Cultural Differences

Cultural anthropologist and University of Chicago professor Richard Shweder will deliver a talk titled Engaging Cultural Differences Without Moral Panic: The Burqa, the Bris and FGM on Wednesday, August 4 at 5:30 p.m. at the Chilmark Public Library.

Dr. Shweder will examine the scientific and moral challenge of accurately representing the cultural practices of resident minority groups, with special reference to three topics that have recently produced moral panics among mainstream populations in Europe and the United States.

He will discuss some of the problems with the ready acceptance of depictions of “others” as savages, mutilators and barbarians. And he will show a short eye-opening documentary on female initiation in Sierra Leone produced by a thoughtful and inquisitive initiate who is seeking to understand her own cultural tradition. His discussions are often provocative and he encourages audience participation.

He is currently writing a book provisionally titled Customs Control: Un-American Activities and the Moral Challenge in Cultural Migration.