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RLGC13-Lecture 3

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University of Toronto Scarborough
David Perley

September 25, 2012 RLGC13 Lecture 3 1. Writing and Written Culture a. Words can be spoken or written b. “Book” is affiliated with”written document” Bark/Papyrusbiblio c. The idea of book is connected to writing and it tends to be a measure of civilization. Why? Prestige and elite culture is often connected with writing d. Classic Scholars even bought into the idea that a sophisticated culture or society has written text e. Example is Spangler 1928, word belongs to all of humanity but writing belongs to the sophisticated f. No text? = No culture! g. We don’t want this to mean that oral traditions are simpler h. We don’t want to say that literacy creates a different state of mind, it develops capacities however  something to revisit 2. Prehistory a. Lack of evidence because there are no written records text is like a fossil b. Written records ironically speak, otherwise history remains hypothetical c. He does say there are counterexamples to this, Indus Valley d. Mesopotamian Culture Epic of Gilgamesh e. We’re concerned about “tribal feelings of pride” f. Finally written records tell us how human beings acted in a certain period of time 3. Written Communication a. Bring cultural change, for example, quantity of material can be better amassed in written form than by memory b. Change of audience, an aural audience is speaking to human beings, a written audience the writer is now distant from the reader c. Treatment of ideas  classifying  metaphor (using one way of thinking and mapping it to another area) d. Written communication is really an Aide-Mémoire 4. Oral Society a. Transforms traditions by forgetting b. Literate societies on the other hand, says that they cannot discard it power c. Creates a necessary distance between the present people and the people of the past that composed the piece of literature d. Literacy results in new quanti
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