I'm Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus, and former Chair of the Department of Anthropology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. I joined the Oxy faculty in 1962 and retired at the end of the spring semester, 2002, after forty years of teaching anthropology classes, as well as a variety of Cultural Studies courses and seminars in Oxy's Core Program in the Liberal Arts (see below). I've also taught a variety of anthropology classes in the UCLA Extension Program, and have chaired several special lecture series in mythology and folklore under its auspices.
My professional specialties range across a wide spectrum and include comparative Indo-European mythology and folklore, cognitive and symbolic anthropology, urban anthropology, the origin and distribution of the Arthurian and Holy Grail legends, and Japanese culture, both ancient and contemporary, with an emphasis on Shinto, the indigenous Japanese religion. I've spent close to three years in Tokyo studying a neighborhood Shinto shrine and its annual matsuri, or festival. And I've also had a long-standing interest in the UFO phenomenon and its possible implications for mythology and folklore.
In terms of the current spectrum of anthropological theory and method, I would define myself as a "postmodern materialist," which is a fancy way of saying that I'm extremely eclectic in my approach to the discipline. Indeed, in my humble opinion, one of the most important problems facing contemporary anthropology is an unwillingness on the part of all too many of its practitioners to take seriously theories and methods that lie outside their own narrow specialties.
(L) That's me on the left at Oxy with two of my favorite Anthropology alums, Giorgio Curti ( '98) and Polita Barnes ( '97). (R) Yours truly aboard the QM2 in the summer of 2004.
I'm a native Californian. I was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Hermosa Beach. I attended Redondo Union High School (Redondo Beach). After serving in the Army (1950-52, including sixteen months overseas service in Japan and Korea), I attended El Camino College in Torrance, CA, and then went on to UCLA (hence the colors used in this website!), where I received a B.A. in 1957. I also did graduate work in Anthropology at UCLA, receiving an M.A. in 1962 and a Ph.D. in 1965. (You're right, I practically bleed Bruin blue & gold!)
I've been a Fulbright Scholar in Japan on two occasions: in 1980-81 and, more recently, from March to September of 1994. On both occasions I was affiliated with Waseda University in Tokyo. I've also received grants from the John Randolph and Dora Haynes Foundation (1963), the American Council of Learned Societies (1972, 1978), the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (1983), and The American Philosophical Society (1983). In 1960-61, I was a Haynes Foundation-Town Hall Fellow.
I have some fluency in both French and Japanese, and am able to carry on a fairly intelligent conversation in German. I can read Latin and, when necessary, Classical Greek with a dictionary and grammar book close at hand.
Here are some of the courses I've regularly taught. Please click on the underlined items to see the most recent syllabi:
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (Anthropology 100)
History of Anthropological Theory (Anthropology 200)
Japanese Culture (Anthropology 300)
Magic and Religion (Anthropology 350)
Comparative Mythology and Folklore (Anthropology 351)
Cognitive Anthropology (Anthropology 354)
Japan and England: Two Island Empires (Cultural Studies 14)
The Occult and the Paranormal (Cultural Studies 8)
Among the honors I've received (in addition to the two Fulbrights just mentioned) are membership in Phi Beta Kappa and Highest Honors (UCLA , 1957), Graduate Commencement Speaker (UCLA , 1965), and the Graham H. Sterling Memorial Award (Occidental College, 1991). On April 10, 1997, I was inducted into the "Occidental College Faculty Hall of Fame." On June 22, 2002, I received the Occidental College Alumni Association's annual Honorary Alumni Seal Award for Emeritus Faculty.
I'm the author/editor of several books and monographs, including:
(with Yoji Tanabe) How and Why We Celebrate (Tokyo: Shohakusha, 1978).
The New Comparative Mythology: An Anthropological Assessment of the Theories of Georges Dumézil (3rd Edition, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1982). A Japanese edition, entitled Shin Hikaku Shinwagaku (translated by M. Hori), was published by Misuzu Shobo (Tokyo, 1981).
(with Linda A. Malcor) From Scythia to Camelot: A Radical Reassessment of the Legends of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, and the Holy Grail (New York: Garland Publishing Inc., 1994); a revised, paperback edition of From Scythia to Camelot was published by Garland in May of 2000. A Japanese translation, Arthur-Ō Densetsu no Kīgen [The Origin of the Legend of King Arthur] (translated by Y. Hemmi and M. Yoshida) was published by Seidosha (Tokyo, 1998). More recently, a Hungarian edition, Szkitiától Camelotig (translated by Gabor Bihari and Ferenc Varga), was published by Szkíta Szarvas Könyvkiadóa (Koranyi, Hungary) in 2005. And a Russian language edition, Skifii do Kamelota (edited and translated by Auzbi Gutiev) was recently published by Manager Publishing Group (Moscow, 2007).
(editor) Eastern Wisdom (New York: Henry Holt, 1995; reprinted under the title The Sacred East by Ulysses Press, Berkeley, CA, in 1999).
(co-editor, with the late Horace L. Hotchkiss) The Diaries of Blakely Wilson: An American Traveler in Europe, Egypt, and the Holy Land, 1874-1876 (Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1998).
Understanding Shinto: Origins, Beliefs, Practices, Festivals, Spirits, Sacred Places (London: Duncan Baird Publishers, 2002). An American edition, entitled simply Shinto: Origins, Rituals, Spirits, Sacred Places, was published simultaneously by Oxford University Press (New York, 2002).
2500 Strand: Growing up in Hermosa Beach, California, during World War II. A Memoir (Red Pill Press, Grande Prairie, AB, Canada, 2008). It's a child's-eye view of what life was like in a small, Southern California beach town during the war and its immediate aftermath. To read an illustrated version of the "Prologue" to this memoir online, please click on Memoir. A version of Chapter Four, which includes an eyewitness account of the so-called "Battle of Los Angeles" on February 25, 1942, when the sky over Hermosa Beach was filled with searchlight beams and exploding anti-aircraft shells aimed at a mysterious object that flew blithely along the edge of the ocean, ignoring everything that our gunners threw at it, has recently been posted on "Signs of the Times" (http://www.signs-of-the-times.org/articles/show/132795-Eyewitness+to+History%3A+The+Battle+of+Los+Angeles).
Phase Two: A Novel (Grande Prairie, Alberta: Red Pill Press, 2009). A substantially revised, second edition of a science fiction novel concerned with UFOs and alien abductions; see http://redpillpress.com/retail/index.php?main_page=products_new. It was originally published in 2002 by The Invisible College Press. For an online version of the "Prologue" to the new edition of Phase Two, please click on Prologue.
In addition, I've published well over a hundred articles and reviews in professional journals, scholarly anthologies, festschrifts, encyclopedias (including The World Book Encyclopedia), popular magazines, newspapers, etc. For a complete and up-to-date bibliography of my publications and conference presentations, as well as more information about my professional career, please click on Curriculum Vita.
A monograph, tentatively entitled Tokyo Taisai: The Anatomy of a Neighborhood Shinto Shrine Festival, is in the works. I've also recently completed a sequel, entitled The Ninth Commandment, to my novel Phase Two (it will appear early next year; for a preview, please click on Prologue) and will shortly begin writing a semi-popular book which I've tentatively entitled Alien Raj: An Anthropologist Looks at the UFO Phenomenon. A slightly abbreviated version of my article, "Divine Rebels, Alien Dissidents," which briefly discusses some of the ideas that will be expressed in this book, can be accessed at http://www.weeklyuniverse.com/2003/divinerebels.htm.
I'm a Fellow of the American Anthropological Association and an active member of the Association's Society for East Asia Anthropology. I belong to a variety of other professional organizations in my discipline and specialties, including, among others, the American Ethnological Association, the International Arthurian Society, the Western States Folklore Society, and the Association for Asian Studies. I'm also a member of the 578th Combat Engineer Association and of Gopher Baker, a group composed of veterans of Company B of that battalion, with whom I served during the Korean War. I'm a registered Democrat--a progressive Democrat, I should add!--and have no religious affiliation.
On the personal side, I like to cycle, swim, run, body-surf, lift weights, travel, read (and write) science fiction, take photographs and videos, and surf the Internet. My wife, Mary Ann, recently retired from the Pasadena School system. We have two adult daughters, Leslie and Cynthia, both of whom graduated from Occidental College, and a cute granddaughter named Daisy Anna.
(L) My granddaughter Daisy, her mother Cynthia, my wife Mary Ann, yours truly, and my daughter Leslie. (R) Daisy, age five.
Mary Ann and me at a recent "Gopher Baker" reunion.
I'm also the Project Director of Family Tree DNA's Littleton Family DNA Project. To visit the official project website, please click on FTDNA; for the alternative Littleton DNA website/forum, which I manage, please click on Littleton DNA Project.
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Finally, although this website is not intended to be a blog, the recent debate over "Don't ask, don't tell" is so important that I find myself compelled to express my sentiments about it in the form of an open letter to President Barack Obama:
October 21, 2010
C. Scott Littleton
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That's about it for the nonce. If you'd like to contact me, I can be reached directly at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from anyone who may stumble across this humble website. You can also access my Twitter and Facebook accounts at http://twitter.com/Sarmatiandude and http://www.facebook.com/home.php?, respectively.
Lots of good wishes & cheers!