Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The word "culture" - as defined by the BBC (and other people smarter than me

Last week, BBC Radio 4 debuted a 5-part series called "The Value of Culture" about the origins of a certain, broadly-definable word - from its Latin and French origins to signifying the idea of cultivating of the mind, to anthropology, and all the way to the present-day debates over the semantic boundaries of "culture".

It's not quite as breezy as American talk radio or comedy podcast type-fare, but part one of the BBC show is worth a listen.

Also, courtesy of MetaFilter, is a summary of a 2010 UC Berkeley debate by five professors over how food reflects and defines culture as well as how it contributes to political, ethnic, and religious divisions. The document covers everything from Nazi dietary propaganda to anti-GMO protests and global McDonald's franchises. And as it turns out, the Israelis and Palestinians are even fighting over the right to claim falafel.

In any case, if you have some time to digest a few high-brow discussions this week, you could do a lot worse than these.

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