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 17, 2019 - 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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Our evening talks include discussion, are free and open to all.

Next evening class

Camilla Power

Laughing At The Gods: Bushman Trickster Tales
Tuesday, January 21, 2020 - 18:45
Daryll Forde Seminar Room, Anthropology Building, 14 Taviton St, off Gordon Sq., London WC1H 0BW. Tube: Euston Square. map

Recently, it has been argued that no truly egalitarian societies exist since even those which appear to show equality in real life still have beliefs in dominant divine forces. In this talk, Camilla Power examines the role of the main supernatural entity of Khoisan Bushman peoples, the 'Trickster’. Denizen of First Creation, Trickster shows repeated characteristics of counter- and reverse dominance. He or she switches between an awesome or cosmic aspect – guarding game animals or bleeding initiates – and a weird, comical figure who is mean, cheating, greedy and lecherous, chopping off bits of the body which then behave extremely badly. Can the diverse versions of Trickster be reconciled and is there any underlying logic to them? A number of Khoisan stories will be narrated and discussed to reveal what they have in common. The Trickster expresses cycles of time and oscillation between periods of taboo and relaxation of taboo.