Cultural History
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Cultural History
The roots of culture; history and pre-history.
Curated by Deanna Dahlsad
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Rescooped by Deanna Dahlsad from Readin' 'n' Writin'!

Mourning Tongues: How Auden Was Modified in the Guts of the Living -

Mourning Tongues: How Auden Was Modified in the Guts of the Living - | Cultural History |
One of the most extraordinary elegiac conversations of our time.

Via Rick Powell
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Secrets deciphered as ancient Maya script meets the modern Internet

Secrets deciphered as ancient Maya script meets the modern Internet | Cultural History |

Researchers began decoding the glyphic language of the ancient Maya long ago, but the Internet is helping them finish the job and write the history of the enigmatic Mesoamerican civilization.

For centuries, scholars understood little about Maya script beyond its elegant astronomical calculations and calendar. The Maya dominated much of Central America and southern Mexico for 1,000 years before their civilization collapsed about 600 years before the Spaniards reached the New World.

The Maya script began to give up its secrets in the 1950s and ’60s, and progress accelerated in the 1970s. But much remains to be puzzled out from the immense body of carvings and inscriptions that has languished for centuries in jungle ruins and museum closets.

Enter University of Texas archaeologist David Stuart, one of the world’s leading experts on Maya script.

“I had all these boxes of notes and papers in my office, and I was never going to publish every little observation,” he said. “But I thought that if I had a blog, I could talk about new things and bring out some old stuff from my dusty files.”

So five years ago, Stuart started up Maya Decipherment, a blog for scholars and amateurs to post new inscriptions, refine translations and debate the subtleties of Maya language, all in an effort to fill out the history of the civilization.

The work will take years, but with the help of the Internet, the pace is quicker than it has ever been

Via David Connolly
claudia patino's curator insight, January 16, 2014 9:02 PM

Its is amazing how the internet can help us solve ancient history. if we in the modern day are able to learn whto read Maya language then we would be able to identify some of there struggles and find out about there successe.

Rescooped by Deanna Dahlsad from Readin', 'Ritin', and (Publishing) 'Rithmetic!

Geneticists Try to Figure Out When the Illiad Was Published

Geneticists Try to Figure Out When the Illiad Was Published | Cultural History |
When was The Iliad actually written? To answer that question, you might turn to a historian or a literary scholar. But geneticists wanted a crack at it, too

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List, Joan Vinall-Cox, Deanna Dahlsad
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, March 1, 2013 12:58 PM

I hesitate to begin with a question that may reveal more about my own ignorance than anything else.


Having for so long been a story passed down through generations strictly in an oral tradition, I can't imagine that there weren't many, versions of the story being told, all more or less similar at the core, but ranging in specific vocabulary used; sort of like what used to happen when we played the game called telephone. One listener, might remember the story fairly well, but memory might cause a blip or two when that listener retold the story. When the second listener retold the story more blips... and so on. And two listeners in that "first audience" might tell two slightly different blipped versions to four listeners each of whom might have told four different audiences four different blipped versions.


Recognizing that the original storytellers were far more attentive than 8 year old boys nervous about whispering into the ears of 8 year old girls, I'll assume that the source materials used in this intriguing story are "relatively" stable versions of the words that found their way into the earliest published versions of the story.


I'm actually more interested in the fact that those with non-literary educational backgrounds are bringing their talents to the study of literature. In previous scoops I've appreciated the work being done in neuroscience related to tracking brain functions when reading literature.


The vocabulary lesson described in this article as it was used by geneticists attempting to determine a possible date of the publication of the Illiad might be more interesting to a significant percentage of our students than merely looking at vocabulary as a study of prefixes, roots, and suffixes.


Anyone who has tried to maintain an interest in older literature in spite of its antiquated vocabulary knows that constant interruptions of the engaging momentum of the suspension of disbelief is not always as successful as it is annoying to many students. 


Great literature does not stand alone in the real world. It is influenced and reflects history, psychology, culture, cartography, philosophy, sociology, politics, marketing, intellectual perception,... all sorts of elements beyond the siloed English Department. 


As those of us who focus upon the value of literature in the 21st century valiantly come to its defense, it is essential that we not fight that good fight alone. It is too easy to dismiss literature educators as being biased in times when "practical" is a trump card in budget discussions among colleagues whose understanding of the practical impacts of the difficult to measure outcomes of literary reading is less well informed. 


To be able to reference more informed views of allies coming to the defense of literary reading from beyond the English department; from the sciences and the business departments ((see: This is Your Brain on Jane Austin, The Neuroscience of Your Brain on Fiction, and "If You Want to Lead, Read") is an invaluable asset to offset assumptions of bias when we tilt at the budgetary windmills alone.


And, in gratitude, we ought to also be careful in our own contributions to the conversations when they turn to the value of supporting other curricular areas that we may find ourselves less well informed about. 



 ~ ~




Aaronee's curator insight, February 18, 2014 6:57 PM

They traced the words on the lliad like you would do genes. They used a database of concepts and words. the word database is named Swadesh word list, and its has about 200 words that exist in everyone language and culture, like water and dog.


Gabriel Rodriguez's curator insight, February 21, 2014 11:09 PM

Very different approach on trying to date something back to it's original creation.  Can genetics be used to date back other historical treasure's also?

Curated by Deanna Dahlsad
An opinionated woman obsessed with objects, entertained by ephemera, intrigued by researching, fascinated by culture & addicted to writing. The wind says my name; doesn't put an @ in front of it, so maybe you don't notice.
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