The Mask

Submitted by Richelle S. Spaulding on Tuesday, 11/8/2011, at 10:46 PM

The symbol of the mask comes from Senghor's poems "Prayer to the Masks" and "Black Mask". The mask he refers to in the poem is an actual West African stylized mask. In the poem the mask represents the permanence of the past in the present. This representation is achieved through Senghor's choice to elevate the mask outside of a particular time. The mask becomes a figure that is carried on throughout eternity which corresponds with the idea presented in negritude that the past will be key in making a culture for the future.

The Prodigal Son

Submitted by Richelle S. Spaulding on Monday, 11/7/2011, at 10:05 PM

In the context of this class, the term 'prodigal son' comes from Leopold Senghor's poem "The Return of the Prodigal Son." The term also comes up in his poem "Beyond Eros." In both cases the idea of the prodigal son stems from the parable of the prodigal son, in which a son asks for his inheritance before it should be given to him, receives it, and then leaves home to gamble the money away and spend it on prostitutes. Without any money he is forced to sleep with pigs. Eventually, he realizes he made a mistake and that the home he once lived in was greater than he originally thought.

Anthropology in listening

Submitted by Grace F. Donahue on Friday, 2/4/2011, at 1:28 AM

Aurality is a huge concept, so in this blog post I want to just attack a single strand of what we discussed in class this week and read about in Erlmann's book. First, I think it is important to throw in a bit of description of some ways aurality could be defined. Aurality is – in a general sense – a noun reserved for what the ears and the mind create together, e.g. awareness of sound, connection with sound, hearing and listening in both physical  and mental processes, and the meta-processes of this mental experience.

Music and the Nature/Culture Paradox

Submitted by Grace F. Donahue on Friday, 1/28/2011, at 2:31 PM

The question of how I situate myself in the beginning of this course could be answered by imagining two very distinct strands of interests in my life that have come full circle around me in the past year. My earliest and clearest memories are of people, music and what could be called “nature”. In effect, from a very young age I have been steeped in the material that gives form to the culture/nature paradox in anthropology. Although I do not currently play any instruments, I have been listening and engaging with music in many ways throughout my whole life.

Mind v. Body and Culture

Submitted by Tian L. Buzbee

In class, we discussed how the rise of the mind over the body ties to the rise of culture, and in my mind, thus also involves an evolution to a more advanced lifestyle (this assumption might be the flaw in my thinking.). Given this assumption, are robots, with their metal-body-encased brains, part of a more advanced culture of their own? Can robots have a culture of their own or, in order to have culture, would they have to be categorized as some kind of living beings independent of humans?