R Venkataramanan

R Venkataramanan

R Venkat's Blog

R Venkat's Blog
"To be an Inspiring Teacher,one should be a Disciplined Student throughout Life" - Venkataramanan Ramasethu



Sunday, June 23, 2013

Play (theatre)

A play is a form of literature written by a playwright, usually consisting of scripted dialogue between characters, intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. Plays are performed at a variety of levels, from Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional theater, to Community theatre, as well a University or school productions. There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference whether their plays were performed or read. The term "play" can refer to both the written works of playwrights and to their complete theatrical performance.

The term "play" can be either a general term, or more specifically refer to a non-musical play. Sometimes the term "straight play" is used in contrast to "musical", which refers to a play based on music, dance, and songs sung by the play's characters. For a short play, the term "playlet" is sometimes used.


Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement.[1] Although satire is usually meant to be funny, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit as a weapon.
A common feature of satire is strong irony or sarcasm—"in satire, irony is militant"[2]—but parody, burlesque, exaggeration,[3] juxtaposition, comparison, analogy, and double entendre are all frequently used in satirical speech and writing. This "militant" irony or sarcasm often professes to approve of (or at least accept as natural) the very things the satirist wishes to attack.
Satire is nowadays found in many artistic forms of expression, including literature, plays, commentary, and media such as lyrics.

The word satire comes from the Latin word satur and the subsequent phrase lanx satura. Satur meant "full," but the juxtaposition with lanx shifted the meaning to "miscellany or medley": the expression lanx satura literally means "a full dish of various kinds of fruits."[4]
The word satura as used by Quintilian, however, was used to denote only Roman verse satire, a strict genre that imposed hexameter form, a narrower genre than what would be later intended as satire.[4][5] Quintilian famously said that satura, that is a satire in hexameter verses, was a literary genre of wholly Roman origin (satura tota nostra est). He was aware of and commented on Greek satire, but at the time did not label it as such, although today the origin of satire is considered to be Aristophanes' Old Comedy. The first critic to use satire in the modern broader sense was Apuleius.[4]
The derivation of satire from satura properly has nothing to do with the Greek mythological figure satyr.[6] To Quintilian, the satire was a strict literary form, but the term soon escaped from the original narrow definition. Robert Elliott writes:
As soon as a noun enters the domain of metaphor, as one modern scholar has pointed out, it clamours for extension; and satura (which had had no verbal, adverbial, or adjectival forms) was immediately broadened by appropriation from the Greek word for “satyr” (satyros) and its derivatives. The odd result is that the English “satire” comes from the Latin satura; but “satirize,” “satiric,” etc., are of Greek origin. By about the 4th century AD the writer of satires came to be known as satyricus; St. Jerome, for example, was called by one of his enemies 'a satirist in prose' ('satyricus scriptor in prosa'). Subsequent orthographic modifications obscured the Latin origin of the word satire: satura becomes satyra, and in England, by the 16th century, it was written 'satyre.'[1]

Laughter is not an essential component of satire;[7] in fact there are types of satire that are not meant to be "funny" at all. Conversely, not all humour, even on such topics as politics, religion or art is necessarily "satirical", even when it uses the satirical tools of irony, parody, and burlesque.
Even light-hearted satire has a serious "after-taste": the organizers of the Ig Nobel Prize describe this as "first make people laugh, and then make them think"

Satire and irony in some cases have been regarded as the most effective source to understand a society, the oldest form of social study.[9] They provide the keenest insights into a group's collective psyche, reveal its deepest values and tastes, and the society's structures of power.[10][11] Some authors have regarded satire as superior to non-comic and non-artistic disciplines like history or anthropology.[9][12][13] In a prominent example from Ancient Greece, philosopher Plato, when asked by a friend for a book to understand Athenian society, referred him to the plays of Aristophanes.[14][15]
For its nature and social role, satire has enjoyed in many societies a special freedom license to mock prominent individuals and institutions.[16] The satiric impulse, and its ritualized expressions, carry out the function of resolving social tension.[17] Institutions like the ritual clowns, by giving expression to the antisocial tendencies, represent a safety valve which reestablishes equilibrium and health in the collective imaginary, which are jeopardized by the repressive aspects of society.[18][19]
The state of political satire in a given country reflects the state of civil liberties and human rights. Under totalitarian regimes any criticism of a political system, and especially satire, is suppressed. A typical example is the Soviet Union where the dissidents, such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Andrei Sakharov were under strong pressure from the government. While satire of everyday life in the USSR was allowed, the most prominent satirist being Arkady Raikin, political satire existed in the form of anecdotes.[20] that made fun of Soviet political leaders, especially Brezhnev, famous for his narrow-mindness and love for awards and decorations.

Augustan drama

Augustan drama can refer to the dramas of Ancient Rome during the reign of Caesar Augustus, but it most commonly refers to the plays of Great Britain in the early 18th century, a subset of 18th-century Augustan literature. King George I referred to himself as "Augustus," and the poets of the era took this reference as apropos, as the literature of Rome during Augustus moved from historical and didactic poetry to the poetry of highly finished and sophisticated epics and satire.
In poetry, the early 18th century was an age of satire and public verse, and in prose, it was an age of the developing novel. In drama, by contrast, it was an age in transition between the highly witty and sexually playful Restoration comedy, the pathetic she-tragedy of the turn of the 18th century, and any later plots of middle-class anxiety. The Augustan stage retreated from the Restoration's focus on cuckoldry, marriage for fortune, and a life of leisure. Instead, Augustan drama reflected questions the mercantile class had about itself and what it meant to be gentry: what it meant to be a good merchant, how to achieve wealth with morality, and the proper role of those who serve.
Augustan drama has a reputation as an era of decline. One reason for this is that there were few dominant figures of the Augustan stage. Instead of a single genius, a number of playwrights worked steadily to find subject matter that would appeal to a new audience. In addition to this, playhouses began to dispense with playwrights altogether or to hire playwrights to match assigned subjects, and this made the producer the master of the script. When the public did tire of anonymously authored, low-content plays and a new generation of wits made the stage political and aggressive again, the Whig ministry stepped in and began official censorship that put an end to daring and innovative content. This conspired with the public's taste for special effects to reduce theatrical output and promote the novel.

As for prose and poetry, there is no clear beginning to the "Augustan era" in drama, but the end is clearly marked. Augustan-era drama ended definitively in 1737 with the Licensing Act. Prior to 1737, the English stage was changing rapidly from Restoration comedy and Restoration drama and their noble subjects to the quickly developing melodrama.
George Lillo and Richard Steele wrote the trend-setting plays of the early Augustan period. Lillo's plays consciously turned from heroes and kings toward shopkeepers and apprentices. They emphasized drama on a household scale rather than a national scale, and the hamartia and agon in his tragedies are the common flaws of yielding to temptation and the commission of Christian sin. The plots are resolved with Christian forgiveness and repentance. Steele's The Conscious Lovers (1722) hinges upon his young hero avoiding fighting a duel. These plays set up a new set of values for the stage. Instead of amusing or inspiring the audience, they sought to instruct the audience and ennoble it. Further, the plays were popular precisely because they seemed to reflect the audience's own lives and concerns.
Joseph Addison also wrote a play entitled Cato in 1713, but it did not inspire followers. Cato concerned the Roman statesman who opposed Julius Caesar. The year of its première is important for understanding why the play is unique, for Queen Anne was seriously ill at the time, and both the Tory ministry of the day and the Whig opposition (already led by Robert Walpole) were concerned about the succession. Both groups were in contact with Anne's exiled brother James Francis Edward Stuart. Londoners sensed this anxiety, for Anne had no surviving children; all of the closest successors in the Stuart family were Roman Catholic. Therefore, the figure of Cato was a transparent symbol of Roman integrity. The Whigs saw in him a Whig refusal to accept an absolute monarch from the House of Stuart, while the Tories saw in him a resistance to rule by a triumphant general (John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough, whose wife Sarah was rumored to control Anne). Further, Cato's claim that Caesar profited by illegal war echoed the Tory accusations against Marlborough. Both sides cheered the play, even though Addison was himself clearly Whig and had meant the play as something near propaganda. John Home's play Douglas (1756) would have a similar fate to Cato in the next generation after the Licensing Act.

As during the Restoration, economic reality drove the stage during the Augustan period. Under Charles II court patronage meant economic success, and therefore the Restoration stage featured plays that would suit the monarch and/or court. The drama that celebrated kings and told the history of Britain's monarchs was fit fare for the crown and courtiers. Charles II was a philanderer, and so Restoration comedy featured a highly sexualized set of plays. However, after the reign of William and Mary, the court and crown stopped taking a great interest in the playhouse. Theaters had to get their money from the audience of city dwellers, therefore, and consequently plays that reflected city anxieties and celebrated the lives of citizens were the ones to draw crowds. The aristocratic material from the Restoration continued to be mounted, and adaptations of Tudor plays were made and ran, but the new plays that were authored and staged were the domestic- and middle-class dramas. The other dramatic innovation was "spectacle": plays that had little or no text, but which emphasized novel special effects.

The public attended when they saw their lives represented on the stage, but also attended when there was a sight that would impress them. If costumes were lavish, the sets impressive or the actresses alluring, audiences would attend. The Restoration spectacular had seen the development of English opera and oratorio and a war between competing theaters to produce the most expensive and eye-popping plays. However, these blockbuster productions could mean financial ruin as much as security, and neither of the two main playhouses could continue the brinksmanship for long. After these battles between the playhouses, and these were multiple,[1] the theaters calculatingly sought the highest appeal with the lowest cost. If the cost of rehearsal time, in particular, could be shortened, the theater's investment would be reduced. Rehearsal time cost a playhouse its cast, its property masters, and its stages, and a long rehearsal meant fewer plays put on. Additionally, dramatists received the money from each third night of box office, and this could be dangerous to a house that needed every farthing to defray costs. Star dramatists could negotiate for more than one benefit night and might have terms for benefits on revival, while new, unknown, or dependent authors could be managed. The solution for the theatrical producers was to cut the costs of plays and actors while increasing the outright spectacle, and there were quite a few plays that were not literary at all that were staged more often than the literary plays.

John Rich and Colley Cibber dueled over special theatrical effects. They put on plays that were actually just spectacles, where the text of the play was almost an afterthought. Dragons, whirlwinds, thunder, ocean waves, and even actual elephants were on stage. Battles, explosions, and horses were put on the boards (Cibber). Rich specialized in pantomime and was famous as the character "Lun" in harlequin presentations. The playwrights of these works were hired men, not dramatists, and so they did not receive the traditional third-night author's profits. A pantomime, after all, required very little in the way of a playwright and much more in the way of a director, and with John Rich and Colley Cibber both acting as star players and directors, such on-demand spectacles did not necessitate a poet. Further, spectacles could be written quickly to answer to the public's whims or the rival theater's triumphs, rarely risked offensive political statements, and did not require paying benefits to a playwright. In other words, they gave the managers more profit. The plays put on in this manner are not generally preserved or studied, but their near monopoly on the theaters, particularly in the 1720s, infuriated established literary authors. Alexander Pope was only one of the poets to attack "spectacle" (in the 1727 Dunciad A and, with more vigor, the Dunciad B). The criticism was so widespread that Colley Cibber himself made excuses for his part in the special-effects war, claiming that he had no choice but to comply with market pressures.

If vacant, subliterary spectacles were not enough of a threat to dramatists, opera, which had crossed over to England in the Restoration, experienced an enormous surge in popularity with Italian grand opera in England in the 1710s and 1720s. In The Spectator, both in number 18 and the 3 April 1711 number, and many places elsewhere, Joseph Addison fretted that foreign opera would drive English drama from the stage altogether. These early fears followed the sudden rage for the Italian singers and operas that took over London in 1711 with the arrival of Handel. Inasmuch as opera combined singing with acting, it was a mixed genre, and its violation of neoclassical strictures had made it a controversial form from the start. Addison, damning opera's heterogeny, wrote, "Our Countrymen could not forbear laughing when they heard a Lover chanting out a Billet-doux, and even the Superscription of a Letter set to a Tune."[2] This type of opera not only took up theatrical rehearsal time and space, it also took away dramatic subject matter. Straight playwrights were at a loss. As John Gay lamented (see below), no one could use music in a play unless it was as an opera, and Englishmen were nearly forbidden from that. To add insult to injury, the casts and celebrated stars were foreigners and, as with Farinelli and Senesino (the latter of whom was paid two thousand pounds for a single season in 1721), castrati. Castrati were symbols, to the English, of the Roman Catholic Church. The satirists saw in opera the non plus ultra of invidiousness. High melodies would cover the singers' expressions of grief or joy, conflating all emotion and sense under a tune that might be entirely unrelated. Alexander Pope blasted this shattering of "decorum" and "sense" in Dunciad B and suggested that its real purpose was to awaken the Roman Catholic Church's power ("Wake the dull Church") while it put a stop to the political and satirical stage and made all Londoners fall into the sleep of un-Enlightenment:
"Joy to Chaos! let Division reign:
Chromatic tortures soon shall drive them [the muses] hence,
Break all their nerves, and fritter all their sense:
One Trill shall harmonize joy, grief, and rage,
Wake the dull Church, and lull the ranting Stage;
To the same notes thy sons shall hum, or snore,
And all thy yawning daughters cry, encore." (IV 55–60)

Furthermore, grand opera had a high degree of spectacle in it. In the 17th century, when opera first came to England, it prompted enormously complex theatrical stagings to present illusions of ghosts, mythological figures, and epic battles. When Handel's arrival in England spurred a new vogue for English opera, it also caused a new vogue for imported opera, no matter the content, so long as it would create an enormous visual impact. Although some of the "Tory Wits" like Pope and John Gay wrote opera librettos (the two combining for Acis and Galatea with Handel), opera was a spectacular form of theater that left too little room for dramatic acting for most of the playwrights. Pope argued in The Dunciad that Handel's operas were "masculine" in comparison to Italian and French opera. While this is a musical commentary, it is also a commentary on the amount of decoration and frippery put on the stage, on the way that Handel's operas concentrated on their stories and music rather than their theatrical effects.
It was not merely the fact that such operas drove out original drama, but also that the antics and vogue for the singers took away all else, seemingly, that infuriated English authors. The singers (particularly the sopranos) introduced London to the concept of the prima donna, in both senses of the term. In 1727, two Italian sopranos, Francesca Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni, had such a rivalry and hatred of each other (the latter had been paid more than the former) that the audiences were encouraged to support their favorite singer by hissing her rival, and during a performance of Astyanax in 1727, the two women actually began to fight on stage (Loughrey 13). John Gay wrote to Jonathan Swift on 3 February 1723,
"There's nobody allow'd to say I sing but an Eunuch or an Italian Woman. Every body is grown now as great a judge of Musick as they were in your time of Poetry & folks that could not distinguish one tune from another now daily dispute over different Styles of Handel, Bononcini, and Aitillio. People have now forgot Homer, and Virgil & Caesar...."
These operas were spectaculars in every sense. The personalities of the stars were before the stage, the stars were before the music, and the music before the words. Additionally, opera brought with it new stage machines and effects. Even Handel, whom Pope values as restrained and sober, had his heroine brought on stage by "two huge Dragons out of whose mouths issue Fire and Smoke" in Rinaldo in 1711.
The "problem" of spectacle continued in the 1720s and 1730s. In 1734, Henry Fielding has his tragedian, Fustian, describe the horror of a pantomime show:
"...intimating that after the audience had been tired with the dull works of Shakespeare, Jonson, Vanbrugh, and others, they are to be entertained with one of these pantomimes, of which the master of the playhouse, two or three painters, and half a score dancing-masters are the compilers. ...I have often wondered how it was possible for any creature of human understanding, after having been diverted for three hours with the production of a great genius, to sit for three more and see a set of people running about the stage after one another, without speaking one syllable, and playing several juggling tricks, which are done at Fawks's after a much better manner; and for this, sir, the town does not only pay additional prices, but loses several fine parts of its best authors, which are cut out to make room for the said farces." (Pasquin, V i.)
Fustian complains as well that authors are denied stagings because of these entertainments, and, as well, that playhouse managers would steal plays from their authors. As Fustian says earlier, a playwright could spend four months trying to get a manager's attention and then "he tells you it won't do, and returns it to you again, reserving the subject, and perhaps the name, which he brings out in his next pantomime" (Pasquin IV i.).

The reemergence of satirical drama, and the Licensing Act[edit]

Toward the end of the 1720s, the behavior of opera stars, the absurdity of spectacle productions, and an escalation of political warfare between the two parties led to a reclamation of the stage by political dramatists. During the later years of King George I, who favored Robert Walpole, there was a scramble for the favor of the future King George II, his wife, and his mistress, and this combined with a shattering of public confidence in the government after the South Sea Bubble and revelations of corruption in the trial of Jonathan Wild, Charles Hitchen, the Earl of Macclesfield, and others.
John Gay and comic inversion[edit]
John Gay parodied the opera with his satirical Beggar's Opera (1728) and with it delivered a satire of Robert Walpole's actions during the South Sea Bubble. Superficially, the play is about a man named Macheath who runs a gang for a criminal fence named Peachum, whose daughter, Polly Peachum, is in love with him, and who escapes prison over and over again because the daughter of the jailor, Lucy Lockitt, is also in love with him. Peachum wishes to see Macheath hanged because Polly has married Macheath, unlike Lucy Lockitt, who is merely pregnant by him (and neither woman is concerned with Macheath's sexual activity, but only with whom he marries, for marriage means access to his estate when he is eventually hanged). Peachum fears that Macheath will turn him in to the law, and he also feels that marriage is a betrayal of good breeding, that prostitution is the genteel thing. Gay announced his intention to create the "ballad opera" with the play. The music for the songs came from tunes already popular, and ten of the tunes were from the satirist Tom D'Urfey, whose Pills to Purge Melancholy was a collection of coarse, bawdy, and amusing songs on various topics. The ballad was associated with folk songs and folk poetry, and so Gay's choice of using ballads (although ballads written by a well-known author) for his music was itself an attempt to deflate the seeming pomposity and elitism of the opera.
For most of the audience, the central entertainment of the opera was the love triangle between Macheath, Polly, and Lucy, but satirically, the centre of the opera was the Peachum/Macheath story. This story was an obvious parallel with the case of Jonathan Wild (Peachum) and Jack Sheppard (Macheath). However, it was also the tale of Robert Walpole (Peachum) and the South Sea directors (Macheath). Robert Walpole was one of the most divisive ministers in British history, and his control of the House of Commons ran for over two decades. Until Margaret Thatcher, no other Prime Minister (the office would not exist in name until later) had as adversarial a relationship with authors, and he had ruthlessly consolidated power and jealously guarded it against all threats. During the South Sea Bubble, Walpole was accused of being "the screen," protecting the moneyed directors of the corporation from prosecution and of cashing in his own shares for full value before the collapse of the stock. Further, during the life and career of the actual Jonathan Wild, Walpole's Whig ministry was suspected of protecting and supporting the master "thief-taker."
Additionally, Gay's opera was a strict parody and inversion of the opera. Gay has his thieves and prostitutes speak like upper-class gentlemen and ladies. Implicitly, he suggests that the nobles are no better than the thieves even as he suggests that thieves have their own mock-monarchies, senates, and religion. He has his Beggar (the putative author of the opera) explain that the two female leads have equal parts and therefore should not fight (a joke that witnesses of the diva battle would understand). The supernaturally lofty settings of opera are, in Gay's hands, the warrens of St Giles parish. For palace settings, he has prisons. For throne rooms, he has taverns. For kings, he has criminal fences. For knights errant/shepherd lovers, he has a highwayman. For goddesses drawn about on gilded chariots, he has a ruined maid, a chorus of prostitutes, and Polly (who is perversely chaste). The arias also use the same metaphors that were common in opera, and Gay's songs are themselves parodies of the predictable lyrics in opera. In each case, high and low trade places and Gay's suggestion of an essential likeness of the ministry with its most famous thief extended also to a suggestion that high opera is essentially like tavern songs and rounds. The play was a hit, running for an unheard-of eighty performances. Subsequently, the songs, as well as the play, were printed up and sold.
Robert Walpole, who had some personal animosity to John Gay, attended the play and enjoyed it. However, upon learning from a friend that he was one of the targets of the satire, he tried to have the play stopped. When Gay wrote a follow-up called Polly, Walpole had the play suppressed before performance. The suppression was without precedent, although it was soon to be used as a precedent, for there had been no actual attack on the ministry. The anti-ministerial (Tory) sentiment was entirely derived from interpretation.
Playwrights were therefore in straits. On the one hand, when the playhouses were not running operas imported wholesale from the continent, they were dispensing with dramatists by turning out hack-written pantomimes. On the other hand, when a satirical play appeared from a literary source, the Whig ministry suppressed it even though it came from the most popular dramatist of the day (i.e., John Gay). Furthermore, the grounds of the suppression were all implicit comparisons, and nothing explicit. Gay had not said that Walpole was a crook as bad as Wild, although he had suggested it.
The new Tory wits, escalating satire, and the creation of the Licensing Act[edit]

Frontispiece to Fielding's Tom Thumb, a play satirizing plays (and Robert Walpole)
Robert Walpole's personal involvement in censoring entertainments critical of him only fanned the flames of the antagonism between himself and the stage. Henry Fielding, among others, was not afraid to provoke the ministry, and anti-Walpolean plays spiked after the suppression of Polly. Fielding's Tom Thumb (1730) was a satire on all of the tragedies written before him, with quotations from all the worst plays patched together for absurdity, and the plot concerned the eponymous tiny man attempting to run the kingdom and insinuate himself into the royal ranks. It was, in other words, an attack on Robert Walpole and the way that he was referred to as "the Great Man" and his supposed control over Caroline of Ansbach. As with Gay's Beggar's Opera, the miniature general speaks constantly in elevated tones, making himself a great hero, and all of the normal-sized ladies fight each other to be his lover. The contrast between reality, delusion, and self-delusion was a form of bathos that made the audience think of other grand-speaking and grandly spoken of people. If a ridiculously tiny figure could be acclaimed a hero because of his own braggadicio, might other great leaders be similarly small? Were they titans, or dwarves like Tom Thumb? Fielding announced, essentially, that the emperor had no clothes, the prime minister no greatness. Walpole responded by suppressing the performance of the play. Fielding was a justice of the peace by profession, and so he knew that the ministry could only control the stage and not book publication. Therefore, he tapped into the market for printed plays, and his revision of the play was solely in book form. It was written by "Scribblerus Secundus," its title page announced (a reference to the Scribblerus Club of Jonathan Swift, Gay, Pope, Robert Harley, Thomas Parnell, John Arbuthnot, and Henry St. John), and it was the Tragedy of Tragedies, which did for drama what Pope's Peri Bathos: or The Art of Sinking in Poetry had done for verse. Fielding placed a critical apparatus on the play, showing the sources of all the parodies, and thereby made it seem as if his target had all along been bad tragedy and not the prime minister. (Fielding's later novel, Jonathan Wild, makes it clear that such was not the case, for it used exactly the same satirical device, "the Great Man," to lambaste the same target, Robert Walpole.)
Henry Fielding was not done with ministry satire. His Covent-Garden Tragedy of 1732 was set in a brothel amongst the prostitutes. Although the play was only acted once, it, like Tom Thumb, sold when printed. Its attacks on poetic license and the antirealism of domestic tragedians and morally sententious authors was an attack on the values central to the Whig version of personal worth. Two years later, Fielding was joined by Henry Carey in anti-Walpolean satire. His Chrononhotonthologos takes its cue from Tom Thumb by outwardly satirizing the emptiness of bombast. However, it also encoded a very specific and dangerous satire of King George II and his statutory wife. The king and queen never meet in the play, and the subject is the former's wars with personal discomfort and the latter's desire for adultery. In particular, the Queen herself is implicitly attacked. However, the play also appears to be a superficial work of fancy and nonsense verse, and it delighted audiences with tongue twisters and parody. However, Carey worked The Dragon of Wantley into a play in 1734. Fielding and Carey, among others, picked up the cudgels where the Tory Wits had set them down and began to satirize Walpole and Parliament with increasing ferocity (and scatology). Although a particular play of unknown authorship entitled A Vision of the Golden Rump was cited when Parliament passed the Licensing Act of 1737 (the "rump" being Parliament, a rump roast, and human buttocks simultaneously), Carey's Dragon of Wantley was an unmistakable attack on tax policy and the ever-increasing power of the London government over the countryside. Notably, Fielding's and Carey's plays made allowances for spectacle. Indeed, their plays relied upon a burlesque of spectacle and by spectacle, for the effects of TopsyTurvy armies in Chrononhotonthologos (stacked atop each other instead of in ranks) and the titular dragon of Wantley, as well as the miniaturizing of Tom Thumb and the lurid scenery of the Covent Garden brothel, were part of the draw and part of the humor for these plays.
The Licensing Act required all plays to go to a censor before staging, and only those plays passed by the censor were allowed to be performed. Therefore, plays were judged by potential criticism of the ministry and not just by reaction or performance. The first play to be banned by the new Act was Gustavus Vasa by Henry Brooke. The play invoked the Swedish Protestant king Gustav Vasa to castigate the purportedly corrupt Parliament of Walpole's administration, although Brooke would claim that he meant only to write a history play. Samuel Johnson wrote a Swiftian parodic satire of the licensers, entitled A Complete Vindication of the Licensers of the Stage (1739). The satire was, of course, not a vindication at all but rather a reductio ad absurdum of the position for censorship. Had the licensers not exercised their authority in a partisan manner, the Act might not have chilled the stage so dramatically, but the public was well aware of the bannings and censorship, and consequently any play that did pass the licensers was regarded with suspicion by the public. Therefore, the playhouses had little choice but to present old plays and pantomime and plays that had no conceivable political content. One consequence was that William Shakespeare's reputation grew enormously as his plays saw a quadrupling of performances, and sentimental comedy and melodrama were the only "safe" choices for new drama. Dramatists themselves had to turn to prose or to less obvious forms of criticism, such as puppet shows that Charlotte Charke would invest in.
Effects of the Licensing Act[edit]

Othello "strikes" Desdemona in Othello from the 1744 Thomas Hanmer deluxe edition of William Shakespeare. Hanmer's was one of the "improved" editions that was roundly hissed by textual critics.
In comedy, one effect of the Licensing Act was that playwrights began to develop a comedy of sentiment. This comedy was critically labeled as "high" comedy, in that it was intended to be entertaining rather than actually funny, and brought about its entertainment by elevating the sentiments of the viewer. The plots also relied upon characters being in or out of sympathy with each other. Very late in the Augustan period, Oliver Goldsmith attempted to resist the tide of sentimental comedy with She Stoops to Conquer (1773), and Richard Brinsley Sheridan would mount several satirical plays after Walpole's death, but to a large degree the damage had been done and would last for a century. Both of these playwrights were taking advantage of a loosening of the censorship and popular weariness with "refined" comedy. Goldsmith's play reintroduces the country bumpkin character who outwits the sophisticated would-be rakes who are engaged in a plot to marry well. Sheridan, on the other hand, very consciously turned back to the Restoration comedy for his models but carefully toned down the dangers of the sexual plots.
As mentioned above, another effect of the Licensing Act was to send the playhouses to old plays. Since any play written before 1737 could be staged without permission, theaters had a great deal to choose from. However, they sought out Shakespeare, in particular, as the one author whose name alone could generate an audience as large as those formerly provided by leading poets. Shakespeare's stature had been rising throughout the 18th century, and textual criticism, particularly of Shakespeare, had resulted in reliable texts (see Shakespeare's reputation for details). Further, many of the expurgated and "improved" versions of Shakespeare were falling from favor. Actors such as David Garrick made their entire reputations by playing Shakespeare. The Licensing Act may be the single greatest factor in the rise of "Bardolatry." However, other, less sparkling, plays were also revived, including multiple versions of Lady Jane Grey and The Earl of Essex (including one by Henry Brooke that had been written before the Act). Each of these could be used as a tacit commentary on the politics of the contemporary court and as a political gesture. Therefore, when playhouses wished to answer the public's political sentiment, they could quickly mount a performance of Cato or one of the Lady Jane Greys or, if the mood was otherwise, one of Aphra Behn's royalist plays, and some of the Restoration plays such as William Wycherly's The Plain Dealer and William Congreve's The Way of the World were always promising comedy. However, when they needed to fill the house reliably, regardless of political season, and show off their actors, they staged Shakespeare.

David Garrick, a celebrity actor, starring as King Richard III in Colley Cibber's revision of Shakespeare's play six years after the Licensing Act
Finally, authors with strong political or philosophical points to make would no longer turn to the stage as their first hope of making a living. Prior to 1737, plays were de rigueur for authors who were not journalists. This had to do with the economics of booksellers. A bookseller would purchase a book from an author, whether that book was Gulliver's Travels or Collected Sermons, and would calculate his chances of making money off of sales. He would pay the author according to the money he expected to make. (For example, Goldsmith's The Vicar of Wakefield was famously sold to pay a single rent installment, whereas John Gay had been paid 1,000 pounds for his Poems on Various Occasions, which was more than seven years of salary for his government job.) That would be the only money an author would see from the book, and therefore he or she would need to produce a new version, new book, or a serial publication of the next work to have hopes of more income. Prior to 1737, novelists had come from the ranks of satirists (Jonathan Swift) and journalists (Daniel Defoe), but these novels had in common wide changes of scenery, long plots, and often impossible things (such as talking horses)—all features that made the works unsuitable for the stage. The exception was Aphra Behn, who was a dramatist first and a novelist second. Her Oroonoko seems to have been written as a novel simply because there was no time for staging, as it was a political commentary on ongoing events, and she could not have another play on the boards at the time. Her Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister, like Gulliver's Travels and Moll Flanders, was inappropriate for the stage. However, after 1737, novels began to have dramatic structures involving only normal human beings, as the stage was closed off for serious authors.
Additionally, prior to 1737 the economic motivations for dramatists were vast. A playwright received the house take of the third night of a play. This could be a very large amount of money, and it would be renewed with each season (depending upon arrangements). Thus, John Gay grew wealthy with The Beggar's Opera. In 1726, Leonard Welsted's indifferent success, The Dissembled Woman, was acted at Lincoln's Inn Fields. It netted him £138 for the author's benefit but only £30 for the printing rights. After the Licensing Act closed off hopes for serious authors on the stage, the novel was the next logical path. In particular, Samuel Richardson's Clarissa was published in serial form and made the author a substantial amount of money from subscriptions. The novel became a potentially lucrative form of publishing, and booksellers began to pay more for novels as novels began to sell more. From being a form of exigency, the novel became a form of choice after the stage was shut down by the Licensing Act. Therefore, the Licensing Act had the unintended effect of increasing rather than decreasing the power of dissenting authors, as it put a stop to anti-Walpolean sentiments and anti-ministry arguments on the stage (which could only reach audience members in London) and sent these messages instead to the novel form, where they would remain in print, pass from hand to hand, and spread throughout the kingdom.

The Beggar's Opera

The original idea of the opera came from Jonathan Swift, who wrote to Alexander Pope on 30 August 1716 asking "...what think you, of a Newgate pastoral among the thieves and whores there?" Their friend, Gay, decided that it would be a satire rather than a pastoral opera. For his original production in 1728, Gay intended all the songs to be sung without any accompaniment, adding to the shocking and gritty atmosphere of his conception.[7] However, a week or so before the opening night, John Rich, the theatre director, insisted on having Johann Christoph Pepusch, a composer associated with his theatre, write a formal French overture (based on two of the songs in the opera, including a fugue based on Lucy's 3rd act song "I'm Like A Skiff on the Ocean Toss'd") and also to arrange the 69 songs. Although there is no external evidence of who the arranger was, inspection of the original 1729 score, formally published by Dover Books, demonstrates that Pepusch was the arranger.[8]
The work took satiric aim at the passionate interest of the upper classes in Italian opera, and simultaneously set out to lampoon the notable Whig statesman Robert Walpole, and politicians in general, as well as the notorious criminals Jonathan Wild and Jack Sheppard. It also deals with social inequity on a broad scale, primarily through the comparison of low-class thieves and whores with their aristocratic and bourgeois "betters."[citation needed]
Gay used Scottish folk melodies mostly taken from the poet Allan Ramsay's hugely popular collection The Gentle Shepherd (1725) plus two French tunes (including the carol 'Bergers, Ecoutez La Musique!' for his song 'Fill Every Glass'), to serve his hilariously pointed and irreverent texts. The renowned composer, John Christopher Pepusch, composed an Ouverture and arranged all the tunes shortly before the opening night at Lincoln's Inn Fields on 28 January 1728. However, all that remains of Pepusch's score are the Ouverture (with complete instrumentation) and the melodies of the songs with unfigured basses. Various reconstructions have been attempted, and a 1990 reconstruction of the score by American composer Jonathan Dobin has been used in a number of modern productions.[9]
Gay uses the operatic norm of three acts (as opposed to the standard in spoken drama of the time of five acts), and tightly controls the dialogue and plot so that there are surprises in each of the forty-five fast-paced scenes and 69 short songs. The success of the opera was accompanied by a public desire for keepsakes and mementos, ranging from images of Polly on fans and clothing, playing cards and fire-screens, broadsides featuring all the characters, and the rapidly published musical score of the opera.[citation needed]
The play is sometimes seen to be a reactionary call for libertarian values in response to the growing power of the conservative Whig party. It may also have been influenced by the then-popular ideology of Locke that men should be allowed their natural liberties; these democratic strains of thought influenced the populist movements of the time, of which The Beggar's Opera was a part.[10]
The character of Macheath has been considered by critics as both a hero and an anti-hero. Harold Gene Moss, arguing that Macheath is a noble character, has written, "[one] whose drives are toward love and the vital passions, Macheath becomes an almost Christ-like victim of the decadence surrounding him." Contrarily, John Richardson in the peer-reviewed journal Eighteenth-Century Life has argued that Macheath is powerful as a literary figure precisely because he stands against any interpretation, "against expectation and illusion."[10]
The Beggar's Opera has had an influence on all later British stage comedies, especially on nineteenth century British comic opera and the modern musical.

Early theatre in New York

New York did not have a significant theatre presence until about 1750, when actor-managers Walter Murray and Thomas Kean established a resident theatre company at the Theatre on Nassau Street, which held about 280 people. They presented Shakespeare plays and ballad operas such as The Beggar's Opera.[3] In 1752, William Hallam sent a company of twelve actors from Britain to the colonies with his brother Lewis as their manager. They established a theatre in Williamsburg, Virginia and opened with The Merchant of Venice and The Anatomist. The company moved to New York in the summer of 1753, performing ballad operas and ballad-farces like Damon and Phillida. The Revolutionary War suspended theatre in New York, but thereafter theatre resumed in 1798, the year the 2,000-seat Park Theatre was built on Chatham Street (now called Park Row).[3] The Bowery Theatre opened in 1826,[4] followed by others. Blackface minstrel shows, a distinctly American form of entertainment, became popular in the 1830s, and especially so with the arrival of the Virginia Minstrels in the 1840s.[5]
By the 1840s, P.T. Barnum was operating an entertainment complex in lower Manhattan. In 1829, at Broadway and Prince Street, Niblo's Garden opened and soon became one of New York's premiere nightspots. The 3,000-seat theatre presented all sorts of musical and non-musical entertainments. The Astor Place Theatre opened in 1847. A riot broke out in 1849 when the lower-class patrons of the Bowery objected to what they perceived as snobbery by the upper class audiences at Astor Place: "After the Astor Place Riot of 1849, entertainment in New York City was divided along class lines: opera was chiefly for the upper middle and upper classes, minstrel shows and melodramas for the middle class, variety shows in concert saloons for men of the working class and the slumming middle class."[6]
The plays of William Shakespeare were frequently performed on the Broadway stage during the period, most notably by American actor Edwin Booth who was internationally known for his performance as Hamlet. Booth played the role for a famous 100 consecutive performances at the Winter Garden Theatre in 1865 (with the run ending just a few months before Booth's brother John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln), and would later revive the role at his own Booth's Theatre (which was managed for a time by his brother Junius Brutus Booth, Jr.). Other renowned Shakespeareans who appeared in New York in this era were Henry Irving, Tommaso Salvini, Fanny Davenport, and Charles Fechter.

Lydia Thompson came to America in 1868 heading a small theatrical troupe, adapting popular English burlesques for middle-class New York audiences. Thompson's troupe, called the "British Blondes", was the most popular entertainment in New York during the 1868–1869 theatrical season. "The eccentricities of pantomime and burlesque—with their curious combination of comedy, parody, satire, improvisation, song and dance, variety acts, cross-dressing, extravagant stage effects, risqué jokes and saucy costumes—while familiar enough to British audiences, took New York by storm."[7] The six-month tour ran for almost six extremely profitable years.[8]


Stagecraft is the technical aspect of theatrical, film, and video production. It includes constructing and rigging scenery, hanging and focusing of lighting, design and procurement of costumes, makeup, procurement of props, stage management, and recording and mixing of sound. Stagecraft is distinct from the wider umbrella term of scenography. Considered a technical rather than an artistic field, it is primarily the practical implementation of a designer's artistic vision.
In its most basic form, stagecraft is managed by a single person (often the stage manager of a smaller production) who arranges all scenery, costumes, lighting, and sound, and organizes the cast. At a more professional level, for example modern Broadway houses, stagecraft is managed by hundreds of skilled carpenters, painters, electricians, stagehands, stitchers, wigmakers, and the like. This modern form of stagecraft is highly technical and specialized: it comprises many sub-disciplines and a vast trove of history and tradition.
The majority of stagecraft lies between these two extremes. Regional theatres and larger community theatres will generally have a technical director and a complement of designers, each of whom has a direct hand in their respective designs.
Greeks were the earliest recorded practitioners of stagecraft. "Skene" is Greek, translating roughly into "scene" or "scenery", and refers to a large scenic house, about one story tall, with three doors. On the audience-side of the Skene, what are now known as "flats" could be hung. Flats developed to two-sided painted flats which would be mounted, centered, on a rotating pin, with rope running around each consecutive pin, so the flats could be turned for a scene-change. The double-sided-flat eventually evolved into the periaktoi (pl. periaktos).
As well as flats, the Greeks also used such machines as the ekkyklema, essentially a platform on wheels, and the deus ex machina, a hand-cranked lift to be used to lift a character/scenery over the skene. Over 20 such scenic inventions can be traced back to the Greeks. No light but that of the sun was used; plays started at sun-rise and continued until sun-down.
Plays of Medieval times were held in different places such as the streets of towns and cities, performed by traveling, secular troupes. Some were also held in monasteries, performed by church-controlled groups, often portraying religious scenes. The playing place could represent many different things such as indoors or outdoors (plain-an-gwarry (theatre)). They were played in certain places so the props could be used for the play. Songs and spectacles were often used in plays to enhance participation.[1]
More modern stagecraft was in developed in England between 1576-1642. There were three different types of theaters in London - public, private and court. The size and shape varied but many were suggested to be round theaters. Public playhouses such as the Globe Theatre used rigging housed in a room on the roof to lower and raise in scenery or actors, and utilized the raised stage by developing the practice of using trap-doors in theatrical productions. Most of the theatres had circular-design, with an open area above the pit to allow sunlight to enter and light the stage. It was a penny admission to stand in the pit. Prices increase for seating. Court plays were used for holidays and special occasions.[2]
Proscenium stages, or picture-box stages, were constructed in France around the time of the English Restoration, and maintain the place of the most popular form of stage in use to-date, and originally combined elements of the skene in design, essentially building a skene on-stage. Lighting of the period would have consisted of candles, used as foot-lights, and hanging from chandeliers above the stage.
Lighting continued to develop, first with the help of the English, in an effort to accurately map the coast of England, would triangulate cliff locations by using flame, and two ships at sea. Due to extreme fog, limestone had to be burned in order to see the light from the ocean. English sailors, propagators of many modern stagecraft practices, brought the use of limestone as a light source into the theatre for the purposes of spotlighting, hence the phrase "limelight". To control the focus of the light, a Fresnel lens was used.
Originally intended to replace large, convex lenses in lighthouses, Dr. Fresnel sectioned out the convex lens in a series of circles, like tree-rings, and keeping the angle of the specific section, moved the section much closer to the flat side of the convex lens.
After candles, came gas lighting, utilizing pipes with small openings which were lit before every performance, and could be dimmed by controlling the flow of gas, so long as the flame never went out. With the turn of the 20th century, many theatre companies making the transition from gas to electricity would install the new system right next to the old one, resulting in many explosions and fires due to the electricity igniting the gas lines.
Modern theatrical lighting is electrically-based. Many lamps and lighting instruments are in use today, and the field is rapidly becoming one of the most diverse and complex in the industry.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Thanjavur Parampara A Knowledge Portal on Tradition and Culture

Thanjavur Parampara
A Knowledge Portal on Tradition and Culture

As guided and directed by Their Holinesses Pujyasri Shankaracharya Swamijis of Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, a Knowledge portal 'www.thanjavurparampara.com' has been set up for the purpose of bringing out the greatness of undivided Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu, in a way which will impart historical knowledge, share the culture and tradition of the olden days and seek to establish curiosity and pride of the home land.

Towards this, the site will cover details of various sthalas (places) including their significance, the rich bhakti and vedic literature, temple festivals and other details.

The image gallery in the portal has a rich and diverse collection of 700+ photographs showcasing our rich culture and traditions.

The portal also features a series of articles highlighting important features of specific temples like Kshetra mahima, Stotras, Sthalapurana, temple layout etc.

Contributions are invited to the website from one and all in sharing information of a similar nature including photographs, latest news etc. Mail to thanjavurparamparai@gmail.com

The Portal can be accessed at www.thanjavurparampara.com

Pradosha Pooja @ Ved Bhavan Kolkata

न हि ज्ञानेना सदृशम पवित्रमिह विद्यते |
Gita Ch. 4, Sloka No. 38
Certainly, there is no purifier in this world like knowledge.

Pradosha Pooja will be performed on 21st June,2013 & 5th July 2013 from 05.00PM onwards at Ved Bhavan,Kolkata

Abhishegams for Lord Shiva with Veda Mantra Chanting followed by Archana. Devotees will chant the Slokas - Siva Puranam, Kolaru Thirupathigam (in Tamil)Shivanandha Lahari etc etc.

Devotees desirous of performing pooja during the Pradosha Kalamcan book in advance with their Name, Nakshatram, Gothram etc. during the following Timings:

Morning: 06.00 A.M to 10.00 A.M
Evening: 05.00 P.M to 09.00 P.M

50, Lake Avenue, Kolkata - 700 026
Phone: 033 24639049
Mobile: 09830969488
Email: vedbhavankolkata@gmail.com

“Finance for Hospital Administrators”

The Sankara Nethralaya Academy conducted a training program on Sat 15-06-2013 on the topic “Finance for Hospital Administrators” for the Certificate course on Hospital Management.

Shri P.R. Ravindran, a Chartered-cum-Cost Accountant and former Chief General Manager of Sankara Nethralaya, took the session for three hours on the topic, to enable doctors, managers and executives in hospitals.

• Appreciate the role of and understand the implications of finance on corporate/institution’s activities.
• Understand financial statements and analyze them.
• Be in a better position to discuss the subject with finance managers in their organization.

The Program mainly covered, understanding financial statements like, Balance Sheet, Profit & Loss Account, Ratio Analysis for review of Performance, Working Capital Management, Cash flow Management and Basic principles of Costing. The methodology of the Programme mainly focused on real life examples, like Apollo Hospitals Financial Statements and a lively case study on Costing of a Surgery.

The session was started with Mr A Mahalingam, The Academic Officer of the Academy welcoming the Participants and later ended with a question and answer session.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Therapy (Latin therapīa; Greek: θεραπεία) literally means "curing, healing"[1] and is the attempted remediation of a health problem, usually following a diagnosis. In the medical field, it is synonymous with the word "treatment". Among psychologists, the term may refer specifically to psychotherapy or "talk therapy".
As a rule, each therapy has indications and contraindications.
Preventive therapy or prophylactic therapy is a treatment that is intended to prevent a medical condition from occurring. For example, many vaccines prevent infectious diseases. An abortive therapy is a treatment that is intended to stop a medical condition from progressing any further. A medication taken at the earliest signs of a disease, such as at the very symptoms of a migraine headache, is an abortive therapy.
A supportive therapy is one that does not treat or improve the underlying condition, but instead increases the patient's comfort.[2] Supportive treatment may be used in palliative care.

Clinical research

Clinical research is a branch of medical science that determines the safety and effectiveness of medications, devices, diagnostic products and treatment regimens intended for human use. These may be used for prevention, treatment, diagnosis or for relieving symptoms of a disease. Clinical Research is different than clinical practice. In clinical practice, one used established treatments while in clinical research evidence is collected to establish a treatment.

The term clinical research refers to the entire bibliography of a drug/device/biologic, in fact any test article from its inception in the lab to its introduction to the consumer market and beyond. Once the promising candidate or the molecule is identified in the lab, it is subjected to pre-clinical studies or animal studies where different aspects of the test article (including its safety toxicity if applicable and efficacy, if possible at this early stage) are studied.
In the United States, when a test article is unapproved or not yet cleared by the FDA, or when an approved or cleared test article is used in a way that may significantly increase the risks (or decreases the acceptability of the risks), the data obtained from the pre-clinical studies or other supporting evidence, case studies of off label use, etc. are submitted in support of an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for review prior to conducting studies that involve even one human and a test article if the results are intended to be submitted to or held for inspection by the FDA at any time in the future (in the case of an already approved test article, if intended to submit or hold for inspection by the FDA in support of a change in labeling or advertising). Where devices are concerned the submission to the FDA would be for an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) application if the device is a significant risk device or is not in some way exempt from prior submission to the FDA. In addition clinical research may require Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Research Ethics Board (REB) and possibly Other institutional Committee reviews, Privacy Board, Conflict of Interest Committee, Radiation Safety Committee, Radioactive Drug Research Committee, etc. approval whether or not the research requires prior submission to the FDA. Clinical research review criteria will depend on which Federal regulations the research is subject to (e.g., [(Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) if Federally funded, FDA as already discussed) and will depend on which regulations the institutions subscribe to, in addition to any more stringent criteria added by the institution possibly in response to state or local laws/policies or accreditation entity recommendations. This additional layer of review (IRB/REB in particular) is critical to the protection of human subjects especially when you consider that often research subject to the FDA regulation for prior submission is allowed to proceed, by those same FDA regulations, 30 days after submission to the FDA unless specifically notified by the FDA not to initiate the study.
Clinical research is often conducted at academic medical centers and affiliated research study sites. These centers and sites provide the prestige of the academic institution as well as access to larger metropolitan areas, providing a larger pool of medical participants.
The clinical research ecosystem involves a complex network of sites, pharmaceutical companies and academic research institutions. This has led to a growing field of technologies used for managing the data and operational factors of clinical research. Clinical research management is often aided by eClinical systems to help automate the management and conducting of clinical trials.
In the European Union, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) acts in a similar fashion for studies conducted in their region. These human studies are conducted in four phases in research subjects that give consent to participate in the clinical trials.

Applied research

Applied research is a form of systematic inquiry involving the practical application of science. It accesses and uses some part of the research communities' (the academia's) accumulated theories, knowledge, methods, and techniques, for a specific, often state-, business-, or client-driven purpose. Applied research is compared to pure research (basic research) in discussion about research ideals, methodologies, programs, and projects.[1]
Applied research deals with solving practical problems[2] and generally employs empirical methodologies. Because applied research resides in the messy real world, strict research protocols may need to be relaxed. For example, it may be impossible to use a random sample. Thus, transparency in the methodology is crucial. Implications for interpretation of results brought about by relaxing an otherwise strict canon of methodology should also be considered.
The OECD's Frascati Manual[3] describes Applied Research as one of the three forms of research, along with Basic research & Experimental Development.
Due to its practical focus, applied research information will be found in the literature associated with individual disciplines.[4][5]

Tisham with Jhimli @ Rabindo Jayanti Function 2013


Friday, June 14, 2013

“Role of Human Resources in Health Care”

A session on “Role of Human Resources in Health Care” was conducted by Ms. Sudha Mohan as part of the Certificate Course in Hospital Management program organized by the SN Academy on 8th June’13.

Starting off with the scenario of the health care sector in India, the module covered the key functions of HR viz Talent Acquisition, Training, Performance Management system, Career & Succession Planning & Employee Health, Safety & Welfare.

The other aspects like Employee Retention, Job Rotation, and Employee Satisfaction & Grievance Handling also formed part of the program.

In the concluding part of the session, the participants were divided into small groups wherein each group had to come up with a challenge faced by HR in the health care sector or at their workplace and also explain on how they would overcome the said challenge with suitable solutions and processes that would be followed.

The participants put forth a lot of questions and were enthusiastic throughout the session.

Ms. Sudha Mohan is Senior Manager – HR with Sankara Nethralaya. She has about 14 years of rich experience as a HR Generalist.

Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust & Telugu Association of North America (TANA)

As a fund raising body ever exploring new avenues to spread awareness on the Sankara Nethralaya philosophy, its goals and achievements and raise funds for its community initiatives, the Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust realized that the Telugu Association of North America (TANA) congregation slated to take place at Dallas would be an ideal platform to reach out to the Telugu community living across North America and Canada. They quickly got their act together by coordinating on one hand with the organizers of the 19th TANA convention on the modalities of setting up a booth and distributing publicity material at the venue and ensuring that the necessary materials are ready on time, by actively interacting with the creative team at Sankara Nethralaya.

The booth set up and collaterals in place as scheduled, the SN OM Trust members from the Dallas region Shri Suresh Dalapathy who played a key role in facilitating SN OM Trust’s participation in the event, trustee Shri Prabhu Sivaraman and volunteers Shri Venantius Anthony, Shri Mohannath, Shri Sridhar Vasudevan and Srimathi Sukanya Vasudevan presented themselves enthusiastically at the OM Trust booth at the Dallas Convention Center on the 24th of May 2013, the inaugural day of the 19th TANA Convention. The booth was designed with an emphasis on showcasing Sankara Nethralaya’s activities at Andhra Pradesh, especially the newly inaugurated Sri City Sankara Nethralaya at Tada, near Sulurpetta at the Tamil Nadu Andhra border and the Mobile Surgical Bus.

The booth witnessed a good footfall, the brand recall and familiarity of Sankara Nethralaya were evident in the interaction that the visitors had with the OM Trust members and volunteers manning the stall. The Trustees and volunteers manned the booth in turns on the three days of the convention between the 24th-26th of May, welcoming visitors, handing over the flyers and brochures, briefing them on the various activities of Sankara Nethralaya and the critical need to support its endeavours. Prominent among the visitors were long time friends and supporters of SN OM Trust from the Dallas Area, Shri Nani Iswara the senior software professional and Vani Iswara the founder of Ellora Center for Performing Arts. There were spirited enquiries from the visitors on areas like student observership and other avenues through which they could associate and assist Sankara Nethralaya in its various activities. The Twin Surgical Bus and the recently inaugurated Sri City Sankara Nethralaya at Tada evoked great interest among the visitors.

While the event did not translate into significant monetary benefit, it provided a great opportunity and meeting point to interact with the members of the Telugu community, spread awareness and identify potential well wishers and donors among them. The members of the Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust would be pursuing these promising contacts and leads through the good offices of the Telugu Association of North America (TANA) and the Chittoor NRI Association and exploring how their good will and confidence could be leveraged to bring about tangible real time benefits to the Sankara Nethralaya’s community initiatives back in India.

Dr. Samar K Basak guest lecture @ Sankara Nethralaya, Kolkata

Dr. Samar K Basak would deliver a guest lecture on 20-06-2013 evening 5.30pm at Sankara Nethralaya,Kolkata,Mukundupur Campus,E M Bypass.

Optometrists,Optometry Students and any individual involved in Eye Care Profession keen to upgrade and update existing knowledge to attend without fail,and benefit out of this unique oppurtunity.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sankara Nethralaya - Mission for Vision

"WHONET" training programme @ Sankara Nethralaya

"Properly presented Communication involves Skills, Otherwise our Communication Kills"

Mr. Muthiah Ramanathan serves as Director – Training, in Mind Dynamics Center, President of Hypnotique Circle, Secretary of NLP and TA Circle and Faculty in Academy of Insurance Marketing and Management. He is a certified Trainer in NLP from NFNLP, Florida, USA.

He presented a half a day Audio-visual program on ‘Communication Skills’ for the Certificate course on Hospital Management in our Sankara Nethralaya Academy (TSNA) on Saturday the 1st June 2013.

Properly presented Communication involves Skills. Otherwise our Communication Kills. He started with an ice-breaker and a puzzle which made everyone to interact, rather, argue with him. He concluded saying that the puzzle was just a pointer to make them realize that the participants were stuck with their earlier learning which do not give them the provision or permission to learn something new.

He has also covered Body Language, distances ( Proxemics) and emotional connectivity.

He highlighted few examples from Neuro Linguistic Programming : Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic.

5 member groups were formed and one of the member was asked to close her eyes. 4 other members of the team would shake hands with her saying their names. And one more time when they come at random and shake hands with her she was to connect the name ( Auditory) with the touch ( Kinesthetic).

3 Member teams were formed and a member (A) was asked to sit in the front chair with his eyes closed. Another member (B) will be sitting behind and take a very complicated sitting posture. It is the responsibility of the 3rd member (C) to observe the posture (visual) of B and through verbal instructions (Auditory) make A to sit exactly like B. The photographic images of both shall match.

All the participants enjoyed playing every role in these games. They had lots of fun and joy, right from the beginning of the program and till the end. The feedback given by the participants were excellent.

This session conducted at The Sankara Nethralaya Academy Campus, No 9, Vanagaram – Ambattur Road, Kil Ayanambakkam, Maduravoyal, Chennai – 600 095

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Annual Hands-on Summer training programme by the Vidyasagar Institute for Bio Medical Sciences,Sankara Nethralaya

The annual Hands-on Summer training programme by the Vidyasagar Institute for Bio Medical Sciences to provide an interactive platform and real time understanding of various branches of scientific study was conducted between 13th May and 7th June 2013. There were a total of 9 participants from 8 Colleges / Institutions namely Stella Maris College, Chennai (1), Madras University, Chennai (2), PSG College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore(1), Women’s Christian College, Chennai (1), Queen Mary’s College, Chennai, (1), Mohamed Sathak College of Arts & Science, Sholingannallur, Chennai (1), Mysore Medical College and Research Institute, Mysore (1) and SRM University, Chennai (1) of whom (4) students were posted at the R.S.Mehta Jain Department of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, 1 student at the Sankara Nethralaya ONGC Department of Genetics & Molecular Biology and 4 students at the L & T Microbiology Research Centre.

The students expressed their utmost satisfaction and happiness on the new learning and experience gained at the training programme. The participants shared their experience of the training programme at the valedictory function that was conducted on 7th June 2013, they had a high word of appreciation for all the faculty & staff involved in training them and expressed that the programme was very useful and functional to them. Dr.H.N.Madhavan, Director and Professor of L&T Microbiology Department & VIBS addressed the participants and distributed the certificates to them. Dr. N. Angayarkanni, Dr.A.J.Pandian & Dr.J.Malathi faculty members from the respective departments appreciated the deep enthusiasm and interest exhibited by the participants in learning the techniques. The participants were requested to share the knowledge gained at the programme and impart the skills to their juniors and colleagues in their respective colleges to which they happily gave their consent.

The function ended with a warm vote of Thanks by Dr. K. Lily Therese, VIBS Co-coordinator, to the Medical Research Foundation and the Founder of VIBS, Padmasri Iravatham Mahadevan, I.A.S, whose most thoughtful and generous contribution helped in the creation of the VIBS in memory of his son, for providing a wonderful opportunity to train the post graduate students from various Science & Arts Colleges & Research Institutions.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Anthropology /ænθrɵˈpɒlədʒi/ is the "science of humanity." [1] It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences.[2] The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos (ἄνθρωπος), "man", understood to mean humankind or humanity, and -logia (-λογία), "discourse" or "study."
Since the work of Franz Boas and Bronisław Malinowski in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, anthropology has been distinguished from other social sciences by its emphasis on in-depth examination of context, cross-cultural comparisons, and the importance it places on participant-observation, or long-term, experiential immersion in the area of research. Cultural anthropology in particular has emphasized cultural relativism, holism, and the use of findings to frame cultural critiques.[3] This has been particularly prominent in the United States, from Boas's arguments against 19th-century racial ideology, through Margaret Mead's advocacy for gender equality and sexual liberation, to current criticisms of post-colonial oppression and promotion of multiculturalism. Ethnography is one of its primary methods as well as the text that is generated from anthropological fieldwork.[4][5][6]
In the United States, the discipline is traditionally divided into four sub-fields: cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, and biological anthropology. In Europe, the discipline originated as ethnology and was originally defined as the study of social organization in non-state societies. It was later renamed social anthropology. It is now sometimes referred to as sociocultural anthropology in most of Europe, the Commonwealth, and in the parts of the world that were influenced by the European tradition.[7]

In the United States, anthropology is traditionally divided into four fields: biological or physical anthropology, social anthropology or cultural anthropology, archaeology and anthropological linguistics. These fields frequently overlap, but tend to use different methodologies and techniques. In Great Britain and the Commonwealth countries, the British tradition of Social Anthropology tends to dominate. In some European countries, all cultural anthropology is known as ethnology (a term coined and defined by Adam F. Kollár in 1783).[8]
Anthropologists study topics that include the origin and evolution of Homo sapiens, the organization of human social and cultural relations, human physical traits, human behavior, the variations among different groups of humans, how the evolutionary past of Homo sapiens has influenced its social organization and culture, and so forth.[9][10] Anthropology originated in the colonial encounter between Western people and colonized non-Western people, as Europeans tried to understand the origins of observable cultural diversity. Today anthropology is a global discipline, and anthropologists study all types of societies. Anthropology is one of the few places where humanities, social, and natural sciences are forced to confront one another. As such, anthropology has been central in the development of several new (late 20th century) interdisciplinary fields such as cognitive science,[11] global studies, and various ethnic studies.
According to Clifford Geertz, "anthropology is perhaps the last of the great nineteenth-century conglomerate disciplines still for the most part organizationally intact. Long after natural history, moral philosophy, philology, and political economy have dissolved into their specialized successors, it has remained a diffuse assemblage of ethnology, human biology, comparative linguistics, and prehistory, held together mainly by the vested interests, sunk costs, and administrative habits of academia, and by a romantic image of comprehensive scholarship."[12] Sociocultural anthropology has been heavily influenced by structuralist and postmodern theories, as well as a shift toward the analysis of modern societies. During the 1970s and 1990s, there was an epistemological shift away from the positivist traditions that had largely informed the discipline.[13][page needed] During this shift, enduring questions about the nature and production of knowledge came to occupy a central place in cultural and social anthropology. In contrast, archaeology and biological anthropology remained largely positivist. Due to this difference in epistemology, the four sub-fields of anthropology have lacked cohesion over the last several decades.
Sociocultural anthropology[edit]
Main articles: Cultural anthropology and Social anthropology
Sociocultural anthropology draws together the principle axes of cultural anthropology and social anthropology. Cultural anthropology is the comparative study of the manifold ways in which people make sense of the world around them, while social anthropology is the study of the relationships among persons and groups.[14] Cultural anthropology is more akin to philosophy, literature and the arts, while social anthropology to sociology and history.[14]
Inquiry in sociocultural anthropology is guided in part by cultural relativism, the attempt to understand other societies in terms of their own cultural symbols and values.[4] Accepting other cultures in their own terms moderates reductionism in cross-cultural comparison.[15] This project is often accommodated in the field of ethnography. Ethnography can refer to both a methodology and a product of research, namely a monograph or book. As methodology, ethnography is based upon long-term fieldwork within a community or other research site. Participant observation is one of the foundational methods of social and cultural anthropology.[16] Ethnology involves the systematic comparison of different cultures. The process of participant-observation can be especially helpful to understanding a culture from an emic (conceptual, vs. etic, or technical) point of view.
The study of kinship and social organization is a central focus of sociocultural anthropology, as kinship is a human universal. Sociocultural anthropology also covers economic and political organization, law and conflict resolution, patterns of consumption and exchange, material culture, technology, infrastructure, gender relations, ethnicity, childrearing and socialization, religion, myth, symbols, values, etiquette, worldview, sports, music, nutrition, recreation, games, food, festivals, and language (which is also the object of study in linguistic anthropology).
Comparison across cultures is a key element of method in sociocultural anthropology, including the industrialized (and de-industrialized) West. Cultures in the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample (SCCS) [17] of world societies are:
Africa Nama (Hottentot) • Kung (San) • Thonga • Lozi • Mbundu • Suku • Bemba • Nyakyusa (Ngonde) • Hadza • Luguru • Kikuyu • Ganda • Mbuti (Pygmies) • Nkundo (Mongo) • Banen • Tiv • Igbo • Fon • Ashanti (Twi) • Mende • Bambara • Tallensi • Massa • Azande • Otoro Nuba • Shilluk • Mao • Maasai
Circum-Mediterranean Wolof • Songhai • Wodaabe Fulani • Hausa • Fur • Kaffa • Konso • Somali • Amhara • Bogo • Kenuzi Nubian • Teda • Tuareg • Riffians • Egyptians (Fellah) • Hebrews • Babylonians • Rwala Bedouin • Turks • Gheg (Albanians) • Romans • Basques • Irish • Sami (Lapps) • Russians • Georgian (Iberian) •Abkhaz • Armenians • Kurd
East Eurasia Yurak (Samoyed) • Basseri • West Punjabi • Gond • Toda • Santal • Uttar Pradesh • Burusho • Kazak • Khalka Mongols • Lolo • Lepcha • Garo • Lakher • Burmese • Lamet • Vietnamese • Rhade • Khmer • Siamese • Semang • Nicobarese • Andamanese • Vedda • Tanala • Negeri Sembilan • Atayal • Chinese • Manchu • Koreans • Japanese • Ainu • Gilyak • Yukaghir
Insular Pacific Javanese (Miao) • Balinese • Iban • Badjau • Toraja • Tobelorese • Alorese • Tiwi • Aranda • Orokaiva • Kimam • Kapauku • Kwoma • Manus • New Ireland • Trobrianders • Siuai • Tikopia • Pentecost • Mbau Fijians • Ajie • Maori • Marquesans • Western Samoans • Gilbertese • Marshallese • Trukese • Yapese • Palauans • Ifugao • Chukchi
North America Ingalik • Aleut • Copper Eskimo • Montagnais • Mi'kmaq • Saulteaux (Ojibwa) • Slave • Kaska (Nahane) • Eyak • Haida • Bellacoola • Twana • Yurok • Pomo • Yokuts • Paiute (Northern) • Klamath • Kutenai • Gros Ventres • Hidatsa • Pawnee • Omaha (Dhegiha) • Huron • Creek • Natchez • Comanche • Chiricahua • Zuni • Havasupai • Papago • Huichol • Aztec • Popoluca
South America Quiché • Miskito (Mosquito) • Bribri (Talamanca) • Cuna • Goajiro • Haitians • Calinago • Warrau (Warao) • Yanomamo • Carib • Saramacca • Munduruku • Cubeo (Tucano) • Cayapa • Jivaro • Amahuaca • Inca • Aymara • Siriono • Nambicuara • Trumai • Timbira • Tupinamba • Botocudo • Shavante • Aweikoma • Cayua (Guarani) • Lengua • Abipon • Mapuche • Tehuelche • Yaghan
See also the List of indigenous peoples.
Biological anthropology[edit]

Forensic anthropologists can help identify skeletonized human remains, such as these found lying in scrub in Western Australia, c. 1900–1910.
Main article: Biological anthropology
Biological Anthropology and Physical Anthropology are synonymous terms to describe anthropological research focused on the study of humans and non-human primates in their biological, evolutionary, and demographic dimensions. It examines the biological and social factors that have affected the evolution of humans and other primates, and that generate, maintain or change contemporary genetic and physiological variation.[18]
Archaeological anthropology[edit]
Main article: Archaeology

Excavations at the 3800-year-old Edgewater Park Site, Iowa
Archaeology is the study of the human past through its material remains. Artifacts, faunal remains, and human altered landscapes are evidence of the cultural and material lives of past societies. Archaeologists examine these material remains in order to deduce patterns of past human behavior and cultural practices. Ethnoarchaeology is a type of archaeology that studies the practices and material remains of living human groups in order to gain a better understanding of the evidence left behind by past human groups, who are presumed to have lived in similar ways.[19]
Linguistic anthropology[edit]
Main article: Linguistic anthropology
Linguistic anthropology (also called anthropological linguistics) seeks to understand the processes of human communications, verbal and non-verbal, variation in language across time and space, the social uses of language, and the relationship between language and culture. It is the branch of anthropology that brings linguistic methods to bear on anthropological problems, linking the analysis of linguistic forms and processes to the interpretation of sociocultural processes. Linguistic anthropologists often draw on related fields including sociolinguistics, pragmatics, cognitive linguistics, semiotics, discourse analysis, and narrative analysis.[20]
Key topics by field: Sociocultural anthropology[edit]

Anthropology of art, media, music, dance & film[edit]
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Anthropology of art,
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and film
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Anthropology of art[edit]
One of the central problems in the anthropology of art concerns the universality of 'art' as a cultural phenomenon. Several anthropologists have noted that the Western categories of 'painting', 'sculpture', or 'literature', conceived as independent artistic activities, do not exist, or exist in a significantly different form, in most non-Western contexts.[21] To surmount this difficulty, anthropologists of art have focused on formal features in objects which, without exclusively being 'artistic', have certain evident 'aesthetic' qualities. Boas' Primitive Art, Claude Lévi-Strauss' The Way of the Masks (1982) or Geertz's 'Art as Cultural System' (1983) are some examples in this trend to transform the anthropology of 'art' into an anthropology of culturally-specific 'aesthetics'.
Media anthropology[edit]

A Punu tribe mask. Gabon West Africa
Anthropology of media (also anthropology of mass media, media anthropology) emphasizes ethnographic studies as a means of understanding producers, audiences, and other cultural and social aspects of mass media. The types of ethnographic contexts explored range from contexts of media production (e.g., ethnographies of newsrooms in newspapers, journalists in the field, film production) to contexts of media reception, following audiences in their everyday responses to media. Other types include cyber anthropology, a relatively new area of internet research, as well as ethnographies of other areas of research which happen to involve media, such as development work, social movements, or health education. This is in addition to many classic ethnographic contexts, where media such as radio, the press, new media and television have started to make their presences felt since the early 1990s.[22][23]
Musical anthropology[edit]
Ethnomusicology is an academic field encompassing various approaches to the study of music (broadly defined) that emphasize its cultural, social, material, cognitive, biological, and other dimensions or contexts instead of or in addition to its isolated sound component or any particular repertoire.
Visual anthropology[edit]
Visual anthropology is concerned, in part, with the study and production of ethnographic photography, film and, since the mid-1990s, new media. While the term is sometimes used interchangeably with ethnographic film, visual anthropology also encompasses the anthropological study of visual representation, including areas such as performance, museums, art, and the production and reception of mass media. Visual representations from all cultures, such as sandpaintings, tattoos, sculptures and reliefs, cave paintings, scrimshaw, jewelry, hieroglyphics, paintings and photographs are included in the focus of visual anthropology.
Economic, Political Economic, Applied & Development anthropology[edit]
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Economic anthropology[edit]
Economic anthropology attempts to explain human economic behavior in its widest historic, geographic and cultural scope. It has a complex relationship with the discipline of economics, of which it is highly critical. Its origins as a sub-field of anthropology begin with the Polish-British founder of Anthropology, Bronislaw Malinowski, and his French compatriot, Marcel Mauss, on the nature of gift-giving exchange (or reciprocity) as an alternative to market exchange. Economic Anthropology remains, for the most part, focused upon exchange. The school of thought derived from Marx and known as Political Economy focuses on production, in contrast.[24] Economic Anthropologists have abandoned the primitivist niche they were relegated to by economists, and have now turned to examine corporations, banks, and the global financial system from an anthropological perspective.
Political economy[edit]
Political Economy in anthropology is the application of the theories and methods of Historical Materialism to the traditional concerns of anthropology, including, but not limited to, non-capitalist societies. Political Economy introduced questions of history and colonialism to ahistorical anthropological theories of social structure and culture. Three main areas of interest rapidly developed. The first of these areas was concerned with the "pre-capitalist" societies that were subject to evolutionary "tribal" stereotypes. Sahlins work on Hunter-gatherers as the 'original affluent society' did much to disapate that image. The second area was concerned with the vast majority of the world's population at the time, the peasantry, many of whom were involved in complex revolutionary wars such as in Vietnam. The third area was on colonialism, imperialism, and the creation of the capitalist world-system.[25] More recently, these Political Economists have more directly addressed issues of industrial (and post-industrial) capitalism around the world.
Applied anthropology[edit]
Applied Anthropology refers to the application of the method and theory of anthropology to the analysis and solution of practical problems. It is a, “complex of related, research-based, instrumental methods which produce change or stability in specific cultural systems through the provision of data, initiation of direct action, and/or the formulation of policy”.[26] More simply, applied anthropology is the practical side of anthropological research; it includes researcher involvement and activism within the participating community. It is closely related to Development anthropology (distinct from the more critical Anthropology of development).
Anthropology of development[edit]
The anthropology of development tends to view development from a critical perspective. The kind of issues addressed and implications for the approach involve asking why, if a key development goal is to alleviate poverty, is poverty increasing? Why is there such a gap between plans and outcomes? Why are those working in development so willing to disregard history and the lessons it might offer? Why is development so externally driven rather than having an internal basis? In short why does so much planned development fail?
Anthropology of Kinship, Feminism, Gender & Sexuality[edit]
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Anthropology of kinship
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Kinship & family[edit]
Kinship can refer both to the study of the patterns of social relationships in one or more human cultures, or it can refer to the patterns of social relationships themselves. Over its history, anthropology has developed a number of related concepts and terms, such as descent, descent groups, lineages, affines, cognates and even fictive kinship. Broadly, kinship patterns may be considered to include people related both by descent (one's social relations during development), and also relatives by marriage.
Feminist anthropology[edit]
Feminist Anthropology is a four field approach to anthropology (archeological, biological, cultural, linguistic) that seeks to reduce male bias in research findings, anthropological hiring practices, and the scholarly production of knowledge. Anthropology engages often with feminists from non-Western traditions, whose perspectives and experiences can differ from those of white European and American feminists. Historically, such 'peripheral' perspectives have sometimes been marginalized and regarded as less valid or important than knowledge from the western world. Feminist anthropologists have claimed that their research helps to correct this systematic bias in mainstream feminist theory. Feminist anthropology is inclusive of birth anthropology as a specialization.
Anthropology of gender & sexuality[edit]
Medical, Nutritional, Psychological, Cognitive & Transpersonal Anthropology[edit]
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Medical anthropology[edit]
Medical anthropology is an interdisciplinary field which studies "human health and disease, health care systems, and biocultural adaptation".[27] Currently, research in medical anthropology is one of the main growth areas in the field of anthropology as a whole. It focuses on the following six basic fields:
the development of systems of medical knowledge and medical care
the patient-physician relationship
the integration of alternative medical systems in culturally diverse environments
the interaction of social, environmental and biological factors which influence health and illness both in the individual and the community as a whole
the critical analysis of interaction between psychiatric services and migrant populations ("critical ethnopsychiatry": Beneduce 2004, 2007)
the impact of biomedicine and biomedical technologies in non-Western settings
Other subjects that have become central to medical anthropology worldwide are violence and social suffering (Farmer, 1999, 2003; Beneduce, 2010) as well as other issues that involve physical and psychological harm and suffering that are not a result of illness. On the other hand, there are fields that intersect with medical anthropology in terms of research methodology and theoretical production, such as cultural psychiatry and transcultural psychiatry or ethnopsychiatry.

Old Chinese medical chart on acupuncture meridians
Anthropology of food and nutrition[edit]
Nutritional anthropology is a synthetic concept that deals with the interplay between economic systems, nutritional status and food security, and how changes in the former affect the latter. If economic and environmental changes in a community affect access to food, food security, and dietary health, then this interplay between culture and biology is in turn connected to broader historical and economic trends associated with globalization. Nutritional status affects overall health status, work performance potential, and the overall potential for economic development (either in terms of human development or traditional western models) for any given group of people.
Psychological anthropology[edit]
Psychological anthropology is an interdisciplinary subfield of anthropology that studies the interaction of cultural and mental processes. This subfield tends to focus on ways in which humans' development and enculturation within a particular cultural group—with its own history, language, practices, and conceptual categories—shape processes of human cognition, emotion, perception, motivation, and mental health. It also examines how the understanding of cognition, emotion, motivation, and similar psychological processes inform or constrain our models of cultural and social processes.[28][29]
Cognitive anthropology[edit]
Cognitive anthropology seeks to explain patterns of shared knowledge, cultural innovation, and transmission over time and space using the methods and theories of the cognitive sciences (especially experimental psychology and evolutionary biology) often through close collaboration with historians, ethnographers, archaeologists, linguists, musicologists and other specialists engaged in the description and interpretation of cultural forms. Cognitive anthropology is concerned with what people from different groups know and how that implicit knowledge changes the way people perceive and relate to the world around them.[30]
Transpersonal anthropology[edit]
Transpersonal anthropology studies the relationship between altered states of consciousness and culture. As with transpersonal psychology, the field is much concerned with altered states of consciousness (ASC) and transpersonal experience. However, the field differs from mainstream transpersonal psychology in taking more cognizance of cross-cultural issues—for instance, the roles of myth, ritual, diet, and texts in evoking and interpreting extraordinary experiences (Young and Goulet 1994).
Political & Legal anthropology[edit]
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Political anthropology[edit]
Political anthropology concerns the structure of political systems, looked at from the basis of the structure of societies. Political anthropology developed as a discipline concerned primarily with politics in stateless societies, a new development started from the 1960s, and is still unfolding: anthropologists started increasingly to study more “complex” social settings in which the presence of states, bureaucracies and markets entered both ethnographic accounts and analysis of local phenomena. The turn towards complex societies meant that political themes were taken up at two main levels. First of all, anthropologists continued to study political organization and political phenomena that lay outside the state-regulated sphere (as in patron-client relations or tribal political organization). Second of all, anthropologists slowly started to develop a disciplinary concern with states and their institutions (and of course on the relationship between formal and informal political institutions). An anthropology of the state developed, and it is a most thriving field today. Geertz’ comparative work on "Negara", the Balinese state is an early, famous example.
Legal anthropology[edit]
Legal anthropology, also known as Anthropology of Law specializes in "the cross-cultural study of social ordering".[31] Earlier legal anthropological research often focused more narrowly on conflict management, crime, sanctions, or formal regulation. More recent applications include issues such as Human Rights, Legal pluralism, Islamaphobia and Political Uprisings.
Public anthropology[edit]
Public Anthropology was created by Robert Borofsky, a professor at Hawaii Pacific University, to "demonstrate the ability of anthropology and anthropologists to effectively address problems beyond the discipline - illuminating larger social issues of our times as well as encouraging broad, public conversations about them with the explicit goal of fostering social change" (Borofsky 2004).
Anthropology of nature, science & technology[edit]
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Cyborg anthropology[edit]
Cyborg anthropology originated as a sub-focus group within the American Anthropological Association's annual meeting in 1993. The sub-group was very closely related to STS and the Society for the Social Studies of Science.[32] Donna Haraway’s 1985 Cyborg Manifesto could be considered the founding document of cyborg anthropology by first exploring the philosophical and sociological ramifications of the term. Cyborg anthropology studies humankind and its relations with the technological systems it has built, specifically modern technological systems that have reflexively shaped notions of what it means to be human beings.
Digital anthropology[edit]
Digital anthropology is the study of the relationship between humans and digital-era technology, and extends to various areas where anthropology and technology intersect. It is sometimes grouped with sociocultural anthropology, and sometimes considered part of material culture. The field is new, and thus has a variety of names with a variety of emphases. These include techno-anthropology,[33] digital ethnography, cyberanthropology,[34] and virtual anthropology.[35]
Ecological anthropology[edit]
Ecological anthropology is defined as the “study of cultural adaptations to environments”.[36] The sub-field is also defined as, "the study of relationships between a population of humans and their biophysical environment".[37] The focus of its research concerns “how cultural beliefs and practices helped human populations adapt to their environments, and how people used elements of their culture to maintain their ecosystems.”[36]
Environmental anthropology[edit]
Environmental anthropology is a sub-specialty within the field of anthropology that takes an active role in examining the relationships between humans and their environment across space and time.[38] The contemporary perspective of environmental anthropology, and arguably at least the backdrop, if not the focus of most of the ethnographies and cultural fieldworks of today, is political ecology. Many characterize this new perspective as more informed with culture, politics and power, globalization, localized issues, and more.[39] The focus and data interpretation is often used for arguments for/against or creation of policy, and to prevent corporate exploitation and damage of land. Often, the observer has become an active part of the struggle either directly (organizing, participation) or indirectly (articles, documentaries, books, ethnographies). Such is the case with environmental justice advocate Melissa Checker and her relationship with the people of Hyde Park.[40]
Historical anthropology[edit]
Ethnohistory is the study of ethnographic cultures and indigenous customs by examining historical records. It is also the study of the history of various ethnic groups that may or may not exist today. Ethnohistory uses both historical and ethnographic data as its foundation. Its historical methods and materials go beyond the standard use of documents and manuscripts. Practitioners recognize the utility of such source material as maps, music, paintings, photography, folklore, oral tradition, site exploration, archaeological materials, museum collections, enduring customs, language, and place names.[41]
Anthropology of religion[edit]
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The anthropology of religion involves the study of religious institutions in relation to other social institutions, and the comparison of religious beliefs and practices across cultures. Modern anthropology assumes that there is complete continuity between magical thinking and religion,[42] and that every religion is a cultural product, created by the human community that worships it.[43]
Urban anthropology[edit]
Urban anthropology is concerned with issues of urbanization, poverty, and neoliberalism. Ulf Hannerz quotes a 1960s remark that traditional anthropologists were "a notoriously agoraphobic lot, anti-urban by definition". Various social processes in the Western World as well as in the "Third World" (the latter being the habitual focus of attention of anthropologists) brought the attention of "specialists in 'other cultures'" closer to their homes.[44] There are two principle approaches in urban anthropology: by examining the types of cities or examining the social issues within the cities. These two methods are overlapping and dependent of each other. By defining different types of cities, one would use social factors as well as economic and political factors to categorize the cities. By directly looking at the different social issues, one would also be studying how they affect the dynamic of the city.[45]
Key topics by field: Archaeological & biological anthropology[edit]

Main articles: Archaeological and Biological anthropology
Anthrozoology (also called human–animal studies or HAS) is the study of interaction between living things. It is a modern interdisciplinary and burgeoning field that overlaps with a number of other disciplines, including anthropology, ethology, medicine, psychology, veterinary medicine and zoology. A major focus of anthrozoologic research is the quantifying of the positive effects of human-animal relationships on either party and the study of their interactions.[46] It includes scholars from a diverse range of fields, including anthropology, sociology, biology, and philosophy.[47]
Biocultural anthropology[edit]
Biocultural anthropology is the scientific exploration of the relationships between human biology and culture. Physical anthropologists throughout the first half of the 20th century viewed this relationship from a racial perspective; that is, from the assumption that typological human biological differences lead to cultural differences.[48] After World War II the emphasis began to shift toward an effort to explore the role culture plays in shaping human biology.
Evolutionary anthropology[edit]
Evolutionary anthropology is the interdisciplinary study of the evolution of human physiology and human behaviour and the relation between hominins and non-hominin primates. Evolutionary anthropology is based in natural science and social science, combining the human development with socioeconomic factors. Evolutionary anthropology is concerned with both biological and cultural evolution of humans, past and present. It is based on a scientific approach, and brings together fields such as archaeology, behavioral ecology, psychology, primatology, and genetics. It is a dynamic and interdisciplinary field, drawing on many lines of evidence to understand the human experience, past and present.
Forensic anthropology[edit]
Forensic anthropology is the application of the science of physical anthropology and human osteology in a legal setting, most often in criminal cases where the victim's remains are in the advanced stages of decomposition. A forensic anthropologist can assist in the identification of deceased individuals whose remains are decomposed, burned, mutilated or otherwise unrecognizable. The adjective "forensic" refers to the application of this subfield of science to a court of law.
Paleoanthropology combines the disciplines of paleontology and physical anthropology, is the study of ancient humans as found in fossil hominid evidence such as petrifacted bones and footprints.
Anthropological Organizations[edit]

Contemporary anthropology is an established science with academic departments at most universities and colleges. The single largest organization of Anthropologists is the American Anthropological Association (AAA), which was founded in 1903.[49] Membership is made up of anthropologists from around the globe.[50]
In 1989, a group of European and American scholars in the field of anthropology established the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) which serves as a major professional organization for anthropologists working in Europe. The EASA seeks to advance the status of anthropology in Europe and to increase visibility of marginalized anthropological traditions and thereby contribute to the project of a global anthropology or world anthropology.
Hundreds of other organizations exist in the various sub-fields of anthropology, sometimes divided up by nation or region, and many anthropologists work with collaborators in other disciplines, such as geology, physics, zoology, paleontology, anatomy, music theory, art history, sociology and so on, belonging to professional societies in those disciplines as well.[51]
List of major organizations
Main category: Anthropology organizations
American Anthropological Association
American Ethnological Society
Asociación de Antropólogos Iberoamericanos en Red, AIBR
Moving Anthropology Student Network
Anthropological Society of London
Center for World Indigenous Studies
Ethnological Society of London
Institute of Anthropology and Ethnography
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Network of Concerned Anthropologists
N. N. Miklukho-Maklai Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology
Radical Anthropology Group
Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland
Society for anthropological sciences
Society for Applied Anthropology
USC Center for Visual Anthropology
Controversial ethical stances[edit]

Anthropologists, like other researchers (especially historians and scientists engaged in field research), have over time assisted state policies and projects, especially colonialism.[52][53]
Some commentators have contended:
That the discipline grew out of colonialism, perhaps was in league with it, and derived some of its key notions from it, consciously or not. (See, for example, Gough, Pels and Salemink, but cf. Lewis 2004).[54]
That ethnographic work was often ahistorical, writing about people as if they were "out of time" in an "ethnographic present" (Johannes Fabian, Time and Its Other).
The ethics of cultural relativism[edit]
At the same time, anthropologists urge, as part of their quest for scientific objectivity, cultural relativism, which has an influence on all the sub-fields of anthropology.[4] This is the notion that particular cultures should not be judged by one culture's values or viewpoints, but that all cultures should be viewed as relative to each other. There should be no notions, in good anthropology, of one culture being better or worse than another culture.[55][page needed]
Ethical commitments in anthropology include noticing and documenting genocide, infanticide, racism, mutilation including circumcision and subincision, and torture. Topics like racism, slavery or human sacrifice, therefore, attract anthropological attention and theories ranging from nutritional deficiencies [56] to genes[57] to acculturation have been proposed, not to mention theories of colonialism and many others as root causes of Man's inhumanity to man. To illustrate the depth of an anthropological approach, one can take just one of these topics, such as "racism" and find thousands of anthropological references, stretching across all the major and minor sub-fields.[58][59]
Ethical stance to military involvement[edit]
Anthropologists' involvement with the U.S. government, in particular, has caused bitter controversy within the discipline. Franz Boas publicly objected to US participation in World War I, and after the war he published a brief expose and condemnation of the participation of several American archaeologists in espionage in Mexico under their cover as scientists.
But by the 1940s, many of Boas' anthropologist contemporaries were active in the allied war effort against the "Axis" (Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan). Many served in the armed forces, while others worked in intelligence (for example, Office of Strategic Services and the Office of War Information). At the same time, David H. Price's work on American anthropology during the Cold War provides detailed accounts of the pursuit and dismissal of several anthropologists from their jobs for communist sympathies.
Attempts to accuse anthropologists of complicity with the CIA and government intelligence activities during the Vietnam War years have turned up surprisingly little (although anthropologist Hugo Nutini was active in the stillborn Project Camelot).[60] Many anthropologists (students and teachers) were active in the antiwar movement. Numerous resolutions condemning the war in all its aspects were passed overwhelmingly at the annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association (AAA).
Professional anthropological bodies often object to the use of anthropology for the benefit of the state. Their codes of ethics or statements may proscribe anthropologists from giving secret briefings. The Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth (ASA) has called certain scholarship ethically dangerous. The AAA's current 'Statement of Professional Responsibility' clearly states that "in relation with their own government and with host governments ... no secret research, no secret reports or debriefings of any kind should be agreed to or given."
Anthropologists, along with other social scientists, are working with the US military as part of the US Army's strategy in Afghanistan.[61] The Christian Science Monitor reports that "Counterinsurgency efforts focus on better grasping and meeting local needs" in Afghanistan, under the Human Terrain System (HTS) program; in addition, HTS teams are working with the US military in Iraq.[62] In 2009, the American Anthropological Association's Commission on the Engagement of Anthropology with the US Security and Intelligence Communities released its final report concluding, in part, that, "When ethnographic investigation is determined by military missions, not subject to external review, where data collection occurs in the context of war, integrated into the goals of counterinsurgency, and in a potentially coercive environment – all characteristic factors of the HTS concept and its application – it can no longer be considered a legitimate professional exercise of anthropology. In summary, while we stress that constructive engagement between anthropology and the military is possible, CEAUSSIC suggests that the AAA emphasize the incompatibility of HTS with disciplinary ethics and practice for job seekers and that it further recognize the problem of allowing HTS to define the meaning of “anthropology” within DoD."[63]
Post–World War II developments[edit]

Before WWII British 'social anthropology' and American 'cultural anthropology' were still distinct traditions. After the war, enough British and American anthropologists borrowed ideas and methodological approaches from one another that some began to speak of them collectively as 'sociocultural' anthropology.
Basic trends[edit]
There are several characteristics that tend to unite anthropological work. One of the central characteristics is that anthropology tends to provide a comparatively more holistic account of phenomena and tends to be highly empirical.[3] The quest for holism leads most anthropologists to study a particular place, problem or phenomenon in detail, using a variety of methods, over a more extensive period than normal in many parts of academia.
In the 1990s and 2000s (decade), calls for clarification of what constitutes a culture, of how an observer knows where his or her own culture ends and another begins, and other crucial topics in writing anthropology were heard. It is possible to view all human cultures as part of one large, ever-changing global culture. These dynamic relationships, between what can be observed on the ground, as opposed to what can be observed by compiling many local observations remain fundamental in any kind of anthropology, whether cultural, biological, linguistic or archaeological.[64]
Biological anthropologists are interested in both human variation[65] and in the possibility of human universals (behaviors, ideas or concepts shared by virtually all human cultures)[66] They use many different methods of study, but modern population genetics, participant observation and other techniques often take anthropologists "into the field," which means traveling to a community in its own setting, to do something called "fieldwork." On the biological or physical side, human measurements, genetic samples, nutritional data may be gathered and published as articles or monographs.
Along with dividing up their project by theoretical emphasis, anthropologists typically divide the world up into relevant time periods and geographic regions. Human time on Earth is divided up into relevant cultural traditions based on material, such as the Paleolithic and the Neolithic, of particular use in archaeology.[citation needed] Further cultural subdivisions according to tool types, such as Olduwan or Mousterian or Levalloisian help archaeologists and other anthropologists in understanding major trends in the human past.[citation needed] Anthropologists and geographers share approaches to Culture regions as well, since mapping cultures is central to both sciences. By making comparisons across cultural traditions (time-based) and cultural regions (space-based), anthropologists have developed various kinds of comparative method, a central part of their science.
Commonalities between fields[edit]
Because anthropology developed from so many different enterprises (see History of Anthropology), including but not limited to fossil-hunting, exploring, documentary film-making, paleontology, primatology, antiquity dealings and curatorship, philology, etymology, genetics, regional analysis, ethnology, history, philosophy, and religious studies,[67][68] it is difficult to characterize the entire field in a brief article, although attempts to write histories of the entire field have been made.[69]
Some authors argue that anthropology originated and developed as the study of "other cultures", both in terms of time (past societies) and space (non-European/non-Western societies).[70] For example, the classic of urban anthropology, Ulf Hannerz in the introduction to his seminal Exploring the City: Inquiries Toward an Urban Anthropology mentions that the "Third World" had habitually received most of attention; anthropologists who traditionally specialized in "other cultures" looked for them far away and started to look "across the tracks" only in late 1960s.[71]
Now there exist many works focusing on peoples and topics very close to the author's "home".[72] It is also argued that other fields of study, like History and Sociology, on the contrary focus disproportionately on the West.[73]
In France, the study of Western societies has been traditionally left to sociologists, but this is increasingly changing,[74] starting in the 1970s from scholars like Isac Chiva and journals like Terrain ("fieldwork"), and developing with the center founded by Marc Augé (Le Centre d'anthropologie des mondes contemporains, the Anthropological Research Center of Contemporary Societies).
Since the 1980s it has become common for social and cultural anthropologists to set ethnographic research in the North Atlantic region, frequently examining the connections between locations rather than limiting research to a single locale. There has also been a related shift toward broadening the focus beyond the daily life of ordinary people; increasingly, research is set in settings such as scientific laboratories, social movements, governmental and nongovernmental organizations and businesses.[75]