LAST so far…so good :)

Posted by: | February 24, 2009 | Comments Off on LAST so far…so good :)

I have really enjoyed this class so far!
Throughout the last few weeks we have investigated and analyzed a number of general ideas and terms. Attempting to define them was very difficult as there was always another persons idea or point of view.  We have over the last few weeks come face to face with the slippery slope that accompanies  attempts to define such broad and capacious terms.

The first two readings by Keesing and Williams gave us two different views or ways to look at culture. Keesing  employs a very anthropological way of looking at cultures. He believed anthropologists needed to rethink the way they approached culture. He gave us a very attractive metaphor of the Coral reef. Williams on the other hand believed that culture is ordinary, that all people are a part of culture and make it what it is. He uses the metaphor or a journey to exemplify the idea that culture is moving, growing, unbiased, and all around us. These two views simply gave us some insight into what others have said on the term “Culture”.

The second readings were by Eva Peron, and Borges. They both addressed the term “The people” and just who the people are. In My Message by Eva Peron the people are presented as “Pueblo” which in Spanish translates to an inclusive, small town community feel that represents all people except the elite. In Borges article “Celebration of the Monster” we see a different side of the Argentine people, perhaps a more real side. This is a perspective coming from the middle of the crowd, informal and representative of how normal people feel and think in Argentina at the time of Peronism.

In the article by Rowe and Schelling the concept of popular culture in Latin America is contemplated and discussed. This article described Latin America based on times in history, customs, traditions, art, culture, and ways of life that made me really picture everything. This article did a good job of explaining the many different and also similar popcultures present in Latin America. It consists of a medley or mixing of old and new ways of living, ways before colonization mixed with the new ideas brought by the Spanish, and the ideas of recent times. Culture is always evolving.

The next articles we read were by Asturias and Arguedas bringing attention to Folk Culture. In Latin America the notion of Folk has to do with indigenous heritage. Asturias presents a collection of legends, stories having been handed down through the years. It is important to note that when legends that come from an oral culture are written down they can lose some of their magic or be written solely in a way that the author decides they should be. Arguedas tells a story of the Pongo, who gets revenge on his master. This folk tale is written from an indigenous point of view, a great identification with mestizo and the lower side of society. It is about the lower people getting their own back, if only for a moment there is always room for resistance.

The last readings by Vasconcelos and Wade discuss theories of mixture.  Vasconcelos provides us with a very utopian idea about a 5th race. His idealistic view is that love will bring us together with the creation of something new. A collection of all races best qualities. He still employs a hierarchy within the races with some better than others. His racist undertones as well as unrealistic ideas made me question … well basically his sanity. His arguments are extremely controversial and difficult to begin to break down. Wade on the other hand talks of the concept of mestizaje, and the idea of a mosaic. This is a more realistic way to look at the differences and dualities within the mestisaje. People have the choice to decide how they want to view themselves.


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