Libmonster ID: UK-1329
Author(s) of the publication: N. L. KRYLOVA

Collection of articles " Black and White in world history and culture "(Proceedings of the regional scientific conference. Yaroslavl, 2014. 131 p.) prepared and published by the Laboratory of African Studies and Oriental Studies of the Department of General History of Yaroslavl State University named after P. G. Demidov.

The collection includes articles and reports of scientists, postgraduates and students of various humanities disciplines, but united by a common theme that raises a number of problems for researchers of regional, world, intellectual, cultural, gender, social, political history, as well as cultural studies, ethnology, and psychology. At the same time, most of the articles contain a historical context; their subjects are mainly related to issues and subjects of social anthropology. The problems raised by the authors lie in the bosom of interdisciplinary, historical-cultural and historical-literary studies.

There is no need to recount in detail the content of this well-founded collective research, which seems, at first glance, genre eclectic. But only at first glance, because already in the preface to the work, prepared by T. M. Gavristova, it is explained that the content of the collection is built in strict accordance with the attitude to "black" and "white" as "an established dichotomy, the images of which are present in history and culture from ancient times" (p. 7). The preface emphasizes that the perception of black and white was not something unchangeable in time and space, it evolved, changing, in turn, not only moral norms and aesthetic standards, but also legal systems (p. 8).

The first part of the collection is mainly concerned with the problem of presentation and interpretation of "black" and "white" in history and culture. In a certain sense, this part, which includes the articles by T. M. Gavristova "Joe and Peggy Appiah: a study in black and white", N. S. Naidenova "Chronotope in African migrant prose" and others, can be attributed to the branch of historical and cultural knowledge that has received the name "history of everyday life" in the scientific community. in which the subject of study is the sphere of human everyday life against the background of its ethno-cultural, political-event, marriage-family and other practices, painted in "black and white" tones.

T. S. Denisova in her article "Black and white magic in African Politics" points out that the persistence of faith in witchcraft in Africa gives the concept of power and its manifestations additional shades. Witchcraft is supposed to confer power or take it away, as well as provide secret means of seizing power and preserving it.

The article "Symbolism of black and white in the traditional Dogon culture"by A. S. Sharova is devoted to the special significance of white and black colors in the clothing of the Dogon (living in Mali), other objects of traditional culture of this people, reflecting the most important elements of their worldview and religion.

A number of articles cover issues related in one way or another to the mixing of cultures and the phenomenon derived from it - mestizoism. N. L. Krylova's article "Marriage under the Black-and-White Flag" describes the "scandalous nature "of a black-and-white married couple in the views of Russian and European emigrants who settled in Africa in the first half of the 20th century, and the evolution of attitudes towards racially mixed marriages in the minds of modern Russians. Russian experience". The author emphasizes that such marriages and adaptation to them are a mutual process, and the entry into the new cultural world of a spouse of a different race and skin color can be significantly facilitated by mutual compliance with the rules of a multi-racial hostel and tolerance.

The polysyllabic perception of blacks in British society during the Renaissance is analyzed in the work of E. V. Blinova "Perception of Blacks in White society". N. S. Karkozashvili's study "Black Americans in the perception of British travelers in the first half of the XIX century"is a well-known continuation (primarily in chronological terms) and reflection (looking at the problem from the outside) of the topics raised in this article. Described in different ways by Englishmen traveling in America, the life of American Negroes still came down to a common denominator: the irreconcilability of contradictions between white and black Americans was based on a system of values established in the public consciousness, based on pragmatic interests and erecting obstacles to the cohesion of American society at the beginning of the century before last.

Historical and cultural analysis of the movement "Black is Beautiful" ("Black is beautiful"), which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012 and gradually transformed into a public organization aimed at protecting the rights and interests of black women, was conducted by N. E. Khokholkova, who concluded her article " Black is Beautiful: Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud " notes that, despite the proclamation of the dominance of tolerance in society,

page 75

African Americans still see the need for a movement where skin color is perceived as a value and a special destiny (p. 44).

N. A. Zakharova writes in her article "Afrobit: black or white?" about the processes of mixing only musical cultures - the European musical tradition and African rhythms - and their mutual influence, pointing out that modern African music is like a boomerang, "being alternative to European culture, it returns and integrates it gives rise to many new interpretations" (p. 49).

The second part of the collection illustrates and saturates the problem with concrete images, making an attempt-albeit in limited volumes-to show the diverse, multidimensional, finely structured world of "black" and "white" in its visual perception: photography and cinema, engraving, faleristics, and even in the history of chocolate.

Two articles of the collection are devoted to the era of black-and-white photography. The image of Sarah Bernhardt, one of the most photogenic actresses of the beginning of the last century, her role and aesthetic significance in the history of black-and-white photography are reflected in the article by O. H. Ismailova. Here, in these strict black-and-white images, in the contrast of black and white, the gallery of photo portraits of the great dramatic actress is especially expressive, multifaceted in the dichotomy of harmony and contradiction.

The possibilities of black-and-white photography, replicating the ideas of social equality and justice at different stages of the historical development of the Soviet Union, is the subject of A. Y. Gorodetsky's article "The Soviet Union in the camera lens: black-and-white photography". The grandiose black-and-white photographic legacy left to posterity by Soviet photojournalists today forms a visual image of the already defunct state.

The second section of the collection ends with a story ... chocolate, the origin of which goes back to the distant past of man. The black (and later white) sweet symbol of wealth and power survived the Mayan era, the discoveries of Christopher Columbus, and the Aztec Empire. The first acquaintance with the" food of the gods " of Europeans is associated with the Capuchin monastic order. Changing in time and space, forms, states and consistencies, chocolate, as the author of the article "Taste of black and white: the History of chocolate" A. A. Gorbunov emphasizes, is today one of the most common black and white treats.

* * *

As for the actual phenomenon of the coexistence of "black" and "white" in human history, this phenomenon took place long before the appearance of the term that denotes it. Natural disasters, epidemics, wars, conquests, military and political conflicts, ethnoreligious persecutions have always stimulated the movement of huge masses of people, naturally accompanied by a mixture of ethnic groups, tribes and peoples, bizarrely changing the ethno-cultural, anthropo-aesthetic ideas of man about harmony and the confrontation of "black" and "white".

Today, these processes are taking on a planetary scale. And this is an objective phenomenon. It is just as objective as the resistance to the incorporation of a foreigner into the host environment in an attempt by the latter to preserve its own ethno-cultural and racial "purity" by any means, not to undermine the unity and cohesion of the nation, not to erode the integrity of the national culture. And yet-to provoke responses that are expressed in the deepening of ethno-social and ethno-political polarization, in the emergence of racism of one color in response to racism of another color. These phenomena can be resented, condemned, or investigated.

It is in these parameters, set by human history itself, that the authors of the collection describe, analyze and predict the historical and cultural potential of the human type in "black and white" tones and semitones, the attitude of the person himself to this dichotomy of color, which has been present in the history and cultures of different peoples since time immemorial. And they do it very carefully and academically correctly.

The raised problem of the complex and contradictory coexistence of "black" and "white" as a social and moral phenomenon in the modern world is becoming increasingly relevant. After all, one of the important characteristics of a "split civilization" is socio-cultural marginalization. The rapid growth of international migrations, their powerful impact on social relations and culture, inevitably leads to racial and ethno-cultural dispersion within the state. The new rules of the cross-cultural community that are emerging in the context of globalization will definitely leave a society that does not master the rules of multi-ethnic, multi-racial community, social harmony and tolerance at a loss.

A peer-reviewed work can also perform another important function - educational. The research style of almost all participants of the author's ensemble differs both in a detailed (one might even say scrupulous) study of specific issues, and in the complex nature of the analysis of the problem as a whole. Combining theoretical conceptuality and extremely rich factual content in their articles (which is now very rare), the authors thereby arouse interest in research work among scientific youth, develop a "protective reaction" against lightness and a momentary opportunistic approach to it.

Having chosen an interdisciplinary approach for a comprehensive study of this phenomenon, the authors visionary believe that the implementation of their project - both in the implementation of this study and in the future - will help to understand the dialogue between different cultures, between people belonging to these cultures. It will also contribute to modeling and forecasting a number of social and cultural processes in Russia and abroad.

Without a doubt, this work can be called innovative, because there have never been attempts to conduct an interdisciplinary comprehensive historical and cultural study in such a dichotomous context.

The very title of the collection can arouse a wide reader's interest in this issue, which is relevant and burning today as never before. And the instant disappearance of this book from the bookshelves (and not only university and academic) eloquently confirms this.

N. L. KRYLOVA, Doctor of Historical Sciences Institute of Africa, Russian Academy of Sciences


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N. L. KRYLOVA, "THE HISTORY OF EVERYDAY LIFE" IN "BLACK AND WHITE" TONES // London: British Digital Library (ELIBRARY.ORG.UK). Updated: 27.10.2023. URL: https://elibrary.org.uk/m/articles/view/-THE-HISTORY-OF-EVERYDAY-LIFE-IN-BLACK-AND-WHITE-TONES (date of access: 24.05.2024).

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