Anthropology | Ritual Festival Public Culture
E678 | 27515 | Stoeltje

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.