Cevin Soling Lectures on the Ik of Uganda
On Sunday, November 8th, Cevin Soling gave a lecture on the Ik tribe of Uganda: a group of people living in the mountains of northeastern Uganda displaced from their land to create a national park. As part of the Soc 1 curriculum, many students read Colin Turnbull's account of Ik culture titled The Mountain People. Partly horrified by Turnbull's account like many Shimer students were, Cevin was also inspired, in light of the academic backlash against Turnbull, to visit Uganda and confirm for himself Turnbull's testimony. Cevin presented footage and photographs from his documentary (still in post-production), titled: The Ik of Uganda, taken from his trip to the country in 2005.
Cevin Solin's lecture was in large part a story of his perils in getting to the Ik village. Warned about the sectarian violence ever present in Uganda, Cevin Soling made slow, painful progress through the open countryside-- encountering and narrowly escaping threats from lions, hyenas, and roaming gunmen in his three month journey to Mt. Zuli, where the Ik live. However, once he arrived, the inhumanity of the Ik as described in Turnbull's account could not be found. The Ik even danced and sang to welcome Cevin and his crew, a notable event in light of Turnbull's reported inhumanity of a culture without music. In his weeks living and talking to the Ik, Cevin discovered that while Turnbull had recorded some truths of the Ik culture--their economic system of guerrilla favor-doing, and the children playing in age groups--implied depravity of these people was entirely without merit. The Ik, Cevin says, were the most humane and inspiring part of his experience of the Ugandan country.
You can read more about Cevin Soling and his upcoming documentary on his personal website.