Tuesday, April 18, 2000

Washington College Hosts Premiere of Sacred Ritual Film

Chestertown, April 17—"An Offering to Appeal for Rain" will be shown at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 27, in the Casey Academic Forum at Washington College. After the screening, film makers Alan R. Sandstrom and Pamela Effrein Sandstrom will discuss its significance and answer questions from the audience. Admission is free.
This will be the premiere of the video. No outsiders other than the film makers have ever witnessed this sacred ritual—a dramatic pilgrimage to the top of a sacred mountain to ask the water spirit for rain.
Anthropologist Alan R. Sandstrom has been conducting ethnographic research among Nahua Indians of Veracruz, Mexico, since 1972. Pamela Effrein, his wife, has accompanied him on all of his expeditions since their marriage. The Sandstroms' early research on ritual led to a groundbreaking analysis of ritual paper cutting among the Nahua, Traditional Papermaking and Paper Cult Figures of Mexico. Nahua medicine was the focus of Sandstrom's research, which led to the publication of The Image of Disease: Medical Practices of Nahua Indians of the Huasteca and to a volume co-edited with Brad Huber, Mesoamerican Healers. In 1981 Sandstrom published a study of curing and crop rituals, Traditional Curing and Crop Fertility Rituals among Otomi Indians of the Sierra de Puebla, Mexico: The Lopez Manuscripts.
Sandstrom's Corn is Our Blood: Culture and Ethnic Identity in a Contemporary Aztec Indian Village, now in its third printing, is the culmination of years of field research on the ethnic identity and culture change among the Nahua. The Sandstroms' most recent research examined milpa horticulture among the same population. In "An Offering to Appeal for Rain," the Sandstroms participated in a fantastic pilgrimage to the top of a sacred mountain to ask the water spirit for rain.
Alan Sandstrom received his Ph.D. in anthropology from Indiana University, Bloomington, and is professor of anthropology at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, where he has taught since 1975. He was recently appointed distinguished professor by the Academia Mexicana de las Ciencias (Mexican Academy of Sciences). Pamela Effrein Sandstrom has a Ph.D. in Library and Information Science from Indiana University and is head of reference at the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne library.
The video premiere and Daniel Z. Gibson and John A. Wagner lecture are also sponsored by The Campus Events and Visitors Committee, The Department of Sociology & Anthropology, The Art Department, The Program in International Studies and the Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs.

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