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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943



Department of Art and Design Hosts Guest Speaker Ellen Dissanayake

Contact Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (March 4, 2010) - The UCM Department of Art and Design will host a presentation by scholar, author, and ethologist Ellen Dissanayake at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 9, in the Nahm Auditorium in the W.C. Morris Science Building at UCM.

Dissanayake will present The Deep Structure of the Arts: Revealing Their Biological Nature. She is an affiliate professor in the School of Music at the University of Washington and the author of Art and Intimacy: How the Arts Began; Homo Aestheticus: Where Art Comes From and Why; and What Is Art For?.

Dissanayake will be available after her lecture to sign copies of her book, which will be available for purchase after her lecture and at the University Store in the Elliott Union.

Linguists describe the deep structure of language as the innate rules that speakers of all languages follow, even though they may not realize they are doing so. Similarly, music theorists describe the deep structure of music as the way certain tones, chords or rhythmic patterns affect individuals.

The aim of Ellen Dissanayake’s work for more than 30 years has been to uncover of the deep structure of the arts. She has found underlying principles of our nature as humans that influence the making of our own arts and our responses to the works of others, and she will describe two sources for these. One is our prehistoric past, when all humans lived as hunter-gatherers and faced common existential problems; the other is our past as individuals who all begin life as helpless infants.