SOAS University of London

Questions worth asking: the Campaign for SOAS

  • Who tells the truth?

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    Who tells the truth?

Who tells the truth?

The line between witnessing and telling is becoming increasingly blurred. In an age of social media, when ordinary people can tell their own stories without relying on mediators and with on-demand film, TV and high speed internet searching capability, the scope for this blurring has become even more apparent. The risk of misrepresentation, as we seek the ‘truth’ about our modern world, continues to rise.

SOAS solutions

A major re-make of the iconic TV mini-series ‘Roots’ has drawn on SOAS scholarship and musicians to deliver a more accurate and truthful representation of the world of Kunta Kinte in 17th century Gambia. Dr Lucy Duran advised on West African culture and music, composed songs for specific scenes and brought in musicians from Mali to play in authentic pre-colonial styles.

Meanwhile, the recent mini-series ‘Man in the High Castle’, loosely based on the 1962 science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick, imagines a post-war world in which Germany and Japan won WWII and are in charge of North America. Dr Griseldis Kirsch advised on Japanese culture to make the series 'historically accurate', even though entirely a work of fiction. In both cases, the result is a culturally and historically informed representation of the past.

SOAS ambitions

SOAS researchers in media, film, literature and music ask how global issues are represented, but also critically how they can be represented differently, revealing whose voices are heard and whose voices we need to listen to, in news reports and current affairs, in film, across social media, in music, in drama or literary forms and public spaces.

Find more SOAS questions about global voices