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Tag Archives: Anthropology
By Kian Sahani, VI Form
Humans as One: How The Wayfinders Illustrates Human Integrality
Language and culture are like animals and plants: the forcefulness of Western culture endangers many of them. In The Wayfinders, Wade Davis explores the concepts of language, culture, race, and the ways they fare in a world primarily dominated by Western ideology. Within his first two lectures, Season of the Brown Hyena and The Wayfinders, Davis argues that although differences between people are fascinating, it is the similarities that are worth celebrating; below the surface, each person is virtually the same.
Season of the Brown Hyena begins with the statement that “on average, every fortnight an Elder dies and carries with him or her into the grave the last syllables of an ancient tongue” (Davis 2009, 3). Davis then continues with the argument that with every language there is an associated culture; therefore, for every language lost, there is a culture lost as well. Each language has the idiosyncrasies that make it unique, allowing a whole new culture to bloom from it. For example, the different ways in which people may describe a color can reflect something about their culture, such as how much of a role color plays into tradition or how specific one must be with different shades. Each ethnic group’s Sprachgefül, as Germans would call it, affect how the group views language. Lera Boroditsky’s TED Talk regarding “How Language Shapes the Way We Think” explains how differences in language are reflected in physical differences in the brain. These differences will affect thoughts, which, in turn, change beliefs and morals, generating a unique culture. Each of the latter is worth celebrating as Davis states, “every culture is by definition a vital branch of our family tree, a repository of knowledge and experience, and, if given the opportunity, a source of inspiration and promise for the future” (Davis 2009, 5). At the same time, every human on this Earth is almost identical to one another, according to biology.(more…)
By Emily Taylor, IV Form
Are Year-Round Islands Off the Coast of Maine Economically Sustainable?
Editor’s Note: Emily created this presentation while attending the Waynflete Sustainable Ocean Studies Summer Camp through partial funding from The Matthews Fund. (For better clarity images, click here for Google Slide presentation)
By Frances Hornbostel, III Form
Much More Than Building a Classroom in Tanzania
This summer I traveled to Tanzania for two weeks with a group of nineteen other students. We primarily went to build a classroom in the Orbomba community near Arusha, but many reasons motivated me to go. I love to experience different cultures, and the community we visited welcomed our group with open arms as well as fun dances and songs by this community. One of the highlights of my trip was befriending students at the school we helped build. They taught me songs in Swahili, and I taught them hand games from America. The trip also exposed me to different lifestyles. Many in America can be materialistic, wanting the new iPhone or piece of plastic that everyone else owns. The people I met in Tanzania were grateful for even just our presence and passion to help. They were grateful for every new word they learned and every scrap of food they ate. (more…)
By Shelby Howard, Megan Christy, John Cho, and Edna Kilusu, IV Form
Sacred Places in Conflict
Editor’s Note: In the course “Sacred Places: Sites of Spirituality,” the students chose either visual or written methods to demonstrate the following: an understanding of the concepts used in the course (not explicitly, but analytically); an understanding of the conflicts between differing world views with regard to sacred land; a discussion of an action that, as global citizens with an understanding of sacred places, the students could engage in.
Google Sites: Sacred Sites in Conflict in the United States (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe; Winnemem Wintu; Hopi Tribe) Shelby Howard
Google Sites: Conflict in Our Sacred World (Phiphidi Waterfalls, South Africa; Mt. Girnar, India; The Western Wall, Israel) Megan Christy
Google Slides: Sacred Places of the World Calendar: January 20-27 John Cho
Speech by Edna Kilusu: (more…)
By Charlotte Wood, V Form
A Novel of Reaction: Larsen’t Passing
W.E.B. Dubois wrote that “all Art is propaganda and ever must be…” He thought that artists and writers should try to make the world a better place through their work. Nella Larsen, the author of Passing, would not agree. Her novel centers on two light-skinned black women, Clare Kendry and Irene Redfield, and their respective decisions to pass as white or not. I believe she wrote this novel not to persuade the reader of something or to convince them to enact change, but rather to reflect the world how she sees it. The book is a reaction to society, not something for society to react to. Passing itself is portrayed as something that simply is, not wholly good or wholly bad. Both characters participate in it, and so the reader is not meant to side with one over the other. The relative passivity of its message is reflected in the passivity of its main character, Irene. Because she is not active, the intention of the novel is not active. Lastly, the ambiguity of the ending leaves the reader, like Irene, with more questions than answers. (more…)
By Jenny Deveaux, V Form
Modern Day Martins
Much like hip hop music, modern day United States culture is based upon movements for change and the spread of continental ideas.
Hip hop was born in the seventies, and first originated in New York City. The genre was developed largely by African-Americans, but evolved to incorporate nuances from other minority groups such as Latin-Americans. Today, hip hop is a multi-billion dollar franchise that has become a symbol of United States culture because it exemplifies a diverse and influential community that seeks to spread tendentious ideas. Artists like Common, Nelly, Macklemore, and LL Cool J use their prominence in the hip hop genre to address today’s issues. Macklemore did this recently in his song “Same Love,” advocating for marriage equality while producing a track that made the top charts in America. (more…)
By Yusra Syed, IV Form
Akshaya Patra: Addressing Both Hunger and Education in India
India is the world’s largest democracy and the second most populous country in the world – with over 1.2 billion people. It is expected to be the most populated in the world by 2022. India is booming and, by many measures, is the world’s fastest growing big economy. Challenges of urban poverty in India are tied with the challenges of the country’s fast development. Cities are fostering poverty and hunger at a scale and extent unseen before. Nearly 70% of Indians live on less than $2 a day, with 61 million malnourished children – 1/3 of all the malnourished children in the world. This is causing too many children to choose food over education. (more…)