Exhibit B: is the ‘human zoo’ racist? The performers respond


The show, which displays live black actors, has been targeted by protesters, but the actors say that it is a powerful depiction of racism past and present

Exhibit B
A performer, captioned the Missing Link, revolves on a plinth in Exhibit B. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod

Last week, the Guardian reported that Exhibit B, which received five-star reviewswhen it was staged in Edinburgh last month, has been targeted by campaigners protesting against its forthcoming run at London’s Barbican Centre.

Directed by the white South African Brett Bailey, the show is inspired by the 19th-century phenomenon of “human zoos”, where African tribespeople would stand on display for European audiences to look at.

In Exhibit B, spectators walk through a room in which black actors are displayed on plinths, some semi-naked, but the tableaux vivants they stand in depict the evils of the colonial era, including four singing “severed” heads. There are also exhibits depicting modern-day asylum-seekers, with the refugees described as in the accompanying text as “found objects”.

Afterwards, the audience are led into a room where they can write down their responses to the work. There are also cards with text written by the actors in the show, describing their experiences of modern-day racism.


A Rap on Race: Margaret Mead and James Baldwin’s Rare Conversation on Forgiveness and the Difference Between Guilt and Responsibility



“We’ve got to be as clear-headed about human beings as possible, because we are still each other’s only hope.”

On the evening of August 26, 1971, Margaret Mead (December 16, 1901–November 15, 1978) and James Baldwin (August 2, 1924–December 1, 1987) sat together on a stage in New York City for a remarkable public conversation about such enduring concerns as identity, power and privilege, race and gender, beauty, religion, justice, and the relationship between the intellect and the imagination. By that point, Baldwin, forty-six and living in Paris, was arguably the world’s most famous living poet, and an enormously influential voice in the civil rights dialogue; Mead, who had just turned seventy, had become the world’s first celebrity academic — a visionary anthropologist with groundbreaking field experience under her belt, who lectured at some of the best cultural institutions and had a popular advice column in Redbook magazine.

Art by Wendy MacNaughton for Brain Pickings

They talked for seven and a half hours of brilliance and bravery over the course of the weekend, bringing to the dialogue the perfect balance of similarity and difference to make it immensely simulating and deeply respectful. On the one hand, as a white woman and black man in the first half of the twentieth century, they had come of age through experiences worlds apart. On the other, they had worlds in common as intellectual titans, avid antidotes to the era’s cultural stereotypes, queer people half a century before marriage equality, and unflinching celebrators of the human spirit.

Besides being a remarkable and prescient piece of the cultural record, their conversation, the transcript of which was eventually published as A Rap on Race(public library), is also a bittersweet testament to one of the recurring themes in their dialogue — our tendency to sideline the past as impertinent to the present, only to rediscover how central it is in understanding the driving forces of our world and harnessing them toward a better future. This forgotten treasure, which I dusted off shortly after Ferguson and the Eric Gardner tragedy, instantly stopped my breath with its extraordinary timeliness — the ideas with which these two remarkable minds tussled in 1971 had emerged, unsolved and unresolved, to haunt and taunt us four decades later with urgency that can no longer be evaded or denied.

Although some of what is said is so succinctly brilliant that it encapsulates the essence of the issue — at one point, Baldwin remarks: “We’ve got to be as clear-headed about human beings as possible, because we are still each other’s only hope.”— this is nonetheless a conversation so complex, so dimensional, so wide-ranging, that to synthesize it in a single article or highlight a single dominant theme would be to instantly flatten it and strip it of power. Instead, I am going to do something I’ve never done in nearly a decade of Brain Pickings — explore this immensely valuable cultural artifact in a multi-part series examining a specific viewpoint from this zoetrope of genius in each installment, beginning with Mead and Baldwin’s tapestry of perspectives on forgiveness, the difference between guilt and responsibility, and the role of the past in understanding the present and building a more dignified future. (gehiago…)

Ser pobre es una mierda


Foto: James Willamor (CC)

Hace unos años mi trabajo consistía en ayudar a familias con pocos ingresos a rellenar el papeleo para pedir servicios sociales.

En un país normal, donde el Estado no se dedica a juzgar la catadura moral de sus ciudadanos pobres, este es un trámite relativamente sencillo. Hay papeleo, sí, pero la mayoría de servicios como sanidad o acceso a guarderías públicas o bien son o bien aspiran a ser universales. Más allá de demostrar que tienes un pulso y confirmar que no eres un asesino en serie perseguido por la justicia, la Administración tiende a dejarte en paz.

Esto no es así en Estados Unidos. Cualquier persona de pocos ingresos que tenga que pedir alguna clase de ayuda, por desesperada que esté, tiene que rellenar una cantidad francamente deprimente de formularios, a menudo adjuntando una montaña enorme de documentación. Impresos de más de veinte páginas no son en absoluto inusuales, así como largas tardes al teléfono intentando convencer a un aburrido funcionario de servicios sociales de que es poco realista pedirle a un indigente una copia de su carnet de conducir y el teléfono de su casero, por mucho que esa sea una de las preguntas marcadas como obligatorias en la sección 5B.

A efectos prácticos, lo cierto es que me pasé meses de mi vida esencialmente rellenando formularios a cientos de personas de muy mal humor, siempre preguntándoles cosas privadas, embarazosas o directamente insultantes. Dice mucho de la paciencia y buena voluntad de la gente de Nueva Inglaterra que nadie me soltara una bofetada y que solo un par de veces se me liaran a gritos, porque realmente estaba haciéndoles un examen sobre sus vidas. Por muy buena voluntad que le pusiera, sin embargo, el tener que pensar sobre quién cumplía los requisitos para acceder a sanidad, cupones de alimentos y demás día sí día también acababa por hacer que juzgara a estas personas, aunque fuera un poquito. Siempre me contuve, intentando ser educado.

Hasta que un día me pasé de listo. (gehiago…)

Industry’s Influence on Trade Policy

President Obama continues to press for a form of fast track approval to ensure Congressional support for two major trade agreements: the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership Agreement (with 11 other countries) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (with the entire European Union).

Both agreements, based on leaks of current negotiating positions, have been structured to promote business interests and will have negative consequences for working people relative to their wages and working conditions, access to public services, and the environment.

These agreements are being negotiated in secret: even members of Congress are locked out of the negotiating process.  The only people that know what is happening and are in a position to shape the end result are the U.S. trade representative and a select group of 566 advisory group members selected by the U.S. trade representative.

Thanks to a recent Washington Post post we can see who these advisory group members are and, by extension, whose interests are served by the negotiations.  According to the blog post, 480 or 85% of the members are from either industry or trade association groups.  The remaining 15% are academics or members of unions, civil society organizations, or government committees.  The blog post includes actual names and affiliations.

Here we can see the general picture of corporate domination of U.S. trade policy as illustrated by the Washington Post.
9 10

In short, corporate interests are well placed to directly shape our trade policies.  No wonder drafts of these treaties include chapters that, among other things, lengthen patent protection for drugs, promote capital mobility and privatization of public enterprises, and allow corporations to sue governments in supra-national secret tribunals if public policies reduce expected profits.

Cross-posted at Reports from the Economic Front.

Martin Hart-Landsberg is a professor of economics at Lewis and Clark College. You can follow him at Reports from the Economic Front.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Lo que unos países piensan de otros como nadie te lo contó.

Aturem el racisme institucional

Joves d’Esquerra Verda hem sortit al carrer per reproduir l’examen de nacionalitat a diverses persones. Hem fet les mateixes preguntes que una persona estrangera pot haver de respondre. Qui decideix si fan l’examen i quines preguntes han de respondre? El criteri únic i subjectiu del jutge o jutgessa del registre civil.

La nacionalitat implica drets, i l’emancipació política i social. La plena ciutadania.

De debò deixarem que la truita de patates destrueixi els plans de vida de tanta gent?

Aturem el racisme institucional! La nacionalitat no és un concurs, és un dret.


Chart of the Week: The Breadth of European Colonization

This is a map of the countries Europe colonized, controlled, or influenced between 1500 and 1960. The purple is Europe. The orange countries are ones never under European rule. Almost the entire rest of the map — all the green, blue, and yellow — were dominated by Europe to some extent. “Influenced” is pretty much a euphemism and often not all that different than outright domination.


Max Fisher, writing at Vox, summarizes:

There are only four countries that escaped European colonialism completely. Japan and Korea successfully staved off European domination, in part due to their strength and diplomacy, their isolationist policies, and perhaps their distance. Thailand was spared when the British and French Empires decided to let it remained independent as a buffer between British-controlled Burma and French Indochina…

Then there is Liberia, which European powers spared because the United States backed the Liberian state, which was established in the early 1800s by freed American slaves who had decided to move to Africa.

More details and discussion at here.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Zientzia Kaiera: Ezjakintasunaren kartografia #57

Ezjakintasunaren kartografia #57

Posted: 21 Mar 2015 01:00 AM PDT

Mapping Ignorance blogean hainbat artikulu interesgarri argitaratu dira. Hona hemen asteon plazaratu diren artikuluen laburpena.

ezjakintasunaren kartografia #57Errua zeure aitarena da. Baietz ba, izan ere, deprimitua baldin bazaude munduak ez du errurik, ezta zaborra edo zerbait erabilezina bezala ikusten baduzu zeure burua ere. Beno, behintzat, hori edo antzerako zerbait da Raúl Delgado-Moralesek esaten diguna It’s all your parents’ fault (II): how Darth Vader programmed Luke to have depression artikuluan.

Komunikabideek esaten dutenari kasu eginez gero, minbiziaren gaitza amaitutzat joko genuke astero. Horren inguruan argitaratzen diren proposamenak benetan bitxiak dira. Isabel Pérez Castrok aztertzen du berriki plazaratu den horietako bat Graphene Oxide: Yet another “cancer cure of the week”?

Beti erakutsi izan digute, askoz jota karbonoak soilik lau lotura egin ditzakeela. Hori horrela izan da DIPC barrabaskeriak egiten hasi arte: A planar pentacoordinate carbon.

Guztiok entzun dugu hitz egiten bidezko merkataritzari buruz. Baina, benetan zerbaiterako balio du garapen bidean dauden herrialdeetako ekoizleei zuzenean erostea beraien produktuak? José Luis Ferreirak buru-belarri ekiten dio gaiari Does Fair Trade deliver? artikuluan.


Mapping Ignorance bloga lanean diharduten ikertzaileek eta hainbat arlotako profesionalek lantzen dute. Zientziaren edozein arlotako ikerketen azken emaitzen berri ematen duen gunea da. UPV/EHUko Kultura Zientifikoko Katedraren eta Nazioarteko Bikaintasun Campusaren ekimena da eta bertan parte hartu nahi izanez gero, idatzi iezaguzu.

The post Ezjakintasunaren kartografia #57 appeared first on Zientzia Kaiera.

Revista Historia para todxs

Herramientas: Eric Hobsbawm – 16 libros

Posted: 22 Mar 2015 06:58 AM PDT

Para el día de hoy les traemos unas herramientas bastante interesantes, ni más ni menos que 16 libros del historiador Eric Hobsbawm. Algunos de estos libros creo que estan agotados, pero les recomendamos conseguirlos, nada mejor que tener en papel investigaciones de este autor para disfrutarlas como se debe

Los libros

Hobsbawm, Eric – 1990 – Naciones y Nacionalismo Desde 1780.pdf

Hobsbawm, Eric – 1994 – Historia del siglo XX.pdf

Hobsbawm, Erik – 2011 – Como cambiar el mundo.pdf

Hobsbawm, Eric – 1990 – Los ecos de la Marsellesa.pdf

Hobsbawm, E. y Marx, K. – Formaciones económicas precapitalistas [10ª ed., Pasado y Presente, 1982].pdf

Hobsbawm, E. – Revolucionarios. Ensayos contemporáneos [1973] [ed. Crítica, 2010].pdf

Hobsbawm, Eric – 1959 – Rebeldes Primitivos.pdf

Hobsbawm, Eric – 1969 – Bandidos.pdf

Hobsbawm, Eric – 1969 – y Rudé, George – Revolución industrial y revuelta agraria. El capitán Swing.pdf

Hobsbawm, Eric – 1971 – En torno a los origenes de la Revolucion Industrial.pdf

Hobsbawm, Eric – 1975 – La Era Del Capital, 1848-1875.pdf

Hobsbawm, Eric – 1983 – La invención de la tradición.pdf

Hobsbawm, Eric – 1983 – Marxismo e Historia Social.pdf

Hobsbawm, Eric – 1987 – La Era Del Imperio, 1875-1914.pdf

Hobsbawm, Eric – 1989 – Industria e Imperio.pdf




Listening to Nature and Standardizing Sound


30 Oct 2014
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

470 Stephens Hall

Event Type

Alexandra Hui
Associate Professor of History, Mississippi State University

My larger interests are in the creation and maintenance of listening practices.  I ask what informs scientific communities’ process of perceptual standardization, and what are the consequences for these individuals’ listening, their science, and their understanding of the environment. So, how did individuals’ conception of their environment relate to their aural perception of it? I am especially interested in this with respect to the subfields of biology that study vocal species—ornithology, marine biology, herpetology, entomology, etc.  In this talk, I will give a brief overview of my monograph project on how field scientists learn to listen in the twentieth century.  I will then offer a close examination of field notebooks, correspondence, academic articles, and field guides to trace the changing efforts of both avocational birders and ornithologists to represent bird sounds according to new standards and goals.  These efforts to represent bird song, often in visual form, made it into a scientific object.  They also made specific birds’ songs repeatable and transportable; separate in time and space from the bird itself.  This narrative arc provides insight into how scientific communities standardize subjective aural experiences, perhaps at the cost of alienating nature from the individual listener’s experience of it.