambers will be there for a Q &A session. The screening is from 6-8pm. The film is distributed by the Royal Anthropological Institute. For more information email:

FRIDAY 30th JANUARY- Treat yourself (and your partner)

Those of you looking to do something a bit special in anticipation for Valentines Day might be interested in feasting on a history of Chocolate.. did you know that chocolate used to be used as a type of currency for the Aztec and Inca empires? Professor Steven Parissien will speak about the history of chocolate at the Foundling Museum on February 13th and will join members of the public in tasting and learning about an array of different kinds of chocolate. Tickets are £15. Booking is essential, details can be found here.

31st JANUARY - Voo-Doo Creativity

Ever been interested in the forces of the universe and transcendence from the state of human consciousness? The 'Voo-Doo Hoochie Coochie and the Creative Spirit' exhibit at the Riflemaker Gallery explores a subject investigated by many anthropologists, through an exposition of music, art, written work and dance. The artists are not only concerned with exploring different cultural expressions of Voo-Doo through dolls, gods or rituals, but also in the way creative spirits allow them to produce their work. The exhibit is held in the oldest building in the West End dating back to 1712 and a former gunmaker's workshop, perhaps adding another spiritual dimension? The exhibit runs from 19th of January to 4th of April.

SUNDAY 1st FEBRUARY - Enjoying the Social Sciences

With only a little over a month to go, today I am going to take a look at the Economic and Social Research Council's Festival of Social Science programme and the range of activities and events. The 7th annual festival will run from 6-15th of March and will have free events all over Britain for anyone interested in learning about the social sciences. From looking at the social dimension of sports in Sheffield, to exploring food and communities in London, there is something for everyone. The ESRC festival forms part of the National Science and Engineering Week. For a free brochure email: with your adress and contact details.

MONDAY 2nd FEBRUARY - The travelling Sari

Some of you might remember a posting I made several weeks ago about the British Sari Story. Developed by Bridging Arts with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project looks at the history, and evolution of the sari and its adaptation of design patterns to reflect British Asian life stories within the UK. What's interesting is that the project (originally designed for museum use) has expanded and is now being shown in York Gardens and Balham libraries. You can find more information about the project here.

TUESDAY 3rd FEBRUARY- That dreaded three letter word..

A few days ago fashion guru Gok Wan tackled the subject of Obesity in the channel four production ' Too Fat, Too Young' . Reflecting on his own struggle with weight as a child, he interviews various social scientists and youth to try and find out the root causes of obesity amongt young people in the UK. In the book Fat: The Anthropology of an Obsession, a collection of essays by academic anthropologists demonstrate how fat means different things to different people around the world. The anthology includes articles ranging from Western attitudes toward fat, to force feeding, supersize porn, and Spam in the construction of Native Hawaiin identity. This book helps us reflect on our own hidden/overt assumptions of body images.

WEDNESDAY 4th FEBRUARY - DJ Anthropologist

Of all the innovative ways that you can use your anthropology degree, becoming a DJ/producer ranks high on the list. Wesley Pentz (more commonly known as Diplo) has worked for celebrities like Gwen Stefani and Kayne West. His soundtracks have also appeared in hollywood hit films Slumdog Millionaire and Pineapple Express. Pentz has been mixing and collecting sounds since he was 15 years old. According to an article in the Guardian, Pentz has the ability to 'soundtrack our lives
without even trying'. One of Diplo's most recent acheivements has been to produce a documentary looking at baile funk in Brazilian favelas called Favella on Blast. For more information read this report by the New Yorker.

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