Maro Itoje presented an exhibition on Black histories missing from the UK curriculum

Speaking at the opening of the exhibition earlier this month, Itoje, who was educated at the private boarding school Harrow, says one of the constants in his schooling was “the lack of Black and African history that I was taught”. Moreover, when African history was on the syllabus, it was “a single story or narrative that was told”. He adds: “That story was often depressing, and quite often a saviour/survivor narrative. I want to try and show a fuller picture.”

Good on you, Maro!

(via The Art Newspaper)

A Japanese study classified fish-shaped soy sauce containers into species

The fish-shaped soy sauce container

A Japanese entomologist has ventured from his area of expertise to delve into the taxonomy of these plastic fish and he has actually sorted them into distinct families and genera. You may wonder, why? Perhaps it is an ode to the humble soy sauce container, perhaps another outlet for a taxonomist to channel OCD, or perhaps just because.

The author of the book, Yoshihisa Sawada, is an expert in Japanese insect taxonomy and has worked at the Museum of Nature and Human Activities in Hyogo, having published several scientific papers in this field. He took his taxonomic expertise and applied it to an unlikely subject, seemingly below his expertise: plastic fish-shaped soy sauce bottles. He applies his same methodology and treats his subject with all the reverence and seriousness of an actual taxonomic study on living animals. The book was published in 2012 and, alas, is only available in Japanese. The rough translation of the title into English is “Soy sauce sea bream”. “Bream” refers to freshwater and marine fish from a variety of genera that are typically narrow and deep-bodied.

More on fish: Europe’s only fish tannery, did Danny DeVito eat a real fish in Batman Returns, and the vantafish that absorbs nearly all light.

(via ZME Science, h/t Alex Cassidy on Twitter)

The Free Black University

The Free Black University

What if Black Lives Mattered enough that education was free for them rather than Black people providing free education for others?

The Free Black University believes education can transform society for the better and understands the flawed system that leaves many Black students behind.

We are Afro-futurists, Black Feminists, Black Queer folk, Black Thinkers, Black Spiritualists, Black Academics, Black Artists, Black Activists, Black Healers, Black Philosophers, Black Writers, Black Creatives, and Black Visionaries.

We believe that education is at the heart of transforming society as we know it. We are all taught a curriculum, and institutionalised in to a knowledge system, that tacitly holds – Black Lives do not matter. We exist to transform this and to hold a space for the creation of radical knowledge that pertains to our collective freedom and healing. We envision a world in which we no longer have to fight and we aim to help produce the conditions for that world to remain.

Melz Owusu is the project’s founder and director, a Black queer transgender activist and academic (they’re set to take up a PhD position at the University of Cambridge) working to decolonise education. Alongside them is a powerful team of other Black activists striving to do the same.

On 1st September, The Free Black University opened its free e-library, offering a variety of books by the likes of James Baldwin, Kehinde Andrews, Angela Davis, and Octavia Butler.

https://twitter.com/freeblackuni/status/1300779695693332483

If you want to support, get involved today by donating your time or money and spreading the word.

Man submits 52,438-word dissertation without punctuation & passes

However, for one man the latter was one load off his mind. His 52,438-word thesis contained absolutely no punctuation whatsoever. Quite a contrast to the Tyler the Creator thesis we featured a while back.

Patrick Stewart wrote ‘Indigenous Architecture through Indigenous Knowledge’ without any commas, full stops or other such marks for a reason: to raise awareness about the “blind acceptance of English language conventions in academia” as well as making a point about Aboriginal culture and colonialism (his first draft was initially rejected because he wrote it in the Nisga’a language).

“There’s nothing in the (UBC [University of British Columbia] dissertation) rules about formats or punctuation”, Stewart told the National Post. Well played, sir. If only I could have got away with that at university.

Indigenously related: A Native American superhero exhibit at The Heard Museum in Arizona.

(via Time)

Madison Moore Gives Lectures on "How to be Beyoncé"

It’s not going to happen but her influence in pop culture is strong enough to warrant emulation. This admiration hasn’t gone unnoticed, however, as Madison Moore, a postdoctoral research associate from King’s College London, has started a public seminar entitled “How to be Beyoncé”. Moore gives tips on how to replicate Beyoncé’s success and delves into her stance within pop culture alongside Moore’s own research.

“I’m all about taking popular culture seriously,” he said. “I believe you can take any pop cultural text and open it up and see what’s happening on the inside.”

Beyoncé related: An essay on why Jaap Kooijman writes about Beyoncé

(via The Telegraph)

A Thesis Discussing Hip Hop, Skate Culture & Web Culture In Tyler The Creator's Music

Thesis Discussing Hip Hop, Skate Culture & Web Culture In Tyler, The Creator's Music

This one piqued my interest. It relates to the multicultural facets of controversial rapper Tyler, The Creator. The thesis, written by Brazilian producer and musicologist Gustavo Souza Marques, discusses the ways Tyler, the Creator “shifts, but also maintains, some frames of gangsta rap discourse in his use of ‘hip hop mentality, skate culture, nihilism and Web 2.0 platforms to promote his art has made him one of the most prominent hip-hop artists from 21st century'”. That’s a lot. But also very insightful.

Check out the abstract below.

This article came from the homonymous PhD proposal submitted and accepted by Music School of University College Cork (UCC, Ireland) to be started in September 2015 under the guidance of Dr. J.Griffith Rollefson. It aims to point out and discuss the articulations made by rapper, producer, actor and video director Tyler Okonma, known by the stage name Tyler, the Creator, to shift, but also maintain, some frames of gangsta rap discourse. Noticed by his rape fantasies lyrics and ultraviolent shouts, most present in his two first albums, Tyler has been acclaimed for his notable musical talent but criticized for its misogynist themes. Despite this outrageous aspect of its music, his confessional and often self-deprecating lyrics have been a novelty for constant self-pride and powerful hip-hop lyrics. Moreover, it works as a compensation for his aggressiveness since it could be seen as a demonstration of fragility rather than sexual domination. The way he uses hip-hop mentality, skate culture nihilism and Web 2.0 platforms to promote his art has made him one of the most prominent hip-hop artists from the 21st century. Based on related authors on hip-hop topics like gangsta, misogyny, media and racial stereotypes this article discusses the ways in which Tyler, the creator reflects but also denies the most known and commented frames of rap music.

The abstract from Beyond Gangsta: Hip-Hop, Skate Culture and Web Culture in the Music of Tyler, The Creator

Academically related: The man who submitted a 52,438-word essay without punctuation and passed and Madison Moore’s lectures on “How to be Beyoncé”.