Brian Stross ANT 393 Fall 2011
Unique # 31213 Wed 4-7 SAC 5.118
Office Hours W 1-3
1) Class preparation and appropriate class participation (including reading articles,chapters, and or books;
and being class facilitator for 1 or more class assignment discussions, depending on the size of the class)
2) Three short papers based on projects assigned during the semester; deadlines to be
found on the syllabus (7-10 pages each)
Textbooks - “packet” of readings to be distributed on Blackboard or elsewhere online
Recommended supplementary reading:
William Lessa and Evon Vogt, Reader in Comparative Religion (3rd edition)
Raymond Firth, Symbols: Public and Private
Francis Huxley, The Way of the Sacred
A. Berger, Signs in Contemporary Culture
Week 1. 8/26 Introduction (semiotics; symbols, icons, and indexes - methods
for investigating symbolism, iconography, worldview- what is worldview
symbolism, metaphor, representation, iconography?)
Homework - J.G. Frazer, Sympathetic Magic, from The Golden Bough [packet]
E.R. Leach, Magical Hair. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol.88(2): 147-164.
C. R. Hallpike, Social Hair, Man, New Series, 4(2):256-264 (Jun., 1969)
Alice V. M. Samson and Bridget M. Waller, Not Growling but Smiling. Current Anthropology
Volume 51, Number 3, June 2010
Optional – Jeanette Marie Mageo, Hairdos and Don'ts: Hair Symbolism and Sexual History in
Samoa, Man, New Series, Vol. 29, No. 2 (Jun., 1994), pp. 407-432
Thomas J. Csordas Embodiment as a Paradigm for Anthropology Ethos 18(1): pp. 5-47 (1990)
Constance Classen, Inca Cosmology and the Human Body
Weeks 2 & 3. 8/31 & 9/7 Body Stature, Parts, Products, Physiology NADYA 3
(basis for explaining and describing things and their operations that are
body-external, & for manipulating such socially constructed
things and operations as societal divisions, laws, warfare,
planting, hunting, eating, etc.-- is there a body "language"?;
what are the boundaries and boundary markers of the body? What
Phenomenology of Embodiment. Observational logic.
Homework: Adam Kendon, Gesture. Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 26 (1997), pp. 109-128.
B. Stross, The Armadillo Stool
J. Sherzer, The Pointed Lip Gesture. Language in Society, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Apr., 1973), pp. 117-131
G. Hewes, World Distribution of Certain Postural Habits, American Anthropologist, 57(2)(Pt I):231-244
Judith Hanna, To Dance is Human.
Alan and Barbara Pease, The Definitive Book of Body Language.
Erving Goffman, Behavior in Public Places.
Erving Goffman, Presentation of Self in Everyday Life
Annette B. Weiner and Jane Schneider, Cloth and Human Experience.
Patricia Anawalt, Indian Clothing Before Cortez.
Paul Oliver, Dwellings
B. Stross, Crayfish [packet]
B. Stross, Crayfarm [ packet]
Weeks 4 & 5. 9/14 & 9/21 Body Augmentation: Gesture, Posture, Clothing, Furniture, Housing) SUSAN 4 , CARISSA 5
(types of gesture, kinds of meanings conveyed -- are gestures
made actually part of the body, or are they simply
meaning-conveying manipulations of the body.--is there a
gestural "language"?, a "language" of clothes,
a "language" of housing; what are the boundaries of gesture,
posture, clothing, housing? -- What about gender?)
Clark Cunningham, Order in the Atoni House [packet].
Sahi (pp. 4O, 75-79, 126-133) [packet],
Watch this Video: Garbage Warrior (note the symbols and the
meaning of symbols in building & in governance)
Suggested Reading: E.T. Hall, The Hidden Dimension.
Amos Rapoport, House Form and Culture
Roxana Waterson, The Living House.
B. Stross, Some Observations on T585 (Quincunx) of the Maya Script."
Anthropological Linguistics 28: 283‑311
Week 6 & 7. 9/28 & 10/5 Space (housing, town planning, geography, direction) – EMILY 6, BETHANY 7
Is there a "language" of space?; what are the boundaries of spatial
divisions?; what are the major directions?; what are the
major divisions/partitions of space? How do we name kinds of
spaces (e.g. corners, middles, ends, etc.?; - What about gender?)
Homework - Leach, Edmund (1961) 'Two essays concerning the symbolic representation of time, IN
Rethinking anthropology. (google books w/ “two essays” )
M. Eliade The Sacred and The Profane: the Nature of Religion. (google books it w/ ‘time’)
Gary Gossen, Temporal and Spatial Equivalents in Chamula Ritual Symbolism. IN Lessa & Vogt,
Reader in Comparative Religion.
R. Scaglion, Cycles and Timeless Time in Melanesia. Ethnology 38(3):211-225.
C. Coggins, The Shape of Time, American Antiquity, Vol. 45, No. 4 (Oct., 1980), pp. 727-739.
JW. Dunne, An Experiment With Time
E.T. Hall, The Dance of Life
David Stuart, The Order of Days
Week 8. 10/12 Time (dating, calendars, cyclic activities, measurement of time, CHRISTIN 8
synchrony in interaction, age and aging - venerability, sacred
time, dream time, waiting, time and relationships, evolution and
time, symbols for the passage of time [e.g. river of time,
thought and time] -- Is there a "language" of time? - how much
time? - what are the divisions of time? How do we name kinds of
time?; what are the major directions of time?; - What about
Rodney Needham, Percussion and Transition. Man 2(4):606-614.
John Blacking, Percussion and Transition Man 3(2):313-315.
E.Z. Vogt, On the Symbolic Meaning of Percussion in Zinacanteco Ritual. Journal of Anthropological
Anthony Jackson, Sound and Ritual. Man, New Series, 3(2):293-299
Bo Lawergren, The Origin of Musical Instruments and Sounds. Anthropos 83(3):31-45.
J. Nuckolls, The Case for Sound Symbolism. Annual Review of Anthropology 28:225-252.
B. Stross, Falsetto [ packet]
Suggested Reading: Steven Feld , Sound and Sentiment: Birds: Weeping, Poetics, and Song in Kaluli
W.E.H. Stanner, The Dreaming. [packet]
Week 9. 1019 Sound (sound symbolism in language, sound and sentiment, sound BETHANY 9
and space [intervals, harmonics, scales], sound and time, the sound of
music -- Is there a "language" of sound?; what are the boundaries of
sounds?; what are the divisions of sounds?; how do we name kinds
of sounds? - What about gender and sound?. Age? Infirmities?
Where does music fit in?
Homework - Alison Kennedy, Ecce Bufo: The Toad in Nature and in Olmec Iconography Current
E.Z. Vogt, Structural and Conceptual Replication in Zinacantan Culture. American Anthropologist
B. Stross, Representation, Memory, and Power: Pre-Columbian Landscapes of Creation and Origin.
in Pre-Columbian Landscapes of Creation and Origin, John E Staller (ed), New York: Springer.
pp. 357-378 [packet]
R. Bunzel, The Nature of Katcinas.
Duncan Earle – Quiché day… [packet],
Stocker et al, Crocodilians & Olmecs, American Antiquity, Vol. 45, No. 4 (Oct., 1980), pp. 740-758.
Suggested Reading: de Santillana & von Dechend, Hamlet’s Mill.
Peter Roe, The Cosmic Zygote.
E.C. Krupp, Echoes of the Ancient Skies.
Robert L. Hall, An Archaeology of the Soul.
B. Stross, The Deer as Western Sun. U-Mut Maya 5: 237‑246.
B. Stross, Maize and Blood: Mesoamerican Symbolism on an Olmec Vase and a
Maya Plate. Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics 22: 82‑107
Week 10. 10/26 Cosmology (the Sacred Landscape--plants, animals, geographic SARAH 10
features, colors, sizes, time periods, divination, numbers, altars, idols,
amulets, souls, witches, founding a town, supporters of the
earth, (nature) deities - Is there a "language" of cosmology?--
how do boundaries function in cosmology?; how do categories
function in cosmology?; - What about gender? )
Homework Leach View from Bridge [packet],
B. Stross, Food, Foam & Fermentation [packet].
V. Turner, Betwixt and Between: The Liminal Period in Rites of Passage. The Proceedings of the
American Ethnological Society (1964)
Mary Douglas, Pollution [ packet]
E.R. Leach, Anthropological Aspects of Language: Animal Categories and Verbal Abuse. [packet]
A. Van Van Gennep, The Rites of Passage.
Mircea Eliade, Patterns in Comparative Religion.
J.Frazer, The Golden Bough
B. Malinowski, The Role of Magic and Religion [packet]
J. Middleton, The Cult of the Dead: Ancestors and Ghosts.
John Allegro, The Sacred Mushroom & the Cross
B. Stross, Venus and Sirius, Some Unexpected Similarities. Kronos 12 (1): 25‑42
Underhill, Neuman, Graves, Campbell (Masks:Primitive; Mythic Image), Sejourne, E. Hunt,
Week 11. 11/2 Religion - Worship and Sacrifice: Birth, Initiation, EMILY 11
Marriage, Health, Death, Rebirth --- war, slavery, gathering,
hunting, planting, eating, "sports", "play", etc., -- Is there
a "language" of Religion?; what are the boundaries of religious
categories? ; - What about gender? Age?)
Homework - Alison Kennedy, Ecce Bufo, Current Anthropology 23:273-290.
B. Stross, Maize and Fish, Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics 25: 10‑35 [packet]
B. Stross, Maya Bloodletting and the Number Three. Anthropological Linguistics 31: 209‑226 [packet]
R. Rosaldo, Metaphors of Hierarchy in a Mayan Ritual. American Anthropologist 70:524-436. (1968)
P. Furst, Fertility, vision quest…, [packet]
L Schele and M. Miller, The Blood of Kings
David Freidel and Linda Schele, Maya Cosmos,
E.C. Krupp, Skywatchers, Shamans & Kings: Astronomy and the Archaeology of Power.
Joralemon Bloodletting [packet]
Week 12&13 11/9 & 11/16 Power - (Leadership, Rank, Authority, War – SUSAN 12, CREIGHTON 13
kinship, continuity of leadership -- Is there a "language" of
power?; how do boundaries function in the acquisition,
maintenance, exercise, and flaunting of power? - What about
Homework – TBA and
Keith Basso in Explorations in the Ethnography of Speaking.
B. Stross, A Mayan Iconographic 'Literary' Convention. U-Mut Maya 5: 21‑29.
B. Stross, Mesoamerican Writing at the Crossroads: The Late Formative. Visible Language 29: 38‑62.
B. Stross, The Burden of Office: a Reading." Mexicon 10: 118‑121.
B. Stross, "Maya Hieroglyphic Writing and Mixe‑Zoquean." Anthropological Linguistics 24
B. Stross, K'u: The Divine Monkey
Moran and Kelley,
M. McLuhan, Gutenberg Galaxy,
M. McLuhan, Understanding Media,
D. Diringer, The Alphabet.
Hans Jensen, Sign, Symbol, and Script
Week 14. 11/23 Writing - (symbol of a symbol of a symbol; Is writing CHRISTIN 14
"language"? - What about gender? Age? )
Homework – Walter F. Morris (weaving and cosmology) [packet]
Guss (weaving and creation) [packet]
Michael Kearney, World View Theory and Study. Annual Review of Anthropology 4:247-270.
Week 15 11/30 Worldview and Ideology - (individual vs cultural vs scientific)
Please, read carefully
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