Lecture: The Cautious Anthropologist with Dr. Shawn Sobers

This lecture was on Thursday February 11th, and was subtitled “Enthusiastic Maker-Cautious Anthropologist”.  Shawn began by recalling the first lecture of this module, which looked at models of practice in relation to theory.  He went to talk about identity, position and the ‘threads’ that make up his activity and experience.  He used his own career, experiences and current activities to illustrate the point of ‘cautions anthropologist’.  Shawn discussed the lack of evidence of slavery in the National Trust houses around Bristol, even though many of these had owners involved in the slave trade, and the void which such a lack of interest leaves. Using his own work in film and photography he demonstrated ways in which research can be approached.  Towards the end of the lecture Shawn revealed a project at Hannah Moore School and we were treated to a moving recording of the children singing.

This was a lecture demonstrating how research can be an integral part of doing, how projects involving others rather than just the maker can be as rewarding.

Seminar: WE discussed a chapter from Pedagogy of the Oppressed – Paulo Freire, 1977, which proposes a dichotomy of verbalism and activism and looks at how a voice may be more or less authentic.  We had a good discussion and talked about several aspects of this piece; I felt that Friere was in essence a leveller, he certainly wishes the teacher and the taught to have a equal status approaching learning.  His use of the word love in this chapter echoes, for me the use of God in certain puritan tracts; I felt that the word ‘God’ could have easily been substituted for ‘love’, in quite a few places.

Freire was writing in 1977, it is surprising to see him quoting Mao in a humanist essay, some 20 years after the catastrophe of the Great Leap Forward and with the assaults on intellectuals of the Cultural Revolution still reverberating.