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Researchers into the origins of human language, mythic narrative and ritual have recently made exciting new discoveries. It is now known that symbolic culture began emerging in Africa some 100,000 years ago, in a social revolution whose echoes can still be heard in mythic narratives and ritual traditions from around the world.

St Martinʼs Community Centre, 43 Carol St, (2 mins from Camden Town tube).

Tuesdays, 6.30-9pm:
Jan 24 ‘Song-lines and rainbow snakes’ (myths from Aboriginal Australia) – Chris Knight
Jan 31 ‘Human heroes, power and the cosmos in Borneo’ – Monica Janowski
Feb 7 ‘The Tower of Babel’ (Noam Chomsky and the myth of ‘Universal Grammar’) – Chris Knight
Feb 14 ‘The Utopian Promise of Government’ (Cargo cults in Papua/New Guinea)
Feb 21 ‘An Amazonian Myth and its History’
Feb 28 The Politics in African Ethnomusicological Field Recordings – Noel Lobley
Mar 6  Reproduction and spirit owners among the Miskitu Indians – Mark Jamieson
Mar 13 ‘The Wives of the Sun and Moon’ (Arapaho Indians) – Chris Knight
Mar 20 ‘The hunter Monmaneki and his Wives’ (Tukano Indians)
Mar 27 ‘The Woman with the Zebra’s Penis’ (myths of the Hadza and other African hunter-gatherers) – Camilla Power

Topics include:

Is there such a thing as ‘human nature’, or does it all depend on the culture we live in?
Are children born with a ‘language instinct’? Can chimpanzees be taught to speak? How and why did language first evolve?
Is sexual jealousy natural and inevitable? Why do traditional carnivals so often become rituals of license?
Why did the Neanderthals of Ice Age Europe become extinct?
Is the nuclear family universal? Does a Navaho child have just one mother – or many?
The lifestyle of Native American long-house dwellers has been termed “communism in living”. Might such values hold lessons for humanity today?
Why do women in Amazonia believe that sleeping with multiple partners helps ensure a successful pregnancy?
Is biology woman’s destiny? Is the human male a “naked ape”?
Are traditional healing techniques effective? Why do myths about the origin of death so frequently implicate the moon?
How do hunter-gatherers maintain their egalitarianism?
Who builtStonehenge – and why?


‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski:

‘The Lamb’ by William Blake – set to music by Victor Rikowski:

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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