The Anthropology of Myth: Tall Tales, Fish Stories & the Magic of Words

Posted By:  Tina Walker Davis
Date Posted:  1/28/2015

Fish Story “All cultures make meaning out of the world around them by weaving together stories, experiences and metaphors in complex ways,” says cultural anthropologist Elizabeth Marino. “In a world that is inherently mysterious and infinite, myths are one way human cultures make sense out of the unknown and unknowable, of delight and of fear,” she says.

February 10, 2015 • 6:00 p.m.
Downtown Bend Library

February 28, 2015 • 11:00 a.m.
Sunriver Library

As part of Deschutes Public Library’s “Know Myth” series of programs in February, cultural anthropologists Amy Harper and Marino will explore how anthropologists conceive of myth across the highly varied stories that are created by different cultures. They’ll look at whether myths can be considered “true” or “untrue” and will talk about a handful of specific myths that are told and retold in particular circumstances to pass on knowledge, to explain the world around us and to highlight cultural values.

These events are free and open to the public. No registration is required.

Amy E. Harper is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the World Languages and Cultures Department at Central Oregon Community College (COCC). She received her PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is a Europeanist anthropologist and has conducted research in Germany exploring how discursive encounters with foreign residents reshape and challenge notions of belonging. As an instructor at COCC, she has taught a spectrum of anthropology courses including, Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion and Language and Culture<, both of which address the role of myth and narrative in cultural context.

Elizabeth Marino is a cultural and environmental anthropologist; she is an instructor at OSU-Cascades. She received her PhD in cultural anthropology from University of Alaska at Fairbanks. She has researched the possible displacement of indigenous villages in Northwestern Alaska due to increasing erosion, storm activity and rising water, with a particular emphasis on government response to climate crisis. She has authored numerous articles and has contributed chapters to books, including Anthropology and Climate Change (Left Coast Press, 2009).

For more information about this or other library programs, please visit the library website at People with disabilities needing accommodations (alternative formats, seating or auxiliary aides) should contact Tina at 541-312-1034.

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