This summer, I am spending a week in Decatur, Georgia at the Global Village Project. To prepare for my trip, I have presented on a country where some of the young refugees that go to the school originated from and I also read a book about a young Hmong girl whose journey to freedom had a lot of effects on her life. Through our discussions of culture, I can understand that her culture is based on what she has learned from her family and how she had survived through such tragedy. This class has opened my eyes to the world around me and how each and every action I do originated from one thought or one tradition. Even my gender has a lot to do with how this world revolves in my mind and through the analysis of movies and books, I am able to understand that keeping an open mind is the best way to explore all of the possibilities that there are in this world. Zoya wrote a book entitled "Undaunted" to express her story and the issues that arise in her culture and through stories like hers, I am able to see how ethnocentrism expands far beyond the borders of the United States. This was a great way to explore the title Cultural Anthropology and I appreciate the opportunity to understand a new outlook on life.
Director: Clint Eastwood, Writers: Nick Schenk, Dave Johannson; Filmed: 13140 Charlevoix St, Detroit, Michigan
The cultural influence this movie had on its creator and genre: The movie is a great representation of intercultural communication and representing the barriers that are present in neighborhoods and changes that are happening around America today.
This movie was a great portrayal of ethnocentrism. Clint Eastwood is a great representation of how one cultures perspectives of another does not have an age limit. However, as the movie progresses, Walt begins to change and understand that with his neighborhood being a new population, cultural changes are starting to take place. He is more respectful of the cultural celebrations that the Hmong people have and appreciates the food and attention that he gets. Cultural changes also happen for Sue who lives next door, rather than staying in the kitchen like her mother and grandmother, Sue stands up for herself and adjust to American culture. The quote "girls go to college while boys go to jail" was not true in this movie, thanks to Walt, Toa gets the chance to break the barrier of the Hmong and continue in his education. Through cultural change and the ethnocentrism, this movie had a lot of important aspects on how the American society has been impacted by the incorporation of so many cultures existing in just one neighborhood. Walt grew over the course of the movie and his personally beliefs of keeping out of his neighbors business sure enough changed towards the end of the movie when he sacrificed his life for the good of his neighbors.
From a personal perspective, this movie was a great portrayal of change in time and how todays society has become more violent and misunderstood. The fact that this old school man who is very racist begins to know his neighbors and respect them for their beliefs and life choices is wonderful. I think of the barriers that there are today between the old school people and the 21st generation of rap music and profanity and through these, cultural changes are very evident. The ending was bittersweet, I am so glad he did not give his precious car to his obnoxious, disrespectful, and rude granddaughter, rather he gave it to the one person who would value it and appreciate all the hard work that he knew went into that car. Walt gave his life so his neighbors could sleep peacefully and know that the guys who mistreated the neighborhood for so long are gone for a very long time. This was a great ending to the journal entries and it tied in a lot of anthropological concepts that we have learned over the course of the semester.
Directors/Writers: Gary Kildea, Jerry Leach; Filmed in: Papua New Guinea
Impact of this movie on cultural genre: this is a new outlook on the transformation of sports from the original structure into a more spiritual tribal sport.
From an anthropological perspective, the game of cricket ties into potluck. In the Trobriand islands, one tribe hosts the game and provides food and gifts for the guests. The potluck is used to represent class and higher title when compared to the other tribe. Another concept that was evident in this clip was syncretism in culture change. When the "white people's game" came to the Trobriand islands, the tribes wanted to play the sport but continue in their cultural ways. They converted the form of English cricket to incorporate chants and representations of their status through potlucks and continuing in their cultural traditions.
I personally found their version of cricket to be very interesting in the way in which they have made it their own. They play the sport in their festive dressing and continue with their chants even though it is a serious game. I really appreciated the fact that there was not a small maximum to the number of players on each team, there was a better chance of having each tribe play all together. Personally, I would not enjoy wearing their outfits while I am running but then again, I probably would not be able to play with the men in the islands.
Filmmaker: John Marshall; Filmed in: South Africa, Namibia;
Cultural Influence: Represents a story of one !Kung woman's journey over the course of 27 years as she grows through the changes in her foraging band and gives light to the structure of sexuality in her culture.
This focus film was a wonderful representation of the reality from "The Gods Must Be Crazy". The first concept that was evident in the film was structured around bride service and the age in which little girls are promised to an older man. When the girls are younger like the main character in the film, the groom ask the parents for their daughter in return they will work for them. In the beginning, the young women were miserable and hated the idea of marrying these men however, N!ai over the years began to grow closer to her husband and now she is comfortable in their marriage and enjoys his company. The second concept is about culture change with a large emphasis on seditism where the white people came in to take over and forced N!ai and her people to settle. They had to settle on a little bit of turf without any choice and learned how to make do with the small source of food and housing space. Cross-cultural communication is another key concept within this short clip that we watched. In the short clip, we were able to witness a pastor to is alone by a well with some of the Ju/'hoan women and this representation of what Christianity has to offers makes an appearance and intrigues along with frightens these women who are standing by this stranger who called himself "God's son". The ending was a great representation of the anthropological perspective of sexuality and change in these women's' life.
The film was mentioned in the chapter for a reason, when compared to "The Gods Must Be Crazy", these people had to suffer without a voice for too long. The classification of someone based on whether they are healthy or not is ridiculous and I think that is an awful fact that was clearly evident in the small portion of the film that we saw. The story of the Ju/'hoan women focused on N!ai and with her cooperation, she was paid which caused a lot of issues for her because you do not share money. These issues kept growing and that backlash was unbearable and unfair. I found it interesting that N!ai fell in love with her husband over the years and their relationship is strong especially since she was married off at 7 years of age.
Director: Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Kimberlee Acquaro; Writer: Jacoba Atlas, Jessica Congdon; Filmed: Los Angeles, California
The cultural influence of this film: Show the under estimated classification of women and how they are treated in this world and perceived. This documentary explores a different aspect of society through the mistreatment of women in America.
This film is all about how women are misrepresented in the American society. Women are portrayed as needing to be very skinny and looking like dolls almost and the sexuality of their roles in society are to be seductive. The attire that today is young women wear is seductive and cause teenage girls to be perceived as too fat or too skinny. If they are too skinny, people jump to the conclusion that they have an eating disorder. The second concept is centered on gender when women feel that they need to change themselves in order to attract the opposite sex. Women feel that they need to be feminine in order to be classified as the female sex and that reduces their confidence and the freedom to be whoever they wish to be. The anthropological perspective of this movie was centered on the female figure and how in today’s society, girls will be judged based on their figure and how they are presented to the males of this generation. Sexuality and gender were two key concepts that best describe the documentary in a small summary.
From a personal perspective, this film opened my eyes to all the different aspects of society that I have not thought of being degrading. For instance, the movies classify women as the damsel in distress and rarely, the protagonist who wins the battle. Women are used in the media as a sex object and that just makes me furious in a lot of sense because as we get older and think about having families. What worries me the most is how my children would be treated and the judgments that they will get from being who they are and liking sports rather than putting makeup on. Models are a great example of falsification in the media, the photo shopping that goes into making a cover of a magazine is ridiculous and it gives the wrong message to little children and even young adults about the way their bodies should look. I really enjoyed this movie and all that it stood for, however, I wish it would not put so much blame on men but rather the concept of media because men are encouraged to change who they are for photos or for jobs a lot more than the population would suspect.
Director: Jed Riffe, Pamela Roberts;
Writers: Anne Makepeace;
Filmed in: California
The Cultural Influence: this is a documentary unlike any other with the exploration of a lost Indian tribe in California 20 years later with one lone survivor.
Chiefdom is in power in this film with the structure of the tribe and the representation of power and succession as the years continue. In the cultural schema of things the expression of culture for the Yahi is in things and not in actions. Ishi fought to stay alive and expressed his spiritual values through his actions and the ways in which he honors the people that he has lost along the way. The one night that they went back to Ishi's home, he had a spiritual meeting with the spirits of his lost tribe and through that meeting, he was pure in a sense and he was able to continue believing that his people are free now and safe. Another key topic from the anthropological perspective is cultural adaptation, in order for Ishi to adjust to modern day society, he started to observe and explore the different aspects that Americans have such as the way citizens dress and the proper time to change and where.
The spiritual aspects of Ishi's life continued on into the hunting of food for the Yahi. Kroeber and his colleagues learned a lot about the process of making the kill holy and cleansed. Ishi taught the men that you have to go through a process in the correct way in order to make the kill acceptable to the spirits and able to eat. In order for the men to kill their prey, one of the scientists need to stop smoking and sure enough once the air was clear and the animal could not suspect human life being near, they were able to capture the animal and cleanse it and eventually eat it. The entire outlook on life reflects on the spirits and at the end of their human life, they travel down south for entrance to the other world. The communication barriers allowed for a continue cultural adaptation considering that Ishi was the last Yahi and the wild language was only spoken by his tribe.
In my personal perspective, this video was very intriguing and had a lot of different cultural aspects tied into the life of Ishi. I found it very intriguing that the hunting of Indians was legal and even profitable, the fact that one person can hunt another for profit just makes my skin crawl. Ishi had suffered so much and yet he continues to be strong and fight to survive in this new world for him. Ishi even wanted a bride and one that was shocking for most that he would want to marry Lily Lamia who was the eye candy for most men at this time. Kroeber took great care of Ishi and the way he respected him was honorable but I could not imagine asking Ishi to recall such a tragic time when he lost all of his Yahi village and culture because of competitive cultural differences. There were a lot of spiritual aspects in Ishi's culture for instance when his sister was calling him from the next life and that was very interesting with his hope that they would all move on and they did through his discussion at night with them. One thing stuck with me more than any other and I wanted to cite it, "Ishi was the teacher, scientist were the novices" when Ishi and Kroeber and a few other men went back to Ishi's village, Ishi taught them all about their methods and how they lived day by day and the scientists were the ones learning from his lifestyle.
Hotel Rwanda was a great representation of the big man with the example of the stuffed shells in the kitchen of the hotel and how the manager told them to substitute the meat with a cheaper local substance to make more rather than have a better quality. Power and money cause controversy in this situation throughout the movie, a great example of how money will cause countries to hesitate to intervene to prevent loss of substance. The Europeans did not want to intervene because they would lose a large portion of their income from selling weapons to the rebels.
This movie was so sad and it made me value my freedom a lot more. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering that this culture went through during this dark time. Driving along the road and only being able to see dead bodies is unimaginable and makes me wonder how could someone do this to another human just to kill them. As a future teacher and just a human, it hurt my stomach at the thought that the rebels are planning to execute all of the tootsie children to wipe out the next generation. This moving was eye opening but I did not enjoy watching it because every minute, I had to fight back the tears.
Director/Writers: Terry George and Keir Pearson; Filmed: Rwanda; The effect of this film impacted the history of Rwanda during the struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda and the true story of this hotel manager who fought to protect thousands of Tutsi civilians
Director: Joel Zwick; Writer: Nia Vardalos; Filmed: Toronto and Ontario;
Cultural Influence: Provides a new outlook on love through the separation based on cultural differences in the Romance genre
My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a movie that centers around the traditions of a family and their religious views on marriage and love. One anthropological perspective that came to mind when watching the movie this time was kinship; the affinal relatives are very involved in the couple’s relationship and have an input on almost everything that they have to say about life and raising a family. When the wedding comes into focus in the movie, the discussion of voluntary association at the wedding reception even though a lot of the guests were family members, there were a lot of people who were friends of the parents who came to support the union. There was a particular function of the lifestyle in which the children lived, at the wedding, the father gave the newlyweds a gift, the keys to a house in which he had paid for. This was a great representation of security for the beginning of the couple’s life together.
The gender roles in this film are mentioned throughout with the examples of the jobs in which the women hold such as waitressing while the men work as travel agents or with the families dry cleaning business. These all tie into the family along with gender roles. The family is the key structure in how the movie expresses one culture combining with another. When Ian proposes to Toula without her fathers permission, Ian did not abide by the families rules. The males take on the role of asking for the daughters hand in marriage to the parents before proposing, this was testing the limits for the views that the family has of Ian along with him not being Greek. The anthropological perspective could go on forever but these were the main topics that I found to be strong throughout the film.
The format of the movie contains both humor and sweet intimate moments throughout and it is by far one of my favorite movies because of the acceptance of love and how it does not have barriers when two people truly love each other. The way the family is structured does not resemble the same way that my family is however, it is a great representation of change in society today. I have seen this movie over 50 times and I have never looked at it from a anthropological perspective before but I do find it strange in the way that their relationship is critiqued based on beliefs and also how he changes to be part of their family. This movie is a great representation of how marriage does not have boundaries; it just has bumpy roads occasionally.
While watching this video, I could not help but relate it to the subsistence patterns and through this; I will incorporate the discussion of foragers. Nanook used what he killed and he took care of his family, he built them an igloo and protected them as a father would. He harvested fish and hunted a small seal to feed his family and would teach his children how to fish with a pole, he used a plain stick, and he did not have any fabric or anything on the pole. He would also kill their food with his teeth and was very humble in that way. The second cultural term that I found very noticeable in this silent film is cultural adaptation, he raised his children to adapt to the type of environment that they are raised in and Nanook shows how to be efficient. Through cultural adaptation, he is exploiting resources to be more efficient and through this film, it is showing his adaptation to his environment and the type of lifestyle in which he is living in. Through my personal views of this movie, I can see where the stereotype of Eskimo comes from. I really enjoyed the film however; I saw that there was a division in gender roles where the mom takes care of the children while the father makes the home or catches the food. I feel bad for them because if food is scarce, there is not much that the parents can do and some eventually die from lack of food. I thought it was so cool how Nanook made a window out of a sheet of ice and used snow to reflect the sun into the home. I wish I were as creative as Nanook and Nyla. However, I will never chew my husband’s boots to warm them up for him; I may love him but that will never happen.
Director: Robert J. Flaherty; Filmed: Arctic Circle;
Impact: first praised film in the cinematographic history and impacted the perspective of the Great White Snow
Director/Writer: Jamie Uys; Filmed: South Africa;
Cultural Influence: expression of the bushman evolving into the Urban life
For this entry, I would like to focus on the beginning of the movie "The Gods Must Be Crazy". This movie was shown to the class in two parts, the first without sound where we created our own story in our minds on what the movie is all about and who the characters were portraying. The second time, we watched the video with sound and my entire perspective changed. Through this blog entry, I will discuss anthropological concepts that we have learned thus far in the context of this movie.
Without sound, I noticed from the beginning that the location was out in the bush where there were lots of animals and then over time, the animals started to disappear and this native culture developed. With no sound, I was able to notice the small things and infer what they traditionally do like killing a cobra to use it for multiple necessities like food and tools. I noticed that unlike our culture, they wear little to no clothing. Once they have killed an animal, they bow their head and say something but I am poor at reading lips and I would rather not make assumptions. With sound was a whole other story; from the beginning, the narrator describes these indigenous people and how they have survived on little to nothing. With traditional ecological knowledge, the bushmen are able to survive in Botswana from natural resources such as snakes, trees, leaves. When the children were trying to dig the root out of the ground, an older bushman comes over to help and this showed representation of egalitarian when they share the resources amongst each other.
In my personal observation, I could only infer from the view that the setting could be in a savanna type environment. I noticed that the man was helping the children drink from the root and children were eating these drops that looked like polymers. By adding sound, I realized that those polymers were actually jube drops (I probably spelled that completely wrong). Once we discussed the movie as a class, I was learning so much more that made me rethink my perspective on our world. The way the narrator talked about how America has conformed to suit the poor country that we have built in so many words made me think: How accurate is that statement? I felt bad for these bush people because they would have to be very strategic in order to have a water type substance every morning but when I went back after reading my notes, I realized that they are satisfied in their life. They grew up living off the land and are content with the little things rather than most Americans who always want and are never complete. Don't get me wrong, these people still have their differences and do not spend all of their time together, it is like family relatives in a sense, you can only handle them in certain amounts of time. At least that is a good classification of my large amount of family members. But looking back on this movie, it opened my eyes to a whole new outlook on life and how we can be satisfied with small amounts however, we show our class through the amount of wants that we carry around.