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I’m working on a writing report and need support to help me learn.
Clifford’s “On Collecting Art and Culture” is a long and complex
article, not unlike others that you will encounter in the program. Here and
elsewhere, it might be helpful to begin by isolating the problem (or problems)
the author is posing. This should help guide you through his subsequent
arguments. (For the purposes of this course, feel free to skim the third of the
four sections of the article, “A Chronotope for Collecting,”
Clifford writes critically about the concepts and institutions we rely upon
when we “appropriate” cultural practices and artifacts as
representative of a “tribe” or a “tradition,” as
“authentic” or “inauthentic,” and/or as “aesthetically”
or “scientifically” important. How does Clifford’s critical
understanding of this type of knowledge-production compare with that of the
other writers we have encountered in the course?
Clifford opens the second section of his article with the following claim:
“‘Cultures’ are ethnographic collections” (152). What does he mean by
this? Is it a good or a bad thing that “cultures” are
“ethnographic collections”? (Why is the word “cultures” in
quotes?) What methods of “collecting” does Clifford advocate? (Give
an example.) What methods does he disapprove of? (Give an example.) What do you
think of his arguments?
The connections between Clifford and The Hunger Games are less obvious than
with other articles we’ve read for the class. What can we learn about The Hunger Games from Clifford and vice-versa?