Illustrated with numerous stories collected from Alaska, the Yukon, and South Africa and further enlivened by the author's accessible style and experiences as a longtime oral historian and archivist, So They Understand is a comprehensive study of the special challenges and concerns involved in documenting, representing, preserving, and interpreting oral narratives. The title of the book comes from a quotation by Chief Peter John, the traditional chief of the Tanana Chiefs region in central Alaska: "In between the lines is something special going on in their minds, and that has got to be brought to light, so they understand just exactly what is said."
William Schneider discusses how stories work in relation to their cultures and performance settings, sorts out different types of stories-from broad genres such as personal narratives and life histories to such more specific and less-often considered types as presentations at hearings and other public gatherings-and examines a variety of critical issues, including the roles and relationships of storytellers and interviewers, accurate representation and preservation of stories and their performances, understanding and interpreting their cultural backgrounds and meanings, and intellectual property rights. Throughout, he blends a diverse selection of stories, including his own, into a text rich with pertinent examples.
William Schneider is curator of oral history and associate in anthropology at the Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he introduced oral history "jukeboxes," innovative interactive, multimedia computer files that present and cross-reference audio oral history and related photos and maps. Among other works, his publications include, as editor, Kusiq: An Eskimo Life History from the Arctic Coast of Alaska and, with Phyllis Morrow, When Our Words Return: Writing, Hearing, and Remembering Oral Traditions of Alaska and the Yukon.
Bruce McComiskey is a strong advocate of social approaches to teaching writing. However, he opposes composition teaching that relies on cultural theory for content, because it too often prejudges the ethical character of institutions and reverts unnecessarily to product-centered practices in the classroom. He opposes what he calls the "read-this-essay-and-do-what-the-author-did method of writing instruction: read Roland Barthes's essay 'Toys' and write a similar essay; read John Fiske's essay on TV and critique a show." McComiskey argues for teaching writing as situated in discourse itself, in the constant flow of texts produced within social relationships and institutions. He urges writing teachers not to neglect the linguistic and rhetorical levels of composing, but rather to strengthen them with attention to the social contexts and ideological investments that pervade both the processes and products of writing.
One wonders if there is any academic field that doesn't suffer from the way it is portrayed by the media, by politicians, by pundits and other publics. How well scholars in a discipline articulate their own definition can influence not only issues of image but the very success of the discipline in serving students and its other constituencies. The Activist WPA is an effort to address this range of issues for the field of English composition in the aftermath of No Child Left Behind and the Spellings Commission. Drawing on recent developments in framing theory and the resurgent traditions of progressive organizers, Linda Adler-Kassner calls upon composition teachers and administrators to develop strategic programs of collective action that do justice to composition's best principles. Adler-Kassner argues that the "story" of college composition can be changed only when writing scholars bring the wonders down, to articulate a theory framework that is pragmatic and intelligible to those outside the field--and then create messages that reference that framework. In The Activist WPA, she makes a case for developing a more integrated vision of outreach, English education, and writing program administration.
After a career of working and living with Native Americans and studying their traditions, Barre Toelken has written this sweeping study of Native American folklore in the West. Within a framework of performance theory, cultural worldview, and collaborative research, he examines Native American visual arts, dance, oral tradition (story and song), humor, and patterns of thinking and discovery to demonstrate what can be gleaned from Indian traditions by Natives and non-Natives alike. In the process he considers popular distortions of Indian beliefs, demystifies many traditions by showing how they can be comprehended within their cultural contexts, considers why some aspects of Native American life are not meant to be understood by or shared with outsiders, and emphasizes how much can be learned through sensitivity to and awareness of cultural values.
Gretta Bitsilly, gin-steeped mother of two and self-proclaimed expert at standing outside the margins of ethnicity and peering in, has been all but eclipsed by the world that eludes her--as a wife, a writer, a skeptic in "the other land of Zion," Utah. Gretta has set off to Fort Defiance, Arizona, where she hopes to convince her Navajo husband, who has escaped not from his family but from alcoholism, to come home.
Over a sputtering two-steps-forward, one-step-back desert journey, Gretta is diverted by chance, seizures, an inconstant memory, and the disjointed character of her irresolute quest.
She is fueled by a volatile mix of rage and curiosity and is rendered careless by ambivalence toward her marriage--she knows a welcome mat will not be waiting for her, "that white girl" who can't seem to get anything right. On route Gretta finds herself lost in the landscape, in strange company, or in her own convolution of language and inner space. With a dictionary and a laptop she attempts to write herself into a better existence--a hopeful existence--and to connect points of intellectual, physical, even spiritual reference.
This tale, though dark and difficult, is infused with tart, twisted humor. Confused, disheveled, self-deprecating, and self-destructive, Gretta is also sharp and funny. Here, first-time novelist Christine Allen-Yazzie breaks apart her own narrative arc but with gritty reality seals it near-shut again, if in rearrangement, drawing us into Gretta's wrestling match with herself, her husband, her addiction, and the road.
May Swenson Poetry Award Volume 9, with foreward by Rachel Hadas. Frances Brent's poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Notre Dame Review, Yale Review, and in many other journals. She was born in Chicago and was educated at Barnard College. She studied poetry at Columbia University and the University of Illinois, Chicago. From 1984-1991 she co-edited the literary journal Formations. In 1987 she co-translated Beyond the Limit: poems by Irina Ratushinska-ya She has taught at Yale, Northwestern, Loyola University, and Barat College. She lives with her family in New Haven.
First published in 1955, May Swenson's "The Centaur" remains one of her most popular and most anthologized poems. This is its first appearance as a picture book for children.
In images bright and brisk and nearly tangible, the poet re-creates the joy of riding a stick horse through a small-town summer. We find ourselves, with her, straddling "a long limber horse with . . . a few leaves for a tail," and pounding through the lovely dust along the path by the old canal. As her shape shifts from child to horse and back, we know exactly what she feels.
Sherry Meidell's water-color illustrations perfectly convey the wit and wisdom of May Swenson's poem. These are playful, satisfying images full of vitality and imagination. Meidell handles the joy of poem's fantasy and the joy of its occasional naughtiness with equal success.
Michael A. Pemberton and Joyce Kinkead
In The Center Will Hold, Pemberton and Kinkead have compiled a major volume of essays on the signal issues of scholarship that have established the writing center field and that the field must successfully address in the coming decade. The new century opens with new institutional, demographic, and financial challenges, and writing centers, in order to hold and extend their contribution to research, teaching, and service, must continuously engage those challenges. Appropriately, the editors offer the work of Muriel Harris as a key pivot point in the emergence of writing centers as sites of pedagogy and research. The volume develops themes that Harris first brought to the field, and contributors here offer explicit recognition of the role that Harris has played in the development of writing center theory and practice. But they also use her work as a springboard from which to provide reflective, descriptive, and predictive looks at the field.
In this ethnography that documents the folk nature of popular culture, Mickey Weems applies interdisciplinary interpretation to a subject that demands such a breakdown of intellectual boundaries. The Circuit, an expression of gay culture, comprises large dance events—gatherings, celebrations, communions, festivals. Music and dance drive complex, shared performances—electronic house music played by professional DJs and mass ecstatic dancing that engenders communitas. Other performances, from drag queens and concerts to contests, theatrics, and the individual display of muscular bodies are part of the festivities.
Body sculpting through muscle building is strongly associated with the Circuit, and masculine aggression is both displayed and parodied. Weems, a participant-observer with a multidisciplinary background in anthropology, folklore, religious studies, cultural studies, and somatic studies, considers the cultural and ethical dimensions of what to outsiders might seem to be just wild, flamboyant parties. He compares the Circuit to other traditions of ecstatic and communal dance, and uses his grounding in African-Brazilian Candomblé and in religious studies to illuminate spiritual experiences reported by Circuit participants. And, as a U.S. Marine, he offers the nonviolent masculine arrogance of Circuiteers as an alternative to the violent forms of masculine aggression embedded in the military and much of western culture.
Thomas A. McKean
The flowering thorn expresses the dual nature of the ballad: at once a distinctive expression of European tradition, but also somewhat tricky to approach from a scholarly perspective, requiring a range of disciplines to illuminate its rich composition. Most of this latter quality has to do with the very features that characterize ballads... or narrative songs. These include an appearance of fragmentation; a wide range of cultural and social referents; complex, evocative symbolic language; and variation. The notable multiformity of meaning, text and tune is mirrored in scholarship, too. The Flowering Thorn is therefore wide ranging, with articles written by world authorities from the fields of folklore, history, literature, and ethnology, employing a variety of methodologies—structuralism to functionalism, repertoire studies to geographical explorations of cultural movement and change. The twenty-five selected contributions represent the latest trends in ballad scholarship, embracing the multi-disciplinary nature of the field today. The essays have their origins in the 1999 International Ballad Conference of the Kommission fur Volksdichtung (KfV), which focused particularly on ballads and social context; performance and repertoire; genre, motif, and classification. The revised, tailored, and expanded essays are divided into five sections—the interpretation of narrative song; structure and motif; context, version, and transmission; regions, reprints, and repertoires; and the mediating collector's offering a range of examples from fifteen different cultures, ten of them drawing on languages other than English, resulting in a series of personal journeys to the heart of one of Europe's richest, most enduring cultural creations. —Thomas McKean, from the Introduction
CONTRIBUTORS: Mary Anne Alburger, David Atkinson, Julia C. Bishop, Valentina Bold, Katherine Campbell, Nicolae Constantinescu, Luisa Del Giudice, Sheila Douglas, David G. Engle, Frances J. Fischer, Simon Furey, Vic Gammon, Marjetka Golez-Kaucic, Pauline Greenhill, Cozette Griffin-Kremer, J. J. Dias Marques, William Bernard McCarthy, Isabelle Peere, Gerald Porter, James Porter, Roger de V. Renwick, Sigrid Rieuwerts, Michèle Simonsen, Larry Syndergaard, Stefaan Top, Larysa Vakhnina, Lynn Wollstadt
Frank de Caro
Folklore—the inherently creative expression, transmission, and performance of cultural traditions—has always provided a deep well of material for writers, musicians, and artists of all sorts. Folklorists usually employ descriptive and analytical prose, but they, like scholars in other social sciences, have increasingly sought new, creative and reflexive modes of discourse. Many folklorists are also creative writers, some well known as such, and the folk traditions they research often provide shape and substance to their work. This collection of creative writing grounded in folklore and its study brings together some of the best examples of such writing.
Contributors to this collection include Teresa Bergen, John Burrison, Norma E. Cantu, Frank de Caro, Holly Everett, Danusha Goska, Neil R. Grobman, Carrie Hertz, Edward Hirsch, Laurel Horton, Rosan Augusta Jordan, Paul Jordan-Smith, Elaine J. Lawless, Cynthia Levee, Jens Lund, Mary Magoulick, Bernard McCarthy, Joanne B. Mulcahy, Kirin Narayan, Ted Olson, Daniel Peretti, Leslie Prosterman, Jo Radner, Susan Stewart, Jeannie Banks Thomas, Jeff Todd Titon, Libby Tucker, Margaret Yocom, and Steve Zeitlin.
Donna Toland Smart
In her memoir, and 1870s revision of her journal and diary, Louisa Barnes Pratt tells of childhood in Massachusetts and Canada during the War of 1812, and independent career as a teacher and seamstress in New England, and her marriage to the Boston seaman Addison Pratt.
Converting to the LDS Church, the Pratts moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, from where Brigham Young sent Addison on the first of the long missions to the Society Islands that would leave Louisa on her own. As a sole available parent, she hauled her children west to Winter Quarters, to Utah in 1848, to California, and, in Addison's wake, to Tahiti in 1850.
The Pratts joined the Mormon colony at San Bernardino, California. When in 1858 a federal army's march on Utah led to the colonists' recall, Addision—alienated from the Mormon Church after long absences—chose not to go. Mostly separated thereafter (Addison died in 1872), Louisa settled in Beaver, Utah, where she campaigned for women's rights, contributed to the Woman's Exponent, and depended on her own means, as she had much of her life, until her death in 1880.
Robert S. McPherson
Ak'é Nýdzin, or Navajo Oshley, was born sometime between 1879 and 1893. His oral memoir is set on the northern frontier of Navajo land, principally the San Juan River basin in southeastern Utah, and tells the story of his early life near Dennehetso and his travels, before there were roads or many towns, from Monument Valley north along Comb Ridge to Blue Mountain. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Anglos and Navajos expanded their use and settlement of lands north of the San Juan. Grazing lands and the Anglo wage economy drew many Navajos across the river. Oshley, a sheepherder, was among the first to settle there. He cared for the herds of his extended family, while also taking supplemental jobs with the growing livestock industry in the area.
His narrative is woven with vivid and detailed portraits of Navajo culture: clan relationships, marriages and children, domestic life, the importance of livestock, complex relations with the natural world, ceremonies, trading, and hand trembling.
William A. Wilson
Composed over several decades, the essays here are remarkably fresh and relevant. They offer instruction for the student just beginning the study of folklore as well as repeated value for the many established scholars who continue to wrestle with issues that Wilson has addressed. As his work has long offered insight on critical mattersn--nationalism, genre, belief, the relationship of folklore to other disciplines in the humanities and arts, the currency of legend, the significance of humor as a cultural expression, and so forth--so his recent writing, in its reflexive approach to narrative and storytelling, illuminates today's paradigms. Its notable autobiographical dimension, long an element of Wilson's work, employs family and local lore to draw conclusions of more universal significance. Another way to think of it is that newer folklorists are catching up with Wilson and what he has been about for some time.
As a body, Wilson's essays develop related topics and connected themes. This collection organizes them in three coherent parts. The first examines the importance of folklore. What it is and its value in various contexts. Part two, drawing especially on the experience of Finland, considers the role of folklore in national identity, including both how it helps define and sustain identity and the less savory ways it may be used for the sake of nationalistic ideology. Part three, based in large part on Wilson's extensive work in Mormon folklore, which is the most important in that area since that of Austin and Alta Fife, looks at religious cultural expressions and outsider perceptions of them and, again, at how identity is shaped, by religious belief, experience, and participation; by the stories about them; and by the many other expressive parts of life encountered daily in a culture. Each essay is introduced by a well-known folklorist who discusses the influence of Wilson's scholarship. These include Richard Bauman, Margaret Brady, Simon Bronner, Elliott Oring, Henry Glassie, David Hufford, Michael Owen Jones, and Beverly Stoeltje.
In these essays William Wilson illuminates folklore theory and practice, romantic nationalism, religious folklore, personal narrative, and much else. Each essay is introduced by a notable fellow folklorist, among them Richard Bauman, Margaret K. Brady, Simon J. Bronner, Henry Glassie, David J. Hufford, Michael Owen Jones, Elliott Oring, Steve Siporin, David Stanley, Beverly Stoeltje, and Jacqueline S. Thursby.
Simon J. Bronner
The essays of Alan Dundes virtually created the meaning of folklore as an American academic discipline. Yet many of them went quickly out of print after their initial publication in far-flung journals. Brought together for the first time in this volume compiled and edited by Simon Bronner, the selection surveys Dundes's major ideas and emphases, and is introduced by Bronner with a thorough analysis of Dundes's long career, his interpretations, and his inestimable contribution to folklore studies.
Ronald G. Watt
Nineteenth century Mormonism was a frontier religion with roots so entangled with the American experience as to be seen by some scholars as the most American of religions and by others as a direct critique of that experience. Yet it was also a missionary religion that through proselytizing quickly gained an international, if initially mostly Northern European, makeup. This mix brought it a roster of interesting characters: frontiersmen and hardscrabble farmers; preachers and theologians; dreamers and idealists; craftsmen and social engineers. Although the Mormon elite soon took on, as elites do, a rather fixed, dynastic character, the social origins of its first-generation members were quite diverse. The Mormon Church at its beginning provided a good study in upward mobility. George D. Watt was a self-educated English convert with both unusual, for the time and place of frontier Utah, clerical skills and ambitions to improve his status. A man with intellectual pretensions, he had little formal training but a strong will, avid curiosity, and appetite for knowledge. Those traits made up for what he lacked in schooling and drew him into what served as intellectual circles among the Mormon elite and, later, to the church's disenchanted fringe. They also made him, for a time, essential to Brigham Young as a clerk and reporter but sent him into religious and social exile, due to a contest of wills with his employer that Watt had no chance of winning. Reputed to have been the first of the many English converts to the LDS church, Watt's repeatedly demonstrated ability to learn quickly made him an early master of Pitman shorthand, just then coming into use. Employing this skill, he made two important contributions to Mormon literature: First, based on that shorthand, he, more than anyone, created the "Deseret Alphabet," which now is a curiosity but then was an innovation that, intended to create a unique Mormon orthography and pedagogy, stands well for the broad attempt to build in Utah the wholly self-sufficient culture of the Kingdom of God. Second, his efficient note taking allowed him to take down the sermons of Young and other church leaders and publish them in the Journal of Discourses, an indispensable historical record. In addition, Watt learned, thought, and wrote about a variety of subjects, from horticulture to spiritualism, which helped define him as a resident Utah intellectual. He eventually left the Mormon Church, but the records of his domestic life before and after that decision provide a rich portrait of the working of polygamous households, particularly complicated ones in his case. Despite his accomplishments, because of his potential, George Watt's story is at heart a tragedy. His breach with Brigham Young resulted in social isolation, poverty, and rejection by friends and associates. He never, though, lost his sense of independence or his avid mind. Whether facing an economic affront or pressing, in writing, his own conclusions about life and God, he engaged the challenge where he found it.
William E. Hill
Back in print, this essential reference for readers interested in the Mormon Trail is part history, part resource book, part guide and photographic essay. It includes an historical introduction, a chronology, excerpts from trail diaries, along with maps, over 200 then-and-now photos, and descriptions of major museums and displays along the trail. By the author of previous volumes on the Oregon, California, and Santa Fe trails.
Robert S. Mcpherson
The Navajo nation is one of the most frequently researched groups of Indians in North America. Anthropologists, sociologists, historians, and others have taken turns explaining their views of Navajo history and culture. A recurrent theme throughout is that the U.S. government defeated the Navajos so soundly during the early 1860s that after their return from incarceration at Bosque Redondo, they were a badly shattered and submissive people.
The next thirty years saw a marked demographic boom during which the Navajo population doubled. Historians disagree as to the extent of this growth, but the position taken by many historians is that because of this growth and the rapidly expanding herds of sheep, cattle, and horses, the government beneficently gave more territory to its suffering wards.
While this interpretation is partly accurate, it centers on the role of the government, the legislation that was passed, and the frustrations of the Indian agents who rotated frequently through the Navajo Agency in Fort Defiance, New Mexico, and ignores or severely limits one of the most important actors in this process of land acquisition-the Navajos themselves. Instead of being a downtrodden group of prisoners, defeated militarily in the 1860s and dependent on the U.S. government for protection and guidance in the 1870s and 80s, they were vigorously involved in defending and expanding the borders of their homelands. This was accomplished not through war and as a concerted effort, but by an aggressive defensive policy built on individual action that varied with changing circumstances. Many Navajos never made the Long Walk to Bosque Redondo. Instead they eluded capture in northern and western hinterlands and thereby pushed out their frontier. This book focuses on the events and activities in one part of the Navajo borderlands-the northern frontier-where between 1860 and 1900 the Navajos were able to secure a large portion of land that is still part of the reservation. This expansion was achieved during a period when most Native Americans were losing their lands.
Susanmarie Harrington, Keith Rhodes, Ruth Fischer, and Rita Malenczyk
The WPA Outcomes Statement represents a working consensus among composition scholars about what college students should learn and do in a composition program. But as a single-page document, the statement cannot convey the kind of reflective process that a writing program must undertake to address the learning outcomes described. The Outcomes Book relates the fuller process by exploring the matrix of concerns that surrounded the developing statement itself, and by presenting the experience of many who have since employed it in their own settings. For departments, programs, and individuals, this collection levers the Outcomes Statement in all its simplicity and complexity into a rich discussion of the programmatic essentials of writing theory and pedagogy--and what these look like at writing programs informed by the Outcomes Statement. It is written in the hope that faculty and administrators alike will use the Statement as a tool for cyclically reflecting on their own programs and practice.
May Swenson Poetry Award Volume 6, with foreward by Mark Doty. The Owl Question underscores and relishes life's transitions from young girl to woman, from child to wife to mother, and from isolation to connection this poet's bright sense of abundance and awe, here expressed in finely tuned detail and refreshingly open observation, reads like a collective memory. Though private and closely held, these questionings are as familiar as our own souls, and in their transformation to poetry, Shearin has created the very "map" she wishes to guide her when she "can't learn the world fast enough."
Barbara Couture and Thomas Kent
At the 2003 "Rock the Vote" debate, one of the questions posed by a student to the eight Democratic candidates for the presidential nomination was "have you ever used marijuana?" Amazingly, all but one of the candidates voluntarily answered the question. Add to this example the multiple ways in which we now see public intrusion into private lives (security cameras, electronic access to personal data, scanning and "wanding" at the airport) or private self-exposure in public forums (cell phones, web cams, confessional talk shows, voyeuristic "reality" TV). That matters so private could be treated as legitimate-in some cases even vital-for public discourse indicates how intertwined the realms of private and public have become in our era. Reverse examples exist as well. Around the world, public authorities look the other way while individual rights are abused--calling it a private matter--or officials appeal to sectarian morés to justify discrimination in public policies. The authors of The Private, the Public, and the Published feel that scholarship needs to explore and understand this phenomenon, and needs to address it in the college classroom. There are consequences of conflating public and private, they argue--consequences that have implications especially for what is known as the public good. The changing distinctions between "private" and "public," and the various practices of private and public expression, are explored in these essays with an eye toward what they teach us about those consequences and implications. Ultimately, the authors recommend a humane and ethical reconciling of the two realms in the tradition of rhetoric since Aristotle. This means, they argue, that scholars must work to create the conditions in public-in classrooms, meeting rooms, Congress, international forums--that respect and defend the ethical treatment of private lives.
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.
Melody Graulich and Paul Crumbley
A stellar group of writers, scientists, and educators illuminate the intersections between environmental science, creative writing, and education, considering ways to strengthen communication between differing fields with common interests.
Matthew E. Kreitzer
Writings by American Indians from the early twentieth century or earlier are rare. Willie Ottogary's letters have the distinction of being firsthand reports of an Indian community's ongoing social life by a community member and leader. The Northwestern Shoshone residing at the Washakie colony in northern Utah descended from survivors of the Bear River Massacre. Most had converted to the Mormon Church and remained in northern Utah rather than moving to a federal Indian reservation. For over twenty years, local newspapers in Utah and southern Idaho regularly published letters from Ottogary reporting happenings-personal milestones and health crises, comings and goings, social events, economic conditions and activities, efforts at political redress-at Washakie and other Shoshone communities in the intermountain West. Matthew Kreitzer compiled and edited the letters of Ottogary and added historical commentary and appendices, biographical data on individuals Ottogary mentioned, and eighty-five rare historical photographs. Written in a vernacular English and printed unedited in the newspapers, the letters describe a society in cultural transition and present Ottogary's distinctively Shoshone point of view on anything affecting his people. Thus, they provide an unusual picture of Shoshone life through a critical period, a time when many Indian communities reached a historical nadir. While the letters unflinchingly report the many difficulties and challenges the Shoshone faced, they portray a vital and dynamic society, whose members led full lives and actively pursued their own interests. Ottogary lobbied constantly for Shoshone rights, forging alliances with Shoshone throughout the region, visiting Washington D.C., advocating legislation, and participating in Goshute-Western Shoshone draft resistance during World War I.
May Swenson Poetry Award Volume 13, with foreward by Billy Collins. Tomorrow's Living Room offers a pleasantly disorienting verbal territory. The collection is alternately wry and dark, hopeful and bleak, full of unexpected light and laugh-out-loud incongruities. We begin to see that the shape and the furniture of Jason Whitmarsh's world reflect our own world (and may in fact be universal), but we're considering them through completely new terms of engagement.