Until today, I always drew a small amount of happiness knowing that Claude Levi-Strauss was still alive. He passed away on Friday, October 30, 2009, and I am deeply saddened to write this news. Many excellent descriptions of his achievements are available online and a list of links will be posted below.
Levi-Strauss was to me, a kindred soul, someone with whom I could identify and draw inspiration from. Having learned archaeology from a student of James Deetz, I found myself falling deeply into a world of structuralist archaeology inadvertently. I could not have hoped for better luck and training. Reading his works, I was always struck by the beauty of his words, and still wish dearly I could read and speak French. His work inspired me to look for deeper meaning not only in architecture, symbols, and language, but also within humans. I think, and hope, that I understand his desire to look for structures, universals, behind what make us all unified aspects of one humanity. Perhaps it’s my choice of study, but sweat lodges as a global phenomenon – that is unequivocal to me – so, what does that say about us? What fundamental part of our being seeks meaning in this practice? Is it the sweat? The ritual bathing? The process itself, moving from impure to pure, from the outside and through the liminal into society? I don’t know. Read my thesis, tell me what you think.
Here to you Sir,