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ANTH 3510 (1)
Lecture

Ritual Lecture Notes.pdf

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School
Carleton University
Department
Anthropology
Course
ANTH 3510
Professor
Eric Henry
Semester
Winter

Description
January 3rd, 2011 - Introduction - Critical Film Review: due anytime - Any citation style is okay What is Ritual? (brainstorming) - Chanting - Iconography - Regularized activity - Prayer - Food offerings - Not only religious - Repetitiveness - Morning rituals - Trances - Routines Definitions - (Cambridge Advanced Learners) Ritual: a set of fixed actions and sometimes words performed regularly, especially as part of a ceremony (Coffee and the newspaper are part of my morning ritual; The birds were performing a complex mating ritual) - (Merriam Webster) Ritual: 1) of or relaing to rites or a ritual: ceremonial; 2) according to religious law; 3) done in accordance with social custom or normal protocol - (Oxford English) Ritual: 1) pertaining or relating to, connected with, rites; 2) of the nature of, forming, a rite or rites; 3) a prescribed order of performing religious or other devotional service - Rite: a formal procedure or act in a religious or other solemn observance - Ceremony: an outward rite or observance; the performance of some solemn act; a formal act or observance s n o i t i n i f e D f o s i s y l a n A - These definitions are broad - Ritual is important to many disciplines; they all look at it differently - Psychology - Music - Law - Anthropology: looks at ritual in a way that draws upon the other ways; how ritual divides, and combines people; see ritual as part of an overall system of culture, and how it interacts with other aspects; expand ritual beyond major world religions and beyond North America - Problem with dictionary definitions: - Rely on objective criteria with the form of action - ceremony etc. - Anthropology sees ritual as a fuzzy category which may include different things; there is no diagnostic definition Components of Ritual A. Patterned Activity - Rituals occur at set intervals or particular life-stages - Actions tend to be conventionalized, repetitious, and routinized B. Appeal to Tradition - Rituals assert a timeless or ancient character - This can include archaic language or forms of dress - May not be explicit, but can be encoded in symbols C. Formality (Etiquette) - Ritual uses a limited and rigidly organized set of forms, gestures, expressions, movements and actions - There tends to be a marked absence of personal opinions; emotional responses are often standardized and regulated (crying at funerals, etc.) D. Connection to the Sacred or Divine - Ritual action often invokes supernatural beings and deities - It engages with them, exchanges with them, or otherwise appeals to their values E. Cosmological Significance - Ritual represents to its practitioners broad ideas of universal significance - These include themes such as the nature of humanity, life and death, or purpose in the world, etc. F. Social Performance - Rituals often communicate messages and meanings to a public audience - In turn, rituals establish a sense of belongingness and community in otherwise unrelated groups of people Ritualization vs. Ritual - Rituals will have a clear majority of the above components in it, whereas ritualized happenings may have one or two of the above Important Concepts for the Study of Ritual - Cosmology - Religion - Communitas January 31st, 2011 - Shamanism and Curing FEB 14th, 2:40-3:40 Short answer (20 marks) list, draw a diagram, describe ect. Essay (10 marks) choice of topics, answer in essay format Focus on ideas and concepts Mukanda Ritual (Ndembu) RITES OF PASSAGE - Taking boys, making them into men - Separation, Liminal, Aggregation: make them naked, shove them under an archway where they are circumcised and live together to be taught by more senior men, brought back to be men - Men who were circumcised in a hospital, not in the ritual, were not seen as men -- idea that ritual actually accomplishes the boys becoming men - Kanongesha is the senior political leader among the Ndembu, and goes through an installation ritual - Kafwana is another leader, but less political, and more native - The Kanongesha is taken into a hut, washed by the Kafwana, and then has to be berated by people. The Kafwana then splashes him with medicine while rubbing him and humiliating him. He can then become the leader. (Separation, Liminal, Aggregation) - Turner argues that there are 3 characteristics of the Liminal Stage - Reversal (High become low, low become high) - Anonymity (Stripped of clothing and rank, quite often literally naked) - Communitas (Establishment of relationship between the subject and the community, the community as being better than the individual) - Some people (monks, jesters, shamans, beggars, etc.) are always in a liminal phase Symbols Associated with the Stages - Separation - Fasting - Abstinence - Nakedness - Liminality - Ambiguity - Secret names - Carnivalesque - Strangeness (phallic costumes etc.) - Aggregation - Feasting - Dancing - Sex Shamans - For anthropologists, a shaman is a magic specialist - The word is derived from the Tungus language, meaning a magic specialist - Shamans are common in many societies across Asia, Oceania, and the Americas - They are: - “Called” to their craft by personal crisis or experience - Use altered states of consciousness (trance, spirit possession, meditation) - Perform therapeutic rituals (healing, banishing evil spirits, etc.) - Rites of Affliction (characterized by these rituals) - Healing, etc. - Used to draw a parallel between Shamanism and psychosis (being crazy) - Ruth Benedict “we lock up our crazy people, and other cultures make them shamans” - Magic, anthropologically, is complex: - The idea that individuals can make changes in the natural world through supernatural means - Religion, science, and magic can combine, even in our society Magic - Two laws of magical action - Sympathy - Like produces like (metaphor) - To act on an object (A) that looks like another object (B) or possesses some of its qualities, will influence the object (B) - Dr. Henry’s picture on a dart board - Contagion - Things once in contact remain in contact (metonymy) - An object (A) that was once in contact with another object (B) maintains the power of that object (B) - The original Declaration of Independence (A) is valuable because it was actually signed by the founding fathers (B) of the U.S. - i.e. it is more valuable than a copy - Combination: a voodoo doll (sympathy) made with your hair (contagion) Shamanism - Mainly healers - The body is a piece of the whole -- a part of the outside (Metonymic) - Evidence that something else is wrong in your life if your body is unwell - Doesn’t just involve the living in your social world, includes dead people and ancestors - Korean Shaman performing a chinogi kut (sending off the dead) in a village courtya
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