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structuralism at the university of british columbia, 1969 onward Pierre Maranda Context Claude Lévi-Strauss’s structuralism made a strong impact in European and American universities already in the early 1960s. At that time several of his papers published in English became required readings in Oxford and Cambridge as well as at Harvard and in departments of anthropology in other universities. Actually Tristes Tropiques (1955b), Anthropologie structurale (1958a), and Le totémisme aujourd’hui (1962b) were all published in English in 1963, followed by La pensée sauvage (1962a) in 1966. In 1963 Douglas Oliverat Harvard, in conjunction with Rodney Needham in Oxford, took the initiative to have Les structures élémentaires de la parenté (1949) translated into English (1969b). Paperback editions of those titles became available soon after the hardcovers and were widely read in American and other Anglophone universities. Anthropology at the University of British Columbia Structuralism was implemented in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of British Columbia in the fall of 1969. The head of the department, Cyril Belshaw, had recruited new faculty who had already contributed structural analyses: Brenda Beck, Michael Egan, myself, and, a year later, my late wife, Elli Köngäs Maranda. Upon our arrival the program committee set up undergraduate courses and graduate seminars in structural anthropology, in which, obviously, the works of Claude Lévi-Strauss figured prominently. Students flocked to learn about what they perceived as the best approach to dynamically ‘‘x-ray’’ live and thus moving social facts without pinning them down in the manner butterfly collectors stock their catches (to use Edmund Leach’s metaphor to uphold structuralism). Structuralist momentum built up: it generated M.A. theses, Ph.D. disTseng 2004.8.9 07:12 7132 Mauze / COMING TO SHORE / sheet 127 of 548 sertations, informal extracurricular regular meetings where faculty and students together took up topics on which structuralism could contribute fresh views. American colleagues, mainly from the states of Oregon and Washington , traveled up the coast to participate in those meetings. Interactions with Amerindians also developed in that context, and Lévi-Strauss engaged in them when he came to British Columbia. I had the privilege and joy of seeing Lévi-Strauss accept two invitations to the department in 1973 and in 1974. He gave a well-attended high-level seminar in the framework of which several colleagues and advanced students presented papers. The National Film Board of Canada had a team follow Lévi-Strauss for three weeks, the outcome of which was the film Behind the Masks. This documentary shows Lévi-Strauss doing such things as interviewing an Indian totem-pole carver and analyzing masks in the Victoria Museum. The main component of the film consists of his giving a very lively lecture to a specialized audience at the university. Actually, it offers a masterful presentation of the main axis of La voie des masques (1975). Unused footage—the leftover sequences after the editing process—should be available from the National Film Board if someone wished to use the film as complementary data on Lévi-Strauss in British Columbia. Another notorious event was a public lecture that Lévi-Strauss gave at the university. It attracted such a large crowd that it overflowed the big auditorium where it had been scheduled and had to be broadcast simultaneously in other halls on the campus to accommodate the unexpectedly high number of people who had come to hear him. Several publications singled out ubc structuralism as a strong pole in social anthropology, such as papers delivered in international conferences as well as publications by faculty members, especially Brenda Beck and Michael Egan (see Beck 1972, 1978a, 1978b, 1982), by me (Maranda 1971, 1972a, 1972b; Maranda, ed., 1972, 1974, 1978), by my wife and me (Maranda and Maranda 1970, 1971, 1974a, 1974b; Maranda and Maranda, eds., 1971), and by graduate students such as Dominique Legros (1978), Carol McLaren (1978), David Moyer (1978), David Turner (1978), John Leroy, Robert Tonkinson, and Éric Schwimmer (1967, 1969a, 1969b, 1970, 1973, 1978). Other ubc advanced graduate students published structuralist chapters in a book I edited, Soviet Structural Folkloristics (1974): Wolfgang Jilek with Louise Jilek-Aall (1974), Susan Reid (1974), and Monique Layton (1974); this chapter was quoted by 88 maranda Tseng 2004.8.9 07:12 7132 Mauze / COMING TO SHORE / sheet 128 of 548 the newspaper Le Monde. And structural analysis expanded beyond anthropology , namely in political science with...


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