Kimihia

In 2008, BBC One Television debuted a fantasy TV series about Camelot called Merlin (also called The Adventures of Merlin ), set at the time when Merlin, Arthur and Guinevere were teenagers, before they became legends.

When the series debuted, viewers quickly noted the racially-diverse cast. Some criticized this multi-racial vision of British legend as “historically inaccurate” and “political correctness,” while others applauded it as a welcome twist which was more reflective of modern British society than the all-white Britain of ancient history.

But was historical Britain all-white? Were there any people of color in Britain during “Arthurian” times? (And what do we mean by “Arthurian” times anyway?)

In this lesson, we will investigate the racial composition of Roman & Medieval Britain, and how racial diversity was portrayed in medieval Arthurian legends.

Black in Camelot: Racial Diversity in Historical England and Arthurian Legend (Fantasy and Sci-Fi in the Classroom)

VIEW OR DOWNLOAD the Lesson Plan Here!

Relevant Courses:

  • Writing/Literature
  • History, Classical/Medieval
  • Humanities, Western Civilization
  • Sociology
  • Anthropology/Archaeology

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Locate and Discuss historical and/or archeological evidence suggesting or disproving the presence of Africans in Roman and medieval Britain (and Europe)
  • Demonstrate awareness of the portrayal of people of color in medieval Arthurian literature
  • Discuss the portrayal of ethnic diversity in current Arthurian-themed television shows and films
(via medievalpoc)
utnereader:

Eat Right Here: The Cultural Politics of Ethical Eating
This project began in the mid-1990s when I was working as a cook in San Francisco and discovered a book called Perfection Salad in a used bookstore. Laura Shapiro’s history of the domestic science movement enthralled me both because of the story it told, through food, about the aspirations of a generation of women responding to industrialization, urbanization, and immigration and because its very existence assured me that, as I had suspected, it was possible and productive to rethink American history through the lens of food. Shapiro’s subjects were reformers who believed that changing what people ate could improve their morals and character and ultimately could address some of the most difficult social problems—from intemperance to labor unrest—arising in the rapidly industrializing urban centers of the American Northeast. 

utnereader:

Eat Right Here: The Cultural Politics of Ethical Eating

This project began in the mid-1990s when I was working as a cook in San Francisco and discovered a book called Perfection Salad in a used bookstore. Laura Shapiro’s history of the domestic science movement enthralled me both because of the story it told, through food, about the aspirations of a generation of women responding to industrialization, urbanization, and immigration and because its very existence assured me that, as I had suspected, it was possible and productive to rethink American history through the lens of food. Shapiro’s subjects were reformers who believed that changing what people ate could improve their morals and character and ultimately could address some of the most difficult social problems—from intemperance to labor unrest—arising in the rapidly industrializing urban centers of the American Northeast. 

thepeoplesrecord:

New forms of Zapatista Revolution: The Lacandona Commune January 2, 2014
The main challenge in Mexico today is to resist a wave of violence that is dispossessing and oppressing people, and which may precipitate increasingly brutal state repression and even a vicious civil war. At the same time, we need to connect the points of resistance, giving them an organizational form adapted to their nature. What is needed is to build a political force that can stop the ongoing disaster, prevent its continuation, and begin to reorganize society from the bottom-up.
There are clear signs that such a scenario is already developing. Many initiatives are connecting desire to reality, and thus giving a joyful and effective sense to political action. An increasing number of people are ceasing to dance to the tune of the powerful, choosing instead to play their own song. 
The primary catalyst capable of transforming society is emerging from the Lacandona Commune in Chiapas. For many analysts, both the Zapatistas and Subcomandante Marcos are history: they lost their opportunity, their time has passed, and they are increasingly irrelevant. The media have ‘disappeared’ them; they ignore the Zapatistas, except to disqualify them. Allies and sympathizers have begun to share this impression. However, for prominent thinkers like Chomsky, González Casanova, or Wallerstein, Zapatismo is today the most radical and perhaps the most important political initiative in the world.
The Zapatistas were the first to challenge an intellectual and political mood in Mexico that had surrendered to neoliberal globalization. From that moment on, globalization represented a promise for some and a threat for others, but everybody took it very seriously. Since 1994, anti-systemic movements have acknowledged that the Zapatista uprising was a wake-up call that “Another World Is Possible,” a slogan later coined by the World Social Forum, whose more vigorous and creative sectors were inspired by the Zapatistas.
The Zapatistas have been prominent in the public and media gaze for 20 years. In fact, as surprising as it may seem to those who insist on forgetting them and periodically burying them, no contemporary social or political movement has attracted as much public attention, in both quantitative and qualitative terms.
One of the reasons why so many seem to want to forget Zapatismo, to send it to the past or to reduce it to a few municipalities in Chiapas, is the depth of its radicalism. The Zapatistas challenge in words and deeds every aspect of contemporary society. In revealing the root cause of current predicaments, they tear apart the framework of the economic society (capitalism), the nation-state, formal democracy and all modern institutions. They also render the conventional ways and practices of social and political movements obsolete. In reconstructing the world from the bottom up, they reveal the illusory or counterproductive nature of changes conceived or implemented from the top down. Their path encourages resistance to globalization and neoliberalism everywhere, and inspires struggles for liberation.
Nothing about the Zapatistas is more important than their contribution to hope and imagination. According to the Mahabharata, the sacred Indian book, when hope – that sheet-anchor of every man – is destroyed, great grief follows, which is almost equal to death itself. For Ivan Illich, “the Promethean ethos has now eclipsed hope. Survival of the human race depends on its rediscovery as a social force” (Illich 1971, 105-6). It is precisely this rediscovery that the Zapatistas have accomplished.
Pandora, “the All-Giving”, closed the lid of her amphora before Hope could escape. It is time to reclaim it, in the era in which the Promethean ethos threatens to destroy the world, and the expectations it generated vanish one after the other. In liberating hope from its intellectual and political prison, the Zapatistas created the possibility of a renaissance, which is now emerging in the net of plural paths they have discovered. They are still a source of inspiration for those walking along those paths. But they do not pretend to administer or control such a net, which has its own impulses, strength, and orientation. We all are, or can be, Zapatistas. 

 Behind our black mask, behind our armed voice, behind our unnamable name, behind what you see of us, behind this, we are you. Behind this, we are the same simple and ordinary men and women who are repeated in all races, painted in all colors, speak in all languages, and live in all places. Behind this, we are the same forgotten men and women, the same excluded, the same intolerated,   the same persecuted, the same as you. Behind this, we are you. (The Zapatistas 1998, 24). 

In 250,000 hectares of Lacandon Jungle, surrounded by thousands of troops, attacked constantly by paramilitary groups, demonized by the government and the political classes, isolated and disqualified by the “institutional” left, the Zapatistas persist in their remarkable sociological and political construction. They refused to accept government funds, not even for their schools and health centers. When civil society asked them to follow “the political way,” they obliged in a dignified manner and entered into dialogue with the government. They signed the San Andrés Accords with the government, which were consequently ignored and violated by successive administrations. But nevertheless, the Zapatistas adhered to the accords through the implementation of autonomy in the area under their control.
Full article

thepeoplesrecord:

New forms of Zapatista Revolution: The Lacandona Commune 
January 2, 2014

The main challenge in Mexico today is to resist a wave of violence that is dispossessing and oppressing people, and which may precipitate increasingly brutal state repression and even a vicious civil war. At the same time, we need to connect the points of resistance, giving them an organizational form adapted to their nature. What is needed is to build a political force that can stop the ongoing disaster, prevent its continuation, and begin to reorganize society from the bottom-up.

There are clear signs that such a scenario is already developing. Many initiatives are connecting desire to reality, and thus giving a joyful and effective sense to political action. An increasing number of people are ceasing to dance to the tune of the powerful, choosing instead to play their own song.

The primary catalyst capable of transforming society is emerging from the Lacandona Commune in Chiapas. For many analysts, both the Zapatistas and Subcomandante Marcos are history: they lost their opportunity, their time has passed, and they are increasingly irrelevant. The media have ‘disappeared’ them; they ignore the Zapatistas, except to disqualify them. Allies and sympathizers have begun to share this impression. However, for prominent thinkers like Chomsky, González Casanova, or Wallerstein, Zapatismo is today the most radical and perhaps the most important political initiative in the world.

The Zapatistas were the first to challenge an intellectual and political mood in Mexico that had surrendered to neoliberal globalization. From that moment on, globalization represented a promise for some and a threat for others, but everybody took it very seriously. Since 1994, anti-systemic movements have acknowledged that the Zapatista uprising was a wake-up call that “Another World Is Possible,” a slogan later coined by the World Social Forum, whose more vigorous and creative sectors were inspired by the Zapatistas.

The Zapatistas have been prominent in the public and media gaze for 20 years. In fact, as surprising as it may seem to those who insist on forgetting them and periodically burying them, no contemporary social or political movement has attracted as much public attention, in both quantitative and qualitative terms.

One of the reasons why so many seem to want to forget Zapatismo, to send it to the past or to reduce it to a few municipalities in Chiapas, is the depth of its radicalism. The Zapatistas challenge in words and deeds every aspect of contemporary society. In revealing the root cause of current predicaments, they tear apart the framework of the economic society (capitalism), the nation-state, formal democracy and all modern institutions. They also render the conventional ways and practices of social and political movements obsolete. In reconstructing the world from the bottom up, they reveal the illusory or counterproductive nature of changes conceived or implemented from the top down. Their path encourages resistance to globalization and neoliberalism everywhere, and inspires struggles for liberation.

Nothing about the Zapatistas is more important than their contribution to hope and imagination. According to the Mahabharata, the sacred Indian book, when hope – that sheet-anchor of every man – is destroyed, great grief follows, which is almost equal to death itself. For Ivan Illich, “the Promethean ethos has now eclipsed hope. Survival of the human race depends on its rediscovery as a social force” (Illich 1971, 105-6). It is precisely this rediscovery that the Zapatistas have accomplished.

Pandora, “the All-Giving”, closed the lid of her amphora before Hope could escape. It is time to reclaim it, in the era in which the Promethean ethos threatens to destroy the world, and the expectations it generated vanish one after the other. In liberating hope from its intellectual and political prison, the Zapatistas created the possibility of a renaissance, which is now emerging in the net of plural paths they have discovered. They are still a source of inspiration for those walking along those paths. But they do not pretend to administer or control such a net, which has its own impulses, strength, and orientation. We all are, or can be, Zapatistas.

Behind our black mask, behind our armed voice, behind our unnamable name, behind what you see of us, behind this, we are you. Behind this, we are the same simple and ordinary men and women who are repeated in all races, painted in all colors, speak in all languages, and live in all places. Behind this, we are the same forgotten men and women, the same excluded, the same intolerated, the same persecuted, the same as you. Behind this, we are you. (The Zapatistas 1998, 24).

In 250,000 hectares of Lacandon Jungle, surrounded by thousands of troops, attacked constantly by paramilitary groups, demonized by the government and the political classes, isolated and disqualified by the “institutional” left, the Zapatistas persist in their remarkable sociological and political construction. They refused to accept government funds, not even for their schools and health centers. When civil society asked them to follow “the political way,” they obliged in a dignified manner and entered into dialogue with the government. They signed the San Andrés Accords with the government, which were consequently ignored and violated by successive administrations. But nevertheless, the Zapatistas adhered to the accords through the implementation of autonomy in the area under their control.

Full article

(Source: thepeoplesrecord)

diasporicroots:

Joseph Bologne - The Chevalier De Saint-Georges ‘The Black Mozart’ (1745-1799)

  • Musically Saint-George was considered the “King of Pop” of his age;

  • Militarily he helped prevent what could have been the early collapse of the French Revolution. The vicissitudes of his journey are dramatic: from a young outsider in Paris to the dizzying heights of superstardom in pre-Revolutionary France, to an utterly tragic end.

  • In his lifetime Saint George was an elite musketeer of the King’s Horse Guard; a master-swordsman and Europe’s fencing champion;

  • A composer, violin impresario, and opera director that influenced Mozart;

  • Queen Marie-Antoinette’s music teacher and confidant; a playboy whose inner circle included the author of Valmont;

  • A military hero who championed the French Revolution.

  • That Saint-George was all of these in an age when slavery was endemic and white superiority was dogma, is beyond extraordinary and the height of irony.

Known possibly as being the “king of pop for his age”, Charles Pettaway music professor of Lincoln University, sums up Bologne as being ‘perhaps the most unjustly forgotten composer of the classical period. In his day, he was known as much for his symphonies as his swordsmanship, as much for his violin virtuosity as his trendsetting dress, and as much for his equestrian skills as his many romantic dalliances. In fact, only one thing kept him from attaining the uppermost heights of his profession and immediately securing his place in music history—he was, in the parlance of his era, a mulatto’.


Despite his Herculean accomplishments, Saint George -a man whose company was once fought over by royalty and great aristocrats- died alone, unmarried and destitute in 1799. The tragedy deepened: instead of being celebrated, in 1802 after the reinstitution of slavery in France by Napoleon, Saint-George’s music was banned, and many of his scores were destroyed. Yet, Saint-George lives. Like a Phoenix, two centuries later, the indomitable Chevalier has risen from the ashes as music lovers and historians have rediscovered him. In February 2002, the Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe renamed a street in the memory of the Chevalier de Saint-George, restoring his stature to one of a legendary statesman

Early Life

Born on Christmas day, 1745, on the French-Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe. His mother was a young Senegalese Wolof slave of remarkable beauty named Nanon. Joseph’s father, George de Bologne Saint-George, was a wealthy sugar plantation owner and a former “Gentleman in the King’s Chamber” in the court of Louis XVI, King of France.

Bologne was remarkably dedicated to his mistress and their son. Defying the Code Noir—a royal decree designed to define the conditions of slavery in the French colonies—he treated Saint-Georges as a member of his family. And, although little is known about Saint-Georges’s early years, it is easy to imagine him growing up a relatively privileged child, spending most of his time running, swimming, and generally frolicking through Guadeloupe’s paradisial landscapes.
But Bologne wanted a better life for his son than the colonies could offer.

Life in Paris

In 1753, Saint-Georges’s father took him to Paris, where he received an education in the gentlemanly arts of fencing, music, and manners. After completing his studies, Saint-Georges was made a Gendarme de la Garde du Roi and introduced to the frothy upper classes of French society. He danced in glittering ballrooms, conversed in delicately appointed parlors, attended shows at opulent concert halls, and was rumored to frequent a number of ladies’ boudoirs. “He loved the ladies!” says Pettaway. “And the ladies loved him!”
And who could blame them? He was handsome, athletic, well connected. And, of course, there was his music. Only about a third of his compositions have survived the last two hundred years, but those that have, says Pettaway, are “certainly on par with the works of Mozart and Haydn.”

Rise

Saint-George received the tutoring appropriate for a young member of the French nobility, attending a boarding school run by a famous swordsman named La Boëssière. Besides fencing and swordsmanship, his studies included literature, the sciences, and horseback riding. The teacher became the first of several observers to write admiringly of Saint-George’s prowess with the sword. Saint-George was tall, handsome, and gracious, and he quickly found his way into the halls of the French aristocracy. In 1765 a fencer named Picard insulted Saint-George and challenged him to a duel. Saint-George at first refused, but his father promised him a new carriage if he fought and won. At the duel in the city of Rouen, Saint-George quickly emerged the victor. He suffered his first defeat the following year at the hands of the famed Italian fencer Giuseppe Gianfaldoni, who praised Saint-George and said that he would soon be the best fencer on the European continent.

In music, too, Saint-George was a standout student. Several of France’s leading composers had benefited from the elder Saint-George’s patronage in the past, and young Saint-George benefited from their musical attentions. He is thought to have studied the violin with one of the great French virtuosi, Jean-Marie Leclair the Elder, and he mastered the harpsichord (an ancestor of the piano) as well. By the late 1760s he had become the recipient of a dedication from François-Joseph Gossec, the composer at the center of Parisian concert life. In 1769 Saint-George joined an orchestra called Le Concert des Amateurs, directed by Gossec, as first violinist, and in 1773, when Gossec moved on to a different conducting post, Saint-George became the group’s director.

Even as he notched these successes, Saint-George’s status in French society was an ambivalent one. Religious leaders were agitating for the end of slavery, and King Louis XVI himself was opposed to the practice. But interracial marriages were forbidden (Saint-George was never able to marry), and belief in the genetic inferiority of Africans was widespread. As word of his athletic and musical exploits spread, Saint-George became famous. Word even reached America of how he could swim across the Seine River using only one arm or shoot at and hit a coin thrown into the air, and he was something of a fashion trendsetter as well. But there was always an undercurrent of racial controversy surrounding his reputation. Saint-George had powerful backers who appreciated his talents, including Queen Marie Antoinette (to whom he was unusually close).

Influence

  • He and François-Joseph Gossec were among the first French composers to write music in an important new genre of Austrian origin—the string quartet.
  • He acted as the agent in commissioning the six symphonies composed by Joseph Haydn between 1785 and 1786 known today as the “Paris Symphonies”; these symphonies were performed under the baton of Mr. Boulogne by the  orchestra Concert des Amateurs.
  • Mozart, was still a teenager scouring Europe for steady work when Saint-Georges’s musical career was at its peak, he is thought to have “quoted” a melodic line from one of Saint-Georges’s violin concertos in his Symphonie Concertante in E-flat Major. Mozart also based a passage in his ballet score Les petits riens (The Little Nothings) on one of Saint-George’s melodies
  • Other composers offered more explicit compliments to Saint-Georges’s talents: François-Joseph Gossec, Carl Stamitz, and Antonio Lolli each dedicated works to him.

Despite his renown, Saint-Georges was still vulnerable to racial prejudice. Perhaps the most flagrant and dispiriting instance occurred in 1776 when he was nominated to head the prestigious Paris Opéra, only to have his candidacy challenged by a group of divas who argued that they could not be expected to, as they put it, “submit to the orders of a mulatto.” Louis XVI had approved the appointment, says Pettaway, but the divas’ objections won out and Saint-Georges did not get the coveted directorship.

Later Life and the French revolution
When the French Revolution erupted in 1789, the democratic ideals of the revolution—liberté, égalité, fraternité—appealed to the composer, who under the Ancient Régime “never knew when the ugly face of racism would present itself again,” . He joined the National Guard at Lille at 1789, and a year later was selected to lead one thousand black soldiers charged with defending the ongoing revolution.
But service to the revolution, it turned out, was no guarantee against the sweeping violence of la Terreur. The revolutionaries regarded anyone with ties to the aristocracy with suspicion, and Saint-Georges, who had been a guard for Louis XV and conducted Haydn’s Paris Symphonies before Marie Antoinette, was no exception. Brought in on trumped-up charges in 1793, he spent nearly a year in prison. Five years later, at about the age of fifty-five, he died in Paris, destitute, alone, and all but forgotten.
Saint-Georges’s music suffered the ill effects of the Revolution no less than his person. Many of his manuscripts were destroyed during the early years of unrest and, later, under Napoleon’s government, performances of those few of his works that did survive were banned. Only recently, through the work of scholars and musicians such as Pettaway, has the music of Saint-Georges begun to reclaim audiences as it once so ably captured.

Conclusion.

Although he was gifted, his inborn talents were magnified by his relentless effort, permitting him not only to be better, but above all to overcome the racial barriers  put before him in a time when slavery was endemic and white superiority was dogma.


References:

Dunoyer, T The Historical Biography of Joseph Bologne (Griot pictures Entertainment, LLC) [Online] available from: http://www.chevalierdesaintgeorge.com/bio_fulltext.html

Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George” Notablebiographies.com, http://www.notablebiographies.com/supp/Supplement-Mi-So/Chevalier-de-Saint-George-Joseph-Boulogne.html (March 31 2012)

Remirez, C, R (2012) Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra - “The Black Mozart”(local arts Live) [Online] available from: http://localartslive.com/profiles/blogs/black-pearl-chamber-orchestra-the-black-mozart

Willford, J (2010) Black mozart: (Humanities Magazine) [Online] available from: http://www.neh.gov/news/humanities/2010-05/PA_BlackMozart.html

Zick, J, W (2012) Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799)  (AfriClassical.com) [Online] available from: http://chevalierdesaintgeorges.homestead.com/page1.html

Click here for more

(via diasporicroots)

pulitzercenter:

In sheer numbers alone, the scale of Syria’s humanitarian crisis is difficult to grasp: a third of the country’s 22.5 million people have abandoned their homes; 10 percent have fled the country, including more than one million children. As we describe in our article in The New York Review of Books, however, the crisis has also been hard to understand because the Syrians who have fled are dispersed in hundreds of villages, towns, and cities across the region. These photographs, taken during our reporting for the story, show some of the many different situations we encountered among Syrian refugees in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq.

Images and text by Pulitzer Center grantees Hugh Eakin and Alisa Roth. View their reporting project, Syria’s Displaced: Regional Implications.

united-nations:

Did you know that 38% of the world’s land is used for agriculture? Or that there are 4.4 million fishing vessels and 1.4 billion cattle in the world? See these and more facts and figures in this recent infographic from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

united-nations:

Did you know that 38% of the world’s land is used for agriculture? Or that there are 4.4 million fishing vessels and 1.4 billion cattle in the world? 

See these and more facts and figures in this recent infographic from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

mapsontheweb:

A map of the legal systems in the world

mapsontheweb:

A map of the legal systems in the world