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Members’ Lecture

Visible Language: The Earliest Writing Systems

Christopher Woods, Oriental Institute
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
7:00 pm - Breasted Hall

The ability to represent language graphically, to make language visible, stands as one of humanity's greatest intellectual and cultural achievements. Given in conjunction with the special exhibit, Visible Language, this lecture explores how and why humans first invented writing by comparing the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Chinese, and Mesoamerican inventions - the four instances in history when writing was invented "out of nothing." In this lecture, Christopher Woods discusses cultural contexts and structural features of each of these systems, focusing on important similarities and differences between them.

Revised: November 3, 2010

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