cultural-influence

10

The whole set compiled in one post. TNG characters in portrait styles inspired by their personalities. Click images for art style/artist names. You can come to your own conclusions but my explanations are on my blog posts. :)

Why develop a fictional culture?

When you’re creating a race of people for your new world, you need a culture to give those people and their way of life some context. The culture helps determine how the characters act, dress, eat, solve problems, among so many other things. You can (and sometimes, should) have multiple cultures in your world, depending on how large your focus area is. Cultures affect each other, but also serve in a narrative sense to draw contrast in-world and to draw parallels to the reader’s world. 

So here are some thoughts, big and small, that are meant to help inspire you as you create amazing cultures. (And remember that you’re thinking about the following questions in the context of the general population, not your main character(s).) You can simply answer these questions in short-answer form, or you can write a short story to flesh out one or two or three questions at once. If you do that, submit them to me! I’d love to feature them on the blog. 

  • How old do people believe their race is? How old are they really?
  • How prevalent are religions to the common person?
  • What is/are the origin stories of the main religion(s)?
  • What do most people think should be the highest priority:
    • biological family?
    • chosen family?
    • career?
    • service/charity (of any kind)?
    • religion?
    • entertainment/fun?
    • nation?
    • expansion (of nation/culture/influence/understanding)?
  • How do culturally shared priorities shape interactions?
  • What is the common greeting? Does it vary by age, class, rank, or sect?
  • How is gender viewed by the majority? Why?
  • What are common myths/legends of your people and how heavily do they influence the modern day?
  • How trustful are people of outsiders?
  • How welcoming are people, in general, of strangers into their homes?
  • How well do people of various factions (class, race, religion, etc.) get along in society?
  • How far has technology advanced, and how has it been implemented into their daily lives?
  • If magic exists, what do they believe is its origin? Its source?
  • If there is division between magic/non-magic, how do the two treat each other and why? How long has it been that way?
  • What sort of relationship do they have with their ruler?
  • How content is the average person?
  • How do people make their living and how big a part of their life is their career (if applicable)?
  • Do they have “weekends” and if so, what sets them apart from “weekdays”?
  • How do they treat their close friends?
  • How do they treat their enemies?
  • How do they handle small conflict, between individuals or small groups?
  • How do they handle larger conflicts?
  • How are they prepared for any potential war? Do they have some sort of military or militia in place? 
  • How many wars have they, as a society, fought over the course of their lives/history? How much of an impact does that have on their cultural identity? (i.e. WW2′s impact on patriotism in America, and how it’s yet to go away.)
  • What virtues do they value in individuals? What virtues do they say they value? If those are different, why?
  • How do they dress? Does it vary greatly by gender, or not? Is their focus on clothing very practical, religious, sentimental, or simply driven by the latest arbitrary fashion? How do the above answers reflect on the culture on a deeper level?
  • How do they treat their elderly?
  • How do they treat their children?
  • At what age does a baby become a child, a child a young adult, a young adult an adult, an adult an elder?
  • How much regulation does the day-to-day life of the average citizen entail? Or, how involved is the government in micro affairs?
  • How are these people seen throughout their known world? How do other cultures view this culture?

Check out the rest of the Brainstorming Series!
Magic Systems, Part One
Magic Systems, Part Two
New Species
New Worlds 
Map Making
Politics and Government
Belief Systems & Religion
Guilds, Factions, & Groups
War & Conflict
Science & Technology

Anakin…exists relative to the state of the galaxy. He is not Luke, he is not the youth of western literature on a journey; that is Luke’s role. Anakin’s role is that of the demi-god of Greek and Roman origin. When Anakin rises, the galaxy rises with him, when Anakin is in turmoil, the galaxy is in turmoil, when Anakin falls, so falls the galaxy. Anakin is intrinsic to the galaxy because Anakin, like so many other mythological demi-gods, is an avatar for the gods or, in the case of Star Wars, the Force. Regardless of any one person’s views on the Force (which are extremely disparate and widely varied, so we won’t broach that subject here), this fact is indisputable. Anakin, as the Chosen One who will “bring balance to the Force”, is its avatar. When Anakin is claimed by the Dark, the Jedi Order’s zenith is reached, the Balance is tipped, and the Order descends into darkness with Anakin, just as his return also signals theirs. 

The title ‘Return of the Jedi’ doesn’t just reference Luke becoming a Jedi, but Anakin’s return to the Light, and with it, the ability for the Jedi Order to once more flourish. In this he is much like Beowulf, when the Geatish hero sacrifices himself to defeat the dragon at the end of the epic poem. Failure would spell ultimate destruction for Beowulf’s people and country, just as, had Anakin failed to destroy the Emperor, the Jedi and the galaxy would truly have been wiped out. Anakin himself has to die, however, because he is what tips the scales. Once he dies and becomes one with the Force, only then is balance restored.

— 

‘STAR WARS: The Creation of a Modern Myth: Cultural Influence, Fan Response and the Impact of Literary Archetypes on Saga Perception’ 

(via muldertorture)

This right here is absolutely fundamental to understanding the entire purpose of the Skywalker saga, as Lucas so painstakingly told it. The destruction of the old Jedi Order that had ‘lost its way’ and forgotten its true role in the galaxy, and the founding of the New, heralded by Anakin’s return to the Light, and Luke’s essential role in reminding him—and us all—of what it means to be a True Jedi.

Westerners just don’t understand how big a deal it is for people to live in countries like the USA, Canada, UK for people who live in countries like the Philippines, or how certain cultures are influenced by the idea of living in a country where people are actually paid living wages

Story time: My sister’s husband’s parents are Indian. My Indian in-laws are lovely people, and Auntie (which we call my bro-in-law’s mom) makes the most amazing vegetarian Indian food that got me into spicy food when I at first couldn’t stand spicy food. 

Uncle S and Auntie J, I’ll call them, came to Canada in earlier years, since Uncle S was a businessman. 

They met 1 week before they were married and moved to Canada. 

They’ve been married for over 30 years, and they got married because Uncle S’s original fiancee left and Auntie J volunteered as “replacement wife”. 

Why? Well, mainly because Uncle S was successful enough to be going to Canada in the first place, and this was the best life Aunti J’s family could think of for her. More than 30 years and 2 kids later, they have a house and a family living with them and they are, as far as I can tell, happy. 

I had a conversation with some people I befriended in New York: 

“People would kill to live here“. 

And you don’t know how true that is. 

They always talk about the hardships of immigrants in America but barely ever talk about why people leave home to go to a country where they may be hated. 

Because no matter how bad it gets in the USA, it rarely ever gets bad enough to go back to a place where you’re paid less than an American McDonald’s employee for a mid level job and basic human rights are an afterthought

I’m super fckn privileged, don’t get me wrong. But the idea of working a Starbucks in New York is luxurious to even me. Believe me when I say if you don’t appreciate just how desperate people are to go to a Western country to live and work then you can never understand the culture that surrounds that desperation. 

Black Girl, NYC

Greetings people. I identify as a Black female who was born and raised in NYC. I am slowly progressing through my study of education and history in college. Other then that, I spend (probably) an unhealthy amount of time reading and writing sci fi and fantasy. But by high school, I got sick and tired of the same story featuring blonds and brunettes saving the day with their straight, lean male heroes so I turned to my librarian seeking something new. She pointed to Octavia Butler and the rest was history. I’ve been seeking diversity in media ever since.

Family life and Culture

I grew as the middle child of six siblings with my single mother and grandparents. Yes, my working-class household fits the stereotype. We even have an absent father *sighs* But, hey shit happens. And with the biological father turns out not to be the best father figure, shit had to go right out the door. Yup. But make no mistake that this is a norm. Most households on my block do have both parents involved in their children’s lives. Our circumstances called for us to have one. That’s all.

The house was full, loud and rambunctious. We made up a good portion of the children on the block (unsurprising) and basically ran it. There’s a whole novel that could be fleshed out of my childhood if I wanted to. Our neighborhood is very tight knit. Next door neighbors were treated like Aunts and Uncles. When summer came around, we were sometimes divided into groups as the parents who were off from work overlooked us while braiding our heads. Blackouts became an all night bbq and sleepover on each other’s porches. Crooklyn by Spike Lee was a good representation of what it was like in fact. Somewhat. Minus the brownstones, plus a couple more fights (lol).

My grandma was a nurse who’s pretty big on us knowing our family history. She made sure to talk a lot about our Gullah Geechee roots. We also had some Dominican culture influence since her closest friend and our Madrina was, well, Dominican. But she is fairly strict on gender norms and how my sisters and I should act especially with brothers. She antagonized me the most growing up because I continued to ignore this. We don’t get along but i can’t say i don’t get why she’s the way she is. She has a pretty dark past. My mother, a latchkey kid of the finest stock, is more laid back and gives all of us free range to make our own mistakes. Most times. Other times, she’d rather lecture us. Depends on our crime.

I don’t know what my grandpa used to do. He retired waaaaay before my grandmother. I also don’t know much about his culture. He’s 1st gen Jamaican who fully assimilated into American culture. Well, beside his food choices. Now, he gambles and goes to church. When I was younger, he used to teach us how to gamble too. And how to cheat and not get caught. We got a lot of free fast food while he taught us. He has gotten more frugal the older he got. And more isolated.

Dating and Relationships.

I don’t date. I have no interest. Well, no, that’s not exactly true. I’ve considered it but I rather have not seek out anything outside of platonic right now. I have a tight knit circle of friends and several other groups of friends I associate with depending on the activity. I’m realizing it seems like I’m using the term “friends” loosely but I swear I’m not. I’m a virgin and I feel nothing about being one until someone goes “*gasp* You’re a virgin really?” and then I end up on high defense saying “So?” Believe or not, that messed with me a lot.

My love life and lack of interest in having one has always been a struggle. In middle school, the group of friends I hung with were becoming more infatuated with love and sex. Yes, middle school, fifth through eighth grade, ages nine to thirteen. But, when they would talked about who’s hot or not, they would look at me funny when I didn’t join in the discussion. Instead of explaining myself, I simply copied other’s reactions and gushed along with them. This instinct followed me through High school til stopped out of annoyance. I became a listener and adviser in their relationships because I really do love stories in many shapes and forms. And I would never turn down hearing a story.

Language

My primary language is English and AAVE. I’ve been living in a neighborhood filled with Blacks and Latinx. Most of my friends are Black and Lantinx. I didn’t meet a white person my age until college. Okay that’s a partial lie. I’ve been in a summer camp that was made up of predominantly white children. But as the only black kid in my age range, I was sorta uncomfortable. I never made lasting friends there. After High School, I spent a year abroad in Tena, Ecuador where I learned Spanish and Kichwa. I still suck at both languages.

Clothing

Lots of my clothes when I was younger were borrowed or hand-me-downs. Half of them still are. It’s like thrift shopping without the hiked prices thanks to its popularity by rich white people (Thanks rich white people!) All my siblings’ taste varies. In my case, I’m fond of combining loose and tight clothing (tight jeans and a loose sweater/ baggy jeans and a tight top). No makeup. Silver accessories.

I used to have a short bob cut permed. I hated it. But I rather a perm then getting my hair straightened with a hot comb because the back of my neck and big ears would always get burned. It wasn’t until I made a friend with a natural afro that I realized my natural hair was even an option.

Academics

Lol I was a nerd with bad grades.

Religion

My family practices Santeria, which has historical roots in both Catholicism and Yoruba thanks to slavery (Yay slavery!). However, because the religion is not fully accepted or well-known, I tend to say I’m simply Catholic if asked. Apparently, a Black Catholic is hard to believe. It is assumed all Black folks are Baptists or some branch of Christianity. I have no idea where that stereotype came from. But I can give some guess. (*cough cough* Tyler Perry….).  

As I stated before, I love scifi and fantasy. I especially love urban fantasy involving witches. I blame this love on Practical Magic and Eve’s Bayou, my childhood faves. It’s because of this love that I wish to see more stories with witches of color. And no, I don’t mean that one evil/mysterious southern/Caribbean Voodoo/Hoodoo witch hollywood loves to portray so much. That always plays into the “Black is evil” trope. Give me some damn variety!

I would squeal so hard if the mythology involved in a story isn’t even Eurocentric. I’m not joking. This is serious. When my religion was simply hinted at in the Raven Boys series (It was also a great way of making even more obvious that the character was definitely not white.) and Kenya Wright’s Habitat series, I squealed. All the authors did was write the names of some of the Orishas and I couldn’t help but put my phone down for a moment and inwardly scream with glee. That being said, if a writer does decide to use afrocentric or any religion involving “witchcraft” as a basis, I would personally ask that they make sure is is not a closed religion.

Santeria is, in fact, a closed religion. And while I don’t mind mentions of it in fantasy and even a main character stating they practice it, do not go any further than that. Don’t even research the practices within the religion other than what is public knowledge (And if you don’t have any public knowledge, just ask) Respect that there’s a limit. Anything further spelunking  is consider rude, disgusting, disrespectful and dangerous. There’s things that I don’t even know because I haven’t been properly initiated. And the internet has a lot of these practices exposed when it shouldn’t be so please don’t look into it. Please.

Food

Most of the cooking in the house has been done by my grandmother. Because of her various relationships, our food has always been a mixture of Black American, Gullah, Lantinx and Caribbean influences. It is so good. So, so good!

The only thing I don’t eat of hers is her seafood gumbo because I don’t like shellfish. One of my sisters said I should have my “black card” taken for my distaste. I said she could take it if she can name more black movies than me. She still can’t take it. My other sister wishes we could switch places because she loves crab but is allergic. The crazy girl actually sends her husband to buy some benadryl so she can eat some if we ever have some on the table. Smh. Siblings.  

Holidays

My family on both sides are quite fond of reunions. On my grandpa’s side, the family uses Fourth of July and Christmas to get together. On my grandma’s side, they tend to host annual summer reunion and send out RSVP invitations complete with schedules of the whole two to three day event. I didn’t mention this under my family life, but both sides of my family are boujee to different degrees. Lots of black sorors and frats members on both sides. I can’t believe that slipped my mind typing.

I’m a little iffy with Christmas. It’s more of a holiday for the older generation and our niece and nephews. The younger generation, however, don’t particularly care for the holiday. For some of us, it’s because it’s not really Jesus’s Birthday and Santa was whitewashed. For others, it’s because we don’t care to feed into the corporate holiday. For most of us, it’s a combination of the two. But we do love getting together when we can. My older sister and I have conspired to celebrate kwanzaa instead for the past two years. So far, it hasn’t grasped the interest of anyone else in the family.

Struggles

  • Being nerds from a young age, my siblings and I have been called “Oreos” or“Not really black” by kids in school on more than one occasion. We shut them down by fighting. Probably not the best strategy but it was best one I could think of in middle school and below. Made it easier to go back to reading my manga.

  • I got compared to my sisters a lot. It was the absolutely most annoying thing ever. And a major source of my insecurities growing older.

  • Need I address colorism? My highschool was filled with it. #TeamLight v #TeamDark. I was on neither team, because in the region I live, skin color was a pretty long spectrum. I fell in the between. Who came up with this?

  • I’ll admit it. I hate my own tears. They make me feel weak. Which isn’t true…I know. But, it is a mentality I always had. I have depression and PTSD. This isn’t really a secret. I tell people if I’m asked. But have you ever had someone look at you and say, “Really? You don’t seem like the type.” ……

  • I am a black female. I’ve been labelled “Strong” and “Independent” the older I got. By my mother. By my siblings. By my peers. And I get those labels. Even from friends. I loved those labels. I call myself by those labels. I mean, who doesn’t want to be seen as strong and independent? Those are positive affirmations, right? I think they would be. If that wasn’t all the positive labels we could get. Somehow, society has decided we are beings that are incapable of being multifaceted. I was indirectly taught to hate my own tears because black girls don’t cry. You can’t cry and be strong. What a terrible mantra fed to black girl at a young age. So, instead you tell everyone “It’s fine.”

I told my therapist it was fine. Until she told me straight up it was not fine. And it was okay to cry. I don’t like to cry. But I still (involuntarily) did it.

Things I’d like to see less of/Things I’d like to see more of:

  • I’m sick and tired of seeing black and latinx folks being portrayed as only fantasy gangs members. We are not only gang members. That’s a terrible popular myth the media put out there and I hate it even more so when it’s portrayed in SFF genre..

  • I’m tired of having one black person in a novel being described as having skin the color of “midnight.” And he’s (it’s always a he) not even that important to the story

  • I hate how every time someone decides to add a person of color, they have to be ambiguous brown. I’m not saying ambiguously brown don’t exist and don’t need representation but is it really that had for a dark brown skin person to play a major role in a story that’s not about slavery? Speaking of which….

  • Why we always gotta be slaves? Or better yet….

  • Why don’t we exist at all in High fantasy stories? Urban fantasy? Brooklyn wasn’t always the gentrified white town it is now. Still isn’t. How are you erasing people of color from NYC??? We make up way too much of the population to be completely erased

  • Stop racial coding other creatures to surround your white human characters. Especially as the bad guys. That’s just shitty writing. Step up your game!

  • I love Black love

  • I love Gay love. I wish more would follow moonlight’s example and show poc are gay too and gay doesn’t always equal to stereotypical femininity.

  • I love interracial love HOWEVER, can we pair people of color with other people of color as well? I’m starting to hate seeing it always a white person paired with a Poc. Variety damnit!

  • Friendships between boys and girls that don’t transform into love.

  • Friendships between girls that didn’t start out as a rivalry.

  • Different body types besides the skinny and tall. Make a main character that’s fat for once. It’s not a problem.

  • Magical characters of color that aren’t “Noble Savages” or “Wise Monks” that used their magic for personal gain for once instead of waiting for the white hero to come.

  • Nerdy black characters who aren’t 100% competent and cries. One that isn’t in a five token band that always gonna be compare to the white main character. Make the nerd the main character!

That’s all I can think of at the top of my head. But my list really does go on. 

Read more POC Profiles here or submit your own.

White people will never be anything but a bleak copy. Our hair is limp, our skin is see through and it starts breaking down already in our twenties.
Our lips are thin like a corpse, our nails are brittle. Our muscles are weak, so are our bones. Our hips are narrow which makes childbirth worse.

But most importantly, we have no oral history. We don’t know how to wrap our babies, how to hear what child’s cry means hunger and what means sleepy. We have no traditions teaching us how to cook, how to sing, how to practice culture.

Everything that is white culture is stolen.

And sure, I as a swede still have way more traditions and roots than an american person; my family has had this summer house/family house/cottage on an island for longer than Canada has existed.
Viking practices still influence our culture and many of their monuments still stand.

But we still culturally assimilated with the rest of demon Europe.

Our bodies, our history, our traditions… the fact that there are nazis who want to reduce cultural influence from elsewhere is pathetic.
They’re holding on to a pathetic idea of superiority that white people invented to deal with the fact that everything that makes up spiritual identity, culture, human existence, was killed by us. We are the ones who killed our own culture.

We invented white science and we got rid of wisdom.

And we should feel honored when someone offers to share an aspect of our culture that we lack. (Oh and idk not steal it)

albaharuland  asked:

Hi! I wanted to ask about fantasy world building based on a mix of cultures, even if those cultures are totally different. For example, a country that has an architecture based on egyptian and arab art, or one that is a mix between indian and russian architecture. I dont know if that would be appropiation or offensive, or how to avoid it or doing it in a respectful way. Also if there is a problem only using the art part and having a different made up traditions/lore (thanks for your time!)

On Combining Cultures Respectfully, Art, and Architecture

“Does it make sense within the world”

Avatar: the Last Airbender mixes Inuit and Japanese culture. Is this any form of sensical in the modern world? Sort of, with how there’s a language link between Siberia and the Canadian Arctic. Does it make sense within the confines of A:tLA? Absolutely yes.

I’m not against the concept of cultural blending. It just has to be sensical within the world itself. They might not be neighbours in the real world, but if you end up with a culture that’s “ocean-heavy Arctic on top of Asia”, then Inuit+ Japan makes tons of sense. But had it been even “continental Arctic”, then the Inuit influence would’ve barely made any sense at all, because they’re really not a continental people.

-Mod Lesya

Like mixed-race characters, blending real-world cultures in fantasy isn’t prima facie a problem, but you’d better make sure it makes sense within the world you’re constructing.  Lots of times authors fall prey to the “Rule of Cool” and just throw in things they think are neat without thinking about how they could have reasonably got there.

In the cases you mentioned, there are some historiocultural overlaps between Indian and Russian cultures (for instance, similar building materials, similar types of timbers in temperate parts of India and southern Russia, very deep cultural roots shared between Slavic and certain Indic cultures, etc.) that would give you a foundation to build on.  Other times shared cultural aspects have a common but non-native root—for instance the Russian onion dome and characteristic Indian Taj Mahal-style dome may have a shared origin in Islamic and Middle Eastern architecture.  Islamic culture is native to neither India nor Russia, but it touched and influenced both areas extensively.

Similar constraints hold for Egyptian and Arab art and architecture.  They used similar building materials but produced different results because the culture and artistic preferences were historically different, but we know that Arab culture strongly influenced Egyptian art and architecture in the Islamic period (think going from pyramids to Graeco-Roman amphitheaters to mosques and minarets, but all made out of limestone, mud brick, and very little wood).  Saladin Ahmed’s fantasy novel(s) feature an Islamic/Middle Eastern-influenced culture built on top of a dead Ancient Egypt-analogue [Nikhil’s note: I’m reading this right now and it’s awesome and you should too].

But regardless of the cultural influence, the material culture stays similar in place—in some Indo-Russian hybrid you might be looking at imported marble and precious stones for those buildings whose patrons could afford it, provided they have access to those materials either through production or trade, but for poorer constructions you’re looking at local building materials—so maybe thatch and half-timber framing and wattle-and-daub in Indo-Russia, or stone and mud brick in a desert environment like Arabegypt.  Art and architecture are functions of culture, and culture as a primitive exercise arises from the local environment, since it’s only once you get to the level of at least an organized economic community that outside trade starts to be a significant factor, which would facilitate creating art and architecture that would be exotic to the local environment.

-Mod Nikhil

Types of Literary Criticism

NEW CRITICISM, or: “READ THE FUCKING TEXT”


  • Also known as ‘practical criticism’.
  • This theory was dominant in the US and UK between the 30s and 70s. 
  • A formalist, decontextualised approach to literature where the text is examined independently of other influences.
  • Explores the essential elements of language, imagery, symbolism, figures of speech, ambiguity, irony, paradox.
  • Pretty huge span of approaches - for example, within Shakespearean new criticism you had A.C. Bradley’s character-based critique, Harley Granville-Barker’s study of stagecraft, G. Wilson Knight’s exploration of image and theme, and L.C. Knights’ suggestion that Bradley is a douche and Shakespeare was a poet, not a dramatist. (Yeah, fuck you, Knights.)


HISTORICIST CRITICISM, or: “IT’S ALL ABOUT THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT, DUH”

  • Funnily enough, this approach believes that historical context influences interpretation.
  • Stuff like: religion, political idealism of the time, cultural shifts, social attitudes, war, colonialism (although that’s a whole other bag of cats, see below), pop culture references and in-jokes, and anything that might have influenced the text during the era in which it was written.
  • Within historicist criticism there should be a distinction between text and context; history is the background that the text passively reflects.
  • Buuuut often this approach reveals more about the critic’s political/social/personal values than the period they are studying. Natch. 


LIBERAL HUMANISM, or: “STORIES ARE JUST A REFLECTION OF THE AUTHOR, DUDE”

  • Popular at the beginning of the 1900s - literature and art are timeless, revealing a universal truth about humanity.
  • Like, writers are totally free agents whose intentions shape the meaning of their writing, man. 
  • Like, human consciousness shapes language, culture and society, NOT the other way around.


MARXISM, or “WE’RE ALL SLAVES TO THE ECONOMY” 

  • A criticial theory systemised in the 20s, based on the materialist philosophy of Karl Marx (1818-83) and Friedrich Engels (1820-95) whereby the material circumstances of life are determining factors in the individual’s experience.
  • So, like, the economic organisation of society shapes culture, politics, philosophy, religion, education, law and art.
  • So, like, fuck liberal humanism; people are shaped by their environment, NOT the other way around. Authors and their works are basically products of society. 
  • These guys believe that art reflects changing economic conditions and class values. There’s a little cross-over with historicist criticism in the approach that literature should be interpreted within the context of the period and its political inflections - often with a focus on the lower classes.
  • Get yourself familiar with the Marxist concept of ‘ideology’ - a function which ‘naturalises’ the inequalities of power through a complex structure of social perceptions which renders class division invisible. 
  • Yeah. It’s heavy, dude.


STRUCTURALISM, or: “LANGUAGE IS EVERYTHIIIING!”

  • Based on the linguistic theory of Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913)
  • The belief that language shapes humanity, culture, communication, and the way we perceive the world. Yay, go language.
  • Structuralism was a radical theory during the second half of the 20th Century whose central argument opposed liberal humanist ideas (Recap: lib-humans reckoned that human consciousness creates language and culture - structuralists reckoned the complete opposite. At this point everyone is basically being completely contrary for the sake of it.)


POST STRUCTURALISM, or “WE’RE SORT OF ON THE FENCE ABOUT LANGUAGE SO JUST GO WITH IT”

  • A critical theory prominent in France in the 1960s, primarily associated with philosopher Jacques Derrida and critic Roland Barthes - a reaction against structuralism as well as a development of it. <sigh>
  • Ok, so this language thing? How about we agree that reality is constituted through language BUT language itself is unstable and beyond our control. Like, language is an unreliable narrator, yeah? Yeahhh.
  • Essentially, it’s language that speaks, not the author. So let’s call it THE DEATH OF THE AUTHOR because we are needlessly dramatic. 
  • So, like, literary texts don’t present a single or unified view and the author cannot claim authority on interpretation. (The curtains are blue…)
  • You can trace a whole thread of critical development here from formalist criticism to structuralism to post-structuralism and later to deconstruction - all of which are concerned with the ambiguity and contradictions within text and language. To make it even more confusing, new historicism (see below) can also be seen as post-structuralist since it places stress on a text’s connection to culture rather than relying on the autonomy of the text itself.
  • Time for a stiff drink.


NEW HISTORICISM, or “IT’S THE CIIIIRCLE OF LIIIIIIFE - ART AND HISTORY ARE STUCK IN AN INFINITY LOOP” 

  • A term coined by Stephen Greenblatt (Shakespeare-critic-extraordinaire) in the 80s - a reaction against old historicism (where text is a reflection of historical background) and a move away from Marxist and post-structural theories.
  • New historicism asserts that the text is an active participant in historical development.
  • So, like, art and literature help to create the cultural values of the period in which they are produced. BUT, we are also formed and tied to cultural ideologies, so it ain’t all about the text. 
  • Involves close reading of the text, taking into account political ideology, social practice, religion, class division and conflict within society.
  • A pessimistic take on Foucault: the belief that we are ‘remarkably unfree’ of the influence of society and socio-political power operates through the language of major institutions to determine what’s normal and demonise ‘otherness’.
  • Seriously. Fuck society. 


CULTURAL MATERIALISM, or “WE NEED A BRITISH VERSION OF NEW HISTORICISM”

  • We can’t let the Americans monopolise this kind of criticism.
  • Goddamn Greenblatt.
  • So consider this: how much freedom of thought do we actually have? Does culture shape our identities or can we think independently of dominant ideologies? Huh? Huh? Are we saying anything new yet? 
  • Basically, a historicist approach to political criticism with a revised conception of the connection between literature and culture. 
  • Culture is a complex, unstable and dynamic creature which offers an opportunity for the radical subversion of power and society.
  • Unlike historicism or Marxism, cultural materialists believe the author is able to achieve a degree of independence from prevailing structures of power and discourse. 
  • Often demonstrates optimism for political change - once again, critical theory reflects the critic’s personal opinions and hopes for change in present day society. Literary criticism can change the world, man.
  • Some crossover into feminist/queer/post-colonial theory, because FUCK ALL THOSE OLD WHITE GUYS.


FEMINIST THEORY, or: “LET’S RECONSIDER 100 YEARS OF CRITICISM FROM A PERSPECTIVE THAT ISN’T CIS/MALE”

  • Following the women’s movement of the 1960s, feminist theory was established in the 70s and 80s and founded on texts Le Deuxieme Sex by Simone de Beauvoir and Sexual Politics by Kate Millett.
  • Explicitly political – similarities to new historicism and cultural materialism - challenging the subordinate position of women in society and deconstructing/contesting the concept of essentialism, whereby men and women have intrinsically separate qualities and natures. 
  • Often seen as an attack on the Western literary canon and the exclusion of female writers throughout history. Focuses on female characters and authors, exploring the influence and restrictions of patriarchy, and constructions of gender, femininity and sexuality (both in text and culture).
  • Feminists influenced by post-structuralism tend to disregard the positive discrimination of women writers, claiming “it is language that speaks, not the author.”
  • Feminism and psychoanalytical theories (esp Freud and Lacan) contributed to the erosion of liberal humanist ideas, redefining human nature and the concept of child development, and exploring the psychology of patriarchy and male-dominated culture. 


GAY/LESBIAN CRITICISM AND QUEER THEORY, or: “LET’S RECONSIDER 100 YEARS OF CRITICISM FROM A PERSPECTIVE THAT ISN’T CIS/MALE/STRAIGHT”

  • During the 80s, queer theory was influenced by post-structuralist ideas of identity as being fluid and unstable, and investigates the role of sexual orientation within literary criticism from a social and political viewpoint.
  • An opposition to homophobia and the privilege of heterosexual culture and an exploration of themes that have been suppressed by conservative critical theory.
  • A look at LGBQTA, non-binary characters and authors and their influence within a historical, political, religious and social context.
  • The end of ‘gal-pals’ and ‘no-homo’, fuckboys.


POST COLONIAL THEORY, or: “LET’S RECONSIDER 100 YEARS OF CRITICAL THEORY FROM A PERSPECTIVE THAT ISN’T WHITE”

  • A critique on the English canon and colonial rule with a focus on canonical texts written during periods of colonisation.
  • An exploration of cultural displacement/appropriation and the language and cultural values thrust upon/developed by colonised people.
  • Post-colonial theory gives voices to colonial ‘subjects’ and looks at the impact on individual and collective identity, as well as the complexity of colonial relationships and interaction.
  • Gonna have a lot to do with politics, history, social ideology, religion and international/race relations, obvs. Stay woke.

full offense but like non black woc and white women couldn’t even outshine a black girls literal piece of shit when it comes down to influencing pop culture smh. And it’s just so sad cause y'all blatantly go out of your way to try to be the great value brand of greatness but call black women bitter for noticing? Damn the praise for coming in 5th place 9 years late is really that good huh?

Polynesian Beliefs in Fantasy

Hello!

I’m thinking of working on a fantasy novel about mermaids.  The mermaids are various ethnicities and will be from regions like the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.  I am from the Caribbean and feel like I understand the nuances of Caribbean culture, but I don’t think I’ll have the same understanding of other cultures.  I have two questions:

1) Is it problematic to include Polynesian mythology from across many Pacific Islands?  Or would it be more respectful to include mythology from one culture instead?  

2) Is using Polynesian mythology problematic in general, and if so would including something like folklore be more respectful?   

I would like to include aspects of various cultures, but if some things are problematic I might decide to include an ethnically diverse cast and either come up with my own ideas for the mermaids’ culture or have the mermaids culture be more influenced by nature/the environment.

I’d appreciate any opinions on this.  Thank you for your help! 

Note- I am not Polynesian and have a tendency to miss a few things about the various Polynesian cultures, because I only know it from anthropology. So grain of salt!

  1. I’d say it 100% depends on how well you can represent each culture. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, but opinions are split on tokenism and homogenization. If you feel you could accurately represent multiple cultures without going “look at how diverse my world is and how educated I am!”, then go for it. Even if you just end up showing one, you can hint at others within the plot of the novel. I’d personally love to see more knowledge about the diversity within Indigenous groups in published works.
  2. I tend to take issue with the word “mythology” for Indigenous beliefs, because mythology tends to apply to “dead or exotic” things in the West. Indigenous beliefs are religions that are still alive. But, different groups/people have different preferences, so that word could be completely fine.

But as for just generally using Polynesian beliefs? It completely depends if you have permission to use them. Some parts of Polynesian beliefs are closed (like… don’t go giving characters tattoos willy nilly. Those are very sacred things that have detailed processes to determine what they are and who gets them), but nothing’s stopping you from exploring.

When in doubt, ask. If you get a yes, then go for it. If you get a “modify,” modify it according to their instructions. If you get a no, then rework.

Hope this is helpful!

~Mod Lesya

10

DO YOU REMEMBER THESE?

Lupe reminisces on the movies that helped create a generation. The title could also be a play on the whole concept of this song. These movies were good and entertaining upon watching them, but in the long run, too many of them painted a stereotype that was detrimental to the masses. In the same way fast food double burgers with cheese are tasty upon eating them, but too many of them are detrimental to your health in the long run. These movies are in fact “double burgers with cheese.”  

hello daily reminder that anti blackness is global and manifests in some way in basically every culture that has been influenced in any sort of way by the western world

Extremely Rare Viking Drum Brooch, 9th-10th Century AD

Drum brooches (also called ‘box brooches’, Swedish Dosspännen) were a Scandinavian fashion of the Viking period, beginning in the late 8th century AD and featuring Oseberg style gripping-beast motifs. They remained popular throughout the period into the 11th century AD. They are especially associated with the island of Gotland, the crossroads of trade and traffic in the Baltic where a variety of cultural influences were felt.

Keep reading

9

Art School | Nathan Bell (Los Angeles, CA)

As one of the shows featured in our April First Thursdays, Los Angeles-based artist Nathan Bell’s upcoming solo show ‘Mixed Feelings’ will featured 400 works using materials such as french paper, coroplast, and mixed media.  Self described “introverted over thinker with a design background,” Bell expresses himself through the painted word, or rather words –a whole lot of them. Through experimenting with “language, typography and aesthetic,” Bell’s work focuses on thoughts, ideas, wordplays, inside jokes, reflections, all of which he has been creating for the last two years!  

We’re excited to feature him on Art School where we find out more about his works and words! From working with new materials to his process to what we should expect in his solo show ‘Mixed Feelings,’ which opens Saturday, April 22nd at Subliminal Projects in Los Angeles. 

Photographs by Katherine Sheehan

Keep reading

8

True Crime Book Master Post - At the request from a few of my followers, I have decided to make a second master post including some of my favourite true crime books that I have read recently. Click here to see my first true crime book master post. Click the name to be linked to where you can purchase the book online!

The Shankill Butchers - During the 1970s a group of Protestant paramilitaries embarked on a spree of indiscriminate murder which left thirty Northern Irish Catholics dead. Their leader was Lenny Murphy, a fanatical Unionist whose Catholic-sounding surname led to his persecution as a child for which he took revenge on all Catholics. Not for the squeamish, The Shankill Butchers is a horrifying detailed account of one of the most brutal series of murders in British legal history - a phenomenon whose real nature has been obscured by the troubled and violent context from which it sprang.”

The Texarkana Moonlight Murders - “ In 1946, years before the phrase “"serial murder”“ was coined, a masked killer terrorised the town of Texarkana on the Texas-Arkansas border. Striking five times within a ten-week period, always at night, the prowler claimed six lives and left three other victims wounded. Survivors told police that their assailant was a man, but could supply little else. A local newspaper dubbed him the Phantom Killer, and it stuck. Texarkana’s phantom was not America’s first serial slayer; he certainly was not the worst, either in body count or sheer brutality. But he has left a crimson mark on history as one of those who got away. Like the elusive Axeman of New Orleans, Cleveland’s Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run, and San Francisco’s Zodiac, the Phantom Killer left a haunting mystery behind. This is the definitive story of that mystery.”

The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins - “ Reggie and Ronnie Kray ruled London’s gangland during the 60s with a ruthlessness and viciousness that shocks even now. Building an empire of organised crime that has never been matched, the brothers swindled, extorted and terrorised – while enjoying a glittering celebrity status at the heart of the swinging 60s scene, until their downfall and imprisonment for life.”

Cold Serial: The Jack the Strangler Murders - “Cold Serial” paints the picture of five girls who were raped and strangled in the Dayton, Ohio, area between 1900 and 1909. The working conditions, lack of rights for women and police protection, and the sexism of the age portray these girls as victims not only of a crime but also of their time. As their stories unfold, a common thread appears, a modus operandi that begins to link them together. During that era, police did not recognize the lurking shadow of a predator. But through diligent research conducted by the author, it is now revealed.”

America’s Death Penalty: Between Past and Present -  “Over the past three decades, the United States has embraced the death penalty with tenacious enthusiasm. While most of those countries whose legal systems and cultures are normally compared to the United States have abolished capital punishment, the United States continues to employ this ultimate tool of punishment. The death penalty has achieved an unparalleled prominence in our public life and left an indelible imprint on our politics and culture. It has also provoked intense scholarly debate, much of it devoted to explaining the roots of American exceptionalism.”

Fred And Rose: The Full Story of Fred and Rose West and the Gloucester House of Horrors - “ During their long relationship the Wests murdered a series of young women, burying the remains of nine victims under their home at 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester, including those of their teenage daughter, Heather. What was left of Fred West’s eight-year-old stepdaughter was dug up from under the Wests’ previous Gloucester home; his first wife and nanny were buried in open country outside the city. Several victims had been decapitated and dismembered, their remains showing signs of sexual torture. These twelve are just the ones the police found when the Wests were arrested in 1994. There may be more whose bones have not been located.”

Encyclopedia of Murder and Violent Crime - “Edited by an internationally recognized expert on serial killers, this encyclopedia covers both murder and violent crime in their variant forms. Included are biographies, chronologies, special interest inset boxes, up to 100 photographs, comprehensive article bibliographies, and appendices for items such as famous unsolved cases, celebrity murders, assasinations, original source documents, and online sources for information.”

Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of BTK, the Serial Killer Next Door - “For thirty-one years, a monster terrorized the residents of Wichita, Kansas. A bloodthirsty serial killer, self-named “BTK"—for "bind them, torture them, kill them"—he slaughtered men, women, and children alike, eluding the police for decades while bragging of his grisly exploits to the media. The nation was shocked when the fiend who was finally apprehended turned out to be Dennis Rader—a friendly neighbor … a devoted husband … a helpful Boy Scout dad … the respected president of his church.Written by four award-winning crime reporters who covered the story for more than twenty years, Bind, Torture, Kill is the most intimate and complete account of the BTK nightmare told by the people who were there from the beginning. With newly released documents, evidence, and information—and with the full cooperation, for the very first time, of the Wichita Police Department’s BTK Task Force—the authors have put all the pieces of the grisly puzzle into place, thanks to their unparalleled access to the families of the killer and his victims.”

Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields - “ History has it that the role of women in Nazi Germany was to be the perfect Hausfrau and a loyal cheerleader for the Führer. However, Lower’s research reveals an altogether more sinister truth. Lower shows us the ordinary women who became perpetrators of genocide. Drawing on decades of research, she uncovers a truth that has been in the shadows – that women too were brutal killers and that, in ignoring women’s culpability, we have ignored the reality of the Holocaust.”

Tent Number Eight - “ On a warm summer day in 1977, the State of Oklahoma was shaken by the heinous and vulgar murder of three Girl Scouts in Tent Number Eight at Camp Scott near Locust Grove, Oklahoma. The investigation of their murders and the subsequent trial of the Native American man accused of those murders will forever be marked as one of the most historical in Oklahoma history. Author Gloyd McCoy dissects the investigation of the Girl Scout murders as well as The State of Oklahoma vs. Gene Leroy Hart from the vantage point of the families, the law enforcement, the news reporters, the lawyers, the judges, and the jury. He provides background information on all the parties involved and explanations regarding why certain decisions were made, including the acquittal of the accused murderer, and what might have happened if the lawyers on both sides had made different decisions and modern technology were available. Tent Number Eight will enlighten you on the court proceedings and cultural influences of 1977 and preserve this piece of history in your mind forever. Follow the overgrowth of history back to the site of the crime. Step into Tent Number Eight and witness the events of the murders and trial first hand.”

The Only Living Witness: The True Story of Serial Sex Killer Ted Bundy - “ Ted Bundy was America’s first celebrity serial killer, and one of the most chilling enigmas in criminal history. Handsome, boyish and well-spoken, a law student with bright political prospects, Bundy was also a predator and sexual deviant who murdered and mutilated at least thirty young women and girls, many of them college coeds but at least two as young as twelve.”

Click here to see my other true crime related master posts.

So this has been ruminating in my head the last few days, basically since the last KS chapter came out. I was honestly surprised that the hatred and criticisms towards Bum’s grandmother was and is so intense. Some people have said they hope Sangwoo kills her too while others have simply bitched her out for standing by and letting Bum be abused.

So, I’d like to ask, what would you like for this woman to do?

Rest under the cut.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Power Rangers was a Japanese show. People are so angry about Ghost in the Shell but OKAY with erasing the fact that this property came to us from Japan and all of the characters were Japanese and had Japanese names before it was altered to please American audiences.One is okay and one isn't. Why is that?

I’m gonna make a list because it’s easier for me to get my thoughts down like that.

1) This Hollywood version of the Ghost in The Shell movie (as well as the original anime) takes place in Japan. You can see from the trailers that there’s a lot of Japanese culture and influence in the film. Not just the city but with the setting and some of the characters.

2) This Ghost in the Shell movie took some characters that were originally Japanese, with Japanese names, and made them white, while making a lot of side characters Japanese. I haven’t seen the movie but it implies the whole “white savior” trope. 

3) It’s another example of Hollywood using other cultures as backgrounds for white characters. Cultural appropriation. It’s using Japanese culture but with white people at the center of it?

4) The Power Rangers Movie (2017) is based off of the American Mighty Morphin Power Rangers tv show in the 90s, not the original Japanese show.

5) The MMPR show used some action-scene footage from the original Japanese shows for their own action scenes, but they didn’t use any of it’s characters (the yellow rangers was a guy in the Japanese series). These Rangers were different characters in an American setting, not a Japanese setting with American characters.

6) The MMPR show didn’t just use five white actors for the roles of the Power Rangers. It was a different time in the 90s, so yes, three of them were white, but one of them was African-American and the yellow ranger was Asian (plus the yellow ranger was a girl in this version). 

7) All the American Power Rangers seasons are pretty diverse, and the movie stepped it up to another level, by covering things that they wouldn’t be able to discuss on Nickelodeon or Fox Kids. And they made 4/5 Rangers poc.

8) Ghost in the Shell’s westernization of the original, only includes white people in lead roles, while the original MMPR included non-white main characters too, as does the new Power Rangers movie.

9) Plus, Ghost in the Shell takes place in Japan, so seeing all these white characters being at the center of the plot just seems so forced and unrealistic.

So we all rallied together to get #RyanPotterForTimDrake trending now let’s look at Teresa Ting for Cassandra Cain.

First I love how Ryan and Teresa @ Ben Affleck.

Second asian representation means so much and I definitely don’t want Cass to be whitewashed. Now why would Teresa be perfect, listen up children:

- She graduated from NYU with a psychology bachelors so she would understand body language which my girl Cass Cain is amazing for.

- she’s loved Martial arts since she was 6, she learnt taekwondo for 8 years, She learnt traditional Chinese Shaolin Kung-fu, where she built her foundation in weaponry and acrobatics (to up her killing potential). She then explored the more aesthetic and competitive field of Kung-fu called Contemporary Wushu, which she continues to study to this day, and has entered several National Wushu Team Trial competitions.

- Her dream is to be an action heroine who kicks ass.

- She hopes to bring her cultural influences and diverse training to the camera, making a name for women and revolutionizing the film world.

MY GIRL TERESA TING WOULD BE PERFECT FOR CASS SO PLEASE CAN WE ARRANGE SOMETHING FOR HER BECAUSE CASS IS AMAZING I ABSOLUTELY LOVE HER