Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Wrap-Up Threads, December 4

  • Age-Sets
  • Colonialism
  • Conceptions
  • Diversity
  • Ethnography
  • Exoticism
  • Fluidity
  • Gender
  • Globalization
  • Identity
  • Kinship
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Social Organization
  • Social support systems
  • Tradition
  • Tribalism

Wrap-Up Threads

  • Conceptions (Misconceptions, portrayals, anthropological perspectives)
  • Choice of words, impact of word choice
  • Worldviews
  • Romanticism, Western imagination, noble savage
  • Enlightenment, mechanization, industrial revolution
  • Colonialism
  • Popular culture
  • Groups (Constructs, not bounded)
  • Multiplicity of identities: language, rural/urban, traditional/modern
  • Tribalism (Ambiguity/stereotypes, connotations, nationalism)
  • Kinship
  • Gender roles in social contexts

Ethnomathematics in Africa

TED | Talks | Ron Eglash: African fractals, in buildings and braids (video)

I know Brian Eno says there's not enough Africa in computers but , you know, I don't think there's enough African history in Brian Eno (13:55-14:01)
Eglash's attitude is quite representative of cultural awareness and an anthropological interest in diversity.
A math friend of mine tells me that Eglash is mostly describing recursion, and recursion is at the centre of a large body of research in cognitive sciences, these days. Fascinating that one could bridge disciplinary gaps between cultural anthropology, African studies, cognitive sciences, and mathematics.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Scholarly Material From/About Africa

Aluka - Home Page
Aluka is a not-for-profit international collaboration of educational and cultural institutions. Our mission is to build a high-quality scholarly resource of materials from and about Africa. We seek to attract contributed collections about Africa from institutions and individuals around the world.
Didn't go very far through this site but it looks fairly neutral in perspective. Could be a useful resource.

Watson on African Intelligence

Though Watson has since retracted his statement, it might be useful to look at the situation from a sociology of science perspective. Such a perspective can inform much of our thinking about Africa's cultural diversity. In other words, "scientists are people too."

World-renowned geneticist draws fire for claims that Africans are intellectually inferior: Sciam Observations

Appiah's "Golden Nugget" Theory

Kwame Anthony Appiah at Pop!Tech's Pop!Casts, discussing the "Golden Nugget" source of ideas about social politics.

Few mentions of Africa, apart from the brief discussion of Bantu languages and of Egyptian examples. But it provides an interesting context for thinking about Appiah's work in a broader frame.
The bit about philosophers and factual accuracy could work for some parts of cultural anthropology, though ethnography is much more empirical and fact-oriented than philosophy would be in such a model.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Rick Mercer on Malaria in Africa

Rick Mercer on The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos on CBC
It's very simple: 10$, buys a net, saves a life.
Fair enough. Yet, is it that simple?