Ice Age Art

Evening talk

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Camilla Power

Ice Age Art

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - 18:45

Camilla Power has published widely on the origins of art, bringing out the importance of gender relations. She has made a special study of the cave paintings and Venus-figurines of Upper Palaeolithic Europe, asking whether the artists were likely to have been men or women, and whether the recurrent female imagery was intended to represent matriarchal power. She will argue that one interpretive approach is to draw on evidence from the lives and ritual experiences of extant hunter-gatherers such as the Hadza of Tanzania, among whom her fieldwork was conducted.

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

Next evening class

Alice Rudge

Dangerous Laughter: Egalitarianism And The Batek Of Peninsular Malaysia
Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - 19:00
Daryll Forde Seminar Room, Anthropology Building, 14 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW. Tube: Euston Square. map

In the Batek’s forest, laughter and mockery are often subject to taboo, and inappropriate laughter or mockery can cause storms, madness, ill-health, or even death. However, although these taboos are viewed and described with utmost seriousness, people also find great pleasure in laughing together and making jokes. In fact, this pleasure is often intensified when the laughter or joke is forbidden and risks catastrophe. This sets up a dynamic whereby it is largely up to individuals whether they choose to follow the taboos, or to ignore them and succumb to the pleasure of sharing in subversive laughter. Speaking to debates on power and ethics, this paper therefore both outlines the Batek’s laughter taboos, and asks how managing the conflicting demands of laughter shapes people’s ethical values, particularly in relation to power, authority, and egalitarianism.