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Readings (due October 30)

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 4 months ago

To comment on the following readings, please first indicate your name, e-mail address, and the date of your post. Then, add your comments.

 

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 6

 

Type your comments here . . .

[Larkin Kimmerer, llk5@geneseo.edu, 10-30-07]

Ruby Chapter 6

1. IDEOLOGY: John Honigman (p 160) says that it is very difficult to expect anthropologists to record every detail of every piece of information they obtain in the field. Anthropologists doing participant observation would perpetually recording... however, in order to be taken as a valid science, perhaps this isn't so unreasonable: we already spend a ton of time writing everything down, why not a little extra? I don't know.

2. SOCIAL CHANGE: "Our society is currently constructing the technology necessary to project our image of the world everywhere to everyone" (p 180). This is certainly true, and more now than ever in mainstream society... Ethnographic film, in Ruby's eyes, is just another way of putting our views upon other cultures. Is he ever positive about anything?

3. IDEOLOGY: Self-consciousness and reflexivity in film are only possible if we are aware of our self-consciousness. More than before, self-consciousness is a huge part of our society, but not in the same way that Ruby insists is necessary for good ethnographic films.

...PS...I really don't like the way he writes!

END

 

[Dave Roberts, dlr4@geneseo.edu, 10-30]

 

1.) IDEOLOGY: Ruby is very clearly all about reflexivity in anthropological cinema, in addition to anything anyone produces, from music to literature, etc.. Although one could have easily inferred from earlier chapters that Ruby feels obligated to be self critical and reflexive, here he explicity states it. yay

 

2.) IDEOLOGY: Reflexivity has become almost trendy in today's society. The public has become increasingly aware that everything is "produced," oftentimes by people within hidden (or not so hidden) goals and agendas. This has led to increased "wink wink" self awareness in artwork the media, advertisements, as if to say, "we know you're smart. We know that you know we're just people who want your money (or whatever it may be)... we're with you."

 

3.) IDEOLOGY: If anthropology is to be regarded as a social science (science being the key word) then why is "scientific method" not more consistently utilized in it's execution? Much like a scientist taking notes in his notebook, logging every method and step in his research, an anthropologist should document his own processes in obtaining data.

 

END

 

[Alfred Dilluvio ajd12@geneseo.edu 10-30]

 

Ideology: on page 156 Ruby defines reflexive as to structure a product in such a way that the audience assumes that the characteristics of the producer's life, the process of construction, and the product are a coherent whole. Being reflexive seems that there is nothing withheld by the filmmaker. I think this is a very good and important thing, especially with regard to Ethnographic film.

 

Ideology: This is in response to anthropology being regarded as a science. Hello Dave, sorry to pick on your comment but anthropology is not a science, and the study of human cultures cannot be explained by universal laws deduced by careful empiricism. I agree that rigorous participant observation should be emulated if the people will allow it, but scientific laws and generalizations have no place in anthropology. We must come to terms with the fact that anthropology is not a science, and it cannot treat human behavior as such.

 

Ideology: Ruby says on page 180 that devices exist which allow us to tell our stories to others about the world. Who has the authority to tell these stories. I am sorry, but the more I read about Ethnography and film, the more i dislike the use of film as a medium for pure anthropological ethnography.

 

 

 

[Anne Kim, ak13@geneseo.edu, 11/4]

 

Ruby: Chapter Six

1. Change – Interestingly, Ruby states that there has not been much change in the reflextivity of anthropology. He claims that he still stands firm behind the arguments that he stated twenty years ago because there has not been much progress. He further explains that the progress might have even retreated rather than moving forward.

2. Ideology – Ruby explains his definition of reflextivity. He states that to be reflexive is for anthropologists to “systematically and reveal their methods and themselves as the instrument of data generation”. By doing this, they would be reflecting upon how the medium they used would send the message.

3. Ideology – Ruby explains how he began to explore the topic of reflextivity. He believed that if he had the chance to know the “author” of the cinema or book, he would go from being an outsider, to an insider. This interested him further to go on and research self-awareness and reflextivity.

 

END

 

 

[Jonathon Baker, jlb22@geneseo.edu, 11/5/07]

Ruby Ch 6

Social Change- On page 155, Ruby talks about how being self-conscious has become somewhat of a fad for us, especially the upper middle class. I can certainly see what he is talking about. Sometimes when I see people concerned over the environment, the poor, or other issues, I know that there are ulterior motives for their actions—they are not simply concerned. I wonder how much this attitude spills over into anthropology; and ruins the intentions of projects.

Social Change- More and more through this class, I understand why film is such a controversial medium to present ethnographic data. If you break it down into its theories and ideas as much as Ruby does of The Jungle People on page 159, I can hardly see any ethnographic film escaping a significant amount of criticism.

Politics- Margaret Mead (page176) obviously isn’t thinking to heavily about the right of consent of the people being filmed when she talks about how film is great because the filmmaker doesn’t have to intervene at all, thus giving a natural and unbiased view on things. Well, ethically, if the subjects of the film have a right to know they are being filmed…they will know a camera is present and that can still affect how they act in front of it.

-END-

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

 

Ruby chapter 6

 

1. Social Change- Ruby's assertion that "consumers no longer trust producers to be people of goodwill"(154) bring up a good point about society and how much it has grown over the years. People are no longer content to simply believe what they see and hear. They want information and facts. People want proof before they will believe what they are told which is a big growth in criticism from previous times where most of what those in the media and government stated was believed to be true.

 

2. It is interesting to realize how much an anthropologist must forget himself and who he/she is in order to take on the culure of the people he/she is studying. As Ruby states on page 161, they "attempt to negate or lose all traces of their culture so that they can study someone else's culture." They need to let go of their morals and thier culture in order to take on and fully understand those of the people surrounding them.

 

3. Throughout all of these readings in Ruby as well as in Hockings it is evident how difficult a task it is to produce and video a film properly. There are so many things to take into consideration that people outside of the field do not realize and so much is brought up as questionable in terms of ethics.

 

 

[Dilek Canakci, dc11@geneseo.edu, 11/13]

Ruby Chapter 6

Change: Like always, Ruby is negative about things. He believes that there has been no change in reflexivity.

Ideology: As an anthropologist, we must let go of our personal beliefs and morals in order to get a complete grasp of the culture. But at the same time, I think that an anthropologist must keep his/her morals in mind in order to have some kind of an opinion about the culture rather than excuse everything they see. I will always disagree with wife beating, etc. and I don’t think that I could let go of my beliefs that go so deep.

Social Change: Ruby talks about the class system and how they affect the way we perceive ourselves and others.

END

 

Ruby Ch. 6

[Lanh Nguyen, ltn2@geneseo.edu, 11/19]

In this chapter, Ruby emphasizes the importance of being totally and explictily honest with one's audience. This shows that the filmmaker is trying to be honest and fully informative of what their intentions are. As anthropology majors, we must reflect upon what we do to be sure that our audience are informed of our process and our final product. Ruby also adds that, although it is good to inform our audiences of what we are intending to do, we also must be cautious as not to reveal too much. So then, where do we draw the line? How are we really supposed to know when to reveal our process?

End

 

(Cameron Mack, cfm6@geneseo.edu, 11/19)

 

Picturing Culture: Ruby Chapter Six

 

Change - In Chapter Six, Ruby talks about the idea of three terms within ethnographic filmmaking; reflexivity, anthropology, and film. I found it interesting that Ruby chose to write about his methods, especially reflexivity, rather than making a film exhibiting this same tool. It is a unique approach, and one that allows for a different perspective. Ruby goes on to make the claim that theorizing about film would most likely be best accomplished through writing. His claim includes a description of another ethnographer who explains the issue through film.

 

 

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

 

Ruby – Chapter Six

 

IDEOLOGY: Reflexivity involves a type of self-consciousness that exposes the author’s intentions to the audience in an integrative approach – combining the realities of introspection and humanism with a scientific inquiry that can process objective observations. When an ethnographer can acknowledge ethnomethodology to a moderate level, it enables the viewer to evaluate material as a piece of social science research. Film as a vehicle of communication for that knowledge would thus cease to be confused with romantic creation.

END

 

 

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

 

Ruby 6

Ideology: I found the brief explanation of Ruby’s definition of science in this chapter to be a very good idea to address. He says, “either characterize anthropology as something other than a science or define science in such a way as to include qualitatively derived knowledge and accept that some science is an interpretative rather than an ‘objective’ endeavor” (Ruby 157). He chooses the later definition because it requires some scientific method to study a culture but it also requires a bit of interpretation because of the complexity of humanity.

END

 

[Nicole Rothman, ngr1@geneseo.edu, 12/7]

Ruby Chapter 6

The concept of reflexivity consists of the producer, process and product. The producer being the sender of a message, the process being the methods used and how the message is shaped, the product being the cultural artifact. Ruby adds another aspect being the reader/viewer. The last aspect is the most important as this the group that benefits most from the films revelation.

END

 

[Shamiran Warda, sw11@geneseo.edu 12/08]

 

Ruby, Chapter 6:Exposing Yourself: Reflexivity, Anthropology, and Film

This reading was about the three terms within ethnographic filmmaking known as reflexivity, anthropology, and cinema. Ruby here does in depth discussing these terms; however, I found the way he defined the first term very confusing. For instance on page 152 he claimed that reflexivity was “a multifaceted concept that has been used in a variety of ways for many purposes… to be reflexive in terms of a work of anthropology, is to insist that anthropologist systematically and rigorously reveal their methods and themselves as the instrument of date generation and reflect upon how the medium through which they transmit their work predisposes readers/viewers to construct the meaning of the work in certain ways” (Ruby 2000: 152). First of all, I must say this was one long definition and second, I wish he could have placed it in better terms despite the fact he did redefine it later on with all that talk about having self-conscious and being sufficiently self-conscious to better know what aspect of the self must be revealed to an audience to better help them understand (Ruby 2000: 155). The way he chooses his words many times confuses me. On the other hand, what I did find interesting is how instead of filming all this that he has written about he decided instead to write about it instead. One would think he would have filmed but he is instead found saying that

the theorizing of a film would most likely be best accomplished rather through writing. In all, it was an ok reading; his methods and approaches were after awhile getting boring for me to read about but did learn some more new things about ethnographical filming. END

 

 

Kaitlyn Northrop, krn3@geneseo.edu, 12/12

 

I thought it was interesting and very true how Ruby talks about how the anthropologist must forget about themselves and their personal biases and interests when filming. A lot of films that are seen have definate biases that can be noticed by the audiences but it is important if the film is trying to display facts and statistics that there is no bias on the part of the producer and the director. This takes away from the perspective that is trying to be shown and gives the film lesser credentials factually.

 

END

 

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

 

Ruby: Chapter Six

SOCIAL CHANGE: Ruby discusses the importance of having a truly reflexive form of anthropology. He applauds authors and producers who use their medium to create a public awareness of social issues, including Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and Woody Allen. Though filmmaking today boasts a holistic perspective, this supposed technique is often merely a guise for its subliminal purposes. We are continuously bombarded with messages dictating how we should think and feel in today’s technological world: we turn on the news and are told what to fear; we turn on our computers to seek the approval of strangers (“am I hot or not?”). Ruby writes, “The appearance of being reflexive or publicly self-aware has become almost commonplace in every communicative form in our society, from so-called high art to television commercials” (Ruby, 153).

~END.

 

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

Ruby Ch. 6

Ideology: Ruby considers the paradox of how anthropologists generally consider themselves social scientists and place their work in that tradition; however, most ethnographies do not sufficiently reveal the methods and factors that might affect the result of the research (Ruby 2000: 159-160). John Honigmann says that doing this is difficult and may actually result in a decrease in results and information.

END.

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

Ruby Chapter 6

Ethics: This chapter has to do with the self-conscious. The process of filming requires a certain amount of revealing of self to the audience . Ruby says that it is necessary to be “sufficiently self-conscious to know what aspects of the self must be revealed to an audience to enable them to understand the process employed” (155). This is central to this chapter and correlates to what was said in Chapter five because the audience is given more context. This revealing of the self cannot be for self-indulgence it must alternatively be solely to help the audience better observe the film within its true context.

-END-

 

[Dan Lilly, djl5@geneseo.edu, 12/15]

Ruby Chapter 6

Ideology - I think Ruby makes a good point that in a lot of films the focus is on the feats that the filmmakers have undergone in order to get the footage. That seems to just be an ethnocentric (and common?) way of looking at things, at least in the Western world. The latent attitude does often seem to be, "Yes, these people are interesting, but look what great lengths this white man has gone to live with them like that, day and night, to get this footage!" I don't like to say it, but that does seem like something I've felt when watching ethnographic films.

END

 

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

Ruby (Chapter 6) – I agree with Dave that as a social science, some form of scientific method needs to be utilized in anthropology. Every step of the way must be documented or else we’ll have another Mead/Freeman debate on our hands, or even worse, another “Piltdown Man.” Being reflective on your own methods is probably the best way to remain objective and perform better science.

 

[Laurie Sadofsky, las22@geneseo.edu, 12/17]

Ruby Chapter 6

Social Change: According to Vertov, film should be used to bring to light the real situations faced by people on a daily basis. It is more important to take pictures of and make films about ordinary people. Many Western movies focus on scientific fiction, cartoons and other escapist ideas and topics. The films and photographs that have the most impact, and lasting impact, on our lives should be those which are able real people. These movies should be made more frequently and shown in more places because they are based on real people because it explains the universal struggles faced by real people. Given the genocides taking place in Sudan and Uganda, the AIDS epidemic in Africa, and the human rights violations all over the earth, including the U.S., documentaries or ethnographic film need to be used to expose the world to what is usually kept behind closed doors. I think people worldwide would have to act once the evidence is laid at their feet. Wouldn’t they?

-END-

 

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

Ruby Chapter 6

Social Change-Like in Ruby chapter 5, where we brought up the issue of accidentally showing your bias in your film, this chapter discusses purposefully placing a viewpoint in a film to try to convince others of your point. This is often used in commercially produced films, so it is important to know the point of view of the producers and be able to watch for biases and dissect what is the product of that bias and what is the culture itself.

 

 

The Nuer

 

Religion- The prophets in the Nuer culture are a newer development, “they state that in the old days there were no prophets” (Evans Pritchard 1940:187). The idea of becoming a prophet is not the most desirable, especially among the youth. The ones who are possessed are usually seen as abnormal in the society and know that they have been chosen as a prophet because they experience severe sickness with delirium. One of the prophets described in the text was seen as possessed by the spirit of a Sky-god. This prophet was highly ambitious and eventually was run into exile. Despite some negativity surrounding the prophets they do assist in building and there are accounts of people coming from great distances with oxen to get assistance in building. It is interesting that these prophets have such materialistic characteristics and that there are historical implications that their origin might actually be from European travellers influence. In older times without prophets there were only ritual officials instead of these prophets in need of material offereings.

END

 

 

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

 

The Nuer

 

MARRIAGE AND KINSHIP: As Larkin mentions, the courtship/engagement process of many Nuer is of great interest. Tactic of violence against the suiter is reminiscent to that of the Inuit practice of "catching" their brides. Women are expected to fight back and avoid the "attack" to maintain their reputation amoung the tribe. Similarly, the Nuer are attacked by the girl's male relatives, but with much persistance, and an agressive "seed," they are able to marry the girl of their choice and gain the respect of her family.

~END.

Social Organization / Concept of Time: Unlike many groups, the Nuer seasons and activities are not regulated by movements of the heavens (with the exception of the sun and moon), nor are they influenced by winds or the migrations of birds. Instead, the things that control the movement of people define Nuer seasons and times for activities. For example, things like the availability of water, vegetation, fish, etc. and the variations in food that are needed by the cattle and the people create the rhythm by which the Nuer function and define their seasons (Pg. 96). END

 

 

 

[Jonathon Baker, jlb22@geneseo.edu, 12/16/07]

The Nuer by Evans Pritchard

Politics—It is hard for us to imagine an economic system without currency. How different it must be to live in a world where the currency is also your source of food and fuel. Cattle are everything to these people. What if the money we spend today could be used as food directly, or could provide us with “dung” to build fires? The measure of a man in the Nuer culture is the number of cattle he has, and nearly all of the ceremonies involve cattle or remains of cattle. Even though we are surrounded by a materialistic culture, I suppose since their currency is cattle, they also live in a very materialistic culture of a different sort—using cattle as bride prices and to settle disputes.

END

 

[Brendan Ryan, bmr4@geneseo.edu, 12/16/07]

 

Kinship/Marriage:

Women seem to marry relatively young. One of the most interesting things I noted is that they are not technically considered a wife until they have a child and she continues to live with her parents until she does. It made me wonder what happens if a woman is infertile. Would she continue living with her parents until they or she died, or at a certain point would she simply go out on her own? Either way their conception of marriage is an important feature of their society.

 

 

 

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

The Nuer – I was surprised that the cows hold so much significance in the Nuer culture. Also the idea of bloodletting which I typically associate with medicine in the Middle Ages is not something I would think of as being practiced on animals to let out bad blood. I also found it interesting that the Nuer embrace the belief that they can communicate with the dead through cows. This is something I have never heard of before and may be one aspect unique to their culture.

 

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

 

 

The Nuer

Religion and Ideology-It is fascinating that, like the Christian tradition, the Nuer have the spirits above (what Christians would call angels), and the spirits bellow (or devils/demons). This commonality between the two traditions can probably be traced back to Christian missionaries. We can tell that the missionaries most likely assimilated into the Nuer culture before converting them, because the names for these spirits are in the native Nuer language, not variations off of English or another European language. To this day, Southern Sudan, the home of the Nuer, is predominately Christian.

 

Hockings, "The Tribal Terror of Self Awareness"

 

Type your comments here . . .

[Larkin Kimmerer, llk5@geneseo.edu, 10-29-07]

The Tribal Terror of Self Awareness

1. SOCIAL CHANGE: The tribes of New Guinea have only recently been in contact with the modern world, and Carpenter makes an interesting comment that "the steel axe, transistor radio, and camera all arrived together" (p 481). In a world where we take all of those things for granted, it must be really interesting to watch people interact with these things for the first time.

2. IDEOLOGY: I loved the description of the people reacting to their images and voices, the way they were startled and retreated to privately look at their Polaroids (p 483-4). Because we are obsessed with looking at ourselves in mirrors, pictures, videos, the idea of seeing yourself for the first time is amazing.

3. POLITICS/IDEOLOGY: In a hunting and gathering society such as the New Guinea tribes, there is no such thing as individualism, as everyone has to be out for the good of the entire community. As Carpenter says, "People who fill tribal roles have no private pont of view: they share group awareness and wear corporate masks" (p 488).

END

 

[Dave Roberts, dlr4@geneseo.edu, 10-30]

 

1.) IDEOLOGY: As an American living in an extremely image and outward appearance obsessed socieity, the phenomenon of a total lack of self consciousness is fascinating. When the Biami first saw mirrors and realized the fact that they were in fact watching themselves watch themselves, they were shocked and intrigued. However, soon enough they were grooming and admiring themselves in the mirror like anyone else.

 

2.) IDEOLOGY: It is interesting that the people of the Sepik River were initially unable to read photographs. The static, two dimensional image was foreign to them. Once they deciphered that they were looking at an image of themselves, someone they had probably never even seen before, they were immediately frightened. Try to imagine never having known what you looked like, and then seeing a foreign face on a piece of paper, and having a good friend inform you that the collection of dots on the paper was you. mind ****!

 

3.) IDEOLOGY: "Whenever technology makes behavior explicit, the resulting images often seem more important - even sacred or obscene." p. 485. This is so true. I have often made the observation that for some reason, everything seems more important when viewed in a photo or on a monitor. In my television prodcution class, we often times film someone within the room doing something, and rather than view the person in real life, everyone chooses to watch to screen. Being on screen adds gravity,importance, immortality to the mundane.

 

End

 

 

[Steph Aquilina, sma8@geneseo.edu, 11/1]

Hockings, "The Tribal Terror of Self-Awareness" by Edmund Carpenter

 

 

POLITICS: The transfer of identity when judging oneself outwardly is examined in the Congo, where wooden figures of justice were adorned with mirrors in their eyes or stomachs were used to determine guilt versus innocence. The person on trial would be forced to look into this mirror while a nail was hit into it; since this process provokes such heightened self-awareness, the person was considered to be guilty if he cringed.

 

SOCIAL CHANGE: Introducing photography and film to people who had not previously been exposed to their own reflection caused a pronounced stomachache and discomfort. For example, a community in New Guinea initially trembled and tried to hide themselves when they were shown their own images; however after a short period of time, they were no longer apprehensive and instead embraced their pictures by sometimes even sticking them onto their foreheads and making their own movies.

 

IDEOLOGY: New Guineans existed within an interwoven, collective society of responsibilities and relationships. When they danced around a fire, they radiated a unified spiritual energy that was unaware of self-recognition or individualism; visually, they merged together in images of flowing color and interconnectedness. The introduction of the camera created an uncharted pathway into the frightening yet illustrious world of self-expression, one that was faced with the unmatched intensity of a person newly departed from his or her spiritual paradigm who could not break focus with this point (the lens) of spiritual divergence.

END

 

 

 

[Heather Warren, hrw1@geneseo.edu, 11/15]

 

Hockings: “The Tribal Terror of Self Awareness”

 

Ideology / Symbolism: The reaction of the natives to the mirror in New Guinea is interesting to think about, especially the parallel made to the myth of Narcissus. I especially think it is interesting when the author, Carpenter, questioned, “Does the acute anxiety of sudden self-awareness lead mad everywhere to conceal his powers of speech-thought (his breath, his soul) behind his hand, the way an awakened Adam concealed his sexual powers behind a fig leaf?” (482).

END

 

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

Hockings : "The Tribal Terror of Self Awareness"

 

In a society where mirrors are extremely common and almost in every room of our houses, it is hard to imagine what it would be like to never have seen our reflection. We are so used to looking at ourselves that we cant even remember what it was like the first time we ever saw ourselves becuase it was probably as a baby, or a toddler at the latest. It is like when you show a puppy its reflection in the mirror and it tries to lick its reflection or barks at it. So much of our society revolves around what we look like and the image we present. It is interesting to wonder what things would be like if we, like the people of New guinea, didn't have mirrors.

 

It is interesting to read about the people who demanded their money back becuase they believed the actors were doing normal things that could be seen for free anywhere (486). When you think about it, thats exactly what we're paying to see when we go to a movie or a play, people doing ordinary things. Sometimes simple statements by those that don't know any better really brings out truths we never really thought to think about.

 

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

 

Hockings- Tribal Terror of Self Awareness

 

Environment- I thought it was interesting how they described the relatively small area, when considering the larger picture, and how the people in these areas are all different. They range from modern communities to cannibalistic ones and the bands speak more than 700 different languages.

 

Change- It was odd to me how they were talking about the mirrors and how they were used for different purposes than image reflection. They obtained small pieces of mirror, but never had seen one big enough to make a difference. When they first saw themselves they were "paralyzed and startled." (p. 482)

 

Technology- (p. 485) " A camera holds the potential for self-viewing, self-awareness, and where such awareness is fresh, it can be traumatic." This is hard to understand for us as modernized societies who have always had the capability to look at ourselves and know what we look like. However, if you had gone through most of your life not knowing what you look like besides the picture you have in your head, it would be understandable to be paralyzed and shocked by the new appearance.

 

END

 

 

 

[Dilek Canakci, dc11@geneseo.edu, 11/24]

Hockings : "The Tribal Terror of Self Awareness"

Social Change: Coming from a culture where mirrors are always present and automatically knowing the purpose of mirrors, I can’t imagine seeing a mirror for the first time in an older age and trying to make sense of it.

Social Change: Since New Guinea has been in contact with the real world later than most cultures, they witnessed technical devices for the first time. Cameras and such were within their possession for the first time and it’s interesting how certain scenes on movies come to life when the people of New Guinea try to figure out what technology actually is and how it works.

Environment: It is interesting how such different groups of people live so close together. People with different beliefs and traditions live right near another group of people who practice different traditions and carry different values.

 

 

[Jonathon Baker, jlb22@geneseo.edu, 11/26/07]

Hockings, “The Tribal Terror of Self Awareness”

Ideology: People in our society act different on cameras when they do in real life, and we are used to having photographs and videos of ourselves being taken. One can only imagine how different the Papuans acted in front of the camera as opposed to when they were oblivious to it (Page 485). It is also interesting to me that the Papuans view having your picture taken as “stealing your soul,” as I remember learning in high school that it was also the way American Indians viewed having their picture taken or their portrait painted.

-END-

 

(Cameron Mack, cfm6@geneseo.edu, 11/26)

 

Hockings, "The Tribal Terror of Self Awareness"

 

- Social Change: As many people have previously discussed, the sections of the piece that discuss the concepts of mirrors and reflections was incredibly thought provoking. In our culture, it often hard for us to escape our reflection. For tribes, such as those in New Guinea, this is nothing like reality to them. To have never seen yourself is amazing phenomenon to me. My face is something that I am so accustom to viewing, and even thinking about, that a world where I had not ever laid eyes upon myself is not even conceivable. When film and photography was introduced to the tribe in New Guinea, it was a perfect opportunity to witness the reaction of a people who have never seen themselves (some might even say from an aesthetic perspective). I can imagine myself having a similar reaction to seeing my reflection for the first time, being startled and paralyzed.

 

 

 

[Anne Kim, ak13@geneseo.edu, 12/2/07]

 

Hockings, “The Tribal Terror of Self Awareness”

IDEOLOGY: Edmund Carpenter discusses the importance and his fascination of the mirror. A mirror, something that our culture takes advantages, plays in integral part in other cultures and holds more truth than we realize. According to Carpenter, “it a mirror reveals that symbolic self OUTSIDE of the physical self.” He points out that a mirror shows presence and soul according to stories from our culture, such as vampires and werewolves. He states that self-discovery and self-awareness can be frightening but is sometimes overlooked because we look in the mirror every day.

 

END

 

[Nicole Rothman, ngr1@geneseo.edu, 12/7]

Hockings

It’s interesting to learn that they’ve never seen themselves in a mirror or photograph. In our society we grow up seeing our selves, it starts when we’re very young. The self-image and appearance consumes our society where as it obviously doesn’t play a role in their society. To grow up not really thinking about appearance and what you looked like, I can imagine it would be quite shocking and even confusing to have someone show you a mirror or a photograph.

END

 

Alfred Dilluvio ajd12@geneseo.edu 12/2

 

Such an interesting article. Think for a moment that you grew up never knowing what a mirror was and never looking into one. How would you view yourself. How would you prepare yourself for the day having no holistic understanding of your physical self. The only way you would know is judging the looks of others. The mirror is something extremely terrifying to those individuals who have no idea how they look. To grow up without a mirror and to be suddenly introduced to one, is enough to terrify someone. It is the realization that you are real, and that is scary.

 

[Shamiran Warda, sw11@geneseo.edu 12/8]

 

Hockings: "The Tribal Terror of Self Awareness"

**Symbolism****: The mirror mentioned in this reading is a good symbolic item worth examining. In this reading, Hockings talks a little bit about the New Guinea people; for instance their geographic location. However, what I found more interesting was the talk about the mirror and these people’s reactions to it. According to Hockings only a handful of the Biami men are said to own a mirror which they obtained through distant trade; a mirror about the size of coins. As one continues to read more, one realizes the importance of this item. People of the New Guinea would even hide their mirror in save areas from others as seen with the government patrol who found a mirror wrapped away in bark and hidden in a thatched roof. This illustrates a good example of how much in value the mirror is to these people who today are known as “the last unknown.” Knowing all this tells the reader a lot about these people. Just from one item such as the mirror one can tell more about these people. For instance, if only a handful have mirrors then it is a good assumption to make is that these people most likely live in a region isolated from the rest of the modern world; a life rather filled with old traditional ways as seen when Hockings said “Certainly their initial reaction to large mirrors suggested this was a wholly new experience for them” (Hockings p 482). The way Hockings described their reaction to the mirror is also something that tells the reader about these people, for instance, “They were paralyzed: after their first startled response—covering their mouths and ducking their heads- they stood transfixed, staring at their images, only their stomach muscles betraying great tension” (Hockings p 482-483). This all indicates what was mentioned earlier that their way of life is rather different from ours for ours is filled with new and modern technology that there is no time to even realize the importance of a small item such as the mirror. In all, this was an interesting reading. END

 

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

Hockings, “The Tribal Terror of Self-Awareness”

Ideology: Carpenter offered to photograph a bridal couples and the groom posed with a male friend (Hockings 2003: 486). His crew reposed the groom with his pregnant wife and child, which was actually not routine for the New Guinea culture. The camera’s usage, in this case, conflicted with the group’s cultural values. Anthropologists need to be careful not to promote their own values when studying a different culture.

END.

 

[Laurie Sadofsky, las22@geneseo.edu, 12/14]
Hockings “The tribal Terror of Self-Awareness”
Social Change: Carpenter discusses the New Guinea tribesmen’s first look at themselves: they cover their mouth and duck. They were shocked by their own reflections because until that point their views of themselves was based on another person’s perspective and for once they were allowed to experience physical self-awareness. If our society was not filled with mirrors, fountains, and glass buildings we too would be able to relate to that first reaction when we see ourselves through our own eyes.
Moreover, an overwhelming interest in cameras and video cameras in general commences. At one ceremony, the tribesmen broke all cultural norms and allowed a female to shoot a traditionally all-male event. At the end they even offered an ancient ceremonial drum. A small piece of technology had them offering a major symbolic part of their history. Carpenter concludes that knowing what you look like in a camera or on film, or sound like on camera or the phone is so common that the innocent fascination of self-awareness has been taken away from us all (491).
-END-

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

 

Change:

The analysis of the self is interesting. Many people get nervous, anxious, insecure about what they perceive themselves to look like in the eyes of other people. This notion that man possesses a symbolic self, or the perception of ourselves “is widespread, perhaps universal” (483). We know that we have this other symbolic self aside from our physical self and in this reading Hockings addresses when tribal people are shown this symbolic self completely separate from their physical self. The introduction of mirrors appears completely foreign and paralyzes the people. The are left “numb” (482), but eventually (and pretty quickly) change and become accustomed to this by “grooming” (482) and other “normal” uses of the mirror. This gives the notion that it is not that we as humans believe that there is no symbolic self if it is not shown to us in the isolated form of a mirror, it is simply that it is sometimes traumatic to see that “symbolic self” for the first time.

 

END

 

[lanh nguyen- ltn2@geneseo.edu- 12/15]

Hockings

CHANGE: Everyone has talked about the importance of self-awareness and self-image through the use of mirrors, but another interesting fact that was mentioned in the chapter was film's threat on traditions and ceremonies. Hockings says that although film is a good form of capturing moments for future use, film threatens to replace ceremonies and traditions that have been practiced for hundreds and thousands of years. Film can never fulfill a ceremony's original function (example used in the book was the male initiation ceremony practiced in New Guinea in which it functioned to test young men for manhood and to weld them into their society). Instead, the ceremony can simply be placed on a screen, ultimatley detaching the people from their cultural traditions and ideologies. The importance and cultural meanings are missing and never fully understood.

END

 

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

 

Hockings, "The Tribal Terror of Self Awareness"

 

IDEOLOGY/SOCIAL CHANGE: Hockings discusses the idea that many isolated people are startled and even upset upon discovring their own image. One example of this is when some people of New Guinea were shown pictures and film of themselves: they reacted with physical nausea and fear. Often times people can't handle the idea of their own image and with this self-awareness comes extreme self-consciousness and terror.

~END.

 

[Dan Lilly, djl5@geneseo.edu, 12/16]

Hockings, "The Tribal Terror of Self Awareness"

 

Ideology - I hought the experiment described on page 485 was very interesting. I'd like to see the actual footage that they took from the 3 different positions; the subjects not knowing about them, the subjects just thinking they were being observed, and the subjects realizing they were being filmed. "Their self-conscious performances bore little resemblances to their unconscious performances." It reminds me of back in high school, with my locker. Not paying any attention, I could to it and open it up without fail, but as soon as I thought about it, I forgot my combination. Its amazing how much of the things we do are just part of subconscious routines.

 

 

[Jennifer Mahoney, jrm30@geneseo.edu, 12/16/07]

 

 

Environment: It was interesting to see how the structure and functions of the Nuer society directly relate to the oecology of Nuerland. For example, Nuerland is environmentally a good place for cattle husbandry with only limited success for horticulture. The fact that the land is good for cattle husbandry explains the Nuer primary interest in cattle and only secondary interest in growing millet. This same aspect of the land also directly relates to the Nuer diet, which primarily relies on milk and meat for food, with millet only added as needed. In addition, I enjoyed reading about the Nuer season migration and its relation to the land as it alternates between periods of excessive rain and of severe drought. I really enjoyed this section of the book because understanding how functions of the Nuer relate to their environment helped me better comprehend the culture as a whole.

 

END

 

 

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

Hockings (Tribal Terror of Self-Awareness) – When I first saw this title I was intrigued and confused. I never really considered the significance of unselfconsciousness in other cultures. Perhaps it is the result of living in a culture where physical appearance is so significance and where beauty is equated with power (think of movie stars). Their reaction to the introduction of mirrors really did remind me of the Greek myth where Narcissus was doomed to admire his reflection forever.

 

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

 

 

“The Tribal Terror of Self Awareness”

Marriage and Kinship-The idea of closeness of husbands and wives is a cultural phenomena expressed through cultural norms. In this chapter, it is suggested that the individual family unit is not as close because on their wedding day, the groom wanted his picture taken with his male friend, not with his new wife. More than a commentary on the closeness of the couple, I think this says more about the role of men and women in the public and private domains. Because they were in public, it was deemed appropriate for the man to be socializing with his male friends; in private perhaps he is closer to his wife. It is difficult to view the private sphere through film, as once a camera is there, most interaction becomes public.

 

 

[Adam Saunders, ars11@geneseo.edu, 12/16/07]

“The Nuer”

The major insights that I learned from reading The Nuer was the complexity of their social system and the role of cattle for the Nuer. The Nuer social system goes to great lengths to make peace with everyone in the village as well as lengths to keep family blood from not mixing in the villages. They have customs of marriage outside the village and strict codes of none violence in the villages to keep the peace. The Nuer oxen play a huge role in many of their rituals and customs, ranging from marriages to riding of ghosts and bad luck within the village, as well as the celebrations of death and coming of age ceremonies. For many of these practices it involves the ritual sacrifice or in terms of marriages the passing of an oxen from one family to another and in coming of age ceremonies the giving of a boys first ox.

 

END

 

 

 

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

The Nuer

Kinship/ Marriage: Clan and lineages are extremely important for the Nuer. One’s clam consists of minimal, minor, major, maximal lineages. Most Nuer know the names of the past four or five generations which makes up their minimal lineage. Lineages determine who a person lives with as well as who one can marry. If a fight occurs between two lineages, one will move away and live with another tribe (Pritchard209). These lineages also control who one can marry since marrying within your own clan, let alone major lineage, is considered incestuous (Pritchard 192). -END-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

The Nuer by Evans Pritchard

 

The Nuer by Evans Prichard

 

Type your comments here . . .

[Larkin Kimmerer, llk5@geneseo.edu, 10-28-07]

The Nuer

1. POLITICS/MARRIAGE: When a man tries to "fornicate" with a girl from another village, he may be hit over the head with a club. However, if he impregnates that girl, they are considered engaged and no longer may he be attacked by her brothers and father. There is compensation of different amounts for varying injuries, numbers of cattle increase as the wounds vary. This is an interesting way to repay a person for the damage you have caused him, as an injury would undoubtedly cost him time farming (page 167).

2. KINSHIP: The Nuer are agnatic, so they all trace their descent back to a common ancesor through the male line, and those who share that common ancestor cannot marry. This seems like it is a very large group of people to whom one cannot be married!

3. IDEOLOGY/SUBSISTENCE: Oftentimes cows are bled from the neck to supplement dry season diets, and the blood is used to flavor porridge. They say (page 28) that they do not bleed the cows for food, but to cure the cows by letting out the bad blood that they might have, and it makes the cows more lively after the bleeding.

END

 

[Dan Lilly, djl5@geneseo.edu, 10/30]

The Nuer

 

ENVIRONMENT: Prichard noted that no matter what he tried to talk about with the Nuer, the conversation always eventually came around to cattle. This is pretty indicative of the environment they inhabit. Cattle provide virtually everything for the Nuer, and so they're very important in their society. It goes along quite nicely with the idea that people's language, the way they talk and what they talk about, can be very indicative of their culture.

IDEOLOGY: Because the cattle are so important, they've become ingrained in all Nuer rituals and religious practices. I was surprised to find that the Nuer even believe they can communicate with spirits and the dead through a cow. It all seems strange to us, because we have such a different image of the cow, but the Nuer aren't the only culture in the world that reveres the animal. It got me to thinking, is there anything in our culture we value that much? Money? Power? Nothing? I'm not sure.

ENVIRONMENT/IDEOLOGY: I thought it was interesting that the Nuer believe their land is the best in the world, despite any information that is presented to them, just because that's where they've grown up and that's what they know. Certainly, we civilized people would never fall victim to such illogical and extravagent love for our country and blatant ignorance for its faults. Right?

 

END

 

[Lanh Nguyen, ltn2@geneseo.edu, 10/30]

The NUER

1. ENVIRONMENT: From what we saw, the Nuer people live in huts, forming villages. They use twigs and branches as their framework. Their huts seem to be pretty permanent and stable looking unlike the Bushmen of the Kalahari. There seems to be a lack of green grass signifying that the temperature is hot and dry.

2. IDEOLOGY: Gar, or forehead markings signify the beginning of manhood. After this rite of passage is performed, boys are allowed to marry, participate in war, and participate in hunting. The boys are given new names based on their new ox that their father gives them.

3. ECONOMY: When it’s time for marriage, the boy and his family are responsible for giving gifts to the family of the girl. He gives around 25 cattle to the girl’s family to show that he is economically stable and is able to provide for their daughter in the future. The more cattle a man has, the more he is seen as economically stable. This is pretty common in cattle herding cultures.

END

 

[Dave Roberts, dlr4@geneseo.edu, 11-1]

 

1.) POLITICS: The war between the Dinka and Nuer is not merely a clash of interests, but it is also a structural relationshpi between the two people. and such a relationship requires a certain acknowledgement on both sides that each tribe to some extent partakes to the other.

 

2.) ENVIRONMENT: Like so much of Nuer life, the games of older children of both sexes center around cattle, herding them around. Their first jobs involve the cattle, such as holding them as the are milked, or collecting their urine in gourds.

 

3.) IDEOLOGY: The aloofness displayed by the Nuer is indicative of their culture, social organization, and character. The self sufficiency and simplicity of their culture and their fixation on their cattle explain why they rejected European ideals and concepts.

 

END

 

[Steph Aquilina, sma8@geneseo.edu, 11/1]

The Nuer by Evans-Pritchard

 

ECONOMICS/ENVIORNMENT: Since the Nuer live in an area that cannot provide a sufficient herd for their nutritional needs, they are forced to engage in a mixed economy in order to survive. Millet production is also unstable, so they must rely heavily on fishing in large numbers. The terrain is flat and the river’s water levels rise and fall seasonally; this allows fish to end up in lagoons and shallower streams, where the Nuer can easily retrieve them.

 

POLITICS: If a Nuer man believes he has been offended, he will challenge the perpetrator to a duel; this second man must accept the invitation because duels are the sole means to ending a conflict. In these instances, no authority is available for arbitration, so a man’s courage is all that can avenge this insult. Some plausible triggers are adultery, hurting another man’s son, or disagreements over a cow.

 

KINSHIP/MARRIAGE: Nuer clans are made up of individuals who share a common ancestor and are thus prohibited from engaging in sexual relation or marriage. “Mar” is a term that denotes the relationship between individuals (male or female) who share a genealogical link (on the maternal or paternal side). Such lineages are not separate entities among the Nuer people; they are only seen as independent groups during certain ritual practices, for the politics of homicide, and during considerations of exogamy.

END

 

 

 

[Anne Kim, ak13@geneseo.edu, 11/4]

 

The Nuer by Evans Prichard

1. Marriage and Kinship – It interesting to see how a woman who is married is not officially considered a wife until she bears a child. Before then, she is to live at her parents’ house and not live with the husband until she gives birth their son/daughter. This is extremely different from our culture because many women go years before they have a child. For the Nuer, it is first on their priority in order to become a family.

2. Politics – Pritchard describes the Nuer people as interesting and unusual. He illustrates how the Nuer people are pastoral people who live among the upper Nile. They have no laws or leaders and are also strongly individualistic. The community is kept in order by their own moral values and segmentary tribal and lineage system.

3. Economy – The Nuer’s economy is balanced between the pastoral life, agriculture and fishing. Their life revolves around their cattle for they have many purposes with them. The marshes promote the growth of millet. Lastly, the only other source of supply comes from fishing. This is essential during dry season.

 

END

 

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

The Nuer by Evans Prichard

 

Political: “The Nuer Political system includes all the peoples with whom they come into contact” (pg 5) very interesting in how open and welcoming these people are- despite the fact that by “people” they mean any one who speaks their language and in other respects have the same culture.

-On ward, it is interesting how these people are often times divided into a number of various tribes where there is no set common organization. And how in the tribe there is slight differentiation of status between members of dominant clan yet the tribe is known as the largest political segment amount between the Nuer (pg. 5-8).

-It is also interesting how after the people are divided into the tribes, the tribes are further down divided into a number of territorial segments (pg 5). In all, seeing how these people are politically setup helps to better understand how organized they are; in addition, it exposes the reader to better understand these people’s way of life.

-END-

 

 

[Dilek Canakci, dc11@geneseo.edu, 11/13]

The Nuer by Evans Prichard

Kinship: They must marry within the male lineage which portrays the effect that the men have within their society.

Ideology: Cattle are obviously really important to the Nuer and it is interesting that the cattle have a place in every conversation, ritual, tradition, prayers (religion), etc.

Marriage/Kinship- Even though the women marry young, they are not seen as a wife until they bare children. It is interesting but sad for a woman to gain respect after she has done her “duty” as a woman and gave children to her husband. It is also sad to imagine the women who are not able to bare children and the kind of respect they may get from their community.

 

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

The Nuer** by Evans Prichard

 

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We don’t fully appreciate the hard work that it Is to live amongst a people entirely different from yourself with different land and different customs. It is especially difficult not knowing the language and having to learn and struggle to communicate properly and effectively which is essential to learning about the people you are studying. With the example conversation given on page 12 it is evident that it is difficult to get information out of the Nuer. It is interesting to see their sense of humor as interviewees try and outsmart the interviewer.

 

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

 

Marriage/Kinship- I thought it was interesting how there were so many rules and rituals that must take place for the marriage ceremony to be complete and for the woman to actually be considered a wife. There must be a period of courting where the boy flirts and flatters the girl. Then there must be a betrothal, wedding, and consummation ceremonies in which bride price is paid to the families and it is seen as OK that the two families are coming together. After this, the woman becomes pregnant and lives with her parents until the child is weaned and then she moves in with her new husband in their new house. This is the time that she is actually considered a wife.

 

END

 

(Cameron Mack, cfm6@geneseo.edu, 11/19)

 

The Nuer by Evans Prichard

 

- I also find the concept of ethnographic fieldwork incredibly interesting and appealing, yet often times hard and unforgiving. Evans Prichard's account of his experience with the Nuer is a perfect example of this. While reading The Forest People by Colin Turnbull, I didn't so much get this impression. While in that book he seemed to adjust well to his unique new society, however, he did make it clear that there had been previous difficultied when he was initially becoming familiar with the tribe. In the Nuer, we were able to see this uncomfortable and essential barrier between many aspects of the culture, especially language. Prichard experienced some hard times while becoming acquainted with the people of the Nuer, which also shows the unique ability of an ethnographer to gather the strength to live among a foreign society. These people gather essential information in our studies of culture in the world, and without it the field of anthropology would be completely altered. Thankfully, due to works such as these, we are able to analyze the lifestyle, actions, and decisions of a group as heralded as the Nuer.

 

[Nicole Rothman, ngr1@geneseo.edu, 12/7]

The Nuer by Evans Pritchard

Politics- It’s interesting that the Nuer don’t have a system of government with laws and law enforcers instead their society is based on morality. They depend on the people’s own moral codes to know what is right and wrong. It’s interesting to see how different this is from our own society, which has a government, laws, enforcers, and punishments there is no way our society could function only on morality.

END

 

Alfred Dilluvio ajd12@geneseo.edu 12/7

 

I found Evans Pritchard's discussion of the sequential hierarchy of the Nuer people to be extremely interesting. I also found their system of allegiances and loyalties to different groups depending on the context of the feud to be extremely interesting. Reduction of conflict and factionalization of the camp would result in this system of multiple allegiances. There would be less faction and conflict because of this and that is good for a people that has no formal government. While this description of the Nuer people is fantastic, one has to read up to date sources or conduct fieldwork on their own. The Nuer have changed since Evans pritchard.

 

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

The Nuer

Economy and Spirituality: It is significant that the Nuer religion/spirituality centers on cattle, since cattle is a vital factor in their survival. “A man establishes contact with the ghosts and spriits through his cattle” (Evans Pritchard 1940: 18). A cow’s history tells the kinship links and affinities of the owners, as well as mystical connections. Cows are dedicated to the spirits of the owner and his wife, while all other animals are dedicated to the dead.

END.

 

[Dan McConvey, dpm5@geneseo.edu, 12/13/97]

 

The Nuer

 

 

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