9587 - Oral Tradition, the Contingency of Representation, and the Definition of Civilization - The course will consider the logocentric baggage involved in privileging written documents over personal experience conveyed in face-to-face interaction of known persons. We will look at the ability of dialogue as an emergent cultural phenomenon to encompass complexity and respond to changing experience. Issues of memory, identity, and contingency will be deconstructed for both written and oral narrative(s) in cultures with continuing oral traditions, with particular emphasis on life histories and amplifying voices from the margins. The definition of civilization by the West has excluded cultural difference and intra-cultural variability as well as alternative readings of culture at contact zones. Oral tradition may fit better with contemporary globalizing culture and provide an alternative to conventional Western theories of identity, history and culture. (Derrida, Deleuze, Clifford, Fabian, (Hayden) White, Nancy, Žižek, Rorty.....plus ethnographic sources, largely Native North American).
Also from this web page: