Lydia Rodríguez Cuevas
Department of Anthropology
State University of New York at Potsdam
Language, Magic, and the Supernatural
An introduction to the anthropological study of ritual language and magic, this course examines linguistic practices and their intersections with various systems of spiritual beliefs around the world. The course focuses on various forms of ritual language which include the language of spells and incantations, the language of divination, trance and possession speech.
Cultures of Mexico and Central America
This course is an introduction to Mesoamerican indigenous cultures, from pre-Columbian times to present day.
Language and Structure
An introduction to the field of Linguistics and its core sub-disciplines, this course follows a bottom-up approach to the study of linguistic structure, from the smallest units that make up language—sounds—to how language is organized in conversation and discourse.
Worlds of English
This course is an exploration of the diversity and breadth of sociolinguistic contexts in which different varieties of English are used by its speakers. In order to understand this diversity, we first need to examine how the English language came to be what it is today. Hence, we begin by studying the evolution and spread of English throughout the world, and the linguistic, historical and socio-political processes that have had an impact on the current distribution of English around the globe. An important part of this course is devoted to describing different English varieties, or "Englishes," as some scholars have put it. Our exploration of linguistic diversity will take place both within and outside the US.
Language and Culture
An introductory course covering a survey of topics having to do with language, society, and culture, and the ways in which they are intertwined. Topics covered include: what is language and how do we study it; what are the different levels of linguistic structure; how people are born or become part of different speech communities, and why they choose to maintain their status as members of that particular speech community or switch to a different one; language variation in time and space; what is linguistic prejudice and what kind of language attitudes have an impact in inter-ethnic communication.
Cultures, Regions, Civilizations: The Maya World
Introductory course that covers fundamental aspects of both ancient and current Maya culture. Some of the topics covered: what are the main regions, ethnic groups, and languages spoken in the Maya area; fundamental traits that define Maya identity and worldview; economic structure of Maya communities, kinship systems, religion and spiritual beliefs; overview of the main stages in the history of the pre-Columbian Maya, and some of their most famous cultural accomplishments, such as the calendar and literacy; current challenges of the socio-political context in which Maya people live.
The Maya Today: Fiction and Reality
Intermediate level course that examines the cultural aspects of Maya civilization that have been mystified by Western imagination. For this reason, an important part of the course consists on analysis of audio-visual materials that have been produced by a variety of “outsiders” to Mayan culture. The emphasis of the course is on contemporary Maya cultures, although we will devote some sessions to aspects of the pre-Columbian Maya past that continue to be the object of movies, documentaries and new-age websites.
© Copyright. Lydia Rodríguez