Religion is one of the most powerful cultural forces in the world. It shapes identity, causes conflict, and helps people find purpose and meaning in their lives. By examining many of the world’s religions, we hope to look both outward and inward, into the cultural identity of our communities and ourselves. Check out the images and links below!
Over the last week or so, we have been exploring data, personal stories and more concerning socioeconomic status in a diverse American society. There are many ways we’ve done this, and many take-aways from the data, encouraging great discussion in class. First, we had to create a context for class stratification in American society as well as a historical context. We also had to take a look a common assumptions and misconceptions as compared to data. Then we had to determine what factors we were going to evaluate: race, gender, class, etc. Here are a couple of the resources we’ve used:
In order to personalize the story and place it in the context of data, we also examined the lives of four people who all work, but have great difficulty in getting by from day to day. That’s primarily because they are low wage workers. The documentary is called, ‘Waging a Living’ by POV on PBS. We saw how income has changed in the last 30-40 years when adjusted for inflation as well as how jobs, single parent families, divorce, health care, and education impacts an individual’s class status. This isn’t equal across different groups in America either.
Once we looked at that data, I introduced Holly Sklar’s ‘Imagine a Country’ essay. Many of the students were shocked and awed by the data while others found justifications for preconceived notions about diverse living conditions in America. I originally found the essay in Paula Rothenberg’s ‘Race, Gender and Class in the United States’. The piece is very provocative and almost always begins great discussion on economic justice as well as free market capitalism.
Finally, we explored the issues of health care and inequality in America. The website Unnatural Causes became a central resource for us in exploring these connections. The site contains video clips, interactive features, health care data, international comparisons and more.
Art is a window to the soul, but it also a message to the world. So many cultures in the world have expressed their vision of the world through their art. Humans are more creative than they are destructive. When people form communities, their art becomes public. This is definitely the case with murals and the Latino community in America especially. This week we are going to learn about culture through art and the meaning it has for our individual and community in our culture.
Let’s take a look at some great sites first on murals. This first one is from the Philadelphia Mural Arts Project.
A very interesting documentary that focuses one of their episodes on murals is Visiones: Latino Art and Culture. Check out their site here.
Chicano (Mexican American) mural art is also a powerful form of political and cultural expression. Learn more about it and see lots of murals in the the US at this site.
Another famous mural artist was Diego Rivera. You can see his murals and art at this virtual museum.
Remember that there are three requirements necessary to go on the field trip to the Museum of Fine Arts on Monday with Mr. Palumbo’s classes. Here they are:
1) Parent/Guardian Permission Slip. It must be filled out along with any medical information needed.
2) Teacher Permission Slip. It must be signed by all of your other 3 teachers.
3) MFA Assignment completed on time. The post can be found here. It had to be completed by Friday, April 15th by the end of the day, unless you checked with me beforehand concerning extenuating circumstances (with a parent’s note).
You must meet all three of these conditions to go on the field trip.
Here’s where everyone stands as of Sunday morning, April 24th.
So far, the students who have met all of these conditions are:
A Block: None
B Block: Joselyn D., Aysla S., Taylee R., Will L., Andrea M.
C Block: None
Students who meet two of the three conditions are:
A Block: Tieryn S., James G.
B Block: Ahsley Al., Jordyn P.
C Block: Renique H., Quiana M., Jose M., Catia R., Tina P.
Those who met only one of the requirements are not able to go. Sorry. :(
Music and culture are deeply interconnected. In this unit, we will study how music influences culture, how music shapes identity, what music is, how the mind interprets music, and finally how our culture shapes our music.
First, we’re going to explore the message delivered in this video of the Malinke tribe of West Africa… Everything is rhythm. It is so cool how it is edited. Check it out and pass it on.
Next, let’s take a look at some of the music of the world, specifically from National Geographic. It’s an awesome site with thousands of videos and audio recordings from around the planet. It can be searched in many ways too.
Another way to learn about music from around the world is to listen to stories about them. PRI’s radio show, The World is on each day from 3-4pm and 6-7pm on 89.7 WGBH Radio in Boston. Their global hits archive is awesome and contains years and years of stories about artists and their music. Check it out here.
If you want to learn more about ethnomusicology, come check it out in one of the largest universities in the country, UCLA.
Music isn’t just about culture; its also about the mind. New studies are revealing a whole world of discoveries concerning music and the mind – from studying Neanderthal music language to music therapy and FMRI scans. Learn more about it here.
As well as this episode from the great Oliver Sacks…
You may want to explore music from around the world through Wikipedia. Here’s the list.
Finally, Alan Lomax is an intersting case study of how one person tried to record as much of the world’s music as possible. He is not without controversy, but his recordings are now an important part of the Library of Congress. Check them out here.