3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Faces of Culture is an excellent introduction to anthropology and ethnography.
bradleyadita from Chicago, IL
3 November 2007
I consider it my my good fortune to have grown up in Glenview, IL,
where we were close to Oakton Community College, where each week, on
their local cable access TV station they would broadcast the college
tele-course, Faces of Culture (FoC). Nevermind that I was in Jr. high
or high school at the time, of all the PBS show I absorbed from that
time and place, this series stood out from the rest.
The opening sequence for FoC sets the tone for a trip through places
and the people around the world who live there. Along the way we meet
many inspiring people such as; the Yanomamo of the Amazon, (as studied
by Napolean Shagnon), the earth divers of Papa New Ginea, or the
paraders of New Orleans. Beliefs, customs, traditions, ceremonies, and
images from around the globe are studied and presented to the viewer.
Even though the scientists in the program share their theories on
culture, it ultimately becomes the viewer's responsibility to process
and interpret the evidence. Within each show, the camera is often
backed up or turned around on the ethnographers to reveal the culture
of science and the anthropology themselves.
Now in 2007, some of the footage may seem dated, but in consideration
of the subject matter, a contemporary viewing is still educational.
Many of these people, cultures, and places may not have changed much in
the last quarter of a century or so. Or in the case of the Innuits of
Alaska and Artic regions, it would be interesting to see how their
efforts to increase the use of their indigenous language have faired.
Despite the seamlessness of it's impact, anthropology and ethnography
have had profound impacts on the modern West. The "Reality TV" genre,
developed as a kind of off-shoot from ethnographic footage. In 2007,
the TV shows a show like the Discovery Channel's "Last One Standing"
continues the modernization (or post-modernization, if you will) of
exchange between ethnographers and peoples of cultures studied. FoC
provides us with an in-depth introductory resource into the fields of
anthropology and ethnography, the study of people and culture.
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