Box 4 – Wild West

The American frontier includes the geography, history, folklore, and cultural expression of life in the forward wave of American expansion that began with English colonial settlements in the early 17th century and ended with the admission of the last remaining western territories as states in 1912. This era of massive migration and settlement was particularly encouraged by President Thomas Jefferson following the Louisiana Purchase, giving rise to the expansionist philosophy known as “Manifest Destiny” and the frontierist “Frontier Thesis”.

A frontier is a zone of contact at the edge of a line of settlement. Leading theorist Frederick Jackson Turner went deeper, arguing that the frontier was the defining process of American civilization: “The frontier,” he asserted, “promoted the formation of a composite nationality for the American people.” He theorized it was a process of development: “This perennial rebirth, this fluidity of American life, this expansion westward…furnish[es] the forces dominating American character.”[1] Turner’s ideas since 1893 have inspired generations of historians (and critics) to explore multiple individual American frontiers, but the popular folk frontier concentrates on the conquest and settlement of Native American lands west of the Mississippi River, in what is now the Midwest, Texas, the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, the Southwest, the West Coast, and Hawaii.

Enormous popular attention was focused on the Western United States (especially the Southwest) in the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century, from the 1850s to the 1910s, a period sometimes called the Old West or the Wild West. Such media typically exaggerated the romance, anarchy, and chaotic violence of the period for greater dramatic effect. This inspired the Western genre of film, along with television shows, novels, comic books, video games, children’s toys and costumes.

As defined by Hine and Faragher, “frontier history tells the story of the creation and defense of communities, the use of the land, the development of markets, and the formation of states.” They explain, “It is a tale of conquest, but also one of survival, persistence, and the merging of peoples and cultures that gave birth and continuing life to America.”[2] Turner himself repeatedly emphasized how the availability of free land to start new farms attracted pioneering Americans: “The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward, explain American development.”[3] Through treaties with foreign nations and native tribes, political compromise, military conquest, the establishment of law and order, the building of farms, ranches, and towns, the marking of trails and digging of mines, and the pulling in of great migrations of foreigners, the United States expanded from coast to coast, fulfilling the dreams of Manifest Destiny. Turner, in his “Frontier Thesis” (1893), theorized that the frontier was a process that transformed Europeans into a new people, the Americans, whose values focused on equality, democracy, and optimism, as well as individualism, self-reliance, and even violence.

As the American frontier passed into history, the myths of the West in fiction and film took a firm hold in the imaginations of Americans and foreigners alike. In David Murdoch’s view, America is exceptional in choosing its iconic self-image: “No other nation has taken a time and place from its past and produced a construct of the imagination equal to America’s creation of the West.”[4]

Box 3 – Cooking

Cooking or cookery is the art, technology, science and craft of using heat to prepare food for consumption. Cooking techniques and ingredients vary widely across the world, from grilling food over an open fire to using electric stoves, to baking in various types of ovens, reflecting unique environmental, economic, and cultural traditions and trends.Boiling,poaching,roasting,frying are some types of cooking methods.

Types of cooking also depend on the skill levels and training of cooks. Cooking is done both by people in their own dwellings and by professional cooks and chefs in restaurants and other food establishments. Cooking can also occur through chemical reactions without the presence of heat, such as in ceviche, a traditional South American dish where fish is cooked with the acids in lemon or lime juice or orange juice.

Preparing food with heat or fire is an activity unique to humans. It may have started around 2 million years ago, though archaeological evidence for it reaches no more than 1 million years ago.[1]

The expansion of agriculture, commerce, trade, and transportation between civilizations in different regions offered cooks many new ingredients. New inventions and technologies, such as the invention of pottery for holding and boiling water, expanded cooking techniques. Some modern cooks apply advanced scientific techniques to food preparation to further enhance the flavor of the dish served.[2]

Box 2 – Circus Skills

The circus is of comparatively recent origin, yet certain elements can be traced back to ancient Rome. The great Roman amphitheatres—called circuses after the Latin word for “circle”—were most often devoted to gladiatorial combats, chariot races, the slaughter of animals, mock battles, and other blood sports. The most spectacular of these arenas, the Circus Maximus, was in operation for more than 1,000 years. It would seem on the surface that these exhibitions of carnage had little in common with modern circuses, yet it is from the early Roman circuses that traditions such as trained animals and the preshow parade derive.

Elsewhere, ancient peoples performed other acts associated with the modern circus. Acrobatics, balancing acts, and juggling are probably as old as humankind itself, with records of such acts being performed in Egypt as early as 2500 BCE. The Greeks practiced ropedancing; early African civilizations engaged in siricasi (a combination of folkloric dances and acrobatics); and the ancient Chinese juggled and performed acrobatic acts for members of the imperial court. Clowns have existed in nearly every period and civilization, both as characters in farces and as individual performers.

Box 1 – Pirates

pirates a hoy here! Parrots too!

Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence by ship or boat-borne attackers upon another ship or a coastal area, typically with the goal of stealing cargo and other valuable items or properties. Those who engage in acts of piracy are called pirates, while dedicated ships that are used by them are called pirate ships. The earliest documented instances of piracy were in the 14th century BC, when the Sea Peoples, a group of ocean raiders, attacked the ships of the Aegean and Mediterranean civilizations. Narrow channels which funnel shipping into predictable routes have long created opportunities for piracy,[1] as well as for privateering and commerce raiding. Historic examples include the waters of Gibraltar, the Strait of MalaccaMadagascar, the Gulf of Aden, and the English Channel, whose geographic structures facilitated pirate attacks.[2] A land-based parallel is the ambushing of travelers by bandits and brigands in highways and mountain passes.[3] Privateering uses similar methods to piracy, but the captain acts under orders of the state authorizing the capture of merchant ships belonging to an enemy nation, making it a legitimate form of war-like activity by non-state actors.[4]

While the term can include acts committed in the air, on land (especially across national borders or in connection with taking over and robbing a car or train), or in other major bodies of water or on a shore, in cyberspace, as well as the fictional possibility of space piracy, it generally refers to maritime piracy. It does not normally include crimes committed against people traveling on the same vessel as the perpetrator (e.g. one passenger stealing from others on the same vessel). Piracy or pirating is the name of a specific crime under customary international law and also the name of a number of crimes under the municipal law of a number of states. In the early 21st century, seaborne piracy against transport vessels remains a significant issue (with estimated worldwide losses of US$16 billion per year in 2004),[5] particularly in the waters between the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, off the Somali coast, and also in the Strait of Malacca and Singapore.

Today, pirates armed with automatic weapons, such as assault rifles, and machine gunsgrenades and rocket propelled grenades use small motorboats to attack and board ships, a tactic that takes advantage of the small number of crew members on modern cargo vessels and transport ships. They also use larger vessels, known as “mother ships”, to supply the smaller motorboats. The international community is facing many challenges in bringing modern pirates to justice, as these attacks often occur in international waters.[6] Some nations have used their naval forces to protect private ships from pirate attacks and to pursue pirates, and some private vessels use armed security guards, high-pressure water cannons, or sound cannons to repel boarders, and use radar to avoid potential threats.