Folklore | FORMATIONS OF THE STATE: Performance, Law, and Politics
F750 | 2435 | Stoeltje

At specific moments in the history of states and empires, formations
and traditions develop into institutions and practices that involve
performance.  As the vehicle for the expression of or negotiation
with the power of hegemony these performances present a rich resource
for the study of processes of incorporation, continuity, resistance
and rupture.  The course will take an ethnographic approach to the
study of this nexus (historical moment, political formations,
performance), as it emerges in periods marked as transition and
sustains itself through performance over time, adapting its meaning
to modifications in political discourse.  Students will choose a
specific site and performance and research the political formation
and historical moment from which it emerged.  As examples we will
examine particular moments of transition in the history of the U.S.,
Scotland, and the pre-modern Asante state.  In the U.S. we will
examine the Westward expansion and the performance of rodeo, in
Scotland the moment is the advent of agrarian, mercantile and
industrial capitalism and the performance focus will be Scottish
folksong, and for the Asante the moment is the formation of the
Asante state and the performance the legal system that was
established and continues to be performed in customary courts today.
Students will present their research in class linking a specific
political  formation with a performance form.   Papers will include a
short paper on social theory, and a long paper on a specific
formation/performance.  Readings will include Raymond Williams,
Marxism and Literature, among others, and selected readings on the
three examples.