September 11, 2012.
Lecture 1 – Intro to Core Concepts in Social and Cultural Anthropology
Things to think about:
Dynamics of culture
Is there such a thing as authentic culture?
Why does culture change?
Relationship between culture and its people
Evolution of culture
Film: Trobriand Cricket
British colonization of parts of Africa (Papa New Guinea) introduces game of cricket
o Enforced to change morals, activities, tendencies of separate villages
o Villagers take over the game, make in their own
Becomes an enthusiastic pass-time played with international rules, regulations, clothing, etc.
Amongst Trobriand tribes, cricket has undergone a cultural transformation
o Now includes chanting, dances, different equipment, etc.
Reverend M.K. Gilmour (missionary) first to introduce cricket to Trobriand
Mission games introduced as a substitute for warfare and way of unifying separate villages
o Villagers vs. converts
As cricket spread to other villages, rules changed to adapt larger teams
o Uniforms of the game became warfare equipment
Villagers hand carve/cleave cricket bats out of light, hard wood with curves at hitting end
Bats are decorated by villagers, undecorated bats are frowned upon
o Referred to as magic/special magic?
o Helps prepare a player’s arms for throwing and hitting
o Decorated in war colours of black and white
Balls also hand carved, then sanded with sting-ray skin, then polished with a pig/boar’s tusk
Chants and dances used to taunt and ridicule opposing team members or to distract batters
Dances and chants having erotic themes
Bisila: named after streamers held by dancers
Dances and chants built on themes of commonplace activities and recent events
o i.e., airplane taking off for airplane team
Entrance dances of seafaring villages display sailors rowing/taking on the sea; upon winning
their dance moves resemble predatory sea birds
Centre-man: man or group in the centre of political/gaming organization
Wickets hammered into place shortly after dawn by the captain of the host team in preparation
for the game
Ankle bands worn by players symbolise lightness of foot and speed?
Palm tree branches used as scoreboards
o Scorekeeper usually a man of importance from an impartial village
Cricket is played during harvest season
Political men call a cricket season as a way of becoming recognised
Ceremony of exchanging foods between villages at end of cricket season
Cricket generally played by younger/middle-aged men
o Older men keep score, keep track of batters left, keep track of runs/# of 6s Point system not as important
o Formal victory to the host team as a sign of respect and thanks for hospitality
o Host team can’t win by TOO much or visitors are insulted
o Informal victory sometimes claimed by visitors for dancing/chanting better, cutting
down opposing team’s batters, or generally feeling like they played better
Game cancelled due to rain; suspicions rain was brought on by cou