Anthropology | Ritual Festival Public Culture
E678 | 27763 | 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 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, and public events
such as folk festivals.

The emphasis is on the relationship between ritual/festival and its
contemporary political contexts, including diasporas, tourism, memory etc.

Two papers will be required: one 10 page paper and one 20 page paper.
Readings will include theoretical and ethnographic studies of the
ritual genres.  (To be announced). (stoeltje@indiana.edu)