Australian Aboriginal Myths Of The Origins Of Fire

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Chris Knight

Australian Aboriginal Myths Of The Origins Of Fire

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 18:45

Across Australia, Aboriginal myths say that during the Dreamtime, women secreted fire in their vulvas, hiding their firesticks whenever a man approached. The myths go on to say that one day, a male hero stole fire from a woman and handed it over to men. In this workshop, a number of different versions of the myth will be analyzed using the techniques developed by the founder of structural anthropology, Claude Levi-Strauss. We will explore whether such myths help us to reconstruct changes in gender relations across Australia in the distant past.

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Our evening talks include discussion, are free and open to all.

Next evening class

Chris Knight

How Collective Childcare Works In Practice
Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - 18:45
Daryll Forde Seminar Room, Anthropology Building, 14 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW. Tube: Euston Square. map

Anthropologists now widely agree that Homo sapiens evolved with our especially large brains thanks to unusually supportive childcare arrangements. Whereas an ape mother must care for her infant all by herself, evolving humans developed complex systems of cooperative childcare, mothers choosing to live with their own mother and other relatives in order to share childcare tasks. In this workshop, we will explore how sexual relations during human evolution underwent a series of profound changes, with male energies increasingly harnessed to provision and assist mothers and their babies. When did the incest taboo come into force, and why? How does sex in human societies connect up with economics? This session will explore such basic questions as the ultimate nature of distinctively human kinship, family life, economics and sexual morality.