By Thomas C. Patterson
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Extra info for America's Past: A New World Archaeology
Stone, A. 1992. “From Ritual in the Landscape to Capture in the Urban Centre: The Recreation of Ritual Environments in Meso-America,” Journal of Ritual Studies 6, pp. 109–32. Tanner, J. 2003. The Sociology of Art, London. Tanner, J. 2009. “Karl Mannheim and Alois Riegl: from the History of Art to the Sociology of Culture,” Art History 32, pp. 755–84. , and J. Nelson, eds. 2000. Rituals of Power from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages, Leiden. Trendelenburg, A. 1914. Pausanias in Olympia, Berlin.
Of course it inevitably comes with dangers of anachronism, especially the reading back of Christianizing (or anti-Christian) models of religion and ritual into the past. In the historical disciplines – especially classical archaeology and the study of medieval art – we are fortunate in the ritual-centeredness of many of our surviving texts that make any mention of images. 28 But if Pausanias was indeed a repetitive pilgrim with his text itself a ritualized version of his travels,29 then it is hardly surprising if his record is weighted in that direction.
Their relevance to the supposed past object of inquiry, which is presented as evidence of them perhaps even caused by them, is less obvious. 54 Beyond Pessimism. 55 But in fact I remain convinced of the critical value of the concept of ritual for the material-cultural disciplines. The question we must ask is how to employ the category wisely – without succumbing to so much more ideology and without it becoming what I (perhaps provocatively) called “a dustbin” for all kinds of unexamined projections and fantasies associated by the interpreter with the primitive or other idealized myths of the past.
America's Past: A New World Archaeology by Thomas C. Patterson