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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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The Hadza foragers of Tanzania, one of the world’s few remaining hunting and gathering populations, are currently experiencing large scale shifts in their ecological, nutritional, and socio-political landscapes. Climate change, increased interaction with aid organizations, heightened participation in ethnotourism, and the expansion of wildlife conservation areas have led to conspicuous changes in their identity, patterns of subsistence, and degree of market integration. Despite a long standing (and ever growing) interest in conducting research among the Hadza, very few data are available on how such changes are impacting subsistence and mobility. Here, I discuss my recent trip to Tanzania where I worked with Hadza community members who acted as data collectors and research informants. We collected baseline information on ecological change, land rights, food and water insecurity, and the implications of sharing an ever-shrinking amount of land with an ever-growing number of people (both from within their community and outside). These data not only act to dispel the myth that foragers remain immune to the products and processes of modernization, but also contextualize contemporary variation in subsistence regimes and highlight the resiliency that foragers exhibit in the face of change.