Brian Sutton-Smith, Jay Mechling, Thomas W. Johnson, and Felicia R. McMahon
A collection of original essays by scholars from a variety of fields—including American studies, folklore, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and education—Children's Folklore: A Source Book moves beyond traditional social-science views of child development. It reveals the complexity and artistry of interactions among children, challenging stereotypes of simple childhood innocence and conventional explanations of development that privilege sober and sensible adult outcomes. Instead, the play and lore of children is shown to be often disruptive, wayward, and irrational. The contributors variably con-sider and demonstrate "contextual" and "textual" ways of studying the folklore of children. Avoiding a narrow definition of the subject, they examine a variety of resources and approaches for studying, researching, and teaching it. These range from surveys of the history and literature of children's folklore to methods of field research, studies of genres of lore, and attempts to capture children's play and games.
Simon J. Bronner
Following Tradition is an expansive examination of the history of tradition—"one of the most common as well as most contested terms in English language usage"—in Americans' thinking and discourse about culture. Tradition in use becomes problematic because of "its multiple meanings and its conceptual softness." As a term and a concept, it has been important in the development of all scholarly fields that study American culture. Folklore, history, American studies, anthropology, cultural studies, and others assign different value and meaning to tradition. It is a frequent point of reference in popular discourse concerning everything from politics to lifestyles to sports and entertainment. Politicians and social advocates appeal to it as prima facie evidence of the worth of their causes. Entertainment and other media mass produce it, or at least a facsimile of it. In a society that frequently seeks to reinvent itself, tradition as a cultural anchor to be reverenced or rejected is an essential, if elusive, concept. Simon Bronner's wide net captures the historical, rhetorical, philosophical, and psychological dimensions of tradition. As he notes, he has written a book "about an American tradition—arguing about it." His elucidation of those arguments makes fascinating and thoughtful reading. An essential text for folklorists, Following Tradition will be a valuable reference as well for historians and anthropologists; students of American studies, popular culture, and cultural studies; and anyone interested in the continuing place of tradition in American culture.
In Usable Pasts, fourteen authors examine the manipulation of traditional expressions among a variety of groups from the United States and Canada: the development of a pictorial style by Navajo weavers in response to traders, Mexican American responses to the appropriation of traditional foods by Anglos, the expressive forms of communication that engender and sustain a sense of community in an African American women's social club and among elderly Yiddish folksingers in Miami Beach, the incorporation of mass media images into the "C&Ts" (customs and traditions) of a Boy Scout troop, the changing meaning of their defining Exodus-like migration to Mormons, Newfoundlanders' appropriation through the rum-drinking ritual called the Schreech-In of outsiders' stereotypes, outsiders' imposition of the once-despised lobster as the emblem of Maine, the contest over Texas's heroic Alamo legend and its departures from historical fact, and how yellow ribbons were transformed from an image in a pop song to a national symbol of "resolve."
Mexican Americans make up the largest minority in Idaho, yet they seemingly live in a different world from the dominant Anglo population, and because of pervasive stereotypes and exclusive policies, their participation in the community's social, economic, and political life is continually impeded.
This unique ethnographic study of a small Idaho community with a large Hispanic population examines many dimensions of the impact race relations have on everyday life for rural Mexican Americans.
James S. Griffith
Where it divides Arizona and Sonora, the international boundary between Mexico and the United States is both a political reality, literally expressed by a fence, and, to a considerable degree, a cultural illusion. Mexican, Anglo, and Native American cultures straddle the fence; people of various ethnic backgrounds move back and forth across the artificial divide, despite increasing obstacles to free movement. On either side is found a complex cultural mix of ethnic, religious, and occupational groups. In A Shared Space James Griffith examines many of the distinctive folk expressions of this varied cultural region.
Phyllis Morrow and William Schneider
The title to this interdisciplinary collection draws on the Yupik Eskimo belief that seals, fish, and other game are precious gifts that, when treated with respect and care, will return to be hunted again. Just so, if oral traditions are told faithfully and respectfully, they will return to benefit future generations. The contributors to this volume are concerned with the interpretation and representation of oral narrative and how it is shaped by its audience and the time, place, and cultural context of the narration. Thus, oral traditions are understood as a series of dialogues between tradition bearers and their listeners, including those who record, write, and interpret.
This contributed volume explores the functions of belief and supernatural experience within an array of cultures, as well as the stance of academe toward the study of belief and the supernatural. The essays in this volume call into question the idea that supernatural experience is extraordinary.
Michiko Iwasaka and Barre Toelken
The Japanese have ambivalent attitudes toward death, deeply rooted in pre-Buddhist traditions. In this scholarly but accessible work, authors Iwasaka and Toelken show that everyday beliefs and customs--particularly death traditions--offer special insight into the living culture of Japan.
Rowland W. Rider
With his animated tales of Zane Grey, Butch Cassidy, and the Robbers Roost gang, Rider creates an engaging and believable picture of the joys and hardships of cowboy life.