This year we have talked about the various components of Empire, which have included various amazing things like the power of the Roman Empire, Inca and Andean culture, and Rousseau and his interesting yet very confusing philosophies.
And on the other hand we have learned about the harsh and not so pretty parts of empire like the Transatlantic slave trade and Manifest Destiny in the Philippines. I think the topic that struck me the most was Block’s lectures and learning about the horrible experiences that slaves had to go through. I always knew of how horrible the idea of slavery was and was always aware that it was something that i had no way of understanding why it ever happened and how anyone in their right mind would ever think this behavior was in any way close to being okay.
I have enjoyed being taught all of these subjects that have made me aware of the good and bad parts of empire and be able to connect them to our empire and compare ours to others.
Its not just the emotions and feelings that songs bring out of you when you listen to them. There’s so much more to music than we know. As Professor Vo described in lecture, “music reflects the historical periods of a time”. she explained how Cambodian music was shaped by many different popular cultures like French, English, American, and more. Professor Vo also revealed to us that music could shape history as well. She described how some music would remind people of the times before the war and before genocide.
I had never realized how important and how much impact the media, entertainment, and artists had on people. I especially realized this when Professor Vo revealed that in order to have a fair communist country the Khmer Rouge killed any leaders, artists, and entertainers. They can have so much influence on a population and were even seen as a threat by the government that they were ordered to be killed.
Myths are myths for a reason, we don’t have any proof that they are real. But it was only up to a certain point in history where we actually started asking ourselves; is what I have been hearing actually true?
Before anyone realized that what people were saying could have been false, people would believe anything anyone said and not question its absurdity.
I realized this while in lecture when Professor Block described how African women giving birth was portrayed as easy and painless. African Women were also demonstrated with children on their back breastfeeding in paintings, which was clearly false. This would dehumanize them and compare them to animals which would, in the eyes of the Europeans make slavery acceptable.They had proof that European women suffered in childbirth because they actually present during the event but didn’t seem to need proof of the accusations they were making of the African women.
I was amazed by the great lengths Europeans went to dehumanize Africans and brought down to the level of animals just so that slave owners would feel it was okay to use and abuse these people. I am glad that we now live in a world where most people are smart enough to want something more than word of mouth to believe something they hear is true.
One of the things that Professor Chaturvedi shared with us during lecture was the story of the case of the thief. The story went like this: A thief broke into a mans home and took many of his material possessions. Instead of buying and installing a safety system the man decided to open all of his doors and windows to offer the thief all of his things (or at least what remained of them). He did this in order to confuse the thief so he would make himself wonder if what he was doing was really the right thing. The thief then would think he is the victim, reconsidering what he was about to do and maybe not want to even do it at all. This was all an example of Gandhi’s resolution that the force of love and pity is greater than the force of arms and we must seek moral regeneration of the oppressor-Satyagraha. This passive resistance has 4 different compionents:
2. adopt poverty
4. cultivate fearlesness
I thought this was a very interesting idea and was impressed by the courage of this man. I think we should all be like Gandhi from time to time and think of more peaceful and clever ways to resolve issues.
In Shakespeare’s The Tempest there is a lot of violence towards Caliban, verbally and physically. Prospero is the character who mainly delivers these acts of violence towards him, calling him very unpleasant and demeaning names as well as using his magic to inflict very strong pains on Caliban. One of the main reasons why we are led to believe Prospero is so violent towards Caliban is because he wants to get revenge and hates Caliban for wanting to Rape his daughter Miranda, as well as not behaving well towards Prospero or using language that would suggest that Caliban is grateful towards Prospero. This is because Prospero Taught Caliban how to speak. But why does Prospero choose to get his revenge in this way? Are there no other ways to Punish Caliban for disrespecting him?
I think that even the verbal abuse was a little too much, and Prospero didn’t have enough so he had to give Caliban severe pains. Prospero’s reaction to Caliban’s actions are a little too uncalled for. The only reason Caliban has such remarks against Prospero is because Prospero took over the Island which was kind of Caliban’s first.
Of course Caliban also tried to rape Miranda but were also only given Prospero’s side, which we are forced to believe because we don’t have anyone to back it up or contradict it.
As always, i believe that violence is never the answer to anything. Prospero and Caliban should have worked their problems out by talking and coming up with a solution that would have benefited both of them.
Think about our clothing and the way we dress today. The US is full of so many different cultures and different backgrounds but we all have one same style. We are all so concerned with fitting in and looking good according to what American fashion today tells us looks good that we have lost our roots and culture along the way. Do some of us even know how our traditional ways of clothing are?
Dr, O’toole described the ways the Incas would proudly wear their maskaypacha as well as their elaborate uncus which represented their status in the hierarchy. This unique attire would make them stand out and gladly demonstrate their roots to the Spanish and anyone who who could see and admire their heritage. Wouldn’t it be amazing of everyone still wore their traditional clothing so we could see where everyone came from?
I wanted to start of and demonstrate my roots, even though i am well aware of them, but i have never worn my traditional clothing:
i have enjoyed attended various Mexican cultural events that have demonstrated mainly traditional dances. I challenge everyone to find their roots and be more invested in their heritage. Where are YOU from?
Look around you, we are all different. We come from different families. we are all different types of shapes and colors. whether we ourselves come from a lineage of mixed races or are influenced by all of the different races we encounter everyday in multiple ways. As professor Lazo explained, a mestizo is a person of mixed ancestry that in some countries is used to describe a new national identity that is not completely Spanish or American Indian. Lazo also explained how Hugh Glass from the Revenant who is fully white can be seen as a mestizo for making a life with a Pawnee woman. He can bee seen as having a mixed ancestry because he is neither fully european or American Indian because he lives the life of an American Indian, knowing his way around the reservation but has no mixed blood in him.
Similarly, I believe everyone in the United states is the the same position as Glass was. Anyone who comes to make a life in the United States can be seen as a mestizo, having to adapt to the culture here, taking it in and making it a part of them. Even if you are fully of only one culture and your household only teaches you one culture, you are still exposed to all the other cultures that the US is made up of and become mestizied by the influence these races have. This is clearly seen when it is extremely beneficial to speak multiple languages when applying for a job, to be able to help customers, especially here in California where a large part of the population is hispanic and customers need help communicating with employees.
Unlike in the Revenant where glass was seen as an inferior and was put down for having a mixed child, Here its something that is and should be celebrated. There are many events that are held especially for those who are exposed to multiple ethnicities, for example the LA Times having the Latinos de hoy Awards , awarding these individuals who come form multicultural backgrounds that do all types of good in society.We should be celebrating the fact that we are able to learn and be a part of all of these cultures. Just the fact that we have the the opportunity to should be enough to encourage everyone to want to be a part of this multicultural country.
As Thomas Cole’s paintings vividly describe, Empires are destined to go through the inevitable cycle of rise and fall. Cole’s series consists of 5 stages. The savage state is the first which is the most natural state with an abundance of vegetation and very minimal human civilization. Following is the pastoral state which still contains a variety of nature but a lot more civilization. The third state, consummation is where humans have completely taken over nature and we can see an excess of almost everything from buildings to decorations and people; the only nature that we see is controlled and kept in a pot which symbolizes how humanity has gone too far in destroying nature by replacing it with man-made structures. The destruction state demonstrates the end of this excess in the consummation state where we are proven that empire does not last forever. We are given images of war, death, fire, and chaos. The final stage, desolation, is a depiction of nature coming back to life and bringing things back as they used to be. The pace in this picture is demonstrated by the moonlight over the calm water and the restoration of nature and basic life as revealed by the bird making its nest on what is left of the empire.
After receiving the news of who the next president of the United States will be, there have been various riots and protests against Donald Trump’s future presidency. These outbursts of chaos have clearly illustrated the direction we are headed in: The Destruction state. Just like in the destruction state, we see evidence of violence. The Washington Post describes how these protesters “threw glass bottles at the police” and the police was forced to answer by “deployed tear gas, flash grenades and rubber bullets. This could easily be seen as a small form of war, as depicted in the destruction state. Protesters held up signs saying things like “Nazi President” or “dump Trump”. These people are going out of their way destroying property with violence in order to illustrate their anger and frustration at our future president. Is our empire really coming to an end? Is Trump the cause of our own destruction? the evident end of our cycle? All of the signs are there.It is very easily seen that we have been in the consummation state all along and like all Empires, we must reach this part of our cycle.
Throughout the years the perspective on women and their value as members of society has changed. From being forced into the housewife stereotype to now a days, running for president. Women have always been placed at the lowest levels of society, being used and treated as objects. Professor Zissos depicted this in lecture when he gave the example of Julia, Augustus’ daughter and how he banned her for disappointing him. Another example of the materialism of women can be seen in a passage from the Aeneid. This is illustrated when we first step into Latium in the Epic. Lavinia’s father gives her hand in marriage to Aeneas when he arrives to create his empire. During these times, women were used to create political alliances through marriage. This illustrates how these women were viewed as objects and were just chess pieces in alliances. The value of women is also seen as nothing in countries like china where pregnant women who have a boy are praised and if they have a girl, the children are seen as nothing, and sometimes left out to die.
Thankfully, Todays society has progressed and women are no longer used as objects and can live their lives freely. Women can have the same jobs and play the same sports as men, vote, own property, and much more. We have changed the way we are viewed and are slowly being able to be seen as equals to men. However, we are not completely there yet. there are still some people who use women as objects or tools. There are millions of girls that are forced into marriage at a very young age in countries like Asia, A Africa, and Latin America where that is what these cultures believe to be “normal”. These girls are used as tools: given away to make sure that the family doesn’t fall into poverty.
Another way women are still used as objects today are the victims of human trafficking. These women from all around the world are kidnaped and forced into prostitution, silvery, and sometimes even murdered. They are killed and used for their organs to be sold.
These individuals are proof that there are various people that are sexist and believe that women are and should stay below men. Dr. Valentina Ricci’s part of lecture touched on how Philosopher Kant demonstrated ideas of sexism and racism. Someone so influential during his time, depicting these ideas that for some, make his work flawed, were somewhat dangerous. This is because he was so iconic and some would take every word he would say or idea he had and put it to practice. People who believe these actions are correct and still practice them to this day need to be taught and told that it is unacceptable. Everyone should be seen as equal, because we are all made the same. We all come from human beings, no matter what color or gender we are, we are all the same.
You’re calmly walking down the street when you suddenly see a man pointing a gun at a cashier- what is your first move? Who do you call? Of course, we call our constantly reliable hero, the Police. The only source of protection we can all agree have that will always be there when something is wrong and we need help. This protection they give and justice they bring (to some extent) can lead us to call the standard policeman our hero.
On the other hand, some believe there is no such thing as a hero, and believe the only true definition of a hero is represented by writing or in drawing like in comics or movies. The typical Superman or Spiderman that saves the day from any sort of danger at every singe non-humanly possible moment of the day, including natural disasters. Somehow these beings have the super power to save others: from outrunning robbers or fighting any kind of person, to something as simple as the typical saving a kitty from a tree.
We also have others who if they were to answer what the definition of a hero is would say the individuals who protect our country: Military men. This is somewhat similar to Virgil’s illustration of the Virgilian hero in the Aeneid. During these times, when Empires were being constructed and conquered, war was their most efficient way to gain this power. However, According to Virgil, being a great warrior is not enough. The Virgilian hero must depict qualities like pietas, virtus, and labor; Pietas meaning a sense of study and obligation to family, nation, and gods, virtus meaning moral courage or manliness, and labor meaning tireless striving. Other qualities of Virgil’s hero include the stoic idea of accepting fate/destiny and sacrificing happiness for ones responsibilities.
In my opinion, a perfect hero would be one that possess a little of all of these versions of a “hero”. One that could be called at any time of the day to save you from danger, not having to posses any sort of supernatural power or give up their happiness. Then again, there might not be a perfect hero, but there will always be room for improvement. Throughout the years and depending on the person, definitions of hero have and will change, what’s your definition?