THE MBENDJELE YAKA - PRIORITISING SOUND
The Mbendjele are forest hunter-gatherers of Congo-Brazzaville. Dr Jerome Lewis, a research and teaching fellow at the London School of Economics has carried out long term fieldwork with the Mbendjele and has recently returned from a field trip where he has observed and documented a crucial category of activities known as 'massana'.
He notes that the Mbendjele often prioritise sound over sight and this came to light mainly through Jerome looking at 'massana'. 'Massana' refers to children's informal play but also to organised games and collective rituals carried out by adults. These activities emphasise the importance of cooperation, fun, play and laughter in human development, as well as mimicry.
Laurie Taylor talks to Dr Jerome Lewis about his findings which shed light not only on the flow of everyday Mbendjele life, but also more generally on processes of human learning and development.
EMPIRE OF THE SENSES
What is the role of the senses in society? Why do many people in west-African societies hold hands when they talk? Did a group of islanders in the Bay of Bengal really 'smell' the Tsumani coming? And thus survive? Whilst in Western societies, sight and sound are often favoured over other sensory experiences, what is the world like to cultures that privilege touch, taste or even smell?
Laurie Tayor is joined by Professor David Howes, editor of a collection of essays entitled Empire of the Senses, and Ruth Padel,an award winning British poet and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, to discuss how the senses mediate between self and society, mind and body, idea and object and how sensation which is fundamental to our experience, is often overlooked as a site for academic study.
Dr Jerome Lewis
Research and teaching fellow at the London School of Economics & Policital Science
Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada
Empire of The Senses
David Howes (Editor)
Publisher: Berg Publishers - ISBN: 185973863X
Dr Cornel West
Princeton professor, theologian, activist and author
Track title (6): N-Word
Performer: Dr Cornel West
CD title: Sketches of My Culture
Record Label: Artemis Records - B00005OC67
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