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Readings (due October 23)

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 10 months ago

 

 

Example: [E. Kintz, kintz@geneseo.edu, 8/25]

 

 

IN THE FUTURE COMMENTS - LET'S BEGIN TO THINK LIKE CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGISTS AND USE THE SCHEMATA THAT SCHOLARS APPLY TO THE STUDY OF OTHER CULTURES. PLEASE IDENTIFY YOUR FOCUS FOR YOUR WIKI POST AS:

 

A. ENVIRONMENT

B. KINSHIP AND MARRIAGE

C. ECONOMICS

D. POLITICS

E. IDEOLOGY/SYMBOLISM

F. SOCIAL CHANGE

 

YOU NEED TO HAVE THREE COMMENTS FROM EACH READING USING AND IDENTIFYING THE CATEGORY ABOVE AND YOU MAY USE THE SAME TOPIC MULTIPLE TIMES IF YOU WISH. POSTINGS SHOULD BE LIMITED TO THREE SENTENCES. THIS WIKI IS DESIGNED TO ENSURE YOUR ATTENTION TO THE READINGS LISTED IN YOUR SYLLABUS AND TO ASSIST YOU IN MASTERING INFORMATION ON WORLD CULTURES AND PROVIDING YOU WITH A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE.

 

 

Ruby, Chapter 5

 

[Larkin Kimmerer, llk5@geneseo.edu, 10-23-07]

Ruby, Chapter 5

1. POLITICS/ECONOMICS: The filmmaker has four people or things to satisfy, the four of which are unlikely to be completely in agreement. A filmmaker must be true to himself, true to his subjects, true to his audience, and must also, of course, satisfy the people who fund his project. Sadly, the most important is to be true to your subjects, but probably the one most heeded is the production companies....the money.

2. IDEOLOGY: It says that art needs to be mysterious to be successful, but I think that this is untrue in ethnographic film when you need to, first and foremost, accurately depict the culture. While there may be mystery and things left undocumented, the point should not be to create mystery and art in an ethnographic film, but to represent the culture.

3. IDEOLOGY: Films are polysemous or have a variety of social meanings that change based on the context in which they appear. If there are multiple meanings, there are multiple interpretations of the film depending on the context in which they are filmed, or even the context in which they are shown. Thus a film could have a different effect than was intended by the filmmaker.

 

END

 

[Elen De Oliveira, emd10@geneseo.edu, 10/23]

 

Ruby-chapter 5

 

1. politics- It is really interesting how pictures in different settings and formats can lead to different emotions and opinions by the audience that sees it. The child labor picture that Ruby spoke of went from being a tool for political action where sympathy was evoked from the audience, to an exhibit in a museum where the audience applauded the techniques used to take the photograph.

 

2. ideology- There is a moral debate as to whether the artist shold live up to her own standards and morals or that of his/her audience or subjects. As Ruby states, there is no easy answer, but I believe that the subject in the film, or picture, or book, should have an idea of how you are planning on interpreting them and should be given the chance to agree or disagree.

 

3. ideology-Ruby comments that some authors defend how thier film is recieved as not being their fault since the camera simply recorded what was there. By this, they are suggesting that if a people seem tobe represented as an inapproachable or unfriendly people, perhaps that it simply becuase they are and not becuase of how they were filmed. I think this is true to a certain extent. Yes, the camera captures what is actually happening in many cases, but interactions with, and the presence of the filmmaker, can often cause the subjects to act differently than normal whether it be unfriendly or the opposite.

 

[Dave Roberts, dlr4@geneseo.edu, 10-23]

 

1.) IDEOLOGY: The period when people had faith in the camera, when they thought it never lies, has long been over. More and more, people are conscious of the fact that images can be manipulated, events edited, drama and tension added. People know that they are watching a constructed vision... a vision of a human with a culture, a point of view, and an objective.

 

2.) IDEOLOGY: There are 4 basic morals issues the anthropological filmmaker must grapple with:

1.) The filmmakers obligation to producing a picture true to his original vision

2.) The filmmaker's moral obligation to his subjects

3.) The filmmakers obligation to his funders and backers

4.) The filmmaker's moral obligation to his audience

It is very difficult to fully satisfy all of these issues, and somewhere down the line, many filmmakers are forced to turn his back on at least one of them

 

3.) Documentarians can defend their work, whether it be profane, repetitive, boring, etc. in stating that their full purpose was to faithfully record events taking place. They are not the authors of their work, and they are not responsible for the conclusions a viewer draw from seeing them.

 

End

 

 

 

[Jonathon Baker, jlb22@geneseo.edu, 10/29]

Ruby, Chapter Five

Politics- It is crazy how the context in which an image is used can totally change the reaction an audience gets from the image, as in the photos of exploited children taken by Lewis Hines mentioned on page 142. It this point supports very well Ruby’s idea that images do not always tell the truth.

Politics- I never thought of how we just accept images as truthful most of the time. Images can easily be far from the truth however, especially today with digital imaging and easy to use and readily available image editing software. The incident that comes to my mind is the photo taken of Hogzilla, a huge wild boar killed in the Georgia swamp. Scientists ran tests to see if the image had been doctored or not and opon unearthing the skeleton, found that the beast was 8 feet long instead of 12 feet long.

Politics- I personally believe that the public’s right to know does not take precedence over a cultural group’s right to informed consent to images or films being taken. The public will probably not be harmed by knowing what a cultural group in a far away country is like, but the cultural group may very well experience negative effects from being filmed.

-END-

 

[Alfred Dilluvio, ajd12@geneseo.edu, 10/30]

 

Politics- Imagine for a moment that someone filmed you practicing some of the most intimate acts. For example, going to the bathroom, or taking a shower, or relating things about your family. Putting a camera in front of someone and filming these acts can have negative consequences for the group of people on film. In a lot of ethnography, the cultural practices viewed are not properly understood in the context of that culture. Everyone has a right to control the way they are represented. On page 139, there is much about the dangers of misrepresentation. It got me thinking about the way America is allowed to control its own image in the textbooks and education systems. America is often viewed in a positive light during our early education.

 

Politics- Ethnographers as artists? I think that this idea is dangerous. Have any of you ever heard of poetic license? Artists are often viewed outside the moral constraints that bind other people. pg 143. Having the license to transform individuals into aesthetic objects without their knowledfe is not a right. I think we should altogether avoid this notion of ethnographers as artists. They are reporters.

 

Politics- pg 144 Images which are produced by reputable filmmakers often present themselves under the guise that they are truthful. We often believe the truthfulness of an image because it is a photo. Because of technology, we can no longer trust images. We constantly have to question the legitimacy of everything. This is an unfortunate side effect of living in a technological world.

END

 

 

[Anne Kim, ak13@geneseo.edu, 11/1]

 

Ruby: Chapter Five

1. Idealogy – Ruby discusses the ethical issue of ethnographic film-making. He challenges the filmmakers that produce a film that uses someone else’s image to represent his/her own idea. He states that there is a great moral issue with this because film making in this manner would be producing a film at someone else’s expense.

2. Ideology – Ruby addresses the readers by asking where is the line that lies between morally good and bad. When a filmmaker and his crew enter someone’s home to film their life and culture, where should the line be drawn to preserve some of the privacy of the family from the public. Ruby states that these are the ethical issues that should be addressed despite the difficult answer.

3. Social Change – Ruby points out that there has been a great change in our era. There are new sources available that are technologically advanced. Due to this, Ruby states that everyone will have their “15 minutes of fame”. Thus, the traditional morals are now changing and becoming weaker.

 

END

 

 

[Dilek Canakci, dc11@geneseo.edu, 11/4]

Ruby Chapter 5

Ideology: Ruby explains how the filmmaker must be honest and true to everything he/she does while making a film of ethnography to impress the audience.

Politics: Money is one of the most important subjects to ponder and be true to. Ruby also discusses the important of art and how this can create different reactions from the audience. Art is something that can create emotional responded from the audience and a filmmaker must know how to create those emotions within his/her audience.

Social change: Ruby explains the traditional change that has been taking place within our time. Morally, the images being presented are beyond what they used to be. It is partly sad that we have made films into mind numbing or just amusing part of our lives instead of mind exercising programs that may smarten up our people.

 

Ruby Ch. 5: Ethics of Image Making

 

[Lanh Nguyen, ltn2@geneseo.edu, 11/11]

 

POlitics: Ruby says "we are often uncertain whether the image maker is an artisit who is to be critiqued for his or her mastery of the form or a technician who holds a mirror to the world" (2000:143). This quote by Ruby shows that as consumers of ethnographic materials, we must be cautious of what we view as being true and credible and what is far fetched and bogus. We must be careful with everything we watch and listen to as not to fall for traps and lies.

 

(Cameron Mack, cfm6@geneseo.edu, 11/16)

 

Society- In Chapter 5, Ruby discusses how well versed he is all of the aspects of ethnographic filmmaking, and also how there has been a large shift from the traditional methods. He critiques the methods as well as quality of images and their underlying connotations. He goes on to explaining a possibly new ethic within the industry and how there is growing concern over the nature of the images. It is a very interesting point that Ruby makes, but I can see some controversy arising from his denouncing of all other theories. While he is a scholar, he may not have all the answers; at least in regards to the altering ethics of image creation.

 

[Kaitlyn Northrop, krn3@geneseo.edu, 11/19]

 

Ruby Chapter 5

 

p. 144- Ruby says " If one takes the everyday lives of people and uses them to construct an artistic statement, where is the line drawn between the actuality of the subjects' lives and the aesthetic needs of the artist?" There needs to be some difference between a documentary and an artistic film. If the artist records certain aspects of his subjects and then changes it to make it seem more entertaining or more interesting to the general public, he or she is not telling the true story of the people. This is then not a documentary, but rather just a film for entertainment purposes based on true events. To get a true account of the subject's lives, one must actually capture what they see and not edit it in any way, but rather show the actual research that they have found. This will show a real account of people's lives and what it is like to be them.

 

END

 

 

[Shamiran Warda, sw11@geneseo.edu, 11/24]

 

Ruby, Chapter 5: The Ethics of Image Making; or, “They’re Going to Put Me in the Movies. They’re Going to Make a Big Star Out of Me.”

 

IDEOLOGY: I found this reading interesting in how Ruby went from discussing how one must get permission for another work in order to use it to more in depth about the overall ethics. Onward, what I found more interesting was the part he talked about the ethics of realism. I must say I do agree with Dell Hymes when he said “The fundamental fact that shapes the future of anthropology is that it deals in knowledge of others. Such knowledge has always implied ethical and political responsibilities, and today the ‘others’ whom anthropologists have studied make those responsibilities explicit and unavoidable. One must consider the consequences for those among when one works of simply being there, of learning about them, and what becomes of what is learned” (Ruby 2000:140). This quote here, I believe offers the reader a lot of valuable information. Anthropology indeed does deal with the knowledge of others, if there were no other cultures than I bet there wouldn’t be such a field known as anthropology.

In addition to such, what else I found interesting was the part Ruby claimed that images and films are polysemous (Ruby 2000:141); a term meaning having a variety of social meanings that become more enhanced through the context in which they appear- I found this a great ideology to point out for the rest of the class. I never even heard of such a word until now but must say I do agree with Ruby on this too, because if there are multiple meanings for one image or film than there is bound to be multiple interpretations all, again, depending on the context its taken in or filmed or even in the way they are reveled to the general public- thus adding more diverse effects than one might think there would be. In all, a great read- learned a lot. END

 

 

[Steph Aquilina, sma8@geneseo.edu, 11/25]

 

Ruby- Chapter Five

 

IDEOLOGY: It seems like visual ethnography must be reflective due to the inherent bias delivered by the filmmaker; otherwise, its naturally interpretative nature might be misunderstood as symbolic of a culture or community as a whole. Photographs or videos shared under vague pretenses (pragmatic versus artistic?) are not illustrating an honest message to the audience, who begins to form an opinion based on the interplay of art and truth. Revealing methods of production (like Flaherty did) and details about one’s experience that influence the particular viewpoint taken by a film may take away the artistry, but removing the air of mystery so integral to aesthetic appreciation is remaining as ethical as possible to the subjects. The filmmaker’s intent must be explicit - resembling Lewis Hine’s portrait of a young child next to machines that Ruby mentions (Ruby 2000: 142), audiences contextualize an experience before fully absorbing it and internalizing its meaning.

END

 

 

[Heather Warren, hrw1@geneseo.edu, 12/1]

 

Ruby 5

 

Ideology: The four moral issues of an image maker are extremely interesting if you actually evaluate them (Ruby 141). They are related to each other but they also have a tendency to conflict in the modern world. For example, an anthropologist who sees something as morally wrong that is practiced by the culture he is studying may try to sensor or show a biased view of that practice which goes primarily against the second and fourth morals. They go against these morals because, 1) the producer has a moral obligation to the subjects of the images which is compromised if he/she portrays the practice in a way that is not entirely truthful, and 2) the producer has a moral obligation to the audience which either means that he/she should provide the information complete and truthfully or sensor it for those who are sensitive to whatever the practice may be. This is truly a dilemma.

 

END

 

[Nicole Rothman, ngr1@geneseo.edu, 12/3]

Ruby Ch. 5

“The fundamental fact that shapes the future of anthropology is that it deals in knowledge of others. such knowledge has always implied ethical and political responsibilities, and today the ‘others’ whom anthropologists have studied make those responsibilities explicit and unavoidable. One must consider the consequences for those among whom one works of simply being there, of learning about them, and what becomes of what is learned” (pg 140) I found this quote both interesting and true, there are always consequences for interfering, even when simply observing, there are still consequences. It is up to the anthropologist/ethnographer to decide how the culture is portrayed to the public. There is an unspoken moral code, which consists of personal moral contracts and moral obligations to subjects, institutions, and the intended audience, which helps with an ethical portrayal of the culture

END

 

{Isobel Connors, icc2@geneseo.edu, 12/12}

 

Ruby: Chapter Five

SOCIAL CHANGE: Ruby focused this chapter on the moral obligation that comes with filming and photographing other cultures or peoples. Earlier in history, people often objectified others through these mediums, claiming that the public had the right to capture such images. They treated people like science projects, not like human beings who had emotions and beliefs. These “scientists” manipulated their subjects into false images that did not necessarily reflect the person’s creed or accurately portray their character. Today, Ruby claims, people are finding that they cannot control their subjects or subjugate them like they used to. He quotes Dell Hymes, writing, “’the fundamental fact that shapes the future of anthropology is that it deals in knowledge of others. Such knowledge has always implied ethical and political responsibilities, and today the ‘others’ whom anthropologists have studied make those responsibilities explicit and unavoidable. One must consider the consequences for those among whom one works of simply being there, of learning about them, and what becomes of what is learned’” (Ruby, 140). In other words, if people decide to record another way of life that is relatively alien to their personal understanding of the world, they have the obligation to portray such culture as objectively as possible. People have begun to realize that the camera has a skeptical eye that needs to be moderated in such a way that it does not misconstrue the information it has recorded.

~END.

 

[Jennifer Ritzenthaler, jkr5@geneseo.edu, 12/13/07]

 

Ruby Ch. 5

Ethics: Ruby (2000: 141) describes himself as a moral relativist. He says that morals and ethics are part of culture and should be viewed in relation to it. These moralities support the way that a person interprets an image, portrayed through photographs and film.

END.

 

[Dan McConvey, dpm5@geneseo.edu, 12/14/07]

Ruby Ch. 5

 

Ethics: On page 141 Ruby talks about the “variety of potential socially generated meaning that become enhanced through the context in which they appear”. This is a very important note because he is acknowledging the importance of looking that culture with this in mind. The film or photography is not going to be observed just for the sake of film itself, context is going to be applied fictive or real.

I think this is similar to what was done when we looked at the pictures from the Flury and Company Ltd. in the September 20th wiki post. We were looking at pictures and describing them mainly from the context and standpoint of our own culture and not as much what the real cultural context of the photograph was.

It is important to note what Ruby is saying because he is forcing the reader acknowledge that humans apply context to what they are seeing and that they need to try to step outside of their own cultural mindset and instead try to understand the ideology and mindset of the culture that is being a observed. This chapter addresses the ethics of realism and wants the observer to really take in the context of what they are seeing as a moral relativist and not just use the already ingrained beliefs from the observer’s culture.

-END-

 

[Lok Yung Yam, ly5@geneseo.edu, 12/16/07]

 

Ruby Chapter 5

 

I don't understand why filmmakers would go out of their way to misrepresent their subject. I feel as if the subject's original intention for the film would be a lot more interesting than something the filmmaker creates using his/her video equipment. The way a person would want to be represented also says a lot about the person, and his/her culture, which could be used to further understand it.

 

[Laurie Sadofsky, las22@geneseo.edu, 12/16/07]

Ruby Chapter 5
Ethics: The issue of ethics is very important to anthropologists, especially applied, business and visual anthropologists. These three groups of anthropologists need to know the intentions of their funders and how their research will be used once it is completed. Business anthropologists often evaluate employees to see if they are beneficial for the company. Applied anthropologists often change certain traditions in favor of Western methods, which is a very tricky and thin line. Visual anthropologists capture a culture that was previously unknown or not encountered by the viewers. Therefore they shape the way those who view the film see and judge those people. Visual anthropologists have moral obligations to their funders, their viewers and most importantly those being filmed. Therefore it is necessary they keep ethics at the forefront of their planning since it is easier to forget what someone has written, but less easy to destroy the visual imprint a film has on those who watch it.
-END-
 

[Rebecca Coons, rsc2@geneseo.edu, 12/17/07]

Ruby (Chapter 5) – I dislike the idea of film editing and changed perspectives in film which create a more entertaining film but at the expense of lost understanding of another human culture. The purpose of filmmaking in anthropology should not be to physically make the film or to make it better for the audience but to educate others about a culture different than their own. Unfortunately, it says a lot about our culture that in order for a film to be entertaining it has to be edited so much that it no longer represents another group of people.

 

[Skye Naslund, sjn1@geneseo.edu, 12/17/07]

Ruby Chapter Five

Social Change-This chapter brings up a wonderful point that “image makers” show their own interpretations and views in their image whether they mean to or not. It is impossible to be entirely subjective and thus by making something into an image, it changes the truth behind it. When looking at film of a culture you must remember to consider the views of the recorder and to filter the information taking that into account.

 

 

 

Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs and Rites

 

Type your comments here . . .

 

[Dave Roberts, dlr4@geneseo.edu, 10-23]

 

1.) Like the Pygmies and Bushmen, the !Kung do not find much value in broad shoulder or big muscles as signs of a good or powerful hunter. To them, the ideal hunter has a small build and is agile and swift with great stamina. Instead of injuring their prey by cutting, stabbing, or bludgeoning it until it is dead, they prefer to poison their prey with darts.

 

2.) The !Kung look to a mythical past of long agom which they consider factual, not mythical. The bushmen back then were able to speak directly to God. The God told them about the ways of life; how to make poison arrows, their crafts, customs, culture. Although the !Kung do not worship their ancestors per se, they hold them in great reverence, and belief children have no sense until they are taught by the old.

 

3.) The !Kung do not count time, not even the years. They gauge the passing of time by remembering whether they were children, teenagers or adults when events happened. They may recall an important event like a birth by counting back a few rainy seasons, but after that they lose track. The passing of time is not important to the !Kung.-

 

[Dan Lilly, djl5@geneseo.edu, 10/24]

Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs and Rites

 

ENVIRONMENT: I was surprised that Marshall described the Kalahari as being surprisingly lush. Its almost a testament to the ability of plant life that it can even survive there at all. The environment clearly has a great impact on the !Kung diet, which consists primarily of vegetation. This would also account for their lanky stature and swolen bellies.

KINSHIP/ENVIRONMENT: I had to mix these two. The !Kung stay in very small groups, around 20-30 at most, because the environment is so harsh and void of resources. They have to keep their population low because otherwise, the environment would not be able to support them. Its amazing that they recognize this, when its something that we go to college to study.

IDEOLOGY: I love the way everyone in their communities participates in music. In some ways I wish it were more like that here. The !Kung genuinely enjoy music, and its interesting (and refreshing) to see music being enjoyed in such a primal way.

 

END

 

[Lanh Nguyen, ltn2@geneseo.edu, 10/28]

Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs and Rites

1. Kinship: Within a band, there is a nuclear family, consisting of a mother, father, daughter(s), and son(s). Some bands have the family of the wife: mother, father, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, and nieces if applicable. Kinship within a band tends to be made up of affinity and consanguinity.

2. Environment: Hunters make signs with their hands to let each other know without making a sound what animal they have sighted. If you look at page 136, they show two signs of a wildebeest with widespread horns and a sign for a hartebeest with curved back horns. Unlike the pictures depicted in caves, !Kung hunters do not disguise themselves with animal skins, they become the animal and walk and act like it.

3. Environment: Hunters have to use supplies from the environment to create weapons. One neat creation involves the use of poisonous beetle larva on arrow heads. They stick them on the ends of the heads, shoot them at their prey and wait for the poison to penetrate and kill their prey. What a unique means of using their environment to help them with their daily lives.

END

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Jonathon Baker, jlb22@geneseo.edu, 10/29]

Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs and Rites

Environment- The temperature changes of the region that the !Kung live in are truly absurd. In May-August temperatures can plummet to below freezing, and the men still wear practically nothing except a blanket. In September-October the temperatures can easily be at least 120 degrees. It is amazing to me that such a culture can endure such extremes, especially as there was no evidence in ''Bitter Melons'' that they had a great deal of shelter or clothes to keep warm (67-68).

Environment- The author goes to great detail in describing the Kalahari. He mentions that it is only a semi-arid desert as compared to the Namib desert. I wonder if any groups are able to survive in the Namib desert…I am assuming no. I also thought that the effect of the vegetation on the horizon blurring to form a deceiving ring was also very cool. I guess it would easily fool an unwary, lost traveler (65-66).

Kinship/Marriage- It is amazing how socially complex the !Kung are. One thing that was very cool was how one is or is not permitted to joke with certain other !Kung individuals. The Inuit also had a very complex social system. I wonder if both groups developed such complex social taboos because they had little else to do in seasons where they didn’t have a lot of work (204).

END

 

 

 

[Anne Kim, ak13@geneseo.edu, 11/1]

 

Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs and Rites

1. Religion – Marshall discusses the spirituality of the hunter-gatherers known as !Kung. She not only talks about the methods but she also talks about their beliefs. She presents different accounts where the people interact with their deities and supernatural forces. It is stated that the !Kung believe that it is their relationship with their god that causes mystery in life and separates good and evil.

2. Economy – It is stated in this book that the !Kung have an egalitarian lifestyle, which consists of sharing and group awareness. Due to this lifestyle, there is equality and no people without food or shelter. However, she states that this lifestyle is decreasing because the !Kung are integrating with the outside world.

3. Kinship – There is a strong kinship among the !Kung due to the reasons above. The egalitarian lifestyle promotes sharing and selflessness. It allows the people to come together and help each other and look out for each other. In addition, they live in small groups, which increases their kinship for they are able to intimate relationships with everyone.

 

END

 

 

[Dilek Canakci, dc11@geneseo.edu, 11/4]

Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs and Rites

 

Ideology: Mythology is everything to them. Their history and present revolves around their myths but they deeply believe in them and consider them factual.

Environment: I can’t believe how their crops survive in such a dry environment and how these people live in such a place. It is amazing how they make their living and how happy they are doing it.

Religion: Supernatural is big to the !Kung. They connect with their deities in every level they can and carry great respect towards them.

 

[Larkin Kimmerer, llk5@geneseo.edu, 11-8-07]

Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs and Rites

1. SOCIAL CHANGE: The !Kung have experienced more change in one generation than any other society worldwide. Until the 1950s, over 1200 !Kung lived in their region and were the last self-sufficient foragers left in Southern Africa. Lasting all the way until the 1950's is quite an accomplishment!

2. IDEOLOGY/SYMBOLISM: There were some interesting food avoidances to ensure good hunting, and were observed from the time a man begins to hunt until he has children. These included things like avoiding eating snouts, or the animal would smell him. The best one was the avoidance of the eland's large intestine. If a hunter ate this, the eland will have an itchy anus (is anyone else thinking of Dane Cook right now?) and will run away, without leaving any excrement behind as a trace (p. 157).

3. RELIGION: The name that they have for the Milky Way is "Backbone of the Night", but have no folklore to explain it. They compare it to an animal but also know very well that it is not really an animal, but its own entity in the sky (p. 256).

END

 

 

 

 

[shamrian warda, sw11@geneseo.edu, 11/8]

Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs and Rites

Change: Marshall, after introducing the !Kung, informs the readers that change has been taking place. That despite the !Kung are well known for living in complete independence, entirely by hunting and gathering, slowly today many of them have been living in a variety of different economic conditions, in all, exposed to new ideas and way of life (pg. 12-13).

Kinship/marriage: These people are known to form a loosely but united population. Despite having no structured political unity, their population is often again defined as a pool of people where they intermarry, living in a rather traditionally organized band which I must say I find very interesting to read about. Furthermore, What else I found quite interesting is when the author stated “Intermarriage of the !Kung within the Nyae Nyae region took place over a long period of time, and people are woven by blood and marriage ties into a web of relationships.” (pg 21) I feel I can relate to this statement just because the area I come from this is how they do things as well. Often time’s marriage does take over a large amount of time to fully get organized and all and often times our people are also woven by blood ad marriage into a network of various relationships.

Environment: The living conditions that these people inhibit still fascinate me, in how they are able to live in such conditions where almost everything is rather mostly dry grassland, with not much rainfall. One would assume that hunting would also be hard for these people but I found it shocking when the author stated that hunting is made rather easier for that there are no to little tracing surfaces on the Kalahari sand, thus a wounded animal can be seen and followed more easily (pg. 63). What I found more shocking and at the same time very interesting is how the temperature changes in the areas where the !Kung live. I did not know that these people living in conditions where their environment’s temperature can go anywhere from around 126 F to as low as 27 F where even ice forms on their water buckets (pg. 67-69). One only can think how these people can survive, especially in the cold weather when their lifestyle is so simple with not much objects to keep them warm such as clothes. -END-

(Cameron Mack, cfm6@geneseo.edu, 11/16)

Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs & Rites

 

Environment- We have discussed quite a bit about the !Kung environment, however, it is an amazing aspect of their culture, therefore worthy of much focus. Their ability to adapt to such a harsh and unforgiving region is once again discussed here. !Kung living conditions are less than ideal and incredibly deadly if an inexperienced person attempted to live in them, however, they have little difficulty dealing with the struggles that seem so great to people from the west. The fact that they have little difficulty hunting is one of the most surprising. In a completely barren area one would think the chances of coming across an animal let alone capturing it were very slim, something that would at least appear to be more of a variable. The !Kung are simply an amazing society, one that should be preserved and respected for ages to come. This piece captures much of the essence and beauty of their culture.

 

[Elen De Oliveira, emd10@geneseo.edu, 11/17]

 

Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs & Rites

 

I just read the chapter in Hockings regarding the changes brought about to cultures due to white development and westernization. This ties into Marshal's explanation of the !kung area before and after he visited to study them. When he was there he states that "white influence on the nyae nyae !kung was at a minimun"(13), but "in the late 1950's, and in the 1960 extended and profound changes began" (14). He describes how airstrips, roads, and churches were built, all of which drained the unique aspects of the !kung. The fact that these changes have occured in almost all unique cultures exposes the importance of ethnographers such as Marshall and these books that they have written. At least, with books such as this one the unique aspects of cultures such as that of the !Kung can be kept preserved through writing.

 

 

[Kaitlyn Northrop, krn3@geneseo.edu, 11/19]

 

Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs and Rites

 

Traditions- The !kung do not have strict rules about childbirth and the bearing of children. They believe that the children arise from menstrual blood mixed with semen and that is what makes the child. The only real rule they have is to not have a lot of sexual intercourse because it is thought to weaken both the man and the woman.

 

Kinship- I thought it was interesting that when a woman is giving birth for the first time, her mother goes with her to teach her what to do and to help overcome her fears. (p.118) This shows the importance of a girl's elders in her life and how she looks up to them.

 

Rituals- I thought taht the Rite of the Burning Arch was interesting (p.129). The !Kung believe that this ritual cures an infection of the mouth that causes blisters and extreme redness. I thought it was interesting how anyone can perform this ritual, they do not need to be any relation to the child.

 

END

 

 

[Steph Aquilina, sma8@genesoe.edu, 11/24]

 

Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs and Rites

 

IDEOLOGY: The Rite of First Kill is an important transitional period for a boy, which commences once he carries home the first animal his arrow has killed in order to be prepared by the mature men in the community. A special ritual fire is constructed in order to cook various parts of the animal: the chest and foreleg as n/um meat, the eye and ear for good sight and hearing, and the back of the neck for stealth. Next, the boy undergoes scarification, after which a black powered zau root is rubbed on his cuts to grant him distance and accuracy in hunting and some blood from his animal’s meat is rubbed on the cuts to bestow upon the boy a dedicated will to hunt.

END

 

[Nicole Rothman, ngr1@geneseo.edu, 12/3]

 

Kung Beliefs and Rites

Environment- We’ve read about and discussed this aspect of !Kung culture quite a bit, but I still find the !Kung’s ability to survive in such a desolate area amazing. I would think that in such a dry area that hunting would be scarce, however the author states that as far a hunting goes the !Kung actually do fairly well. The desert sand allows them to easily trace and follow animal tracks.

END

 

Alfred Dilluvio ajd12@geneseo.edu 12/3

 

Kung beliefs and rites

 

Environment: This reading, and both student based powerpoints on the Kung bushmen, as well as the film untitled Bitter Melons, tell us much about the environment that the bushmen inhabit. I think it is unbelievable that they can survive in such a marginal environment with such little water. I would think that animals would be extremely difficult to find. I think that this story tells us a lot about the importance of ritual in the Kung bushmen and their desire for the boys of their camp to gain an understanding of how to hunt animals. Their continued survival depends on it. The ritual grants the boy continued distance and accuracy in hunting.

 

[Jennifer Ritzenthaler, jkr5@geneseo.edu, 12/13/07]

Nyae Nyae

Ideology: The !Kung lifestyle affects how they think. “Instead of being stimulated by curiosity, the !Kung imagination, faced with the unknown and having nothing concrete to work on, becomes inactive and indifferent. It is the here and now that engages the !Kung” (Marshall 1999: 52). They live in the here-and-now, which probably is partially a result of living a nomadic life, where the future is uncertain.

END.

 

[Laurie Sadofsky, las22@geneseo.edu,12/14]

Lorna Marshall - Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs and Rites

Social Stratification: The !Kung society is egalitarian regardless of specific gifts or abilities. The healers in the !Kung society are given respect but they are not released of their previous duties, nor given a position of power for their abilities. One of the reasons for this is that many men become healers because the great god gave them a n/um. This creates an interesting comparison between our culture in which doctors and nurses spend years studying biology, chemistry and anatomy before earn a certain title, while the !Kung are qualified once they are given a n/um by another healer or the great god in a dream (Lorna 47-51).

-END-

 

 

[Dan McConvey, dpm5@geneseo.edu, 12/15/07]

 

 

Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs and Rites

 

Politics: The healers in !Kung society have a very important function they handle the mysterious n/um. Their n/um never works against everyone and is “only for healing” (49). They do not have any evil intention and all use the same uniform methods in their healing practices. Despite the fact that the healers have a major role in the !Kung society, the healers are on the same level as everyone else in the tribe. The !Kung society is egalitarian and the political structure reflects this even with the healers. They are not adorned with any sort of special garments or jewelry, they do not have any special privileges and as they say themselves use their gift “only for healing” (49). This is a very humanitarian way of looking at helping one another. The !Kung see healing as a duty and not a job, they do not expect extra benefits for some people helping and protecting the rest of their society, it is just a necessary duty.

END

 

{Isobel Connors, icc2@geneseo.edu, 12/15}

 

Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs and Rites

 

ENVIRONMENT: The extremely harsh conditions of the Kalahari Desert require great determination for survival. The !Kung must endure extreme heat, followed by frigid temperatures as the seasons change. The desert region is often void of many water sources, especially during the dry seasons, and thus the !Kung must scavange to hydrate themselves. I am amazed at the degree to which the !Kung have learned to manipulate their environment, when outsiders could not survive such conditions if their lives depended on it.

~END.

 

 

[Heather Warren, hrw1@geneseo.edu, 12/16]

 

Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs and Rites

Symbology / Beliefs: One of the most interesting things about the !Kung is the fact that not only do they have several different language groups but also various beliefs, especially about their world and the supernatural. In fact, they have several beliefs about the sky beings and the celestial bodies, one of which being that the spirits of the dead inhabit the sky and that the stars are their hearth fires. This is an interesting belief if you think about it. When it is night and it is dark, all you can see from afar in !Kung lands are the fires of the various people glimmering in the blackness, much like you would see the stars doing. But during the day, the fires are no longer visible since the sun’s light is brighter and since the fires do not need to be lit. So it is little surprise that the !Kung would thing that the stars are hearth fires (Pg. 3). -END

 

[Lok Yung Yam, ly5@geneseo.edu, 12/16]

 

Polticial/Economic Structure: I think part of the reason the !Kung are egalitarian is that it must in order to survive. Unlike in the West, where, for the most part, resources are plentiful, the !Kung barely have enough to survive. If people began to want more than they needed, many would not have anything at all. Could you imagine what life would be like if one person controlled all the water?

 

 

[Rebecca Coons, rsc2@geneseo.edu, 12/17/07]

Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs and Rites – As part of my research for my powerpoint presentation, I looked at this book on !Kung beliefs as they pertain to women. What I found most interesting about !Kung society is their strict rules regarding marriage practices. Our society has taboos against marrying close relatives but not many other rules regarding who a woman can marry. I also noticed some similarities between !Kung and Yanomamo marriages in the practice of cousin marriage, although in many native cultures this is preferred and in !Kung society it is not allowed.

 

[Skye Naslund, sjn1@geneseo.edu, 12/17]

 

 

Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs and Rites

Customs and Ideology-The !Kung have cultural concepts of food and health that they use in their day to day life to stay healthy or for them, to keep their spirit whole. There are things that should and should not be consumed to ensure health, though they have a different explanation as to why than we do. Most of the concepts lined up with those of our culture, explained through biomedicine. For example, the !Kung do not eat food that has been splashed by urine. In our culture this is considered dirty and will make someone sick. For the !Kung, it is considered one of the things that can split apart the body.

 

 

Charlie Genao cg7@geneseo.edu, 12/17

 

In the Kung society everybody is equal regardless of anybodys donations to the group which I think is great. It seems that these people pratice communism without even knowing it. And people say that communism does not work in theory. Alot of the Kungs ways reflect our own culture like they dont eat rotten food or food that looks sort of suspious. It is almost like they know that they have a full concept of pathogens with out taking biology classes. 

 

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