There’s a quiet that falls around 5pm at the Seaport. The gate has closed, the main restaurants are generally closed, and the interpreters are beginning to leave their exhibits. The offices are starting to empty and the light is starting to fade.
Whaling was one of the largest industries in New England during the 20th century, and it fueled the Industrial Revolution. At Mystic Seaport, we often say that the economy of the Industrial Revolution was built on the backs of whales.…
After a very wet and rainy day and a night of being somewhat colder than I had hoped and listening to sober people shouting at drunk people and then drunk people shouting back, I woke up to a beautiful sunny day with an amazing view of Ben Nevis. I had some pretty big plans, so I ate a quick breakfast and packed by backpack, leaving my tent and sleeping bag back at the campsite.
Theory is important in archaeology. We can’t just look at the physical or chemical characteristics of an object and expect that information to directly reveal information about the people from that object; we have to figure out how the characteristics of that object tell us about people in the past.
Last week I wrote a post about doing much of my research at Starbucks, but I didn’t really go into why I like to do my work there. That was partly because that post was long enough as it was, but it was also because I hadn’t really thought about it. I like sitting in Starbucks is because a six year old little girl will come in with a pink scooter complete with pink umbrella…
NPR posted an article yesterday that talks about the idea that language shapes the way we think. Lera Boroditsky, a psychologist at UCSD, argues that language affect the way we process our surroundings and how we perceive and remember. John McWhorter, a linguist at Columbia University, says these differences in language exist, but they actually reflect our culture and worldview rather than shape or limit it.
Benjamin Lee Whorf was a student of Edward Sapir, who had trained under Franz Boas. Whorf spent several years as a fire prevention engineer and inspector. During that time, he noticed that language sometimes caused otherwise intelligent people to behave in a way that started fires…
Edward Sapir (1884 – 1939) was one of Boas’s first students to study linguistics and later worked with Alfred Kroeber (another of Boas’s students) to document Native American languages in California. He believed that ethnology was the science of mental phenomena, and was therefore closely connected to psychology. Sapir focused on the individual, and his main interest was in the connection between language and thought, not language and behavior.
I have arrived!
Alfred Kroeber was one of Boas’s first students at Columbia and was the first to receive a doctorate in anthropology from there. He took Boas’s course in Native American languages and became hooked after that.