My Perception of Culture

James Snead’s Repetition as a Figure of Black Culture (1984) changed my perception of culture and its development through time. Prior to reading this piece, I believed that culture was static in its improvements – that culture did not necessarily change but people did instead. When Snead claims that cultural repetition is not repetition at all but transformation instead (59), I (of course) made the connection to Black Panther (2018). One of the first images we examined in class was a still of the marketplace with futuristic buildings in the background (33:20) and it struck me as I had never noticed the cultural fusion they had built. I remember thinking of survivance, a term used in Native American studies and refers to the importance of survival and resistance during the Native American genocide. Wakanda survived due to the initiative that past leaders took after observing the grief in surrounding countries, closing their borders, and hiding their most precious resources. These actions also curbed outside cultural influence, thus further sealing the already established traditions and rituals in a nice, vibranium-filled package. Overall, this class has piqued my interest because it is making me reevaluate my stance on cultural discussions and has invigorated a passion for asking more questions about why things are the way they are.
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Looking at Libretto for the Republic of Liberia

When Tolson stated that “the Futurafrique, the accent on youth and speed and beauty, escalades the Mount Sinai of Tubman University, the vistas of which bloom with coeds from seven times seven lands,” I began to look at Afrofuturism in a different light. Previously I thought of Afrofuturism with consideration of Black Panther as an example, while Tolson’s statement describes Afrofuturism without attaching unnecessary constraints on the definition. Continue reading “Looking at Libretto for the Republic of Liberia”

The Philosophy of Propaganda

When I think of cultural identity, I automatically think of discontinuities in an individual’s identity such as participation in more than one culture, religious beliefs, and location that must be recognized. The idea that “‘black culture’ is a concept first created by Europeans and defined in opposition to ‘European culture’” is incredibly upsetting as it eliminates those considered multiracial or otherwise multicultural. Why does society have to be divided by separate, non-measurable and incredibly diverse culture? And how does this affect those that are participating in more than one culture, what does this mean for them? (Snead 62). Continue reading “The Philosophy of Propaganda”