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Wisdom Sits in Places

Shay O'Brien and Julia Kim

Shay O'Brien

on 21 September 2011

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Transcript of Wisdom Sits in Places

Quoting the Ancestors Places are tools to imagine the past and situate the past in the present

Places are tied up with identity

Places tell stories and illuminate values and morals of a culture "This earth is part of us! We are of this place, Juniper Tree stands alone." (Basso 21) "As roundly ubiquitous as it is seemingly unremarkable, place-making is a universal tool of the historical imagination (Basso 5) The book in context Published in 1996
Based on eighteen months of research spread over five years (1979-1984)
Meant to be one of the first anthropological works to deal with place as a mode/subject of ethnographic inquiry rather than as a backdrop for ethnography
Received extremely positive reviews in anthropological journals, including the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology and Anthropology and Humanism
Scholars cite the monograph to this day on topics like developmental psychology, cultural memory, indigenous knowledge, and language and agency
Wisdom Sits in Places Julia Kim and Shay O'Brien Chapter 1: Quoting the Ancestors Chapter 2: Stalking with Stories ACTIVITY!

Western Apache History vs. Western History

Group 1 - Western Apache version
Place > event, time
Where > what, when
Voice - who's telling the history?

Group 2 - Western History version
Event, time > where
What, when > where
Basic native model of Apache storytelling Place-names Language and environment Patterns of social interaction Western Apache self-conceptions Storytelling : Hunting Shorthand for picture and historical tale Western Apache conceptions of land PROBLEM What makes these statements make sense? (p. 38) Hunting metaphor Oral narratives establish bonds between people and the landscape People who act improperly will be moved to recognize and improve their behavior Brevity and expressiveness Language Environment Lakoff and Johnson Conceptual metaphor
Implicit assumption included in a speakers' linguistic/cultural competence
Argument is war, life is a journey, ideas are buildings Chapter 4: Wisdom Sits in Places Cibecue Chapter 3: Speaking with Names (cc) photo by medhead on Flickr Landcape & Speech Totally alien to outside ethnographer
Taken for granted by community members
Array of conceptual frameworks for understanding the world Community members in a landscape Observe it
Use it
Communicate about it Way ethnographers can study people-landcape link Basso's idea
Pay attention to place-names
Different functions served by using place-names in different contexts Referentialist views of language are limiting PROBLEM: What does this conversation mean? (p. 79) Speaking with names
Power in the multiplicity of communicative functions it serves
Brings listener to a specific vantage point, a specific historical narrative Sense of Place PROBLEM: What does these metaphors mean? What do they reveal? "You must make your mind smooth. You must make your mind steady. You must make your mind resilient." (126)

"'Wisdom sits in places. It's like water that never dries up.'" (127) Wisdom Smoothness
"cleared space"
"free of obstruction" Resilience - combats external obstructions (i.e. fear and alarm) Steadiness - combats internal obstructions (i.e. pride, envy, lust etc.) Can you think of any other conceptual metaphors we use in the culture of Standard American English?
How might an ethnographer go about trying to pinpoint the conceptual metaphors of another culture?
How did Basso arrive at these conclusions? What was his method? Places interior landscape Change and adaptation Fort Apache Indian Reservation ACTIVITY! How do they use place names in this video?
What does that say about how Brown students construct their landscape?
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