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

Evening class

This class has already happened.

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.

More about Martin Cradick

Evening class information

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

Next evening class

Frederique Darragon

Ancient Matriarchies Of The Chinese Borderlands: Myth Or Reality?
Tuesday, March 27, 2018 - 18:45
Daryll Forde Seminar Room, Anthropology Building, 14 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW. Tube: Euston Square. map

From time immemorial, numerous illiterate tribes have created, through the impossible terrain of the Sino-Tibetan Marches, fiercely independent kingdoms which thrived until the early 20th century. Many of them pledged allegiance to the Chinese Empire, as did the little-studied matriarchal “Nu Er Guos” queendoms described in the Chinese Annals until 742. Today, these regions are less isolated, but in spite of the Chinese influence, polyandry is making a come-back. Marriage-less matrilineal societies still flourish in a few remote valleys and courtship customs implying that women would cherry-pick among pretenders have only recently disappeared. Could this unusual state of affairs be the remains of these ancient matriarchal queendoms?
Or is it also that the extreme remoteness of these realms has preserved age-old traditions once common elsewhere? Both Chinese and Greek earliest texts stated that people “knew their mothers but not their fathers.”
I will argue that, contrary to current western androcentric assumptions, patriarchy is not timeless and the nuclear family is not universal. Rigorous ethnographic scholarship demonstrates that around the globe humans have adopted many different reproductive strategies, all of which were successful and many of which endured until today despite the spread of monotheistic religions and globalization. Time has come for academia to base its claims on facts rather than theories whose primary purpose was, and still is, to justify the status quo.