Western Folklore

Vol. 72, No. 2 – Spring, 2013


Hybridizing Folk Culture: Toward a Theory of New Media and Vernacular Discourse
Trevor J. Blank

ABSTRACT: From the Internet to mobile communication devices, the integration of new media technologies into everyday life is fundamentally changing the ways in which people conceptualize and engage in vernacular expression. As a result, the discursive practices of face-to-face and technologically mediated interaction have become hybridized, extending across both corporeal and virtual boundaries. Through the lens of material behavior studies, this essay chronicles how and why the hybridization of folk culture is occurring, and demonstrates the ways in new media technologies are influencing how many people conceptualize corporeality, virtuality, and even reality itself, in contemporary vernacular discourse online and in person. Accordingly, the author argues that folklorists must account for the pervasive influence of new media in examining all vernacular processes. KEYWORDS: hybridization, Internet, new media, material behavior, corporeality, virtuality

The Shaping of Intellectual Identity and Discipline through Charismatic Leaders: Franz Boas and Alan Dundes
Rosemary Lévy Zumwalt

ABSTRACT: Drawing on Thomas Kuhns concept of “disciplinary matrix” and Max Weber’s discussion of charisma, I discuss anthropologist Franz Boas and folklorist Alan Dundes as charismatic disciplinary leaders. From archival research for Boas and interviews for Dundes, I draw out the components of what Elsie Clews Parsons called “the professional family,” and, through the words of Boas’s and Dundes’s students, I add life to these two portraits. KEYWORDS: Alan Dundes, Franz Boas, history of anthropology and folklore, University of California, Berkeley, Columbia University

The Talking Breast Pump
Christine Cooper-Rompato

ABSTRACT: Many women who pump their breast milk report that their pumps speak repeated words or phrases. Women who experience this auditory illusion interpret the pumps as commenting on the activity of pumping, taunting them, and giving advice. Often the pump insults the pumper and taunts her with her perceived inadequacies. Personal experience narratives of the talking breast pump exposes anxieties about pumping vs. breastfeeding, as well as anxieties about going back to work after giving birth. KEYWORDS: Personal experience narratives, blogs, auditory illusion, internet communities, breast feeding


Regina F. Bendix and Galit Hasan-Rokem, editors, A Companion to Folklore
Reviewed by Diane Tye

Andrew Davis, Baggy Pants Comedy: Burlesque and the Oral Tradition
Reviewed by Callan Stout

Kimberly J. Lau, Body Language: Sisters in Shape, Black Women's Fitness, and Feminist Identity Politics
Reviewed by K. Brandon Barker

Stephen A. Mitchell, Witchcraft and Magic in the Nordic Middle Ages
Reviewed by David Elton Gay

Jeremy Wallach, Harris M. Berger, and Paul D. Greene, editors, Metal Rules the Globe: Heavy Metal Music around the World
Reviewed by John Fenn

Robert Glenn Howard, Digital Jesus: The Making of a New Christian Fundamentalist Community on the Internet
Reviewed by William G. Pooley