Anthropologist C. Riley Aug has announced her new web page about “exploring the role of thresholds in negotiating identity through archaeology, folklore and literature.” I presented her fascinating research a few months ago in my post about lucid dream reality checks. Now you don’t have to take my word for it, as many of her papers are available for download on her new site.
I find this work so interesting because how we navigate space is a huge part of how we discriminate between self and other. Ever walked into a room and forgotten why you are there? You left that part of yourself at the doorway. That’s a glimpse into how memory, identity and space interact on a daily level, even here in the rational West.
Aug ‘s research is a much-needed reality check for modern anthropologists and archaeologists who project pure functionalism onto the constructed spaces of other cultures of the past. The spaces of homes as well as ritual structures were actually guarded by all sorts of invisible cognitive presences, generating many layers of belief and myth as well as physical artifacts around hearths, doorways, and chimneys and other threshold spaces such as windows and gates. To see these ephermeral “in-betweens” however, first you have to know how to look…
Start here: in C. Riley Aug ‘s doorway.