Bruce Mannheim is a professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan and a leading linguistic anthropologist, who studies the interrelations among language, culture, and history, particularly in South America. His publications span the disciplines of anthropology, linguistics, and colonial Latin American history, and include collaborations in psychology, bioarchaeology, and history of art. He is editor, with Dennis Tedlock, of The Dialogic Emergence of Culture; and with Alan Durston of Authority, Hierarchy, and the Indigenous Languages of Latin America. His current research project is a theory of cultural replication—the ways in which cultural forms are stabilized across time and spread across populations. He is currently completing a book, The Horn of Time, which is the first step in that project.


Indexicals and Interdiscursivities

Culture and politics are often found in nooks and crannies of everyday life, part of a nuanced, interdiscursive network of knowledge and practice, connected to each other through multiple, cross-cutting indexicals. The job of ethnographers and historians is to trace these as formally and precisely as possible, to discover the macrocosm of people’s lives in their microcosmic practices. This talk will make a case for textual microanalysis as a primary analytical tool of historians and ethnographers, drawing on interdiscursive relationships between a southern Quechua song and textile, readable not by generalizing to an abstract matrix (“cosmology”) but horizontally through the fine structure of the objects themselves.

Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs
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