This list relates to the 2017-18 which ended on 18/08/2018
  1. WEEKS 4 & 5 31 items
    This section of SA1002 addresses issues of orality and literacy in cross-­‐cultural perspective. How do language and writing shape our view of the world? In the first week we will examine nature of oral traditions and the plight of language loss, reflecting on the implications of the loss of linguistic diversity in our world today. During the second week, we analyze alternative literacies, focusing on glyphs as well as on non-­‐phonetic forms of graphic communication such as wampum, pictographs and knotted cords. The section will end with a consideration of how writing systems develop and/or die out, whether through apocalyptic religious movements or through the use of social media, which some commentators have claimed will lead to the "end of writing" as we know it.
    1. Lecture 1: Language Death 5 items
      We are living through period of unprecedented language loss around the world; every two weeks, an elder dies who carries to his or her grave the last syllables of an ancient tongue. What are the forces behind the loss of language diversity? Why does the loss of linguistic diversity matter? What efforts have anthropologists undertaken to address this issue?
      1. A World of Many (Fewer) Voices - K. David Harrison

        Chapter  Available in the Library and as an e-book

      2. Tales of the Ethnosphere - Juniper Glass March / April 2004


    2. Lecture 2: The Nature of Oral Traditions 6 items
      What is the nature of oral traditions? Are “oral” cultures qualitatively different from “written” cultures? How do anthropologists record and interpret oral literature? This lecture will explore these issues, focusing on the diverse oral traditions of the Iroquois nations.
      1. Keep Listening: Ethnography and Reading - Johannes Fabian

        Chapter  Available in the Library and as an e-book

      2. 'Introduction' in The Spoken Word and the Work of Interpretation - Dennis Tedlock

        Chapter  Available in the Library or as an e-book.

      3. The Clearing and the Woods: The Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Landscape -­ Gendered and Balanced - Robert W. Venables

        Chapter  Read: Chapter 2 - Robert W. Venables, "The Clearing and the Woods: The Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Landscape -­ Gendered and Balanced".

    3. Lecture 3: Ethnopoetics 4 items
      Ethnopoetics is a decentered poetics, “an attempt to hear and read the poetries of distant others, outside the Western tradition as we now know it” (Dennis Tedlock). Taking the artistic accomplishments of other cultures seriously challenges and broadens our own understanding of aesthetics. This lecture will review ethnopoetic theory and examine how it applies to one of the world’s greatest poetic traditions, the Mayan Popol Vuh.
      1. Now I know only so far: essays in ethnopoetics - Dell H. Hymes 2003

        Book  Chapter 2, 'Franz Boas on the Threshold of Ethnopoetics', pp. 15-35. Available in the Library or as an e-book.

      2. Popol Vuh: Sacred Book of the Quiché Maya People - Translation and Commentary by Allen J. Christenson


    4. FILM: ISHI, THE LAST YAHI 1 item
      1. Ishi, the Last Yahi is a dramatic documentary film about Ishi, who came to be known as the "last wild Indian in North America." His sudden appearance in 1911 stunned Americans. His tribe was considered extinct, destroyed in bloody massacres during the 1860s and 70s.This film chronicles Ishi's life as the last member of his tribe and the last speaker of his language, focusing on the efforts of anthropologists to preserve as much of his language and oral traditions as possible.

    5. Lecture 4: Alternative Literacies 6 items
      The development of writing is often described as an evolutionary arc that concludes with phonetic script as the only “true” writing. This view marginalizes many indigenous writing systems and distorts our understanding of graphic communication. In this presentation, I will explore the nature of alternative literacies such as pictographs, wampum and knotted cords.
      1. Becker, M. J., 2001. "A Wampum Belt Chronology: Origins to Modern Times", Northeast Anthropology, 63, pp. 49-70. [Not in Library]

      2. Burke, C., 2000. "Collecting Lakota Histories: Winter Count Pictographs and Texts in the National Anthropological Archives", American Indian Art 26 (1), pp. 82-103. [Not in Library]

    6. Lecture 5: Mayan Hieroglyphics 4 items
      The last thirty years have witnessed the near total decipherment of the Classic Mayan hieroglyphic writing system. How did this occur? How does the decipherment of Mayan hieroglyphics challenge our views about what writing is?
      1. Breaking the Maya code - Michael D. Coe 1999

        Book Optional

      2. A forest of kings: the untold story of the ancient Maya - Linda Schele, David A. Freidel 1992

        Book Optional

      3. Secrets of the Maya: Deciphering Tikal. (cover story) - Roberts, David; Kaehler, Wolfgang; Bolen, Anne 2004


    7. Lecture 6: Khipus 4 items
      How can societies keep records on knotted and twisted cords? How did khipus (Andean knotted cord writing) function as logosyllabic texts in the Andes in the 18th century? What are the epistemological implications of a truly three dimensional writing system, in which touch plays as significant a role as sight?
      1. For my final lecture I will talk briefly about my fieldwork in the Andes tracking down a legendary text that may provide clues to the decipherment of the Inkas' ancient writing system. The presentation will include showing a half hour National Geographic documentary about my research.

All rights reserved ©