iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for The vanishing world of our ancestors

Listen now 28 mins

Listen in pop-out player

The vanishing world of our ancestors

Duration:
28 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 06 April 2013

The ways of our ancestors are still alive in many parts of the world and they can teach us a thing or two. A child in New Guinea could rival a child in New York for their ability to negotiate with adults, for example. But there are drawbacks too - particularly for the elderly or the weak.
Bridget Kendall is given a tour of a vanishing world by three experts who have explored the boundaries of modern and traditional societies in places as far apart as New Guinea, Zanzibar and Sikkim.
Polymath Jared Diamond is Professor of Geography at UCLA. He's been visiting the remote tropical island of New Guinea for the past fifty years. He says that the tribal way of life there, for all its problems, provides unique insights that could serve us modern humans well.
Prajwal Parajuly is a writer from Sikkim, a small Indian state high up in the Himalayan mountains, on the borders of Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. It's a part of the world with lots of ethnic diversity and ancient traditions and in his short stories, Prajwal explores the ambiguous role traditions play in people's lives.
Rhodes University anthropologist Rose Boswell is originally from the island of Mauritius. She has studied women's traditions on other Indian Ocean islands, especially Zanzibar and Madagascar. She tells us what makes the inhabitants of Zanzibar remain faithful to traditional birthing rituals, while people elsewhere adapt a more Western way of life.

  • Jared Diamond

    Jared Diamond

    Professor of Geography at UCLA, polymath Jared Diamond has been visiting the remote tropical island of New Guinea for fifty years.  He says that the tribal way of life there, for all its problems, provides unique insights that could serve us modern humans well, and explains why he thinks their attitude to child rearing, old age, diet and danger could teach us a thing or two.

     

    (Top Main Photo credit: Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP/Getty)

  • Prajwal Parajuly

    Prajwal Parajuly

    Writer Prajwal Parajuly comes from Sikkim, a small Indian state high up in the Himalaya mountains, on the border with Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. It’s a part of the world with lots of ethnic diversity and ancient traditions and in his short stories Prajwal explores the ambiguous role traditions play in the lives of women in Nepali-speaking communities.

  • Rose Boswell

    Rose Boswell

    Originally from the island of Mauritius, Rhodes University anthropologist Rose Boswell has studied women’s traditions at other Indian Ocean islands, especially Zanzibar and Madagascar. She tells us what makes the inhabitants of Zanzibar remain faithful to traditional birthing rituals, while people elsewhere adapt a more Western way of life.

Broadcasts

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss