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Social Sciences > Folklore
Folklore from the Old-Time College to the Modern Mega-University
From their beginnings, campuses emerged as hotbeds of traditions and folklore. American college students inhabit a culture with its own slang, stories, humor, beliefs, rituals, and pranks. Simon J. Bronner takes a long, engaging look at American campus life and how it is shaped by students and at the same time shapes the values of all who pass through it. The archetypes of absent-minded profs, fumbling jocks, and curve-setting dweebs are the stuff of legend and humor, along with the all-nighters, tailgating parties, and initiations that mark campus tradition--and student identities. Undergraduates in their hallowed halls embrace distinctive traditions because the experience of higher education precariously spans childhood and adulthood, parental and societal authority, home and corporation, play and work.Bronner traces historical changes in these traditions. The predominant context has shifted from what he calls the "old-time college," small in size and strong in its sense of community, to mass society's "mega-university," a behemoth that extends beyond any campus to multiple branches and offshoots throughout a state, region, and sometimes the globe. One might assume that the mega-university has dissolved collegiate traditions and displaced the old-time college, but Bronner finds the opposite. Student needs for social belonging in large universities and a fear of losing personal control have given rise to distinctive forms of lore and a striving for retaining the pastoral "campus feel" of the old-time college. The folkloric material students spout, and sprout, in response to these needs is varied but it is tied together by its invocation of tradition and social purpose. Beneath the veil of play, students work through tough issues of their age and environment. They use their lore to suggest ramifications, if not resolution, of these issues for themselves and for their institutions. In the process, campus traditions are keys to the development of American culture.
Songs of Laughter and Faith in New Mexico
Composer John Donald Robb (1892–1989) built an invaluable legacy in the preservation of New Mexico’s rich musical traditions. His extensive field recordings, compositions, papers, and photographs now comprise the John Donald Robb Archives in the University of New Mexico Libraries’ Center for Southwest Research. Cancionero presents thirteen Hispanic folk songs from Robb’s renowned archive. Created for musicians and vocalists, Cancionero features arrangements for voice with piano or guitar accompaniments as well as selected concert versions for voice, oboe, harp, and piano. Introductions include information about song forms, history, and subjects, providing further insight into each song.
Detroit’s unique and partly abandoned cityscape has scarred its image around the world for decades. But in the last several years journalists have begun to view the city through a different lens, focusing on the wide range of contemporary artists finding inspiration amid the emptiness and adding a more complex chapter to the story of a city long labeled as a haunting symbol of U.S. economic decline. In Canvas Detroit, Julie Pincus and Nichole Christian combine vibrant full-color photography of the city’s much-buzzed-about art scene with thoughtful narrative that explores the art and artists that are re-creating Detroit. Canvas Detroit captures hundreds of pieces of artwork in many forms—including large-scale and small-scale murals, sculptures, portraits, light projections, wearable art, and installations (made with wood, glass, living plants, fiber, and fabric). Works are situated in both obvious and more hidden spaces, including on and in houses, garages, factories, alleyways, doors, and walls, while some structures have been entirely transformed into art. Pincus and Christian profile creators working in Detroit, including internationally known figures like Banksy, Matthew Barney, and Tyree Guyton; prominent Detroit artists such as Scott Hocking, Jerome Ferretti, and Robert Sestock; and collectives like Power House Productions, Hygenic Dress League, the Empowerment Plan, and Theatre Bizarre. Canvas Detroit also includes an introductory essay by Mame Jackson, and contributions by John Gallagher, Michael Hodges, Rebecca Hart, and Linda Yablonsky that contextualize the current artistic moment in the city. This beautifully designed and informative volume showcases the stunning breadth and depth of artwork currently being done in Detroit. It will be essential reading for anyone interested in arts and culture in the city.
Creole Rappers and Citizenship in Portugal
Musicians rapping in kriolu --a hybrid of Portuguese and West African languages spoken in Cape Verde--have recently emerged from Lisbon's periphery. They popularize the struggles with identity and belonging among young people in a Cape Verdean immigrant community that shares not only the kriolu language but its culture and history. Drawing on fieldwork and archival research in Portugal and Cape Verde, Derek Pardue introduces Lisbon's kriolu rap scene and its role in challenging metropolitan Portuguese identities. Pardue demonstrates that Cape Verde, while relatively small within the Portuguese diaspora, offers valuable lessons about the politics of experience and social agency within a postcolonial context that remains poorly understood. As he argues, knowing more about both Cape Verdeans and the Portuguese invites clearer assessments of the relationship between the experience and policies of migration. That in turn allows us to better gauge citizenship as a balance of individual achievement and cultural ascription.
Uruguay’s Popular Performers and National Culture
Focusing on the cultural practices of the lower classes and more specifically on the processes and productions of the murgas, Gustavo Remedi’s Carnival Theater is a deeply thoughtful consideration of Uruguayan society’s identity crisis and subsequent redefinition in the wake of the authoritarian-bureaucratic-technocratic regimes of the 1970s. A revealing work of cultural criticism, the book proposes a new set of criteria for the interpretation and critique of national culture.
The Concheros Dance in Mexico City
In Carrying the Word: The Concheros Dance in Mexico City, the first full length study of the Concheros dancers, Susanna Rostas explores the experience of this unique group, whose use of dance links rural religious practices with urban post-modern innovation in distinctive ways even within Mexican culture, which is rife with ritual dances. The Concheros blend Catholic and indigenous traditions in their performances, but are not governed by a predetermined set of beliefs; rather they are bound together by long standing interpersonal connections framed by the discipline of their tradition. The Concheros manifest their spirituality by means of the dance. Rostas traces how they construct their identity and beliefs, both individual and communal, by its means. The book offers new insights into the experience of dancing as a Conchero while also exploring their history, organization and practices. Carrying the Word provides a new way for audiences to understand the Conchero's dance tradition, and will be of interest to students and scholars of contemporary Mesoamerica. Those studying identity, religion, and tradition will find this social-anthropological work particularly enlightening.
The Texas Folklore Society is one of the oldest and most prestigious organizations in the state. Its secret for longevity lies in those things that make it unique, such as its annual meeting that seems more like a social event or family reunion than a formal academic gathering. This book examines the Society’s members and their substantial contributions to the field of folklore over the last century. Some articles focus on the research that was done in the past, while others offer studies that continue today. For example, L. Patrick Hughes explores historical folk music, while Meredith Abarca focuses on Mexican American folk healers and the potential direction of research on them today. Other articles are more personal reflections about why our members have been drawn to the TFS for fellowship and fun. This book does more than present a history of the Texas Folklore Society: it explains why the TFS has lasted so long, and why it will continue.
Interpreting the Music of István Anhalt, György Kurtág, and Sándor Veress
This book examines the impact place and displacement can have on the composition and interpretation of Western art music, using as its primary objects of study the work of István Anhalt (1919–2012) György Kurtág (1926–) and Sándor Veress (1907–92). Although all three composers are of Hungarian origin, their careers followed radically different paths. Whereas, Kurtág remained in Budapest for most of his career, Anhalt and Veress left: the former in 1946 and immigrated to Canada and the latter in 1948 and settled in Switzerland. All three composers have had an extraordinary impact in the cultural environments within which their work took place.
In the first section, “Place and Displacement,” contributors examine what happens when composers and their music migrate in the culturally complex world of the late twentieth century. The past one hundred years produced record numbers of refugees, and this fact is now beginning to resonate in the study of music. As Anhalt himself forcefully asserts, however, not all composers who emigrate should be understood as exiles. The first chapters of this book explore some of the problems and questions surrounding this issue.
Essays in the second section, “Perspectives on Reception, Analysis, and Interpretation,” look at how performing acts of interpretation on music implies bringing the time, place, and identity of the musician, the analyst, and the teacher to bear on the object of study. Like Kodály, Kurtág considers his work to be “naturally” embedded in Hungarian culture, but he is also a quintessentially European artist. Much of his production—he is one of the twentieth century’s most prolific composers of vocal music—involves the setting of Hungarian texts, but in the late 1970s his cultural horizons expanded to include texts in Russian, German, French, English, and ancient Greek. The book explores how musicologists’ divergent cultural perspectives impinge on the interpretation of this work.
The final section, “The Presence of the Past and Memory in Contemporary Music,” examines the impact time and memory can have on notions of place and identity in music. All living art taps into the personal and collective past in one way or another. The final four chapters look at various aspects of this relationship.