Forest Voices: The Baka Rainforest Pople And Their Fight For Cultural Survival

Evening class

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Martin Cradick

Forest Voices: The Baka Rainforest Pople And Their Fight For Cultural Survival

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 18:45

The Baka live in a world of giant trees and natural sounds where to listen ensures survival. Over thousands of years their culture has become extraordinarily musical. Song and dance permeate their lives for ritual, for fun, and to unite and create harmony within the group. The Baka’s traditional lifestyle is currently under threat as they are being forced out of their forest home to live in roadside villages. Here they face extreme poverty, discrimination and exploitation and are made ashamed of their forest traditions. Global Music Exchange has been taking a a group of Baka musicians around other Baka villages all around Southern Cameroon. The concerts draw the disparate populations together where, after the music, they are shown films in the Baka language and encouraged to speak to camera so that their voices can be heard. A young film-maker, Davey Poremba made a film of the December 2015 tour and this film will form the main part of the talk. After the film Martin will present a question and answer session where any aspect of Baka life and their current situation can be discussed.

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Evening class information

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

Next evening class

Chris Knight

Selfish Genes, Sociobiology And The Emergence Of Modern Darwinism
Tuesday, May 2, 2017 - 18:45
Daryll Forde Seminar Room, Anthropology Building, 14 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW. Tube: Euston Square. map

When Richard Dawkins' book 'The Selfish Gene' was published in 1976, it caused an outrage on the left. Marxists, feminists and others took the book to be a celebration of laissez-faire economics and competitive individualism. But when we look at the versions of Darwinism which had prevailed in the previous period, it becomes clear that 'selfish gene' theory represented a major scientific advance. Far from justifying selfishness, the new Darwinism explains in a convincing way why instincts of solidarity and generosity are commonplace throughout the natural world. Today, one of the major figures in human evolutionary theory is the feminist thinker and 'selfish gene' pioneer Sarah Hrdy, whose book 'Mothers and Others' explains how cooperative childcare was the critical factor which gave rise to our species. Hrdy's work represents a modern scientific vindication of the traditional Marxist theory, popularized by Frederick Engels, that early human kinship and family life was based on collective rather than individual parenthood. This talk will review the catalogue of misunderstandings which led the left across most of the western world to respond to a scientific controversy by tragically backing the wrong side.