A Christmas Fairy Tale: The Shoes That Were Danced To Pieces

Evening talk

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Chris Knight

A Christmas Fairy Tale: The Shoes That Were Danced To Pieces

Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 18:45

This delightful fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm has become a RAG tradition, told every year on the last day of the autumn term, just before Christmas. It tells of twelve princesses and their periodic trips to the underworld, the narrator treating patriarchal marriage as a cruel punishment imposed on a coalition of sisters who had previously been free to dance the nights away. This magical tale introduces us to universal mythological themes which will be explored more fully in the Spring Term. Chris Knight will show how all such tales make sense in the light of the theory that human sexual morality was initially established by women.

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Evening talk information

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

Next evening class

Cathryn Townsend

Emerging Patriarchy In The Mythology Of A Previously Egalitarian Society
Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 18:45
Daryll Forde Seminar Room, Anthropology Building, 14 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW. Tube: Euston Square. map

Ethnographers of Congo Basin hunter-gatherers have emphasised ritual as a levelling mechanism that sustains egalitarianism by strengthening community spirit and mediating power evenly between individuals and subgroups. My talk will discuss how both mythology and ritual are involved in mutual causal interactions with other factors of social life that mark the emergence of inequality among a small community of Baka former hunter-gatherers. An emerging ideology of male predominance in mythology mirrors the same phenomenon in ritual, kinship practices and household economics. I argue that this preoccupation with patriarchal concerns in mythology is one of several strands of evidence pointing to the centrality of gender politics in the emergence of inequality among the Baka.