How much does culture influence human history? The traditional view is that material forces – land, climate, warfare – trump less tangible human conceptualizations like currencies and laws. But cognitive science suggests that conceptual metaphors are powerful cultural forces that form the building blocks of human systems, from governments to ideologies.
In an SFI Community Lecture September 12 in Santa Fe, anthropologist Scott Ortman explored the ways new archaeological methods and linguistic analyses can reveal these underlying metaphors and help us better understand the critical role conceptualization plays in the complex unfolding of human history.
Watch Ortman's lecture (70 minutes)
Listen to an interview with Scott Ortman on KSFR's Santa Fe Radio Cafe (September 10, 2012)
Watch an SFI video interview with Scott Ortman (4 minutes)
Read an article about Ortman's lecture in the Santa Fe New Mexican (September 12, 2012)
Scott Ortman is an Omidyar Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute and a Lightfoot Fellow at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in southern Colorado. He is author of the award-winning "Winds from the North: Tewa Origins and Historical Anthropology" (University of Utah Press, February 2012), in which he proposes a compelling explanation of shifting populations in the Southwestern U.S. through and investigation of the genetic, linguistic, and cultural heritage of the Tewa Pueblo people of New Mexico.
The 2012 SFI Community Lecture series was made possible by Los Alamos National Bank.
SFI’s Community Lectures offer a window into the Institute’s research to understand the common patterns in physical, computational, biological, and social complex systems that underlie the most profound issues facing science and society today. The 2012 lecture series focused on human individual and social behavior.
More about the Omidyar Fellowship at the Santa Fe Institute
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