Originally posted on janetthomas:

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‘If only thou couldst feel as I do, and couldst get thee power of speech’

                                                                   (Od. 9.455-58)[1]

An important feature of the relationship between humans and animals since the early Neolithic age is one of reciprocity. In this line from Odysseus, Homer draws our attention to the close symbiotic relationship between a shepherd and his flock. The shepherd provides protection and the sheep provide sustenance and companionship in his lonely life[2]. However, Hesiod stated that it is the notion of justice that holds us apart from animals, with justice demanding that we do not prey on our own kind[3]. Lonsdale notes that Xenophon went further and argued that man is different because…

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Originally posted on janetthomas:

 “Hip-hop speaks true. It is all of us. Where we go, this is where hip-hop goes.”

  (BBC World Service 2011)

Hip-hop or rap music has become global. There is scarcely a country in the world where it does not feature. It has been transformed and globalized by the music industry, although its African-American origins survive through its transformation into re-localized cultural inflections. The sonic organisation of its poetics and beat is profoundly implicated in its cultural workings and the formation of identities  (Krims 2000). Hip-hop culture reveals how marginalised cultural practices can be used to challenge a dominant discourse such as globalization whilst using its techniques to proliferate.  This essay will attempt to analyse the culture of rap music and its relationship to globalisation and the Euro-American Empire.

Rap music is a good example of postmodern social theory, with its perceived resistance reflecting an African-American vernacular culture which…

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Originally posted on janetthomas:

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                              “I  heard [Picasso] complain about how all the people who came

 to see him and saw him give new life to old bits of tulle and cardboard,

 string and corrugated metal, crumpled rags from the garbage can

thought they were doing him a favour to bring him remnants of splendid

 fabric to make pictures out of. He didn’t want them, he wanted

the true refuse of human life something poor, dirty, and contemptible.”

Louis Aragon (Spies, 2000:13)

Robert Hughes writes that the tradition of modern sculpture, with its welded and assembled sheets of metal and its open and constructed form, was derived from a small guitar that Picasso made in 1912 (Hughes, www.time.com ).Picasso radically expanded the techniques and materials used in sculpture during the twentieth century. Besides using bronze, plaster and wood, he…

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Originally posted on janetthomas:

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Antti Laitinen, It’s My Island. Δράση κατασκευής νησιού, 14 – 25 Ιουνίου 2009.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
[1]

In the above poem John Donne articulates poetically the argument that Charles Taylor puts forth in his description of the self as being dialogical. Individualism is a modern concept based in the humanist perspective of the Renaissance. Modern philosophy, economic theory and political thought are all bound to uphold the rights of the individual. Such…

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Originally posted on janetthomas:

 

The main feature of the ethos of the Roman aristocracy in the time of the second century BC was a particular set of elite values and objectives. These were borne out in ambitious military and political careers and they entailed such objectives as high office, famous deeds and supremely persuasive oratorical skills. The four terms that ascribe such a rigorous set of ideals are gloria, nobilitas, virtus and auctoritas. This essay sets out to describe the meaning of these four terms, and to assess their strengths and weaknesses.

Roman aristocracy was obsessed with family both living, dead and unborn for reasons of preserving the honour of the family name[1]. The term gloria was defined by Cicero as ‘praise given to right actions and the reputation for great merits in the service of the Republic which is approved not merely by the testimony of the multitude but by…

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Originally posted on janetthomas:

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In his 1950 article for Mind, Alan Turing (p.433) explores whether machines can think by using an imitation game as an analogy for his explorations. The imitation game is played by three people: a man, a woman, and an interrogator of either sex. The interrogator must establish, by asking a series of questions, which is the man and which is the woman. The interrogator cannot see the respondents or hear their replies as the questions and answers are in written form. In Turing’s game the man or the woman is replaced by a computer. Turing (p.434) then asks the question whether the interrogator would be fooled as often in the game if one of the respondents was a computer, and infers that the computer would be able to respond as succinctly and comprehensively as any human.

 

The game Turing envisages will use only digital computers (p.436) as it…

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Originally posted on janetthomas:

One of philosophical themes that Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby explores is that of social justice. Luhrmann translates F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book to creatively scrutinize the way people with a sense of entitlement consider that they are ‘born to rule’ over others. Throughout the film Luhrmann emphasises inequality and hypocrisy, with wealthy Anglo-Americans relying upon a constant supply of prohibited liquor and the ready workforce of a black underclass while berating ‘dirty bootleggers’ and the ‘coloured empire’.
Although America prides itself on being the New World where the ‘American Dream’ of being able to rise from poverty to power began with the story of Abraham Lincoln, the America depicted in The Great Gatsby is as much about an authority ‘born to rule’ as any traditional aristocratic society. This theory of justice was expounded by Aristotle who stated in Politics: “For that some should rule and others be ruled is a…

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Originally posted on janetthomas:

“In a world that is really turned upside down, the true is a moment of the false.”

Guy Debord 1968

Visual culture is defined as the way visual texts can be understood and deployed, especially in the Western tradition of art (Schirato & Webb, 2004: 105). Consumer culture is one of the ‘symbolic embodied and experiential aspects of acquisition behaviour’ (Arnold & Thompson, 2005:871). Both cultures work together within the global advertising industry to create an environment that is false and fragmented (Debord, 2002: 6). This essay will discuss the argument that visual culture is consumer culture by referring to two visual texts that are based upon specific commodity signs. The first is a work of art created for the Reebok Corporation that reifies the Reebok running shoe. The second is a work of art created as a foil for such commodity signification. With these texts I contend that consumer…

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Originally posted on janetthomas:

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Judith Ryan wrote about the artist Rover Thomas in her 1993 catalogue essay for the National Gallery of Victoria exhibition of Aboriginal art: ‘As an artist Thomas is not locked inside language patterns or ritual structures of the Western Desert; he looks beyond them to another world of reality and enjoys the freedom to depict this expansively…’ (McCulloch S., 1999). Acquiring his own individual style, Thomas’ paintings are characteristic for their highly textured ochre surface, minimal imagery and sense of space. A restricted palette, in which black usually predominates, leaves an aesthetic impression of a highly resolved abstract painting. As an overview of Rover Thomas’ life, this essay will attempt to understand how he developed so fully as an artist at such a late stage of his life, and why his work had such an individual character.

During the early decades of the twentieth century the cattle industry was established…

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Originally posted on janetthomas:

helots

The Spartan relationship with those that they conquered was designed to maintain their superior strength as a fighting power. To do this they needed an underclass of workers who could maintain the living standards of their society. Those that they subjugated within the Peloponnese were called Helots, and they fulfilled this role. To consider whether this relationship could be described in terms of class struggle it is necessary to identify who the Helots were, their particular role in Spartan life, their reaction to this role, their treatment by the Spartans and its eventual effects.

THE HELOTS

Excepting for a few Achaean centres, when the Mycenaean period ended in about 1200 BCE it was followed by a severe depopulation of the Peloponnesian peninsula. In about 1000BCE, the Dorians, a northern migrant-warrior tribe invaded and settled Laconia. This occupation of the land happened over a long period, with any pre-Dorian population being…

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