Myths Of The Origins Of Fire

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Camilla Power

Myths Of The Origins Of Fire

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 18:45

In this talk, Camilla Power examines myths of the origin of fire from African and Australian hunter-gatherers (including Mbuti, Hadza and Yolngu). These share a logic of women's periodic withdrawal of sex and cooking fire. With control of fire goes control over meat/flesh, but this was ultimately stolen from women by men. Can interpretation of these hunter-gatherer materials help us to decode the Greek story of origins of fire (and death) stolen by Prometheus? In this mythic series, we find the same themes of control over fire, meat and access to sex. Prometheus appears in the guise of a hunter-gatherer trickster. But why does he end up chained to a rock with his liver being eaten and regenerating every day? And why does his encounter with Io, transformed into a heifer and ceaselessly pursued by a gadfly, form the main scene of 'Prometheus Bound'?

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