polutrope: (academia)
Anthropology is hard.

Anyway, there's always a question, to me, of how conscious the average person is of the "deep inner meaning" of rites - and if they're not conscious of it, is it really there? For the most part, the anthropologist is a foreigner, and even when he's not, they're better educated than the people he's studying. And so, he's not a part of the community, and looks at things they do every day from an analytical point of view.

I'm sure we do things - being afraid (but, and this is another problem, it's often less "afraid" than "aware of the fact that it is a noteworthy event") of black cats, perhaps - that a foreign anthropologist might think were terrible meaningful and important, but I would say, Oh, I just do it because I always have.

That doesn't necessarily make the custom invalid (although that is a very infelicitous phrase), but I don't think that one should base the idea of the current society on the rites practiced.

(This made even less sense than I usually do, because I have no idea what I'm talking about!)
polutrope: (Default)
Today was the first day of my action-packed second semester, and by "action-packed" I mean that I'm taking five courses. I had all but one of these today.

Russian was fun, of course, although Christine, the grad student who helps teach, has apparently decided that since it's second semester, we obviously understand when she speaks Russian. Which is true - for the most part. However, the textbook hasn't arrived yet, so we're using photocopies. Flipping through pages is fun

Homer wasn't as bad as I thought it would be - I realized looking at my book last night that I could actually sort of remember some of my vocabulary, and he's taking it really slow.

Balkan/East European Oral Tradition will be a great class. (And it's Slavic Studies/Comparative Literature/History/Hellenic Studies. Really. [Also, at this point I've got more of the requirements for a Slavic Studies major than Classics.]) There are four of us, one of whom is a grad student, so the room we're in is oversized, to say the least. But the topic is very interesting, at least to me, and the professor seems really nice.

And my writing seminar, which is on the Inquisition, is not as bad as I thought it would be, although I still think that my professor has *ahem* intimate experience with practice of inquisitors.

(This is a production of Rossini's Cenerentola, with Joyce DiDonato. Her singing is very good, but the real point of this is to make fun of the production. Let's just say that I know what they were aiming for, but it doesn't quite get there.)

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