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2018 Sem2 - The Deconstructors
1 – 50000 years ago (22 Aug)
Prepare a 3 minute document to read out to us all. Project yourself back to a time where all of our modern framework and culture don’t exist. So: You are living about 50,000 years ago. You are Homo Sapiens, and you do have speech. Talk to us around the campfire on what you understand about fire and food cooking.
2 TV and story tropes (29 Aug)
This week’s proposition: That Hollywood and TV shows don’t just reflect morality, culture and politics – They help cultivate and shape them. Here are some “takes” on this proposition you might prepare your talk on: Find as many “tropes” (oh, what is a trope?) as you can in current TV shows. Eg femme fatale, love triangle, corrupt big-shot. Try to track movie depictions of mixed race love stories over the decades. Track down a number of “two heads” style romantic movie posters or book covers. What proportion have male head higher than female head? So what’s going on here? Ever watched “If you are the one” (Chinese dating show, SBS)? Blatant promotion of a western cultural mentality into China? You could take a look at http://stereotropes.bocoup.com/ which shows waxing and waning of some themes over the past 100 years of movies. https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/JustForFun/TropesOfLegend
3 All those presumptions
You’re sick but you need food. A tribal Amazon chief is brought to your flat in Brisbane to help you. “Get some money notes from the dresser upstairs, and coin for train fare, and go to the growers’ market at 5am. No processed food please.” Tease out all those layers of presumption, things to understand, component concepts, before our naive Amazon chief might know what to do. Take a look at this excerpt from “I Am A Strange Loop”.
Roland Barthes, Mythologies A famous 1975 collection of short essays. Now rather dated, but useful to us still. …the tendency of contemporary social value systems to create modern myths (Wikipedia) Available here: https://soundenvironments.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/roland-barthes-mythologies.pdf MYTHOLOGIES (Bathes) The World of Wrestling The Romans in Films The Writer on Holiday The ‘Blue Blood’ Cruise Blind and Dumb Criticism Soap-powders and Detergents The Poor and the Proletariat Operation Margarine Dominici, or the Triumph of Literature The Iconography of the Abbé Pierre Novels and Children Toys The Face of Garbo Wine and Milk Steak and Chips The Nautilus and the Drunken Boat The Brain of Einstein The Jet-man The Blue Guide Ornamental Cookery Neither-Nor Criticism Striptease The New Citroën Photography and Electoral Appeal The Lost Continent Plastic The Great Family of Man The Lady of the Camellias So this week, pick ONE of these. Briefly tell us about it and what messages/myth/propaganda you see there.
5 Memes vs Zeitgeist
This week: Pick any idea you choose that relates somehow to a meme, or memes in general, or some aspect of what you think of as the Zeitgeist. Memes: Gene: a DNA package of information encoding some part of living beings. Endlessly reproducible with very high (but not perfect) accuracy. The basis of evolving life. Meme: (term courtesy Richard Dawkins, evolutionary scientist). Concepts that virally spread from brain to brain, replicating and (slightly) mutating as they go. Song melodies, jokes, art styles, etc. We have successfully bonked and replicated for millions of years without knowing anything of genes. We can now sequence whole genome overnight. Q: With the promiscuousness of the internet are we also (trivially) over-analysing everything we think? Lifewire.com says this pic is fastest spread meme in 2016. The ZeitGeist: Zeitgeist (Spirit/ghost of the age/times). A unique spirit of an era. Ideas and belief systems in a culture change over time. When certain attitudes become prevalent, we might say their time has come. Free love of the 1960s, student unrest in the late 1960s, same-sex marriage in the 21st century. Cognitive behaviour therapy replaced Skinner behaviourist therapy. The 2010s have suddenly seen populist election rebellions in …
Socratic method: “a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presumptions.” (Wikipedia !) Start out with a stated opinion. (Socrates’ favourite subjects were on ethics.) With a goal of greater knowledge, not winning an argument, ask questions (both ways) on all the assumptions behind the opinion. Yes/no questions are better. Open-ended approach, and all the answers may not be reached. “To illustrate the use of the Socratic method, a series of questions are posed to help a person or group to determine their underlying beliefs and the extent of their knowledge.The Socratic method is a negative method of hypothesis elimination, in that better hypotheses are found by steadily identifying and eliminating those that lead to contradictions. It was designed to force one to examine one’s own beliefs and the validity of such beliefs.” – Wikipedia Socrates was found guilty of impiety (offending the gods) and corrupting the youth (encouraging political deviants), and was killed by hemlock poison. How democracy went rotten by descending to mob rule? No, says University of Cambridge. It was really Greek democracy properly in action. This week: Each arrive …
7 Jane Austen revisited
Jane Austen – ideal life principles & morals Empire, colony, slavery & money
8 The Hegemony
Hegemony – ref p c roberts on ww2 The Brits & Americans won WW2
Themes Jung, archetypes & collective unconscious.
textuality inter-relatedness of our knowledge name-dropping