NES 6914

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 early civilizations, network formation, Mediterranean connectivity, ethnicity, and various cross-cultural interactions from the Bronze Age to the present. We will illuminate the transformative roles played by foreigners, travelers, frontiers, borders, and bodies of water by interpreting the materials and texts of history through a liminal lens that reveals potent forces harnessed for political and economic ends. We pay special attention to bodies of water, which historically have created highly transformative thresholds--full of opportunities and risks--for experts to exploit in an almost shamanistic manner. We look at rites of passage on a political level, and see how liminal agents foster emergence, complexity, internationalism, and collapse. By observing past attitudes toward the marginalized, we hope to gain insight into how present and future cultures might embrace liminal agents and conditions in a more cooperative spirit than has occurred.

When Offered Fall.

Course Attribute (CU-ITL)

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Syllabi: none
  • 16221NES 6914  SEM 101