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DISCOnnections Cover

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DISCOnnections

Popular Music Audiences in Freetown, Sierra Leone

This book offers an intriguing account of the complex and often contradictory relations between music and society in Freetown’s past and present. Blending anthropological thought with ethnographic and historical research, it explores the conjunctures of music practices and social affiliations and the diverse patterns of social dis/connections that music helps to shape, to (re)create, and to defy in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown. The first half of the book traces back the changing social relationships and the concurrent changes in the city’s music life from the first days of the colony in the late 18th century up to the turbulent and thriving music scenes in the first decade of the 21st century. Grounded in this comprehensive historiography of Freetown’s socio-musical palimpsest, the second half of the book puts forth a detailed ethnography of social dynamics in the realms of music, calibrating contemporary Freetown’s social polyphony with its musical counterpart.

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Divining the Self

A Study in Yoruba Myth and Human Consciousness

By Velma E. Love

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Dressing for the Culture Wars

Style and the Politics of Self-Presentation in the 1960s and 1970s

Betty Luther Hillman

Style of dress has always been a way for Americans to signify their politics, but perhaps never so overtly as in the 1960s and 1970s. Whether participating in presidential campaigns or Vietnam protests, hair and dress provided a powerful cultural tool for social activists to display their politics to the world and became both the cause and a symbol of the rift in American culture. Some Americans saw stylistic freedom as part of their larger political protests, integral to the ideals of self-expression, sexual freedom, and equal rights for women and minorities. Others saw changes in style as the erosion of tradition and a threat to the established social and gender norms at the heart of family and nation.

Through the lens of fashion and style, Dressing for the Culture Wars guides us through the competing political and social movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Although long hair on men, pants and miniskirts on women, and other hippie styles of self-fashioning could indeed be controversial, Betty Luther Hillman illustrates how self-presentation influenced the culture and politics of the era and carried connotations similarly linked to the broader political challenges of the time. Luther Hillman’s new line of inquiry demonstrates how fashion was both a reaction to and was influenced by the political climate and its implications for changing norms of gender, race, and sexuality.


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Du coq à l’âme

L’art populaire au Québec

Jean-François Blanchette

L’art populaire est le reflet d’une société, de la perspective de ses créateurs, dont les approches sont tantôt traditionnelles et rationnelles, tantôt indisciplinées et débridées. D’hier ou d’aujourd’hui, l’art populairen révèle toute son expressivité, met en valeur la beauté des objets anciens.
Du coq à l’âme : L’art populaire au Québec vient circonscrire l’art populaire et présenter son évolution dans le temps, depuis sa forme traditionnelle, fort ancienne, jusqu’à sa forme indisciplinée, plus récente, du graffiti.
Cet ouvrage est le résultat de plusieurs années de recherche et de rencontres avec des créateurs, des collectionneurs et des chercheurs, tous passionnés de cette forme de créativité originale et authentique.Une magnifique synthèse de la production et de l’évolution de l’art populaire, l’histoire culturelle et sociale et la créativité d’artistes québécois, souvent peu reconnus.
L’anthropologue Jean-François Blanchette jette un regard historique et photographique sur les collections d’art populaire québécois du Musée canadien de l’histoire, dont la très prestigieuse collection de Nettie Covey Sharpe, acquise en 2002.

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Dynamics Of Folklore

Barre Toelken

One of the most comprehensive and widely praised introductions to folklore ever written. Toelken's discussion of the history and meaning of folklore is delivered in straightforward language, easily understood definitions, and a wealth of insightful and entertaining examples.

Toelken emphasizes dynamism and variety in the vast array of folk expressions he examines, from "the biology of folklore," to occupational and ethnic lore, food ways, holidays, personal experience narratives, ballads, myths, proverbs, jokes, crafts, and others. Chapters are followed by bibliographical essays, and over 100 photographs illustrate the text. This new edition is accessible to all levels of folklore study and an essential text for classroom instruction.

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Eating Asian America

A Food Studies Reader

Robert Ji-Song Ku

Chop suey. Sushi. Curry. Adobo. Kimchi. The deep associations Asians in the United States have with food have become ingrained in the American popular imagination. So much so that contentious notions of ethnic authenticity and authority are marked by and argued around images and ideas of food.
 
Eating Asian America: A Food Studies Reader collects burgeoning new scholarship in Asian American Studies that centers the study of foodways and culinary practices in our understanding of the racialized underpinnings of Asian Americanness. It does so by bringing together twenty scholars from across the disciplinary spectrum to inaugurate a new turn in food studies: the refusal to yield to a superficial multiculturalism that naively celebrates difference and reconciliation through the pleasures of food and eating. By focusing on multi-sited struggles across various spaces and times, the contributors to this anthology bring into focus the potent forces of class, racial, ethnic, sexual and gender inequalities that pervade and persist in the production of Asian American culinary and alimentary practices, ideas, and images. This is the first collection to consider the fraught itineraries of Asian American immigrant histories and how they are inscribed in the production and dissemination of ideas about Asian American foodways.
  
Robert Ji-Song Ku is Associate Professor of Asian and Asian American Studies at Binghamton University. He is the author of Dubious Gastronomy: The Cultural Politics of Eating Asian in the USA.
 
Martin F. Manalansan IV is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Global Divas: Filipino Gay Men in the Diaspora.
 
Anita Mannur is Associate Professor of English and Asian /Asian American Studies at Miami University. She is the author of Culinary Fictions: Food in South Asian Diasporic Culture.

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Echoes from Dharamsala

Music in the Life of a Tibetan Refugee Community

Keila Diehl

In Echoes from Dharamsala, Keila Diehl uses music to understand the experiences of Tibetans living in Dharamsala, a town in the Indian Himalayas that for more than forty years has been home to Tibet's government-in-exile. The Dalai Lama's presence lends Dharamsala's Tibetans a feeling of being "in place," but at the same time they have physically and psychologically constructed Dharamsala as "not Tibet," as a temporary resting place to which many are unable or unwilling to become attached. Not surprisingly, this community struggles with notions of home, displacement, ethnic identity, and assimilation. Diehl's ethnography explores the contradictory realities of cultural homogenization, hybridity, and concern about ethnic purity as they are negotiated in the everyday lives of individuals. In this way, she complicates explanations of culture change provided by the popular idea of "global flow."

Diehl's accessible, absorbing narrative argues that the exiles' focus on cultural preservation, while crucial, has contributed to the development of essentialist ideas of what is truly "Tibetan." As a result, "foreign" or "modern" practices that have gained deep relevance for Tibetan refugees have been devalued. Diehl scrutinizes this tension in her discussion of the refugees' enthusiasm for songs from blockbuster Hindi films, the popularity of Western rock and roll among Tibetan youth, and the emergence of a new genre of modern Tibetan music. Diehl's insight into the soundscape of Dharamsala is enriched by her own experiences as the keyboard player for a Tibetan refugee rock group called the Yak Band. Her groundbreaking study reveals the importance of music as a site where official and personal, old and new representations of Tibetan culture meet and where different notions of "Tibetan-ness" are being imagined, performed, and debated.

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The Egg Polisher and Other Tales

This collection represents, in substance and style, folk tradition in the North-West Region of Cameroon. Contained herein is a sampling of various human emotions, parental concerns, and societal conflicts: emotional insecurity, deceit, obstinacy, power and control, trickery, malevolence, greed, jealousy, and more. The stylistic representation is reflected in the double writing, as shown by the dialogues, the songs, and the use of choruses. These tales are ageless, placeless, and, therefore, anonymous; yet they are also the collective wisdom of a people who are supposed once to have walked the planet and communed with other animals and non-animals on the same terms. That is how humans, animals, vegetation, water, and hills/mountains are equally animate and have linguistic expression for their thoughts and sentiments. Folktales served primarily as entertainment, and also as a convenient way of teaching history and culture, and they invariably promoted good listening and speaking skills in the vernacular language as children learned to model the rhetorical patterns of their adult folkloristsówith children taking turns night after night till they had gone full circle and then started recounting the same tales over. While the morale of some of the tales is obvious, that of other tales is not; and that, again, is typical both of the traditional mind set and of the educational backdrop of storytelling.

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El Narcotraficante

Narcocorridos and the Construction of a Cultural Persona on the U.S.-Mexico Border

By Mark Cameron Edberg

Since the late 1970s, a new folk hero has risen to prominence in the U.S.–Mexico border region and beyond—the narcotrafficker. Celebrated in the narcocorrido, a current form of the traditional border song known as the corrido, narcotraffickers are often portrayed as larger-than-life “social bandits” who rise from poor or marginalized backgrounds to positions of power and wealth by operating outside the law and by living a life of excess, challenging authority (whether U.S. or Mexican), and flouting all risks, including death. This image, rooted in Mexican history, has been transformed and commodified by the music industry and by the drug trafficking industry itself into a potent and highly marketable product that has a broad appeal, particularly among those experiencing poverty and power disparities. At the same time, the transformation from folk hero to marketable product raises serious questions about characterizations of narcocorridos as “narratives of resistance.” This multilayered ethnography takes a wide-ranging look at the persona of the narcotrafficker and how it has been shaped by Mexican border culture, socioeconomic and power disparities, and the transnational music industry. Mark Edberg begins by analyzing how the narcocorrido emerged from and relates to the traditional corrido and its folk hero. Then, drawing upon interviews and participant-observation with corrido listening audiences in the border zone, as well as musicians and industry producers of narcocorridos, he elucidates how the persona of the narcotrafficker has been created, commodified, and enacted, and why this character resonates so strongly with people who are excluded from traditional power structures. Finally, he takes a look at the concept of the cultural persona itself and its role as both cultural representation and model for practice.

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Embodied Modernities

Corporeality, Representation, and Chinese Cultures

Fran Martin & Larissa Heinrich (eds.)

From feminist philosophy to genetic science, scholarship in recent years has succeeded in challenging many entrenched assumptions about the material and biological status of human bodies. Likewise in the study of Chinese cultures, accelerating globalization and the resultant hybridity have called into question previous assumptions about the boundaries of Chinese national and ethnic identity. The problem of identifying a single or definitive referent for the "Chinese body" is thornier than ever. By facilitating fresh dialogue between fields as diverse as the history of science, literary studies, diaspora studies, cultural anthropology, and contemporary Chinese film and cultural studies, Embodied Modernities addresses contemporary Chinese embodiments as they are represented textually and as part of everyday life practices. The book is divided into two sections, each with a dedicated introduction by the editors. The first examines "Thresholds of Modernity" in chapters on Chinese body cultures in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—a period of intensive cultural, political, and social modernization that led to a series of radical transformations in how bodies were understood and represented.The second section on "Contemporary Embodiments" explores body representations across the People’s Republic of China,Taiwan, and Hong Kong today.

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