May 04, 2016
from 05:00 PM to 06:00 PM
|Where||McDonald Institute Seminar Room, Courtyard Building, Downing Street|
|Contact Name||Sara Harrop|
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Images give permanence to fleeting things. The Maya of ancient Mexico and Central America used that capacity to full effect, through displays and graphic cues that left lasting depictions of sound. Some images evoke ambient noise or musical thrums, the squawking of animals or orchestrations of astonishing refinement. Others show speech, going on to record, as humorous hearsay, the talk of gods and beasts. The lecture looks at these devices, conceits, and encodings, attentive to how sounds were shown visibly and meanings teased from them.
Stephen Houston is the Dupee Family Professor of Social Science at Brown
University. His research interests are in Mesoamerica, especially Mayan
iconography and hieroglyphics. He has worked on the excavations of several
major Mayan cities, most recently the ancient city of Piedras Negras in
Guatemala, and previously at El Zotz, Guatemala.