CARTA: The Role of Myth in Anthropogeny - The Salience of Animals and the Trickster in San and Hunter-gatherer Mythology with Mathias Guenther

8/27/2023; 20 minutes

Animals and tricksters are highly prominent beings in the mythology of the San Bushmen of southern Africa, as well as of hunter-gatherers in other regions of the world. Their actions and interactions provide the plot lines for most of the stories people tell about myth time. Why are these two beings so preeminent in San mythology and storytelling? Is there a connection between the two beings? Mathias Guenther discusses these two questions and the answer reveals a deep – and deep-rooted –mystical connection also between animals and humans. The hunting-gathering people that provide the cultural context for my talk are the San Bushmen of southern Africa, amongst whom I have done ethnographic field work. I will also consider hunter-gatherers from other parts of the world, both from present or recent times and from prehistory. These considerations may shed some light on certain aspects of prehistoric cave paintings. (#39004)

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