IN THE NEWS

WHAT ARE THE ORIGINS OF HOLIDAY TRADITIONS?

December 2021

This week, an Anthropologist and Astronomer, Anthony Aveni joins Abby in the classroom to help with explaining the origins of mainstream holiday traditions.
Anthony explains the historical, religious, and cultural influence on some universal holiday traditions, and they also discuss how these traditions become an integral component of Americans’ holiday routine.

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AGRICULTURAL TIME DURING A PANDEMIC

September 2020

Anthony Aveni, an American anthropologist, attributes the linearization of time to the Christian “idea that we all move forward to the day of reckoning, after which, for those who live the good life, there will be eternal bliss.” When the Black Plague, another pandemic, struck Europe in the 12th century, mechanical clocks were just starting to be installed on town halls and churches. Religious authorities exhorted citizens to pay heed to the new technology: “Watch the clock carefully: You could be experiencing your last hour!”

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIMEKEEPING

April 2020

We spend our lives bound to a clock and calendar that tell us what to do and what to expect. But now, millions of Americans are newly jobless, untethered from structure and predictability. Hundreds of of thousands fight a virus that could cut their time on earth dramatically short. And all of us wait out a life-stoppage of unknown duration. And so, we may find ourselves outside of time. Passing it, but no longer marking it. Anthony F. Aveni, professor emeritus of astronomy, anthropology, and Native American studies at Colgate University, says that to understand our current time consciousness, we have to return to a land before time — or at least, time as we know it. Aveni and Bob talk about the history of timekeeping, and how we might find our orientation during this collective time-out.

This is a segment from our April 24th, 2020 program, On Matters of Time and Space.

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THE MEANING OF THE MOON, FROM THE INCAS TO THE SPACE RACE

September 2018

This is a great place to showcase a sample of your written work or write a short description about your project. Did you collaborate on a print or multimedia project? If so, dazzle your visitors with images and video. Make sure to include a link to the full live project or document so readers can enjoy the entire piece.

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VIOLENCE, SEX AND RAGE: THERE’S NOTHING LIGHT ABOUT THE FOLKLORE OF ECLIPSES

August 2017

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS - Reporting from Washington — 
It’s not just the skies that get dark when there’s a total solar eclipse. So do we...

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THE ROLE OF SOLAR ECLIPSES IN RELIGION

August 2017

Throughout human history, solar eclipses have been seen as having great religious significance, often as omens or signs of divine warning or punishment. Major and minor religions alike have their own understandings.

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A 5,000-YEAR-OLD STONE CARVING MAY BE THE WORLD'S FIRST DRAWING OF AN ECLIPSE

August 2017

This is a great place to showcase a sample of your written work or write a short description about your project. Did you collaborate on a print or multimedia project? If so, dazzle your visitors with images and video. Make sure to include a link to the full live project or document so readers can enjoy the entire piece.

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THE DEMONS OF DARKNESS WILL EAT MEN, AND OTHER SOLAR ECLIPSE MYTHS

August 2017

Anthony Aveni, a cultural astronomer and author of the 2017 book "In the Shadow of the Moon: The Science, Magic and Mystery of Solar Eclipses," said that in every culture that he was aware of, solar eclipses were seen as cosmic "interruptions."

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SCIENCE AND LITERATURE: COMING TOGETHER FOR THE ALL-AMERICAN SOLAR ECLIPSE

July 2017

Ten minutes before totality—astronomer Anthony Aveni sets the stage for readers who have not seen a total solar eclipse—the light will be almost fifty thousand times brighter than a full moonlit sky. Still, effects will be noticeable, he says: “As the crescent slims, shadows in the landscape start to sharpen . . . buildings on the ground and the nose on your neighbor’s face become more stark, and that face takes on an ashen look, as if being viewed through sunglasses.” Attentive observers will notice the shadow of the moon approaching like a distant storm, until, two minutes before totality it will come at those on the ground as a “silent wall of blackness at screaming speed.”

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IN A CLASS OF HIS OWN

April 2017

For more than half a century, he has simply asked his students to stand next to him and look up at the sky. Thanks to his wisdom, kindness, and clever wit, they have accepted the invitation by the thousands. And having stood under the heavens with him, they often decide that they would happily follow him — their teacher, scholar, and friend — to the edge of the universe.

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