The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress presents Kislak Fellow, Pamela Geller, in a lecture titled “Ancient Bodies: A Humanistic Bioarchaeology of the Pre-Columbian Maya” on Wednesday, February 21, 2007 at 12:00 P.M. in LJ-119, Thomas Jefferson Building, Library of Congress, 10 1st Street S.E. Washington, D.C. This event is free and open to the public; no reservations are required.
According to Geller, the Maya occupied, and continue to occupy, an ecologically and linguistically varied geographic range, extending from southeastern Mexico to northern Central America. Diversity aside, the Maya shared numerous core beliefs and practices. Their treatment of bodies-amongst other things like religious ideology, architectural style, and political entanglements-emphasizes such cultural cohesion. Yet, Mayanists have generally regarded bodies with ambivalence. In her talk, Geller will draw on evidence of ancient Maya bodies-culled from human remains, ethnohistory, ethnography, and artistic renderings-to examine beliefs and practices related to identity. Identity is an important mechanism for organizing societies, instigating socialization, and exploring embodied subjectivities. It is not just the stuff in people's heads, as many cultural theorists of the late modern individual would have us believe. Materializing (or ‘corporealizing') identity facilitates reconstruction of ancient individuals' life histories and their adoption of certain social personas, as two examples from the pre-Columbian Maya demonstrate.
Request ASL and ADA accommodations five days in advance. Telephone: 202.707.6362 or Email: ADA@loc.gov.