Music, Morality And The Creation Of Value In Mongolia

Evening talk

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Rebekah Pluekhahn

Music, Morality And The Creation Of Value In Mongolia

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - 18:45

Among the Altai Urianghai people in a rural district of western Mongolia’s Hovd province, musical knowledge, practice and performance are means through which people engage with overlapping historical influences, create and maintain different cultural traditions and attempt to ensure good future outcomes. This talk will explore how musical knowledge is an important, highly valued resource, leading to performers being highly venerated. Musical performance becomes an ethical practice, one that is collectively shared although key custodians hold individual responsibilities. In this talk, I will ask how understandings of value can move beyond economics to encompass shared cultural resources of other kinds, along with their esoteric potential. I will also explore how the moral musical practice of Altai Urianghai performers engages with national discussions and delineations of contemporary Mongolian culture.

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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.