A. Szewczul-Week Seven-Final Reflections

Three weeks that I will be comparing are weeks six (The gods of rice), four (village without women), and three (language lost and found). I have learned from all of these weeks that while in every country there are structural differences that separate them, all of them share rich traditions that are very important to globalization and trade, gender divisions and power, and language. Within the movie ‘The Gods of Rice’ women play an interesting role in the production of rice, they plant the new seedlings and they prepare the rice for consumption.  The rice is also a symbol of the ‘goddess of fertility’ Dewi Sri. Whom the Balinese believe ‘looks after the fields and gives them life to rice.  “Many Asians believe that because humans live by eating rice, that their bodies are also made from rice” (The Gods of Rice).  While traditional means of planting rice and praising the rice god are known to the older generation.  The younger generations are looking for work in big cities and are not interested in learning the ancient ways.  The structural difference in the movie ‘Village without women’ to ‘The Gods of rice’ is huge. First of all in the movie three brothers live in a house with no women, so all the cooking and cleaning, dealing with the livestock is split between them.  The village in which they live in also lacks women and in order for the men to marry, a lot of them have to travel to Albania.  The oldest brother Zoran does just this in order to find a wife.  Where in Asia women are thought of as an important part to the production of life, in Serbia women are thought of as expensive for marriage purposes or entertainment.  In Albanian where most men seek wives, women are thought of as free.  Also, while in Asia tradition is a strong part of their culture and in Serbia tradition seems to lack.  Though they do have one festival where they use it to meet women.  It traditionally was used to have “Shepherds and shepherdesses exchanged looks and meet to give their herds something to drink”.

Week three wraps up the structural differences nicely because it talks about how the loss of a language happens every two weeks.  But, also tells of how in some places such as the Canary Islands traditional languages are given new lives in schools, in order to carry them on. From ‘The gods of rice’ traditional language and celebrations toward rice are on the verge of being lost because they lose many of the young people to schooling and better jobs.  In ‘Village with no women’, their oral language is strong but it seemed that writing it out was difficult without proper schooling, which the boys may or may not have received.  In the Canary Islands the people have learned to mold their past with their future, unlike in the two other movies.  Although, in Asia with new scientific means to grow rice they might be able to save their long held traditions; Serbia holds little hope.

3 thoughts on “A. Szewczul-Week Seven-Final Reflections

  1. I enjoyed your approach to this assignment. I found that you and I did it different in where I related things to race as you did to making a meaning topics. I just found that you did not connect the weeks together, you explained how each week had an aspect of making a meaning but not how they go together. I would have explained how the gender roles are different between stories or how they use their language. I just felt as though everything was disconnected. I did not feel as though the weeks were connected as much as each carried on the theme of which you picked. With that being said you explained all the movies very well and it was a well thought out post on how each had something to do with the week of making a meaning. I did not follow how your systems of a difference post because I found that week to be more about race than what you discussed.

  2. I appreciate your perspective on many of the materials you covered in your post. Many times we may not understand the symbolic importance of a common source or cultural artifact until its importance or definition is brought out unto us. “The Gods of Rice” has a heavy influence of women providing the production and praises a God who provides them with the source. Though God may seem literal, it exposes the depth of importance women have to food source that is highly depended upon. “Village without women” forces men to portray a role that is constantly stigmatized by a woman enforcing these daily duties. Many of the men in this area had to travel to find a woman to marry which not only meant that women were few and futile but this raised their value in the eyes of a man who desired one. Now, when speaking with the loss of languages I believe many of these causes is due to a universal lack in desire of a language. Meaning that more dominant societies expand their languages as the expensive of diminishes another with no problem in an effort to some how industrialize a universal language.

  3. I thought that it was interesting how you compared the roles of women in the two villages, the one in Bali and the one in Serbia. There are definitely different roles and valuation for women between those two cultures, and it made me think about comparing and contrasting how the rituals in these societies affected the men and women differently. In my blog post, I had drawn the same comparison that you did, between the languages that are in danger of being lost and the rituals that are similarly in danger of dying out. I think that, when we think about the effects of globalization, we don’t think a lot about how various rituals and ways of life are in danger of dying out as societies change and mix together. I think it’s also interesting that the rice video and the language video got at the unequal nature of cultural exchange in a globalized world, something that we really don’t think about or hear a lot about, but is still an important thing to consider.

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