American Studies | Seminar in American Studies / Topic: Ritual Festival & Public Culture
G751 | 23383 | Beverly Stoeltje


(4 cr. hrs.)
Jointly offered with ANTH-E678 and FOLK-F755
If we take ritual to be the social act basic to humanity, as
Rappaport argues, this formal event and the multiple related ritual
genres (festival, carnival, drama, contests, pilgrimage, etc.),
provide an arena for the exploration of the social response to
contradiction.  Rituals intensify and condense communication,
creating an experimental technology, in the words of the Comaroffs,
to affect the flow of power in the universe, to plumb the
magicalities of modernity.

The course will focus on the larger concept of ritual genres as
performed in various locations.  Using anthropological theories of
ritual and power, the course will consider the production of ritual,
the form itself, its discourse, and the actual performance.
Selected studies will concentrate on the public context of ritual
and festival, participation of specific populations, and the
outcomes, planned and unplanned. Linking ritual to public culture,
the course explores it as a response to contradiction in social and
political life.  We will consider the interaction of the ritual
genres with politics, tourism, history, identity, gender, the state,
religion.  Examples will include rites of passage (traditional ones
and newly created ones), historical celebrations enacting an event
in history, occupational festivals, rituals of domination and
rituals of resistance.  Two papers will be required: one 10 page
paper and one 20 page paper.
Readings will be announced.  (stoeltje@indiana.edu)