Anthropologist to Lecture on Indigenous Mexican Death Rituals

March 21st, 2013 by Danielle Kane

Anya Peterson Royce, chancellor’s professor of anthropology and comparative literature at Indiana University, will give a lecture titled “Journeys of Transformation: Isthmus Zapotec beliefs and practices surrounding death” on Thursday, April 4 at 4:30 p.m. in the Rehm Library, Smith Hall, at the College of the Holy Cross. The lecture, presented by the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture, is free and open to the public.

Author of “Becoming an Ancestor: The Isthmus Zapotec Way of Death” (SUNY Press, 2011), Royce looks at the intricate blending of Catholicism and indigenous spiritual tradition in the death rituals of the Zapotec people in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in southern Mexico.

Royce, who also serves as adjunct professor in folklore and ethnomusicology, the Russian and East European Institute, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, has been researching the Zapotec people for nearly four decades. Her work grew from a career in dance and interest in the anthropology of dance and the performing arts.

She is the author of “Anthropology of the Performing Arts: Artistry, Virtuosity, and Interpretation in a Cross-Cultural Perspective” (AltaMira Press, 2006), “Movement and Meaning: Creativity and Interpretation in Ballet and Mime” (Indiana University Press, 1984), “Ethnic Identity: Strategies of Diversity” (Indiana University Press, 1982) and “The Anthropology of Dance” (Indiana University Press, 1977).

This lecture is part of Catholics and Cultures, and initiative to better understand the religious lives and practices of Catholics around the world. To learn more about this event and find lectures online, visit www.holycross.edu/mcfarlandcenter.

About the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture:

Established in 2001 and housed in Smith Hall, the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture provides resources for faculty and course development, sponsors conferences and college-wide teaching events, hosts visiting fellows, and coordinates a number of campus lecture series. Rooted in the College’s commitment to invite conversation about basic human questions, the Center welcomes persons of all faiths and seeks to foster dialogue that acknowledges and respects differences, providing a forum for intellectual exchange that is interreligious, interdisciplinary, intercultural, and international in scope.  The Center also brings members of the Holy Cross community into conversation with the Greater Worcester community, the academic community, and the wider world to examine the role of faith and inquiry in higher education and in the larger culture.

For additional information, please contact Cristal Steuer at 508-793-2419.

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