IN SPITE OF GREAT ADVANCES IN FORMAL METHOD IN SOCIAL SCIENCE, MUCH OF THE UNDERSTANDING OF PERSISTING AND GENERAL RELATIONSHIPS DEPENDS UPON A GRASP THAT IS TOTALLY INDEPENDENT OF SOME FORMAL METHOD. IN ADVANCING SOCIAL SCIENCE, WE INVENT AND PRACTICE TECHNIQUE AND CULTIVATE A HUMANISTIC ART. (Robert Redfield)

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TRIBES OF INDIA (Video Playlist) ETHNOGRAPHIC FILMS BY SATHYA MOHAN

Showing posts with label Africa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Africa. Show all posts

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Mysterious Dogon Tribe

The Dogon are an indigenous tribe located in a region of Mali, south of the Sahara Dessert of Africa. They are a reclusive tribe of people with an ancient and intricate cosmology based on a single god, Amma. They are believed to be of Egyptian descent as their astronomical lore dates back to 3200 BCE. Today, they occupy the Homburi Mountains near Timbuktu where Dogon farmers have used intricate irrigation channels to produce green oases to surround their cliff-side villages.

According to their lore, the Dogon have always known that the Earth was round and circled the sun, but that is only the begin of their cosmological understanding. Their texts contain extensive and surprisingly accurate information about Sirius star cluster long before Western science had made such discoveries. They knew that Sirius had had a companion star which they refer to as Po Tolo, or Seed Star that moved in a 50-year elliptical orbit and was invisible to the human eye. The tribe claims that this companion star contains a mysterious, super dense metal known as Sagala, far heavier than all of the iron on Earth. In 1926, astronomers concluded that this elusive companion star existed was a white dwarf, a type star categorized by its small size and immense density. The accuracy of their ancient astronomical claims has brought much interest to the origins of this mysterious and whom they have come into contact with over the millennia.

In addition to their fascinating lore, the Dogon are also known for their astonishing masks and woodcarvings. Their ancestral artwork has had an enormous influence on modern art, including the work of Picasso. They have over 80 varieties of mask they wear depending on the celebration.

References

Photograph by (c) Woody Wander

Photograph by (c) Dan Heller

Photograph by (c) Dan Heller

Photograph by (c) Dan Heller

Photograph by (c) Dan Heller

Photograph by (c) Anthony Pappone

Photograph by (c) Dan Heller

Photograph by (c) Dan Heller

Photograph by (c) Dan Heller

Photograph by (c) Dan Heller

Photograph by (c) Dan Heller

Photograph by (c) Chris Rainier

Photograph by (c) Woody Wander

Photograph by (c) Anthony Pappone

Photograph by (c) Anthony Pappone

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Voodoo Mysteries


In this documentary we enter the mysterious world of voodoo. Know their origin, beliefs, gods, rites and best kept secrets, "The Mysteries of Voodoo"

00:07 Millions of people were captured in Africa and sold in America. By the end of the 18th Century, in Haiti alone, there was a population of more than 2,900,000 African slaves. After becoming a French possession in 1697, Haiti soon became America's biggest producer of sugar and also one of the places with the highest number of slaves in the world.

03:42 Boukman, the leader of the browns, organised a great secret ceremony in BOIS CAIMAN. That night on 14th August 1891, a black pig was sacrificed and all those present drank its blood. The revolution of the slaves had begun. The message was very clear: cut off heads, burn houses and destroy plantations. In a few days more than a thousand whites were killed. The terrified white settlers started the legend that the blacks had made a pact with the devil that night in BOIS CAIMAN.

Voodoo is a religion that is very closely linked with nature and many of its deities dwell in rivers, valleys and mountains. There are many natural settings which are real sanctuaries. The faithful retreat to these places to meditate and meet their luas, or family spirits, and the principle forces of the Universe. These are spiritual observatories that enable them to communicate with the Great Beyond.

09:40 Limonat beach is a place of pilgrimage. Preachers from the most distant parts of the country come here to perform Guiné ceremonies and beseech the favour of Erzuli, mother Earth, the Goddess of Love, who is identified in syncretism with the Virgin Mary. They mainly offer food and rum and wait for Erzuli to appear, for her to take possession of someone's body.

15:20 The lakús are self-sufficient population cells. Work is communal as is the product obtained from this work. Each lakú is run by a HOUNGAN, or voodoo priest, who is called MAMBO,

18:20 A great deal of ceremonies are performed in cemeteries among the dead. The people are not afraid of these places, and it is commonplace, and considered to be a great honour for someone to sleep on his father's grave. The tomb of Baron Sammedi, the King of the Dead, can be found in all cemeteries, although in some it can only be identified by the people from the village, to stop outsiders working there. Normally, it can be recognised by its large cross and the first burial is made here.

19:25 Tonight, we are witnesses to an "expedition" made by a HOUNGAN from Artibonito, the region of Haiti with the strongest magic. fire is prepared with pine sticks and pieces of paper with someone's name written on them, in order to tie somebody down, so that they cannot leave another person. They also use special powders made by the HOUNGAN. In voodoo these powders are very important. Each HOUNGAN has his own mixtures, which can go from healing powders to zombie powder. This ceremony is performed so that the Baron may deliver justice in a dispute and carry out the sentence on the guilty party. The red and black dolls represent the protagonists, men and women, of the lawsuit that is presented. When this powerful HOUNGAN is possessed, he has the power to eat glass. Baron Sammedi reigns over all the GUEDE, the spirits of the dead. When he mounts someone he acts like a joker and uses obscene language. This is the lua of sexuality and he falls in love with women; his dance imitates the coital act and he always smokes a lot.

39:36 We attended the rite of initiation into Cuban black magic, Palo Monte, by members of the secret society Awuaka. The essential difference between santeria and El Palo, is that here they work with the dead instead of with the saints. Once the initiation is over, the prendas mayombe must be fed. So a goat and two hens are sacrificed. Their blood will satisfy the appetite of the dead, who will help the newly-initiated member to follow the way of Palo Monte.

47:11 Umbanda is based on the worship of the EGUN, beings with great spiritual light, strength and wisdom. Their objective is to attract these beneficial spirits so as to do good. Here, drums and rhythm play a fundamental role. Each spirit has its own beat and its own cadence. Their altars are dedicated to the same deities as in voodoo and santeria: EXU, OGGUN, the warrior, LEMANYA, the siren, OBATALA, the creator, XANGO, and the rest of the African pantheon.

Voodoo Mysteries | https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...
Full Documentaries playlist | http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=...
Culture documentaries playlist; http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

20 Incredible TED Talks for Anthropology Majors

Because anthropology involves a breakneck collision course between so many different subjects, students with broad interests find it an absolutely thrilling major. Not like anyone can blame them, really; the multifaceted concepts behind human evolution and culture open up some intriguing, sometimes scary, truths about what it means to be a member of mankind. Seeing as how TED just so happens to harbor similar goals, plenty of its famous, stimulating Talks series feature lectures of interest to the anthropological community. A small sample of its rich intellectual bounty can be found here, but seeking out some of their other offerings will do nothing but help supplement lessons and pique eager minds.

1) Zeresenay Alemseged looks for humanity’s roots: This TED Talk sends viewers to Ethiopia on a paleoanthropological journey digging for truths behind mankind’s ancient origins. Zeresenay Alemseged shares the stunning true story of his team’s excavation of the oldest known child skeleton. A discovery that might very well open more doors toward better understanding our biological history.


2) Aubrey de Grey says we can avoid aging: Step from humanity’s past to one option in its multiple-choice future, courtesy of a respected Cambridge professor. Likening aging to a degenerative disease, he believes that the right science can reverse, even “cure,” the natural process, and describes the benefits of doing so. Time will ultimately reveal this mindset’s true outcome, but it certainly provides nourishing food for thought today. 


3) Wade Davis on endangered cultures: An enviable position with National Geographic granted Wade Davis the extraordinarily rare opportunity to immerse himself in indigenous and marginalized societies worldwide. His multimedia TED Talk exposes audiences to these threatened peoples, often displaced and threatened thanks to imperialism and globalization. It’s a somber look at a tragic anthropological reality for tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) worldwide. 


4) Nicholas Christakis explains how social networks predict epidemics: Today’s anthropologists should probably pay attention to the role social media plays in forming cliques and subcultures. As Nicholas Christakis’ thorough research reveals, mapping Facebook, Twitter, and the like actually provides the quickest conduit for tracking the spread of everything from diseases to creative ideas. Suffice it to say, valuable (if not life-altering) applications for this technology exist beyond the anthropological realm. 


5) Jane Goodall discusses what separates us from apes: Because biology and evolution make up a significant chunk of a future anthropologist’s education, paying attention to one of the world’s most pre-eminent primatologists is essential. After a lifetime among Tanzanian chimpanzees, Jane Goodall marveled at the eerie parallels between humans and their closest genetic relatives. But at least one glaring departure exists, revolving around differences in language and communication complexities. 


6) Dan Dennett: Cute, sexy, sweet, funny: Such simple, though often subjective, concepts like those in the title actually involve some seriously complex social and biological constructs. Though, scarily enough, the latter doesn’t always exactly gel with the former. In fact, sometimes one’s physical wiring declares the exact opposite of the philosophical.


7) Nina Jablonski breaks the illusion of skin color: In a TED Talk sure to spark some controversy and discussion, Skin author Nina Jablonski harnesses NASA’s TOMS7 satellite to draw conclusions about pigmentation and UV exposure. She notes some interesting points about UV rays’ role in darkening skin, and believes that the phenomenon eventually infiltrated humans at the genetic level. It’s compelling science, to be certain, and one anthropology students should keep in mind as their studies progress. 


8) A.J. Jacobs’ lives biblically for a year: Anthropology majors nurturing a healthy interest in religion and its role in inspiring humanity toward both good and evil will undoubtedly find this particular lecture fascinating. Here, they can explore one journalist’s attempts to spend an entire year following the Bible literally, and the resulting internal and external stresses. Considering the topical nature of fundamentalism and ensuing cultural and political controversies, his insight might very well prove beneficial in the long run.


9) Chris Abani muses on humanity: This Nigerian activist’s modus operandi is simple, straightforward, and noble: “to chronicle, to share and to document stories about people.” This also happens to be the core goal of the entire anthropological community. Chris Abani collects stories the way some people collect baseball cards, and he shares some here that uphold humanity’s dignity without paying lip service to its more sinister corners. 


10) Spencer Wells builds a family tree for humanity: Even though the human race boasts incredible genetic diversity these days, that coding had to start programming itself somewhere. This TED Talk by Spencer Wells, the National Geographic Society’s genographic project head, discusses how he’s currently working backwards to discover the biology every human on earth currently shares. For anthropology students and anyone else fascinated by the life sciences, his lecture is a satisfying mental treat. 


11) Rodney Brooks says robots will invade our lives: Because mankind’s machines have left an indelible impact on its evolutionary, social, and cognitive development since pretty much the beginning, it stands to reason that they’ll continue to do so forever. These days, robots infiltrate so many facets of daily life in the First World, many people can’t visualize a future without them. And though this TED Talk hails from the dark ages of 2003, much of what it has to offer still applies to contemporary times. 


12) Louise Leakey digs for humanity’s origins: Another amazing anthropological lecture inquiring about the beginnings of modern humans, this time coming from the Rift Valley and Lake Turkana. Here, mysteries about Homo erectus and other species who may have eventually spawned us battle it out for scientific dominance. After all, “until 30,000 years ago, at least three upright walking apes shared the planet Earth,” so right now, the real ancestor could be any one of them, or one that continues to remain unknown. 


13) Kevin Bales advises us how to combat modern slavery: Slavery has plagued humanity since ancient eras, and continues netting millions of billions of dollars annually, particularly when it comes to labor and sex. Kevin Bales’ research, which he shares here, exposes the tragic, inhumane reality behind some of the world’s wealthiest industries. And then he tells viewers exactly what needs doing to ensure equitable economic treatment for all the world’s peoples. 


14) Amber Case claims we are all cyborgs now: Technological advances in communications, particularly cell phones and the internet, will inevitably lead to evolutionary changes to accommodate them more and more in our daily lives. Whether or not this turns humanity into “Terminator” or useless blobs with “external brains” is anyone’s guess, but anything’s possible. Regardless, though, anthropologists will inevitably end up dealing with the aftermath, so they may as well start preparing now.


15) Robert Sapolsky shares the uniqueness of humans: TED frequently shares its favorite videos from around the web, and one particularly human-centric example comes straight from Stanford University’s Class Day in 2009. Primatologist Robert Sapolsky hilariously skewers the human animal and its often inexplicable behavior patterns. It certainly makes you wonder what the rest of the world’s biomass makes of such curious bipedal creatures.
 

16) Stefana Broadbent discusses how the Internet enables intimacy: Social media critics frequently lambast the isolationist components of the Internet, but cognitive scientist Stefana Broadbent heartily disagrees. Her two decades’ worth of research regarding communication via cell phone, instant messaging, social networks, and more lead her to believe that they actually encourage individuals to stay connected with one another. Loved ones separated by distance or time can use these available tools to foster closeness rather than staying apart or constantly waiting for correspondence. 


17) Aaron Huey looks at America’s native prisoners of war: America’s inhumane, brutal treatments of indigenous peoples is a well-known, but tragically under-addressed, atrocity. Aaron Huey’s photographs of the shocking, impoverished conditions at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation showcase how such historical injustices continue stretching into contemporary times. The suffering of the Lakota people summarizes how horrifically imperialism’s marginalization hits native civilizations and serves as a clarion call toward social action. 


18) Devdutt Pattanaik: East vs. West — the myths that mystify: Despite frequent interactions (and an extended period of British exploitation), India and “Western” society still manage to perpetuate myths and misunderstandings about one another. Drawing from his experiences as Future Group’s Chief Belief Officer, Devdutt Pattanail explains that these assumptions likely stem from religious roots. Although this TED Talk expresses a businessman’s perspective, his insights resonate far beyond the boardroom. 


19) James Watson on how he discovered DNA: James Watson and Francis Crick built upon Rosalind Franklin’s research to unlock the scientific reality of DNA — although only the first two received any sort of recognition for it. Nevertheless, the story remains one of the most important in life science history, and its relevance to anthropology should be self-evident. Majors and non-majors alike should still sit and marvel over the triumphs, drama, and tragedies behind piecing together the mysteries driving living matter. 


20) Adam Ostrow: After your final status update: Archaeologists and anthropologists of the past (and today, obviously) dig through ancient dirt to discover as many truths about human culture and evolution as they can. Those in the future will have completely different territory to excavate: the digital landscape. Social media sites unwittingly serve as virtual memorials to the deceased, providing a first-person view of contemporary cultural memes.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Revelation Of The Pyramids

For centuries the Great Pyramids have fascinated mankind and each year brings a batch of new theories from the plausible to the absolutely bizarre. Now in THE REVELATION OF THE PYRAMIDS, out on 22nd August, courtesy of Optimum Home Entertainment, the truth is uncovered. After nearly forty years of study and research, the producers of this documentary have at last managed first to understand and then to prove what lies behind one of the greatest archaeological mysteries. Patrice Pooyard, the director of the film guides you through the world's oldest and most beautiful sites after six years of investigation, aided by his anonymous informants and technical specialists. The result will shake the world history to its very core, and revolutionise Egyptology entirely.

Ancient Aliens : The Dogon & The Sirius Mystery



The Dogon, an African tribe, were said to have astronomical knowledge that should have been beyond them, specifically relating to the star Sirius. The Dogon were reported to have carried that information with them down through their long history, which is remarkable in itself - but the claims of ancient contact with aliens who may have been the Dogon's ancestors are what really pushed this story into the limelight. 

The Dogon are an ethnic group located mainly in the Bandiagara and Douentza districts of Mali, West Africa. They live mainly along a 125-mile stretch of escarpment called the Cliffs of Bandiagara which runs from south-west to north-east, roughly parallel to the river Niger. The Dogon typically live in villages of less than 500 people, which used to be built very close to the cliffs but, with time and the decreasing fertility of the nearby land, they have started to move away. The Dogon are an ancient people - one account describing their origins says that they lived originally in what became Egypt, but migrated away to Libya and then to Mauritania before settling in Mali. It is difficult to be sure of this because the Dogon still have a oral tradition of record-keeping and the story varies from clan to clan and area to area.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The torture of Credo Mutwa

Put simply: what you give out you get back – often with interest – and so the ‘winners’ who ‘win’ by hurting, exploiting and parasiting off others (‘Oh, haven’t they done well?’) are the biggest losers of all. They are just too greedy and ignorant to see it.
The consequences of such behaviour, for this life and those to come, will return to give them what they gave out - and more. Only that way can those consumed by greed, self and vindictiveness see that it’s not the way to treat your fellow expressions of the Infinite. So those who have stolen the money from Credo Mutwa's books and stolen the Necklace of the Mysteries think they have got away with it. But they are just a ticking clock until the consequences come flying back.
It’s the same with the man who stole years of income from my books – he went to jail for not paying tax on what he stole! Talk about instant karma. The book distribution company that helped him to fleece me went bankrupt and the big New York legal firm that charged me far more than necessary to deal with the case went into liquidation.
And it is the same with the single person with no dependents who is currently seeking to clean me out through the courts and, on top of that, demanding nearly $5,000 a month from me in unearned income with monthly payments continuing until I am nearly 70. No, I'm really not kidding.
This person is trying to ‘win’ – ‘if you want a war you can have one (I don’t)’ – but by even thinking of such demands, never mind employing a barrister to secure them, this person has already lost in a way they don't even begin to understand.
And those pathetic and ignorant people who are urging this person on to exploit and, in effect, destroy my work, have also already lost just as comprehensively.
As Martin Luther King said: ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice’. And at this time of great energetic change, the end of a vibrational age, that arc is becoming shorter by the hour.
You cannot hide from cause and effect, you can only kid yourself you can, or convince yourself that when you cheat or exploit someone it is either justified, only what you deserve, or 'their own fault'.
No matter, tick, tick, tick, karma's a comin'.
Enjoy the necklace, chaps.

Credo Mutwa presents a cultural and historical view you are not likely to encounter in your regular history books. What I have found most fascinating are the stories related to some of Credo Mutwa's personal experiences. This is the real version of Africas history - not the history given to Africa by white colonists.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The torture of Credo Mutwa and the theft of the Necklace of Mysteries


David Icke and I (Bill Ryan) recently met with Credo Mutwa, the great Zulu shaman, healer, and keeper of African tradition. He told us a horror story.

The short version of what happened is this. A few months ago, earlier in 2010, Credo was being pestered daily over the phone by someone who claimed he was from a group of young Zulus about his "betrayal of the Zulu nation" by talking so much to white people.

Exasperated, he put the famous and priceless Necklace of the Mysteries on his shoulders and took a train to Swaziland to confront the people who were giving him such a hard time.

When he arrived, he was set upon and tortured. They started pulling his fingernails out with pliers. The Necklace was taken from him, and he was put on a train back home. In the background, throughout all this, was a white man whom Credo did not recognize.

If you know ANYTHING about the theft of this priceless, ancient artifact, of inestimable value to the history of Africa and the human race - but very likely now in the hands of white men who are only interested in money - please contact [email protected] in full confidence. Thank you.

Bill Ryan
22 August 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Monday, September 17, 2007

JOHN KENNEDY MARSHALL: The best documentarian you never heard of


JOHN KENNEDY MARSHALL: The best documentarian you never heard of
By CLARA LONG The Patriot Ledger
John Kennedy Marshall, an early documentary filmmaker who is admired by anthropologists for his single-minded focus on Kalahari Bushmen, is the subject of a brief retrospective presented at this year’s film festival.

Co-director and film professor David Tamés always hoped to convince Marshall, who lived in Belmont, to visit his filmmaking classes.

But Marshall died in 2005 at age 73 after spending five decades filming the everyday lives and struggles of the Nyae Nyae in Bushmanland, Namibia.

Tamés and his wife, Alice Apley, set out to find Marshall in the memories of those he touched. Along the way, they produced a 16-minute ‘‘short’’ film, ‘‘Remembering John Marshall.’’

‘‘The film fills the gap of getting to know him better by interviewing people who worked with him,’’ Tamés said.

Born in Cambridge, Marshall studied anthropology at Harvard and spent his life between Massachusetts and the Namibian desert. In his later years, he became an activist helping the tribes he filmed fight for the right to water and land.

Marshall’s name, Tamés said, does not roll off the tongues of film buffs reciting the documentary pantheon, but it should.
‘‘He’s virtually unknown even among filmmakers,’’ Tamés said.

To those who know his work, Marshall is noted for his patient camera work and meticulously edited sequences. Marshall advanced the cinema verité style of filmmaking, which aspired to extreme naturalism.

‘‘He never made it a point to go to festivals,’’ said Tamés of Marshall. ‘‘He never really called a lot of attention to his work as a filmmaker.’’But Apley and Tamés said Marshall’s films go beyond anthropological studies.
‘‘When I first watched John Marshall’s ... observational film about a Ju’/hoansi trance dance ... I wanted to reach out and wipe the sweat off the dancers’ brows,’’ Apley wrote in a recent article in the online magazine New England Film.

Tames said the PIFF was the only film festival that agreed to show ‘‘Marshall’’ the way he wanted: on a bill with some of Marshall’s own shorts so the audience could gain a better perspective of his subject.

‘‘I also love that the film festival has the ‘Made in Massachusetts’ focus,’’ Tames added. ‘‘It’s easy for a festival to just program a bunch of popular movies, but this is a great place to see unique films in good formats.’’