Student Resources to accompany Anthropology: What Does It Mean to Be Human? 5e
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Over the past 50 years, thousands of exquisitely painted Maya vases, almost all looted from royal tombs, have flooded into the world's public and private collections. These amazing works of art, filled with humor and mystery, have opened an extraordinary window on the Maya past. But the race to unearth these treasures has destroyed ancient temples and palaces, culminating in the takeover of entire ancient cities by looter armies.
Out of the Maya Tombs enters the world of the vases to explore the royal life and rich mythology of the Maya, as well as the tangled issues involved in the collection and study of Maya art. The story is told by villagers, looters, archaeologists, scholars, dealers, and curators. For each, these vases have a radically different value and meaning.
On a purely sensual level, Out of the Maya Tombs celebrates the artistry of these vases. It uses visual fascination as the doorway to intellectual and emotional engagement. Dramatic re-enactments and animated graphics created from ancient artwork bring Maya history and culture to life.
Directed by Ruth Gumnit
color, 43 min, 2015
Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources
Visible Silence is a rare glimpse into the unspoken lives of Thai toms, dees, and lesbians striving for recognition, authenticity, and acceptance in a traditional Buddhist society. It is an intimate story of self and family, love and sexuality, and self-determination where conformity is prized. The film highlights the experience of masculine women (toms) who visibly transgress gender norms, yet are bound to remain silent about who they really are. Visible Silence gives voice to their unspoken truths.
Why this clip is important:
Like sexual cultures everywhere, Thailand’s culture of sexuality has certain particularities, expectations, and social categories that are closely related to assumptions about appropriate gender roles and behaviors. There is strong pressure in Thai society for women to conform to ideas about how women should be, and those who don’t conform stand out, which is not what women are “supposed to do.” Lesbian women who do not conform to those expectations—in their looks, behavior, sexual preferences, and so on—are considered to be of lesser value than “normal” women. The clip introduces us to two categories of lesbian: “toms” who are expected to “be a little macho,” have confidence, “take a lead,” and have a girlfriend; and “dees,” who are the “females” in a relationship with a tom. The clip helps us understand how toms and dees define themselves and shape their own identities in a social context in which control over sexuality and gender expectations can be strict.
To think about and discuss:
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