Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bergson drew attention to the imperfections of Western society

Senghor is as much a thinker of “métissage” (mixture) than he is a thinker of c. His watchword, “everyone must be mixed in their own way” is as central to Négritude as the defense and illustration of the values of civilization of the black world. There is in fact a de-racialized use of the word “nègre” by Senghor which is crucial to understand why painter Pablo Picasso, poets Paul Claudel, Charles Péguy or Arthur Rimbaud, philosopher Henri Bergson, etc. have been somehow enrolled by Senghor under the banner of “Négritude”. The message being, ultimately and maybe not so paradoxically, that one does not have to be black to be a “nègre”. 
To Rene Menil, Senghor was the 'principal theorist' of negritude. In Senghor, Menil, found a development of 'mystic and ... Cesaire, Senghor, and their disciples adore Novalis, Frobenius, Bergson, the Surrealists - all of them ...
Particularly influential for the literary and political Négritude movement of the 1930s, which opposed French colonialism, Bergson's life philosophy formed an appealing alternative to Western modernity, decried as "mechanical," and set the ...
Blackness, or Négritude, resides essentially in the participation, in an immediate way or at a remove (as in the case ... Senghor reinterpreted these European thinkers in the perspective opened up by the epistemology of Henri Bergson, ... Page 340 Tempels posited a “vitalist force,” which he appropriated from Bergson, as the driving force of the epistemic ... Senghor posits a collective African consciousness, which, according to him, is different from that of the white race. ...
Senghor, Liberté, tome 1, Négritude et Humanisme (Paris: Seuil, 1964), 22–25. 70. Léopold S. Senghor, On African ... It is not clear to me, for example, thatBergson and Senghor were not deeply Cartesian in their emphasis of the ...
Negritude and colonial humanism Born in the south-western coastal region of Sine,Senghor was the son of a wealthy ... He had discovered jazz, the Harlem Renaissance, Picasso, the anti-rationalist writings of Henri Bergson and the ...
may be said to remain united with the totality of living beings by invisible bonds' (Bergson 1998: 43). ... Négritude writers such as Aimé Césaire and Léopold SédarSenghor opposed this dynamic by propounding the necessity of the ...
Finally, the Euro-African philosophy of "negritude" espoused ia by Bergson, Sartre and Senghor, is an interesting example of a cross-civilizational meeting of minds with Europe in the role of listener. Inter-civilizational grafting may ...
In his definition of Negritude, Senghor offers two perspectives, one objective, and the other subjective. ... As I indicated earlier, the ideals of Nietzsche, Hegel,Bergson, and Frobenius were born out of European rationalism. ...
The term "Negro African" is used by Frobenius to describe Africans and is also used by Senghor, as we will see later. 24. Other anthropologists of the period who influenced Negritude founders were ...
Taking his cue from Bergson and Claudel, Senghor rejects the dualistic theory of Cartesianism, which prioritizes mind over ... Senghor acknowledges the indebtedness of negritude to the surrealist movement, namely, to the influence of ..
The concept of the civilization of the universal is one that Senghor takes from Teilhard de Chardin; it is his vision of a cultural millennium in which discrete, essential identities such as negritude will all be assumed to a ...
philosopher Henri Bergson drew attention to the imperfections of Western society, including Western imperialism and thus ... Leopold Sedar Senghor: The Leading Apostle of Negritude Leopold Sedar Senghor, a poet, professor, philosopher, ...
The Management, "Our Aim," La Revue du monde noir 1 (October 1931): 2. 11. Henri Bergson, "Nos enquetes," La Revue du monde ... Senghor biographer Hymans insists that Senghor could not have developed his Negritude without Paulette ...
Beyond the experience of limits: theory, criticism, and power in ... Yakubu Abdullahi Nasidi - 2001 - 129 pages
With Senghor, the cultural racism endemic to the colonial situation became essentially a problem of misperception and ignorance, which the contributions of an African humanism, founded upon Negritude, would help to dispel. ...
Rather than a contingent factor of black collective existence and consciousness as with Sartre (for Senghor this aspect corresponds to what he calls 'subjectivenegritude'), the concept denotes for Senghor an enduring quality of being ...
Bergson responded to his own query: "Because the white man thinks the Negro is disguised. ... Negritude — particularly the call for a new black literature, the rehabilitation of Africa and black values, black humanism, and cultural ...
This was an important lesson for Senghor who insists that "it is Frobenius who, more than all the others, more than Bergson, even, redeemed in our eyes intuitive reason and restored it to its place: to first place. ...
Rationalism had been attacked from above by Bergson and from below by Freud. Levy-Bruhl had emphasised the ... Aime Cesaire from Martinique and Leopold Senghor from Senegal elaborated the concept of negritude as the image ...
Contexts of African literature - Page 51, Albert S. Gérard - 1990 - 169 pages
Rationalism had been attacked from above by Bergson and from below by Freud. Levy-Bruhl had emphasized the ... Aime Cesaire from
Martinique and LeopoldSenghor from Senegal elaborated the concept of negritude as the image of a mode of ...
It is largely the epistemology of Bergson that Senghor has adopted in his formulation of Negritude.41 I Besides, Bergson's philosophy is itself the systematic conceptual articulation of what one might call the 'Romantic vision'. ... Nigeria magazine Duckworth, Edward Harland, Nigeria. Education ... – 1978 Nigeria magazine Edward Harland Duckworth, Nigeria. Education ... – 1975 [Black, French, and African: A Life of Léopold Sédar Senghor]

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Brecht preferred to adapt the work of other dramatists

Brecht never showed much interest in the invention of original plots: he seemed to prefer to adapt the work of other dramatists. In the case of Edward II, ... There is nothing left of the structure of Marlowe's Edward II, from this point of view the finest of his plays. In Brecht's play one event succeeds another ...

Bertolt Brecht’s modern response to Marlowe in his 1922 Edward II provides a useful introductory comparison.
Brecht seems to have been drawn to Marlowe’s play not so much for its political as for its personal relevance, in particular for its portrayal of the doomed bond between Edward and Gaveston – the kind of bond Brecht had just written about in The Jungle.
Brecht was indeed trying to improve on, or at least to outdo, Marlowe’s bleak play. With a ‘savage pessimism’, he rewrote Marlowe to create a world where, as his Edward says, ‘There is nothing in life besides the touch of men’s bodies, and even that is minimal and vain.’
What interests me about Brecht’s play however is that it is not only about the difficult closeness between two men but – as adaptation, collaboration, and partly cribbed translation – it is also the product of such closeness. Edward II was the first of the collaborative ventures that were to serve Brecht so effectively as catalysts for creativity throughout his career.

In many respects, the story of “Edward II” parallels that of Shakespeare’s “Richard II,” the historical drama that tells of the troublesome reign of Edward's great-grandson. But Marlowe and, to an even greater extent, Brecht are also concerned with Edward’s homosexuality.
Gaveston, the king’s lover, is disposed of by Brecht in the first act, but the playwright then concentrates on the gradual stripping down (figuratively and literally) of Edward from king to tortured prisoner, a pathetic victim of the machinations of his wanton wife, Queen Anne, and her consort, the cold, epicene Mortimer.
Brecht seizes on some of the political implications of Edward’s struggle, but this is not a blatantly propagandistic drama. It is, instead, a series of extremely theatrical, throat-grabbing scenes, rife with high passion and climaxing with Edward’s horrible death.

Design & Direction: Robin Das
At Abhimanch, from to 21st to
26th May 2010 at 7.00 p.m.
Additional shows: 22nd &
23rd May 2010 at 3.00 p.m.
National School of Drama,
Bahawalpur House
Bhagwandas Road, New Delhi - 110 001  Enquiries : 011 -23073236

Sunday, May 16, 2010

One must rather doubt one's own perception

Elmar Holenstein
A Dozen Rules of Thumb for Avoiding Intercultural Misunderstandings
Intercultural understanding does not fail by reason of insurmountable ontological obstacles, which are only susceptible to philosophical analysis. Intercultural misunderstandings are of the same kind as intracultural misunderstanding on the part of members of one and the same culture who belong to different regions, social strata, professions and the like, and are like these susceptible to explanation in psychological and sociological terms. Observing a number of rules of thumb makes it possible to avoid such misunderstandings for the most part.
The governing principle of intercultural hermeneutics is the traditional hermeneutic principle of equity: What all, particularly those concerned, affirm on full consideration of the circumstances is taken as the basis. One of the first requirements is that one must take members of alien cultures seriously and that one must rather doubt one's own perception than their capacity for logical consistency, goal-orientated rationality and ethical responsibility.
Intercultural misunderstandings are often related to ideas now recognized as being dogmatic, to the assumption that cultures are homogeneous and stand in polar opposition to each other, to the supposition that ethical and ethnic differences are correlated, to the lack of distinction between ›is‹ and ›ought‹, but also, among those who seek salvation in alien cultures, to the lack of distinction between what in fact cannot be understood and what fundamentally cannot be understood. Content

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Boys are better off when taught by men

Why the feminine touch is failing boys at school
Christopher Reynolds May 14. 2010
Boys are not doing well at school. ... This problem with the difference between boy and girl achievement levels does not appear to stem from inferior learning ability or the demands of a high-performance curriculum. It may, in fact, be directly related to the gender of the teacher and, particularly, a female approach to teaching and learning.

Thomas Dee, in an article titled The Why Chromosome, analysing data from the US National Education Longitudinal Survey, says: “A teacher’s gender does have large effects on pupils’ test performance, teacher perceptions of pupils, and pupils’ engagement with academic material. Simply put, girls have better educational outcomes when taught by women, and boys are better off when taught by men.”

In the United States and Canada, along with Britain and Australia, women are now some 90 per cent of teachers in primary school and 75 per cent of teachers across primary and secondary school. There is a growing shortage of male teachers as men choose other professions in the face of low pay, anti-male sentiment and the increasing dominance of a feminine model of teaching.

Historically, teaching as a profession has attracted women and for more than 100 years they have dominated the teaching profession, with many of the boys they have taught growing up to become successful men. However, there are many boys who do not cope with a female model of teaching and are underachieving and suffering from learning problems.

Based on data from the US department of education in 2006, it appears that the gender of the teacher does make a difference to pupil learning. The overall effect of having a female teacher instead of a male raises the achievement of girls by four per cent of a standard deviation and lowers the achievement of boys by the same amount, producing an overall gender gap of eight per cent of a standard deviation.

The implication is that as this deficit in learning can occur in a single year, the deficit is compounded with continuous years of teaching by a female teacher. By the time pupils reach 17, boys score 31 per cent of a standard deviation below girls in reading ability, a deficit equal to about one grade level. In general, a female social science teacher increases a girl’s performance by nine per cent, while a female science teacher will decrease a boy’s score by five per cent of a standard deviation. While girls prefer female teachers, boys don’t. An analysis of the data shows that learning from a teacher of the opposite gender has a detrimental effect on the pupil’s academic progress and engagement at school. Regardless of the academic subject, when a class is taught by a woman, boys are twice as likely as girls to be seen as disruptive, inattentive and unlikely to complete their homework.

In the United States, boys make up 71 per cent of school suspensions, make up 90 per cent of children diagnosed as having learning disabilities and even in primary school are twice as likely, at 8.3 per cent, to be held back a grade. By the age of 17, 42 per cent of boys will have been suspended from school at least once. These problems in education are exacerbated in the UAE ,where the Ministry of Higher Education in August 2009 disclosed that only 27 per cent of Emirati boys were attending high school, against 70 per cent of Emirati females. While the results of an analysis of US data suggests that gender does make a difference, the issue is not really the gender of the teacher but the different kind of teaching needed for boys and girls arising from their genetically different brains and styles of learning. The real problem is that boys are not girls and don’t learn like girls.

A feminine model of co-operative learning and inclusiveness may be helping girls but it is disadvantageous for boys as they can become increasingly disengaged from the learning process. Many women are successful teachers, but as a rule, boys do not respond well to female teaching methods. The way boys learn and their readiness to learn is different to girls. At the age of six or seven, when children start serious schooling, boys are six to 12 months less neurologically developed than girls. They are especially delayed in what is called fine-motor co-ordination, which is the ability to use their fingers carefully and to hold a pen or scissors. And since they still need “gross-motor” development, they will be itching to move their large muscles around. Boys have 30 per cent more muscle than girls and, therefore, their senses seek to move more than girls to flex their muscles. Boys fidgeting in class and roaming around the room is just their bodies trying to find expression – not them being naughty children.

From the time a baby is born, male and female brains are different. Indeed, from six to seven weeks after conception, embryos designed to be male receive a “hormone bath” of testosterone, which influences the development of the brain. The testosterone actually changes the walnut-shaped brain and alters its structure and even its colour. Testosterone doesn’t just play a role in male development into manhood, but also has a profound impact on a boy’s development of mind and body from before they are born. At birth, a baby boy has as much testosterone in his bloodstream as a 12-year-old boy. The levels drop a few months after birth, will rise again at the age of four or five for reasons that no one understands, and again at about 14. Throughout his life, testosterone will affect a male’s every thought and action. Indeed, levels of testosterone can rise and fall in response to challenge, achievement or even failure in any given day. Most experts believe boy’s tendency to take risks, to be more assertive, to fight and compete, to argue, to boast, and to excel at certain skills such as problem solving, maths and science is directly linked to how the brain is hard-wired and to the presence of testosterone. While testosterone is the fundamental determinant of male thinking and behaviour, there are other aspects of male brain chemistry and make-up that affect thinking and behaviour to make the male quite a different learner to girls. In teaching children, there are a number of differences between the male and female brains to take into consideration. 

For girls, stronger neural connections mean that girls have more sensual detail memory, better listening skills and better discrimination among various tones of voice. This leads to greater use of detail in writing assignments. Larger memory storage areas lead to better learning ability, especially in language. Girls make fewer impulsive decisions and tend to use more cortical areas of the brain for emotive and verbal functioning.

For boys, there is a higher dedicated area used for special-mechanical functioning for abstract thinking and physical-special functions. But girls have twice the brain space as boys for verbal-emotive functioning. The special-mechanical functioning makes boys want to move objects through space, such as balls and model aeroplanes, or just move their arms and legs. With less serotonin and oxytocin, boys have less desire for bonding, are more impulsive and are less likely to want an empathetic chat with a fellow pupil. 

The male brain is more structured and compartmentalised, thus more likely to concentrate on one thing at a time with a lesser ability than girls to multi-task and change from one class subject to another easily. With 15 per cent less blood flow than females, the male brain reduces speed every now and again in a sort of rest state. Thus, with exercise before class, boy’s neurophysiological state is enlivened and more able to learn. The differences, of course, between male and female brains are too numerous to mention in detail here. Dr Christopher Reynolds is managing director of the UAE-based British Institute for Learning Development