(Further notes after my first “My Teachers” 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 “The Silent Language,” I include E.T. Hall’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 “Kinesics,” 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 humans…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 oneself…seeing, being, and body movements); how to note that “presence” of anyone entails (from his other student, Erving Goffman: “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life”) the facts that we appear as we do in the company and contexts of others…and ourselves. There is much more to study: behind the scenes, in private alone and with others…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 “when” we are, just to begin. (I wrote about this in the “Foundations Project.”) Different cultures (and subcultures). Read the rest of this entry »