Our Storied Past

This FIG will explore the role that storytelling has played in human evolution by comparing two oral traditions: the myths and legends of hunter-gatherer peoples and the Icelandic sagas.

College Connections Faculty: Michelle Sugiyama

Dr. Scalise Sugiyama is an evolutionary psychologist/anthropologist who specializes in symbolic and aesthetic behavior, with an emphasis on storytelling, art, and play. Her work investigates the origins of these behaviors—specifically, the selection pressures that led to their emergence, the role they played in ancestral human societies, and the design features of the mind that make them possible. To this end, her work integrates cognitive and developmental psychology, evolutionary biology, hunter-gatherer studies, art history, folklore, and literary study. She teaches courses on the prehistory of literature (Origins of Storytelling) and art behavior (Origins of Art), and on the ecological niche to which humans are adapted (Hunter-Gatherers). She publishes in both scientific and humanities journals, and blogs for the Huffington Post, where she explores modern issues, trends, and behaviors in light of human evolutionary history.

FIG Assistant: Rae Alm

Email: ralm@uoregon.edu

Summer Assignment

For your summer assignment, please watch the following video and answer the questions below:

Once you’ve finished watching the video, please send Rachel an email (ralm@uoregon.edu) with your responses to the following questions:

  1. Where do you call home?
  2. What are you are excited about for fall term?
  3. What are you nervous about for fall term?
  4. Who is your favorite storyteller of all time and why? Keep in mind that "storyteller" can be an author or a comedian or simply someone like a grandparent or teacher who read to you when you were a child.

Week of Welcome FIG Meeting

The first meeting for the FIG is Friday, September 22nd at 11:00 am in Columbia 150. Please arrive on time as we will be relocating shortly after.