Anya Peterson Royce: Journeys of Transformation

Isthmus Zapotec beliefs and rituals surrounding death, healing and pilgrimage

1 College Street
Worcester, MA 01610
United States

About the Speaker

Anya Peterson Royce is Chancellor's Professor of Anthropology and Comparative Literature at Indiana University. She also serves as adjunct professor in folklore and ethnomusicology, the Russian and East European Institute, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

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). Her most recent book is "Becoming an Ancestor: The Isthmus Zapotec Way of Death" (SUNY Press, 2011).

About the Talk

Professor Royce describes the unique spiritual traditions of the Isthmus Zapotec, an indigenous people who comprise about 70 percent of the population of Juchitan, a city in the south of Mexico. In this slide illustrated lecture, she shows how they use flowers, processions and prayer in a unique blending of Catholic and indigenous spiriutal traditions to protect and guide spirits on their journey of dying. She also describes the Day of the Dead and Holy Week rituals and the role of the community healer.