Searching for Origins (Anthropology and Human Movement, Volume 2)
Brand: Scarecrow Press

Searching for Origins (Anthropology and Human Movement, Volume 2)

  • Publish Date: 2000-01-10
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Author: Drid Williams

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Explores how the micro-histories of dances and sign languages fit into the macro-history of the human race. Drid Williams brings together four major scholars in the field: Sylvia Glasser, Douglas Baynton, Brenda Farnell and Theresa Buckland, as they consider the problems that arise when searching for the origins of sign languages and dances.

The essays written by each of these scholars are found in the first section of the book. Glasser talks about the political nature of dancing in South Africa. Baynton summarizes significant changes in American attitudes toward deaf-signing during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Farnell addresses two issues: different ways of thinking about time/space and gesture and the general notion of embodiment among the Assiniboine (Nakota) people. Buckland discusses the origins of English forms of traditional dancing and the resources available for its study. Following is a section concerning the confusions that exist regarding ideas of evolution, subjectivity and objectivity, progress, primitivity, and universality as they pertain to the study of dance and sign languages. The final section provides intellectual resources on ancient dances, movement literacy and evidence, and the basic structures of argument.

The chapters are accompanied by biographical notes, summary exercises and study questions. A comprehensive supplement for courses providing anthropological perspectives on the study of sign languages and dances, this is an ideal resource for audiences interested in sociocultural anthropology, performance studies, linguistics, ethnomusicology and ethnology.

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