lecture34.0410 - When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four...

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1 When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts "Most people think that it was Katrina that brought about the devastation to New Orleans. But it was a breaching of the levees that put 80 percent of the city under water. It was not the hurricane." Lecture 34, 04/10/11 1 So, why read this book or watch the documentary? 1. Asks big questions -- ones about the human condition (vulnerability, risk, hope) 2. Uses anthropology -- but not “anthropological” -- the concepts used here are the same ones we have been using all semester 3. Illustrates how we might make anthropology relevant to us -- here, now Lecture 34, 04/10/11 2 When the Levees Broke: Key Symbols/ Themes 1. We mentioned with the Tamang that you can go into a culture by many ways to find certain “key symbols of themes” -- for the Tamang we talked about the ethos of generosity & exchange 2. What key themes might we find for the people of New Orleans as Spike Lee & David Eggers describe them? 3 Lecture 34, 04/10/11 "The Meaning of Life" “People who find life meaningless are not complaining that they cannot tell what kind of stuff their body is made out of, or that they do not know whether they are in a black hole . . . They mean, rather, that their lives lack significance. And to lack significance means to lack point, substance, purpose, quality, value, and direction. Such people mean not that they cannot comprehend life, but that they have nothing to live for.” Terry Eagleton The Meaning of Life , 2007, p. 37 4 Lecture 34, 04/10/11 Disaster & The Meaning of Life “Meaning-of-life queries, when launched on a grand scale, tend to arise at times when taken-for-granted roles, beliefs, and conventions are plunged into crisis. . . . Maybe all men and women ponder the meaning of life; but some, for good historical reasons, are driven to ponder it more urgently than others.” Terry Eagleton , 2007, p. 18 5 Lecture 34, 04/10/11 Big Questions: “What could Plenty Coups’s utterance mean?” “Plenty coups refused to speak of his life after the passing of the buffalo, so that his story seems to have been broken off, leaving many years unaccounted for. ‘I have not told you half of what happened when I was young,’ he said, when urged to go on. ‘…[W]hen the buffalo went
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This note was uploaded on 01/23/2012 for the course ANTHRO 101 taught by Professor Peters during the Winter '08 term at University of Michigan.

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lecture34.0410 - When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four...

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