Carolyn E. Ware. Cajun Women and Mardi Gras: Reading the Rules Backward. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2007. Pp. xi+233, photographs, notes, index. $65.00 cloth, $24.95 paper.
In Cajun Women and Mardi Gras: Reading the Rules Backward Carolyn Ware furthers the field of folklore by focusing on an oft-ignored area of Mardi Gras studies: the contributions of women. Mardi Gras has been regularly described as a male-centered festival promoting and highlighting masculine virtues and values. Despite the professed prevalence of machismo in Mardi Gras runs, women have long quietly participated, supported, and perpetuated Mardi Gras traditions. In recent decades, women have both maintained their established services and assumed customarily masculine roles in these courirs, preserving and redefining Mardi Gras in the process. Continue reading “Carolyn E. Ware. Cajun Women and Mardi Gras: Reading the Rules Backward.”
Negotiating a Shire: The Transformation of Local Values in the Society for Creative Anachronism
The Society for Creative Anachronism is an international non-profit organization and is often depicted and discussed as a large homogeneous organization. Instead, in this work I have analyzed a smaller group, Loch an Fhraoich. Loch an Fhraoich, whose values and identity center around camaraderie and narrative and aesthetic coherence must attempt to balance these two often contradictory principles. This can be examined in light of narrative construction and maintenance. The Society for Creative Anachronism supports an official homogenous metanarrative. At every level these narratives connect the individual and group to others, creating a network of relationships and shared narratives that help create a sense of unity and prevent a fracturing of voices and thus support the overriding metanarrative. In order to prevent this system from collapsing inward or fracturing apart, a certain amount of playful transgressive metalepsis and edgeplay must be allowed. The negotiation of this edgeplay is debated, and the style and amount tolerated is often a distinguishing mark between groups. Some key contestations that I have focused on where this debate occurs include the levels and types of anachronism allowed, the types of partying and practical jokes encouraged or discouraged, costuming, and the understanding of honor and chivalry. Continue reading “Negotiating a Shire: The Transformation of Local Values in the Society for Creative Anachronism”
Variation of Manufactured Folk Drama: A Case Study of The Ellettsville House of Prayer Hell House
A version of this paper received the prize for Best Poster at the 2010 IU/OSU Student Folklore Conference
Local Variation of Manufactured Folk Drama: A Case Study on the Ellettsville House of Prayer Hell House analyzes The Hell House Outreach, an Evangelical Christian outreach tool, a folk drama that has become widespread in churches throughout the United States during the Halloween season. The Hell House Outreach’s popularity and traditional aspects are because of the The Hell House Outreach, which became available for purchase in the 1990s. Variation exists in content as well as context in individual hell houses, though a traditional form is maintained. It is within the adaptability where the producers of The Hell House Outreach believe the power of the ministry lies. The Ellettsville House of Prayer Hell House in Southern Indiana is an excellent example of a hell house that altered the The Hell House Outreach Kit in order to highlight controversial moral and political issues unique to Monroe County of Southern Indiana. Continue reading “Variation of Manufactured Folk Drama: A Case Study of The Ellettsville House of Prayer Hell House”
Sydney Hutchinson. From Quebradita to Duranguense: Dance in Mexican American Youth Culture. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2007. 240 pages. $24.95 softcover.
Sydney Hutchinson’s From Quebradita to Duranguense: Dance in Mexican American Youth Culture is a riveting and award-worthy study. This book is simply brilliant. Hutchinson takes on the quebradita/tecnobanda dance craze of the mid 1990s. This dance style was particularly popular among Latino youth in Los Angeles and Tucson and, by 2006, it evolved into pasito duranguense in Chicago. Hutchinson presents an insightful social and critical analysis of how mainstream American culture has repeatedly failed to incorporate these subaltern groups into its political, social, and economic apparatus. Continue reading “Sydney Hutchinson. From Quebradita to Duranguense: Dance in Mexican American Youth Culture”
Katherine Borland. Unmasking Class, Gender, and Sexuality in Nicaraguan Festival. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2006. Pp. 184, notes, references, index. ISBN:0-8165-2511-0, $45.00 cloth.
Elizabeth A. Burbach
Nicaragua has experienced an incredibly difficult century of supposed independence, a century wherein a variety of internal and external forces to Nicaragua sought and seeks to define and redefine the economic, political, social, and cultural landscape, a situation not unfamiliar to Latin America as a whole. Katherine Borland, in Unmasking Class, Gender, and Sexuality in Nicaraguan Festival, has crafted an illuminating and thoughtful ethnographic-historical analysis of Nicaraguan festival as one arena wherein this struggle for power is played out. An Associate Professor of Comparative Studies in the Humanities at The Ohio State University at Newark, Borland illustrates Nicaraguan festival as a complex locus for the construction, assertion, and negotiation of individual, local, and national identities. Continue reading “Katherine Borland. Unmasking Class, Gender, and Sexuality in Nicaraguan Festival.”