ANTHR 6614

Course information provided by the Courses of Study 2017-2018.

In this seminar students apply Victor Turner's conceptions of liminality and anti-structure to the past. From the Bronze Age to the present, shamans, merchants, and travelers who ostensibly look like outsiders have played crucial historical roles. By exploiting geographical and socio-political boundaries to transform the status of individuals and groups, such liminal agents fostered wealth and status accumulation, complexity, inter-societal networks, and collapse. In a sense we are exploring the power of the margin and the marginalized in history. Our sources include shipwrecks, flood mythologies, biblical narratives, Egyptian and Mesopotamian literature, the rise of capitalism, and heroic sagas.  In the Near East and Mediterranean regions these liminalities involve bodies of water to an impressive degree. Indeed, the Latin base of liminality, limen ('threshold'), derives from the ancient Greek for harbor. This seminar then focuses a liminal perspective on questions of maritime history, anthropology and archaeology, and may be approached as a continuation of such coursework; however, there are no formal prerequisites.

When Offered Fall.

Course Attribute (CU-ITL)

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  • 17297ANTHR 6614  SEM 101