notices


This week’s lectures highlighted two very different rituals, Hauka spirit possession and Cypriot weddings, but both examples brought our attention to the relationship between a ritual embedded in a society and the ways that cultural change can be reflected in this space.

On Tuesday, Jean Rouch’s Les Maîtres Fous showed an example of spirit possession rituals in West Africa after French colonial contact.  What did it mean that these rituals had clearly changed since colonial contact? Why had the pantheon of inhabiting spirits become colonial characters? Catherine posed several alternatives, with links to relevant articles and books –  Was it simply a reaction to colonial power structures?  Was it a way for rural migrants to cope with their new chaotic, urban environment?  Was it a response to the dramatic/traumatic rupture of traditional power structure?  Was the mimicry of colonial characters and protocol a form of appropriation or was it a form of resistance?  Or does the ritual spirit possession signify something that falls in between these two poles – is it a claim to membership within a white, colonial society where they are considered inferior?

Friday’s lecture on Cypriot weddings revealed the ritual weddings being considered in a new way alongside changes in Cypriot society.  As Cyprus finds itself facing increased levels of  ‘globalising processes like Westernisation’, in Argyrou’s terms, he argues that weddings, because of their very public nature in Cyprus, should be seen as a rite of class distinction rather than solely a rite of passage.  MoanaGirl ties this into this week’s readings on Packaged Japaneseness and relates it back to our earlier discussions on inventing tradition.  See Brigitte’s slides, below, on Tradition and Modernity in the Mediterranean: The wedding as symbolic struggle by Vassos Argyrou, for more on Cypriot weddings.

And in case you missed the hintin the lecture today, the next three lectures will be very helpful

for preparing for the end of the semester

Following up the film we watched in class last week, the latest edition of Visual Anthropology Review has a film review of Koriam’s Law and the Dead Who Govern.

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Here are the powerpoint slides from Tuesday’s class on The Invention of Tradition.

You may want to further peruse Hobsbawn & Ranger’s book on google books – the library’s copies are already on loan.   There were also two other sources mentioned in class that you should follow up:  Maurice Halbwach’s On Collective Memory and an article on ANZAC Day from the NZ History website.

If you want to explore more media on ANZAC Day, Colin James’ article takes a look at the changing meaning surrounding ANZAC Day and the relationship it has with Waitangi Day.

The Telegraph has a photo feature entitled The World’s Weirdest Festivals, including the Boryeong Mud Festival in South Korea and the Wife Carrying World Championships in Finland. 

The world's weirdest festivals

The world's weirdest festivals

Keep in mind that these festivals will be as unexotic to these participants as ANZAC Day is to us.

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Great news – The Encyclopedia of Social & Cultural Anthropology is now free online.  It’s a useful starting point to familiarise yourselves with a new topic or even refresh your memory about an old one.

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Via.

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Here is the handout to accompany the film we watched, DNZ: Our Day to Remember.  You can find the dvd in the library if you want to view it again.