Department of Anthropology                        University of Pittsburgh

 

Anthropology 1548 – Amazonian Arts: Making and Meaning

Summer 2017 . 2:00-4:30  M-TH

Pitt in Ecuador

 

Dr. Tod Swanson, tod.dillon.swanson@gmail.com        

Office hours will be posted for this course, and instructors are available by appointment.

 

Course description: 

Content, purposes, and methods of this course:

This course introduces students to the arts of the Amazonian region in the context of their function and meaning. The course will be taught as a combination of lecture and hands-on experience working with Native potters from the Bobonaza River. Students will learn to make pottery in the Kichwa (Quichua) tradition, and to understand the role of pottery and material culture in the daily lives of people in this region. On a number of occasions, students will accompany the Native potters on journeys into the adjacent forest to gather materials and to study the patterns in nature that inspire them. Here students will observe related arts such as face paint patterns, beaded ornaments, ritual singing and storytelling. Carefully selected readings and lectures will use these arts as a window for exploring Amazonian thinking about the natural world behind the designs, and the ways in which the designs can be used to understand patterns of social interaction. Interviews with potters will aid in understanding these arts in the context of daily and ceremonial life. In the process, the arts become a doorway allowing the student to explore Amazonian culture and environment first hand. Comparative material from several other world regions will also be discussed.

 

 

Objectives and outcomes: 

 

This course introduces students to Amazonian pottery and artistic traditions set within the context of pottery as a longstanding Native tradition. The course has three interrelated learning objectives:

1. To provide an anthropological perspective on Native people of the Upper Amazon, their material arts, and world view;

2. To provide a context for the development of tools and skills so that students learn to create and decorate pottery using techniques and designs with the guidance of Kichwa artists;

3. To explain how a holistic, analytical, and comparative framework leads to greater understanding of continuity and change in artistic and material culture. 

 

Through lectures, field trips, and experience practicing within the tradition of local artists, students learning outcomes are: 

 

To understand the physical and cultural contexts of Amazonian culture and their worldview,

To understand the mythic and ceremonial context of Amazonian ceramic art,

To gain proficiency in making ceramic vessels in an Amazonian style, 

To understand traditional and contemporary contexts of Amazonian art. 

 

 

II. Course structure and organization: 

    This course relies on a combination of lectures, demonstrations, field trips, readings, and written assignments to introduce students to the artistic traditions of the upper Amazon and to immerse themselves in the practice of pottery making.  

The course will meet a total of 40 hours for in-class lecture, discussion, and hands-on work, with an additional 20 hours of field visits and continued practice in making pottery. 

 

Course outline:

Saturday           June  2             Arrive in Quito

Sunday              June  3             Travel down to Iyarina. 

Monday            June  4             History of the Ecuadorian Amazon.  Greater Jivaroan Shuar Cultural Region

Tuesday            June  5             2:00-2:45 Lecture: Mukawas, Tinajas, and the Social Context of Amazonian Ceramics

                                                    3:00-4:30   Record a mañachina (prayer)  to clay woman.  Dig clay.                                                                               

Wednesday      June  6             2:00-2:45  Will Waters 

                                                    3:00-4:30 Make a Mucagua.


Thursday          June  7             2:00-2:45  Swanson Lecture,  The aesthetics of the classical Meditarranean and the aesthetics                                                            native to the Americas.

 "Why is Amazonian Art and Literature perceived as "Primitive" ?  A  comparison to the ideals of Late Antiquity."  Quote from Father Enrique Vacas Galindo, 1895.  "If the Jívaros had been civilized they would have been the best poets in the world."   (Si los jívaros fueran civilizados, serían los mejores poetas del mundo." )   Discussion of  quotes from Bernardo Recio, Frank Drown, and Father Pierre.                                                                                              

                                                     3:00-4:30 .  William Balée Lecture,   "The Anthropogenic Amazon"  

 

Friday                June  8             Hike in the forest to study patterns.

 

Saturday           June  9             Free Day.  No class.   

Sunday              June 10            Free Day.  No class. 

 

Monday            June 11            Trip to Amupakin 

                                                    

Tuesday            June 12            2:00-2:45  Swanson Lecture-  Comparison of Japanese Art to Amazonian Art 

Read the following:
 

                                               

 

Wednesday      June 13            Trip to Chonta Punta
                                                  

Thursday          June 14            "A Shared Body:  Looking Like the Land (Sound, Taste, Sight, Smell)."

Readings:  Swanson and Reddekop, "Looking Like the Land: Beauty and Aesthetics in Amazonian                                                      Quichua Philosophy and Practice."  Journal of the American Academy of Religion, September                                                              2017.

Eulodia Dagua, "Our Babies Cry Like the Animals We Eat,"  "Newborn Child Dies Like the Snake His Father Killed."

Friday                June 15            Free to write and study

                          

Saturday           June 16            Free Day. No classes.

Sunday              June 17            Free Day.  No classes.

 

Monday            June 18            Llakichina:   empathy in Kichwa art.

Tuesday            June 19            Anger

Wednesday      June 20            Shamnism

 

Thursday          June 21 

For this week you will compare two sets of readings: the chapters from Keith Basso on the Apache relation to the land and my chapter on the Amazonian Kichwa relation to the land.   My chapter on the Kichwa examines how people become "friends" of a local forest. You can assume that the Apache land in Arizona, like the Kichwa forest in the Ecuadorian Amazon had "friends."  The Apache land Basso writes about communicates with the people who have established a bond with it.   As you read these articles think about how the indigenous relation to the land is similar or different from that of Thoreau, or the Japanese Buddhists. 

By the end of this week, you will be able to:

Design as personal history-objects as extensions of the body

Friday                June 22            Guided research and interviewing.

 

Saturday           June 23            Free Day.  No class. 

Sunday              June 24            Free Day.  No class. 

 

Monday            June 25            Flat drawing of Quichua patterns

Tuesday            June 26            Hike in the forest to study patterns

Wednesday      June 27            Biography of the artists

Thursday          June 28            Final.  Course wind up. 

Friday                June 29            Travel to the airport

Saturday           June 30            Arrive in Pittsburgh

Kichwa poetry

The story of Wituk and Manduru/ Paint faces

  2:00-2:45  Swanson Lecture:  Comparison of Quichua verbal art and Haiku: Similarities and Differences

Basso, Speaking with names.  Interview Belgica and Eulodia on the designs of a mukaja and                                                              write a paragraph analyzing the meaning of a specific mukaja. 

  A comparison to the ideals of Late Antiquity."  Quote from Father Enrique Vacas Galindo, 1895.  "If the Jívaros had been civilized they would have been the best poets in the world."   (Si los jívaros fueran civilizados, serían los mejores poetas del mundo." )   Discussion of  quotes from Bernardo Recio, Frank Drown, and Father Pierre. 
Saturday  June 2

 Shared Body: The Quichua Relational Self 

2:30-3:30   Swanson Lecture:  "Shared Body or the Quichua Relational Self."       

Eulodia Dagua, "Our Babies Cry Like the Animals We Eat,"  "Newborn Child Dies Like the Snake His Father Killed."

11:30 PM Arrive in Quito Shuttle to Real Audiencia

 

   Story of Kingu, Iluku, and the Moon.  Discussion.   

The Tayag Woman and Her Children.  The Tayag Woman as Clay Mother

Eulodia Dagua, The Moon's Sister Becomes the Kingu Constellation ; 

    Reading 1:   Graham Parkes, Japanese Aesthetics

                                                    Reading 2:   Byung-Chul Han, "The Copy is the Original" 

                                                    Eulodia Dagua, The Nalpi River Bowl 

                                                    Eulodia Dagua:  A ceramic representation of the Kuwa Entza River

                                                    Paint Mucawas. 

Sunday, June 3 

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM Tour colonial Quito (founded 1535)

12:00 Lunch At Hotel Real Audiencia

1:PM  Bus to Andes and Amazon Field School

2:30  AM  Bathe in volcanic hot springs

2:00 PM  Visit Guango Hummingbird Lodge (See 11 species of humming birds in large numbers.)

6:30 PM Arrive at the Andes and Amazon Field School

7:00 PM Dinner

Monday, June 4    

8:00 Breakfast  

9-12  Swanson, Introduction to Ecuador's history and Environment.  Plenary Lecture in thatched dining room.

1:00 Lunch

2-5  Hike up the Canoa Yaku

7:00 Dinner

 

Tuesday,  June 5    
8:00 Breakfast
 9-12 Amazonian Health and Nutrition
1:00 Lunch
 2-5  –  Amazonian Arts Making and Meaning 
Introduction to Amazonian Arts class.    Dig clay in the forest.  Observe a traditional Quichua potters prayer to the Mother of Clay.  
7:00 Dinner
 

2-5  –    Health class

 

7:00 Dinner

 

Wednesday  June 6

8:00 Breakfast

9-12  Visit to the Tena Hospital

“Quichua understanding of the (shared) body: Implications for Illness and Healing.”    Swanson, Plenary Lecture in thatched dining room.

1:00 Lunch

2-5   Amazonian Arts Making and Meaning

Readings:  Swanson and Reddekop, "Looking Like the Land: Beauty and Aesthetics in Amazonian Quichua Philosophy and Practice."  Journal of the American Academy of Religion, September 2017.

Parkes, Graham

2011  "Japanese Aesthetics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2011 Edition), Edward 

7:00 Dinner

 

Thursday,  June 7 

 

8:00 Breakfast

 

9-12 Amazonian Arts: Making and Meaning  Students begin working on forming vessels: mucawa and tinaja.  Whitten 1998, Canelos Quichua People, pp. 14-29.

Due: Journal on first week observations with comments on readings.   make traditional Amazonian ceramic bowls. 

 

1:00 Lunch 2-5   “Quichua Shamanism: Implications for Community Health.”   Plenary Lecture in thatched dining room.

 

7:00  Dinner

 

Friday June 8 .  

 

9 AM  Interview with Delicia and Eulodia Dagua on wanduk and ayawaska halucinogenic medicines. Students analyze interview in small groups. 

1:00 Lunch

Afternoon free for travel or study

Saturday June 9   Free Day.  No Class.

Sunday June 10     Free Day.  No class.

Monday June 11

8:00 Breakfast

9-12  Visit to the Tena Hospital

 

1:00 Lunch

 

2-5   Lecture on Quichua Aesthetics

 

Readings:  Swanson and Reddekop, "Looking Like the Land: Beauty and Aesthetics in Amazonian Quichua Philosophy and Practice."  Journal of the American Academy of Religion, September 2017.

Parkes, Graham

2011  "Japanese Aesthetics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2011 Edition), Edward 

7:00 Dinner

8:00-10:00 Visit to shaman

 

Tuesday June 12

8:00 Breakfast

 

9-12  Hike in the forest with potters to look at patterns and hear stories.

 

1:00 Lunch

 

2-5 Amazonian Arts: Making and Meaning 

 Continue forming vessels.   Make brushes so that students can paint when they have time on Wednesday and Thursday.  Minar and Crown 2001, Learning and Craft Production: An Introduction

 

7:00 Dinner  

Wednesday, June 13    

8:00 Breakfast  

9-12 Dr. William Waters,   Plenary Lecture in thatched dining room.

1:00 Lunch

2-5  Dr. William Waters,  Plenary Lecture in thatched dining room.

 

7:00 Dinner   

Thursday,  June 14    

8:00 Breakfast

9-12  Class  Plenary Lecture in thatched dining room.

 

1:00 Lunch

2-5  

7:00 Dinner

Friday,  June 15   

8:00 Breakfast

9-12  Amazonian Arts Making and Meaning

Swanson, Lecture and short videos on the meaning of designs painted on ceramic vessels.  Finish painting, Firing
Due: Journal on second week observations with comments on readings. 
 

1:00 Lunch

Afternoon: Free for travel or study

7:00 Dinner

 

Saturday June 16  Free Day.  No Class.

Sunday June 17    Free Day.  No Class.

Monday June 18

8:00 Breakfast

9-12  Class   Visit to Chonta Punta

1:00 Lunch

2-5  All day trip to Chonta Punta Quichua indigenous community with government public health team.

7:00 Dinner

 

Tuesday June 19

8:00 Breakfast

 

9-12  Work with Quichua women in traditional manioc gardens to study sources of local diet.

 

1:00 Lunch

 

2-5   Forming second set of vessels; Plan questions for Native potter interviews.

Bowser and Patton 2008, Women’s Life Histories and Communities of Practice in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

 

7:00 Dinner

Wednesday, June  20   

8:00 Breakfast

9-12  Make chicha and traditional foods.

2-5  Amazonian Arts: Making and Meaning 

Forming, polishing;   Interview life histories of the Quichua artists.

7:00  Dinner

Thursday,  June 21    

8:00 Breakfast  

9-12  Medical Pluralism and Culturally Appropriate Care .  Lecture in thatched dining room.

1:00 Lunch

2-5  Amazonian Arts: Making and Meaning   

Swanson, Lecture and videos  on Amazonian Quichua face paint design.  Paint faces of students.

7:00 Dinner

Friday,  June 22  

8:00 Breakfast . Eulodia Dagua, Delicia Dagua

9-12   Eulodia Dagua, Delicia Dagua, and Carmen on pregnanacy and traditional care of children.

1:00 Lunch

 

2-5  Free Afternoon

 

7:00 Dinner

 

Saturday June 23   Free Day.  No Class.

Sunday June 24   Free Day.  No Class.

Monday June 25

8:00 Breakfast

9-12   All day trip to Amopakin-Quichua midwives co-operative.

1:00 Lunch

2-5  

7:00 Dinner

 

Tuesday June 26

8:00 Breakfast

9-12  Students interview Amazonian Quichua families in their homes on questions of health.

1:00 Lunch

2-5  Amazonian Arts: Making and Meaning 

 Discussion of interview results. Final Essay assigned. 

7:00 Dinner

 

Wednesday, June  27 

8:00 Breakfast

9-12 In class processing of Health interviews.

 

1:00 Lunch

 

2-5  Amazonian Arts: Making and Meaning 

Oral exam on student vessels and designs.

7:00 Dinner

 

 

8:00 Breakfast

9-12 

1:00 Lunch

2-5  Amazonian Arts: Making and Meaning 

Course discussion and evaluation. 

7:00 Dinner

 

Thursday  June 28 

8:00 Breakfast

9-12 

1:00 Lunch

2-5  Amazonian Arts: Making and Meaning 

Course discussion and evaluation. 

7:00 Dinner

Friday June 29

Course wind up

 

8-10 Quichua Dance and Despedida

Selected readings: 

 

Excerpts from classic ethnographies:

Uzendoski, Michael  

2005     The Napo Runa of Amazonian Ecuador. Chicago: University of Illinois Press. 

 

Whitten, Dorothea S. and Norman E. Whitten, Jr. 

1988    From myth to creation: Art from Amazonian Ecuador. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

 

Whitten, Norman E. Jr

1976    Sacha Runa: Ethnicity and Adaptation of Ecuadorian Jungle Quichua. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

 

Whitten, Norman E. and Dorothea S. Whitten

2008    Puyo Runa: Imagery and Power in Modern Amazonia. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. 

 

Amazonian aesthetics:

Belaunde, Luisa Elvira

2000    The convivial self and the fear of anger amongst the Airo-Pai of Amazonian Peru.  In Joanna Overing and Alan Passes eds., The Anthropology of Love and Anger: The Aesthetics of Conviviality in Native Amazonia, Routledge: London. Pp 46-63.

 

Gow, Peter

2000    Helplessness – the affective preconditions of Piro social life”.  In Joanna Overing and Alan Passes eds., The Anthropology of Love and Anger: The Aesthetics of Conviviality in Native Amazonia, Routledge: London. Pp 46-63.

 

Lagrou, Elsje Maria

2000    Homesickness and the Cashinahua self". In Joanna Overing and Alan Passes eds., The Anthropology of Love and Anger: The Aesthetics of Conviviality in Native Amazonia, pp 152-169.  Routledge: London.

 

Parkes, Graham

2011    Japanese Aesthetics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2011/entries/japanese-aesthetics/

 

Nuckolls, Janis B. and Swanson, Tod D. 

2014    Earthy Concreteness and Anti-Hypotheticalism in Amazonian Quichua Discourse. Tipití: Journal of the Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America: Vol. 12: Iss. 1, Article 4, 48-60. Available at: http://digitalcommons.trinity.edu/tipiti/vol12/iss1/4  

 

Swanson, Tod D. 

2009    Singing to Estranged Relatives: Quichua Relations to Plants in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Journal of Religion and Culture Vol. 3.1:36-65. 

 

 

Ethnoarchaeology and archaeology:

Andrea Silva, Fabiola

2008     Ceramic Technology of the Asurini do Xingu, Brazil: An Ethnoarchaeological Study of Artifact Variability. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 15:217-265. 

 

Bowser, Brenda 

2000    From Pottery to Politics: An Ethnoarchaeological Study of Political Factionalism, Ethnicity, and Domestic Pottery Style in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 7:210-248. 

 

Bowser, Brenda and John Q. Patton

2004    Domestic Spaces as Public Places: An Ethnoarchaeological Case Study of Houses, Gender, and Politics in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 11:157-181.

2008    Women’s Life Histories and Communities of Practice in the Ecuadorian Amazon. In Cultural Transmission and Material Culture: Breaking Down Boundaries, edited by M. T. Stark, B.J. Bowser, and L. Horne. University of Arizona Press. Pp. 105-129. 

 

Mills, Barbara J.

1999    Ceramics and the Social Contexts of Food Consumption in the Northern Southwest. In Pottery and People: A Dynamic Interaction, ed. J. M. Skibo and G.M. Feinman. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City. Pp. 99-114.

 

Minar, C. Jill and Patricia L. Crown

2001    Learning and Craft Production: An Introduction. Journal of Anthropological Research 57(4):369-380. 

 

Crown, Patricia L.

1999    Socialization in American Southwest Pottery Decoration. In Pottery and People: A Dynamic Interaction, ed. J. M. Skibo and G.M. Feinman. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City. Pp. 25-43.

2001    Learning to Make Pottery in the Prehispanic American Southwest. Journal of Anthropological Research 57(4):451-469. 

 

Chavez, Karen L. Mohr

1992    The Organization of Production and Distribution of Traditional Pottery in South Highland Peru. In Ceramic Production and Distribution: An Integrated Approach, edited by C. Pool and G. Bey. Westview Press, Boulder, CO. Pp. 49-92. 

 

Stark, Miriam T.

1999    Social Dimensions of Technical Choice in Kalinga Ceramic Tradition. In Material Meanings: Critical Approaches to the Interpretation of Material Culture, ed. E. S. Chilton, pp.24-43. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City. 

 

Vincentelli, Moira

2003    Women Potters: Transforming Traditions. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ.

 

Wallaert-Petre, Helene

2001    Learning How to Make the Right Pots: Apprenticeship Strategies and Material Culture, A Case Study in Handmade Pottery from Cameroon. Journal of Anthropological Research 57(4):471-493.

 

Course Requirements: Assignments and grading

Class participation (25%): Students are expected to keep up with readings, attend classes and fieldtrips, practice making pottery, and engage in class discussions of readings and fieldtrips. 

 

Journaling (25%): Students will keep a journal that reflects the teaching of the native potters, both in the practice of pottery manufacture, and in the meanings of pottery designs and their association with the natural world. They will also document their progress in pottery production. Short journal assignments in which students are asked to integrate readings with their participation will also be required. Each student will be expected to submit five 3 to 5 page analytic journal entries during the course. 

 

Practicum (10%): Each student will take an oral exam where they will be asked to discuss the pottery they have produced and the meanings of the designs placed on it. 

 

Final essay exam/paper (40%): Each student will develop a six to eight page paper on a topic that comes directly from some aspect of the program. Essays will draw on the readings, material presented in lectures, field trips, and demonstrations, and will include additional material drawn from either the students interaction with the Native potters, or from the trip to the Pre-Columbian Art Museum in Quito. 

 

 

Course Policies: 

Academic Integrity Policy: Cheating/plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students suspected of violating the University of Pittsburgh Policy on Academic Integrity, noted below, will be required to participate in the outlined procedural process as initiated by the instructor. A minimum sanction of a zero score for the quiz, exam or paper will be imposed. (For the full academic Integrity policy, go to www.provost.pitt.edu/info/ai1.html.)

 

E-mail Communication Policy: Each student is issued a University e-mail address (username@pitt.edu) upon admittance. This e-mail address may be used by the University for official communication with students. Students are expected to read e-mail sent to this account on a regular basis. Failure to read and react to University communications in a timely manner does not absolve the student from knowing and complying with the content of the communications. The University provides an e-mail forwarding service that allows students to read their e-mail via other service providers (e.g., Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo). Students that choose to forward their e-mail from their pitt.edu address to another address do so at their own risk. If e-mail is lost as a result of forwarding, it does not absolve the student from responding to official communications sent to their University e-mail address. To forward e-mail sent to your University account, go to http://accounts.pitt.edu, log into your account, click on Edit Forwarding Addresses, and follow the instructions on the page. Be sure to log out of your account when you have finished. (For the full E-mail Communication Policy, go to www.bc.pitt.edu/policy/09/09-10-01/html.)

 

Attendance: You are expected to attend all classes. Attendance is required for satisfactory progress through the course. If you are unable to attend a class, please notify me in advance. 

 

Make-up work/Late penalties: You are expected to turn in all assignments by their due date. Late assignments will be marked down 2 points for every day they are late. Please contact your instructor if you foresee any difficulty in meeting assignment deadlines. 

 

Support Services: 

Writing Center: Make use of the services of the Writing Center to improve your writing skills. 

 

Disability Resources and Services: "If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and the Office of Disability Resources and Services, 140 William Pitt Union, 412-648-7890/412-624-3346 (Fax), as early as possible in the term. Disability Resources and Services will verify your disability and determine reasonable accommodations for this course." 

 

 

The integrity of the academic process requires fair and impartial evaluation on the part of faculty and honest academic conduct on the part of students. To this end, students are expected to conduct themselves at a high level of responsibility in the fulfillment of the course of their study. It is the corresponding responsibility of faculty to make clear to students those standards by which students will be evaluated, and the resources available for use by students during the course of their study and evaluation. The educational process is perceived as a joint faculty-student enterprise which will perforce involve professional judgment by faculty and may involve – without penalty – reasoned exception by students to the data or views offered by faculty. Senate Committee on Tenure and Academic Freedom, February 1974.

Instructor

  • facebook
  • Twitter Round
  • googleplus
  • flickr

© 2023 by Dawkins & Dodger Architecture. Proudly created with Wix.com