Multilocality and the narration of place meanings in an Irish story

 Multilocality and the narration of place meanings in an Irish story

 Chad Buterbaugh
Indiana University

Professional Irish storytelling reaches an audience well beyond Ireland, yet many stories are infused with specific information about Irish customs and culture. The listener who is unfamiliar with such specifics must rely on the storyteller to mediate perspectives on Irish culture that are at once comprehensive and relatively easy to understand.

This paper focuses on a single performance of a story about a bewitched field in Ireland. In particular, it explores how place meanings may be mediated in social, legislative, religious, and folkloristic contexts. The narrated, multilocal presentation of these contexts then create a story in which unfamiliar listeners are invited to a deeper understanding of a place with which they have no personal experience. Continue reading “Multilocality and the narration of place meanings in an Irish story”


Rama for Beginners: Bridging Indian Folk and Comics Cultures

Rama for Beginners:  Bridging Indian Folk and Comics Cultures

Jeremy Stoll
Indiana University


In the boom of recent comics scholarship, the comic art of India has received little attention compared to that of other nations, the United States, France, and Japan in particular. Through a basis in religious and folk narratives, Indian comics narratives, especially those published by the Amar Chitra Katha series, have worked to update folk tales, retelling them in a modern medium. By looking at the figure of Rama in the Amar Chitra Katha and other Indian comics, this paper will analyze the process and implications of this transformation. In particular, the analysis of Rama as contemporary hero will reveal how these stories help people to deal with daily life at the same time that they affirm another, older way of understanding the world. This paper will thus demonstrate how comics creators in India have adapted the comic book to effectively re-maneuver traditional tales as a modern, folkloric inheritance to future generations.     Continue reading “Rama for Beginners: Bridging Indian Folk and Comics Cultures”

Mythic Narrative Performances: The Myth of the Kharisiri

Mythic Narrative Performances: The Myth of the Kharisiri

Vannessa Pelaez-Barrios
Indiana University


In this essay, I analyze and explore the linguistic and poetic dimensions of language used by people I interviewed about a mythic narrative with controversial content. Because of the nature of these oral narratives, performers have to position themselves with care to avoid misunderstandings in their narratives. The purpose of this paper is to understand that moments of speech are significant elements in ordinary social encounters. Continue reading “Mythic Narrative Performances: The Myth of the Kharisiri”

Elizabeth Tucker. Haunted Halls: Ghostlore of American College Campuses

Elizabeth Tucker. Haunted Halls: Ghostlore of American College Campuses. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2007. $50.00 cloth, $20.00 paper.

Jeffrey Tolbert
Indiana University

Popular volumes dedicated to ghosts and the supernatural typically consist of little more than anthologies of ghastly tales, divorced from the contexts in which they are told and presented uncritically as sources of frightening entertainment. This pattern echoes a broader trend of popular engagement with folkloric material, a textual obsession characteristic of earlier days of folklore studies that contrasts starkly with contemporary scholarly attitudes toward folklore, which focus on such concepts as context, performance, and other theoretical issues that deemphasize the bounded text.

In Haunted Halls, Elizabeth Tucker presents a collection of ghost stories gathered from American college students through interviews and emails. Unlike many popular anthologies, Tucker makes an appreciable effort to position each tale within a broad context (US college campuses), to elaborate on the history surrounding many of the stories, and to provide some commentary on the social and cultural implications of the tales. Continue reading “Elizabeth Tucker. Haunted Halls: Ghostlore of American College Campuses”

Gerbilling Reconsidered: Comparing Talk of Foodways and Sexways

Gerbilling Reconsidered: Comparing Talk of Foodways and Sexways

Christopher Lewis
The Ohio State University

This paper considers the gerbilling legend of the early 1990s. The author contends that, by re-envisioning gay sex as gerbilling specifically rather than anal sex generally, heterosexual tellers of the legend grant themselves permission to participate in anal sex without participating in gay sex—a necessary function at the beginning of the AIDS pandemic. He also contends that reading it against rumors and legends of ethnic foodways more conclusively reveals that the gerbilling legend primarily stigmatizes the gerbil as a sex partner, not the act of rectal insertion, and that therefore the legend is not necessarily anti-anal sex. Meanwhile, it appears to remain anti-homosexual because of how tellers separate themselves from same-sex desire even while embracing traditional homosexual sexways. The paper concludes with a queer approach to the story that reconsiders gerbilling as an acceptable sexual act.
Continue reading “Gerbilling Reconsidered: Comparing Talk of Foodways and Sexways”