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Lecture 1 - Trobriand Cricket - September 11.docx

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Tania Li

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
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