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Lesson Plans


Re: OTHER CULTURE:EDU.

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Maggie White (mwhite)
Fri, 09 Oct 1998 16:10:00 -0700


vicki ranck wrote:
> ONE US STATED THAT TEACHING STUDENTS TO MAKE MASKS, TOTEM POLES AND SHIELDS FROM
> OBJECTS COMMON TO US NOT THE CULTURE MADE THEM UNCOMFORTABLE. BUT LOOK AT IT THIS
> WAY, THOSE CULTURES USED WHAT WAS AT HAND, WHAT WAS INDIGENOUS TO THEIR AREA AND WE
> USE WHAT WE HAVE.

and Collier Family wrote:
> Here in
> South Africa it never ceases to amaze me how rural, tribal people find
> the most amazing uses for materials, often completely removed from what
> the material was originally intended for.

These are both important statements regarding our discussion, and it helps clarify
something I wrote earlier about using authentic materials.

It's quite true that in less-industrialized societies the artisans and craftspeople will
use whatever is at hand: nails, bottle caps, tire rubber, aluminum from cans...these
concoctions are often extraordinarily ingenious. And it's true that many artists, esp.
here in the U.S. use found materials to create their works.

This I have no problem with. It's when someone is telling the students, "Okay, we've
looked at Hopi Kachinas and talked about what they're for, and now you're going to make
some out of toilet paper tubes," that makes me cringe. I think we should be aiming for
_interpretation_, not _replication_ of other cultures' artifacts. This is why I
advocate studying a broader spectrum of cultures and time periods, instead of singling
out "Hopi Kachinas" or "African masks." If the students can view several sources, they
would have a better understanding of the universality of masks, yet be exposed to the
unique ways various cultures have produced them.

Maggie