texas a&m university press

gwapisimo  asked:

In relation to your thesis abstract, I like the way you broke it down in simple terms that anyone can understand. You're a good writer. I do have a question though. In the context of Mesoamerica, what is corvee labor?

Thanks for the feedback! I think it is important that abstracts be easy to read, but still include all the pertinent information of the paper.

Corvée is simply unpaid or forced labor. That doesn’t mean that corvée labor is necessarily slavery. Typically, corvée labor manifests in the form of a labor tax. An elite in a position of power and authority demands a certain amount of labor as a tax. This tax could be yearly (i.e. work for a month in the dry season every year) or less frequently like every ten years (a male from a household (father, brother, uncle, etc) has to work several months during the dry season but then the household won’t contribute for another ten years). 

Abrams (1989, 1994) and Lucero (2007) have argued for some sort of labor tax for the Classic Maya. Carballo (2012), in his model of a labor collective, argued that the calpolli based form of labor organization, called a tequitl, was easy to extract tribute in the form of labor by Aztec nobility.

For my thesis, I argue that the ruling lineages of the Teuchitlan culture made use of corvée labor by leveraging their positions as mediators with the supernatural (cultural/symbolic capital) or leveraging their ties to their extensive family, friends, or those that may be indebted to them (social capital). It’s hard to say for certain right now with so few houses excavated, but that may change in the future. There are also questions as to whether every guachimonton at Los Guachimontones was constructed like Circle 2 or if Circle 2 is unique. I hope to answer those questions in my dissertation by expanding my analysis to the other guachimontones at the site.

Abrams, Elliot M.

1989 Architecture and Energy: An Evolutionary Perspective. Archaeological Method and Theory 1: 47-87.

1994 How the Maya Built Their World: Energetics and Ancient Architecture. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas.

Carballo, David M.

2012 Labor Collectives and Group Cooperation in Pre-Hispanic Central Mexico. In Cooperation and Collective Action: Archaeological Perspectives edited by David M. Carballo, pp. 243-274. University Press of Colorado, Boulder.

Lucero, Lisa J.

2007 Classic Maya temples, politics, and the voice of the people. Latin American Antiquity 18(4): 407-427.

aphengland915  asked:

Could you recommend any books on Vikings/old Norse stuff/ Icelandic sagas/ basically any of the stuff you talk about? Nonfiction, fiction, I'll read anything when it's an interesting topic like that. Thanks so much!!! (Oh yeah and if you get more info from websites rather than books I'll take that too)


I am actually really glad that you asked me this question, since I am sure a lot of people will find this helpful. I have actually been working on compiling a list of books and resources for Medieval Scandinavian and Celtic Studies, so I definitely have quite a few I can recommend. The list is not done yet (nor will it ever be, honestly), but I eventually plan to post it and work on it together with the community here. 

For now I can provide you what I currently have. I will send you just the Norse material, since that is what you are asking for. If you want a detailed version of this list, see my “Sources” tab or follow this link. Otherwise, feel free to send another ask or message regarding any specific books or resources. 

Also, if you ever feel like talking about any of the material, or find a book I don’t have on my list, feel free to message me if you’d like. I would love to discuss with you and hear your thoughts.

Anyway, here it is:

Sources for Medieval Scandinavian Studies

Introduction to the Viking Age

  1. Haywood, John. The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings. London: Penguin, 1995. <link>
  2. Somerville, Angus A., and McDonald, R. Andrew, ed. The Viking Age: A Reader, Second Edition (Readings in Medieval Civilizations and Cultures), Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014. <link>

Viking Age Iceland and Saga Studies

Primary Sources:

(There are many sagas, so I am only providing ones I have read or own a translation of. Though, these three I am listing for medieval Iceland are regarded as the best of their tradition.)

  1. Cook, Robert, trans. Njal’s Saga. London: Penguin, 2001. <link>
  2. Magnusson, Magnus and Pálsson, Hermann, trans. Laxdæla Saga. London: Penguin, 1969. <link>
  3. Scudder, Bernard, trans. Egil’s Saga. Edited by Svanhildur Óskarsdóttir. London: Penguin, 2004. <link>

Secondary Sources:

  1. Andersson, Theodore M. The Growth of the Medieval Icelandic Sagas (1180–1280). Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006. <link>
  2. Árnason, Vilhjálmur. “Morality and Social Structure in the Icelandic Sagas.” The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Vol. 90, No. 2 (Apr., 1991), 157-174, Accessed March 25, 2016. http://www.jstor.org/stable/27710482.
  3. Byock, Jesse L. Feud in the Icelandic Saga. Berkley: University of California Press, 1982. <link>
  4. Byock, Jesse L. Viking Age Iceland. London: Penguin, 2001. <link>
  5. Miller, William Ian. Bloodtaking and Peacemaking: Feud, Law, and Society in Saga Iceland. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990. <link>
  6. O’Donoghue, Heather. Skaldic Verse and the Poetics of Saga Narrative. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. <(cannot find at reasonable price, yet)>
  7. Ross, Margaret C. “Realism and the Fantastic in the Old Icelandic Sagas.” Scandinavian Studies, Vol. 74, No. 4 (Winter 2002): 443-454, Accessed March 25, 2016. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40920399.
  8. Turville-Petre, G. “On the Poetry of the Scalds and of the Filid.” Ériu, Vol. 22 (1971): 1-22. http://www.jstor.org/stable/30007599. 

Online Sources:

  1. Berkeley — http://medieval.berkeley.edu/resources/electronic/scandinavian-studies.
  2. via Berkeley — http://www.abdn.ac.uk/skaldic/db.php?table=doc&id=32&expand=1.
  3. via Berkeley — http://www.am.hi.is:8087
  4. via Berkeley — http://www.snerpa.is/net/fornrit.htm
  5. Saga Translations — http://www.sagadb.org/index_az
  6. Manuscript Scans — http://handrit.is

Mythological, Spiritual, and Heroic Material

Primary Sources:

  1. Byock, Jesse L., trans. The Saga of Hrolf Kraki. London: Penguin Classics, 1999. <link>
  2. Byock, Jesse L., trans. The Saga of the Volsungs. London: Penguin Classics, 2000. <link>
  3. Hatto, A. T., trans. The Nibelungenlied. London: Penguin Classics, 1965. <link>
  4. Orchard, Andy, trans. The Elder Edda: A Book of Viking Lore. London: Penguin Classics, 2011. <link>
    1. Other Available Versions:
      1. Hollander, Lee M., trans. The Poetic Edda. University of Texas Press, 1986. <link>
      2. Larrington, Carolyne, trans. The Poetic Edda. Oxford University Press, 2014. <link>
  5. Sturluson, Snorri. The Prose Edda. Translated by Jesse L. Byock. London: Penguin Classics, 2006. <link>
    1. Other Available Versions:
      1. Sturluson, Snorri. The Prose Edda. Translated by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014. <link>
      2. Sturluson, Snorri. The Prose Edda. Translated by Rasmus B. Anderson. Simon & Brown, 2013. <link>

Secondary Sources:

  1. Andrén, Anders. “Behind “Heathendom”: Archaeological Studies of Old Norse Religion.” Scottish Archaeological Journal, Vol. 27, No. 2 (2005): 105-138. http://www.jstor.org/stable/27917543
  2. Chadwick, N. K. “Norse Ghosts (A Study in the Draugr and the Haugbúi)”. Folklore, Vol. 57, No. 2 (Jun., 1946): 50-65. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1256952
  3. Faraday, L. Winifred. “Custom and Belief in the Icelandic Sagas.” Folklore, Vol. 17, No. 4 (Dec. 31, 1906): 387-426. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1253930

Old Norse

  1. Byock, Jesse L. Viking Language 1: Learn Old Norse, Runes, and Icelandic Sagas. Jules William Press, 2013. <link>
  2. Byock, Jesse L. Viking Language 2: Learn Old Norse, Runes, and Icelandic Sagas. Jules William Press, 2014. <link>
  3. Zoëga, Geir T. A Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic. Dover Publications, 2011. <link>

Online Sources:

  1. http://www.vikingsofbjornstad.com/Old_Norse_Dictionary_E2N.shtm#a
  2. http://www.yorku.ca/inpar/language/English-Old_Norse.pdf


  1. Hilmisdottir, Helga and Kozlowski, Jacek. Beginner’s Icelandic. Hippocrene Books, 2009. <link>

Confederate Immigrants To Brazil - Mr. Joseph Whitaker and Mrs. Isabel Norris

The Confederados is a cultural sub-group in the nation of Brazil. They are the descendants of people who fled from the Confederate States of America to Brazil with their families after the American Civil War. Santa Barbara do Óeste and Americana Santa Barbara, Vila Americana, New Texas and other towns in the State of São Paulo were heavily populated by Confederate soldiers.

At the end of the American Civil War, the Emperor Dom Pedro II of Brazil was interested in having cotton crops due to the high prices and, through Freemasonry contacts, recruited experienced cotton farmers for his nation. Dom Pedro offered the potential immigrants subsidies and tax breaks. General  Robert E. Lee advised Southerners not to flee to South America but many ignored his advice and set out to establish a new life away from the destruction of war. Many Southerners who took the Emperor’s offer had lost their land during the war, were unwilling to live under a conquering army, or simply did not expect an improvement in the South’s economic position. Although a number of historians say that the existence of slavery was an appeal, Alcides Gussi, an independent researcher of State University of Campinas, found that only four families owned a total of 66 slaves from 1868 to 1875. The Confederates were the first organized Protestant group to settle in Brazil

The first original Confederado known to arrive was the senator William H. Norris of  Alabama—the colony at Santa Barbara d’ Oeste is sometimes called the Norris Colony. Dom Pedro’s program was judged a success for both the Immigrants and the Brazilian government. The settlers brought with them modern agricultural techniques and new crops such as watermelon, and pecans that soon spread among the native Brazilian farmers. Some foods of the American South also crossed over and became part of general Brazilian culture such as chess pie, vinegar pie, and southern fried chicken. The original Confederados continued many elements of American culture  and established the first  Baptist churches in Brazil. They also established public schools and provided education to their female children, which was unusual in Brazil at the time.

Harter, Eugene C. (2000). The Lost Colony of the Confederacy. Texas A & M University Press.




Mysterious Kennewick Man looked Polynesian and came from far away

The mysterious Kennewick Man, who died 9,000 years ago in the Columbia River Valley, was a seal hunter who rambled far and wide with a projectile point lodged in his hip, five broken ribs that never healed properly, two small dents in his skull and a bum shoulder from the repetitive stress of throwing spears.

He came from somewhere far away, far up the Pacific Northwest coast, possibly Alaska or the Aleutian Islands. He might even have come to North America all the way from Asia.

That’s the argument of the editors of a new, 688-page, peer-reviewed book, “Kennewick Man: The Scientific Investigation of an Ancient American Skeleton,” that will be published this fall by Texas A&M University Press. Read more.


1. Odin said:
“What are these dreams?
At dawn, I saw myself
clearing Valhalla
for the coming of the slain;
I awoke the Einherjar [1],
told them to get up,
to put straw on benches,
and to wash out beer-mugs,
told the Valkyries to bring wine,
as if a warlord was coming;
from the home of man
I await heroes,
noble-hearted men,
to gladden my heart.”

2. Bragi [2] said:
“What thunders there
as though thousands are on the move,
as though a mighty host comes?
Benches creak and groan
as if Baldr is coming home
to Odin’s hall [3].”

3. Odin said:
“Don’t talk nonsense,
wise Bragi; you know
very well that all
this uproar is for Eirik [4],
who’s on his way here
to be a warrior in Odin’s hall.”

4. “Sigmund and Sinfjotli,
rise swiftly, and go
to meet the king.
Make him welcome
if it is Eirik;
I’m anxious to see him.”

5. Sigmund said:
“Why hope to meet Eirik
rather than other kings?”

Odin said:
“Because in many countries [5]
he has carried and reddened
his blood-crimsoned sword.”

6. Sigmund said (?):
“Why rob him of victory
if you think him so valiant [6]?”

Odin said:
“Since no one can tell
when the gray wolf [7]
will look grimly
at the home of the gods.”

7. Sigmund said:
“Hail to you, Eirik,
welcome here!
Enter the hall, wise king;
I must hear
what warriors follow you,
fresh from the fight.”

8. Eirik said:
“Five kings
follow; I’ll tell you
All their names.
I am the sixth.”

Sources and Notations

[Gen.] Angus A. Somerville and R. Andrew McDonald ed., The Viking Age: A Reader (Second Edition). (University of Toronto Press, 2014), 57-60. || This poem is incomplete and was likely commissioned by Eirik’s wife, Queen Gunnhild, after his death at the Battle of Stanmore in England in 954.

[1] Einherjar means “the dead warriors (in Valhalla).” It is in the nominative plural form. The singular form, Einheri, means “great champion (of Thor).” || Geir T. Zoëga, A Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic. (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2004), 107.

[2] Bragi is an Æsir god whom is “known for his eloquence and his way with words. He is the most knowledgable about poetry….” || Jesse L. Byock, trans., The Prose Edda. (London: Penguin Classics, 2005), 36.

[3] To summarize this rather crudely: Baldr, an adored son of Odin’s, was killed and forced to go to Hel. He returns after Ragnarok with Hod. His return, had the Æsir still been there, would have been hugely celebrated and rejoiced. || Jesse L. Byock trans., The Prose Edda. (London: Penguin Classics, 2005), 65-70, 77.

[4] Eirik Blood-axe, who was the son of Harald Fair-hair. Eirik was king of Norway from 930-935. || Viðar Hreinsson gen. ed., The Complete Sagas of Icelanders, Volume V. (Leifur Eiríksson Publishing, 1997), 392.

[5] Although his reign as king of Norway was short-lived, he went on to gain claims abroad. He later became the king of Northumbria in England for some time, and so this line refers to his fame abroad. || Angus A. Somerville and R. Andrew McDonald ed., The Viking Age: A Reader (Second Edition). (University of Toronto Press, 2014), 57.

[6] Sigmund is asking here why Odin would have him die in battle, if he was such a great king.

[7] This is a reference to Fenrir, who will come to battle agains the gods, namely Odin, in Ragnarok:

“Another woe awaiteth Hlín (Frigg),
when forth goes Óthin to fight the Wolf…”

Lee M. Hollander trans., The Poetic Edda. (University of Texas Press, 1962), 11.