(Further notes after my first â€œMy Teachersâ€ post.)
It was at Buffalo where I began to study with George Trager, Ray Birdwhistell, and Henry Lee Smith. They arrived there in the fall of 1956: I was one of their first two students. As Trager was the essential co-author of â€œThe Silent Language,â€ I include E.T. Hallâ€™s work and thinking in my education (and current re-reading).
I continue to be their student, over 50 years later.
Ray Birdwhistell is probably the one whose ideas and practices continue to shape me most. He was the originator of â€œKinesics,â€ the study of the Body-in-Interaction. He was a trained dancer, the best observer I have ever met: observer of the very wide contexts in which humansâ€¦are. He also tried to describe in symbols what he was seeing: arms, faces, always in-interaction. A challenging task. The body…and the mind – who and how we are.)
Teachings: how to see people (always including oneselfâ€¦seeing, being, and body movements); how to note that â€œpresenceâ€ of anyone entails (from his other student, Erving Goffman: â€œThe Presentation of Self in Everyday Lifeâ€) the facts that we appear as we do in the company and contexts of othersâ€¦and ourselves. There is much more to study: behind the scenes, in private alone and with othersâ€¦Think about other bodies (other species) interacting socially; the power(s) in any/every relationship. And the study of context, in always broadening senses: how we know â€œwhenâ€ we are, just to begin. (I wrote about this in the â€œFoundations Project.â€) Different cultures (and subcultures). Read the rest of this entry »