Western Folklore

Vol. 73, No. 2/3 – Spring/Summer, 2014

Special Issue: Dundes Matters

Introduction by the Guest Editors

Dundes Matters
Perin Gürel and Rosemary Lévy Zumwalt

ABSTRACT: This special issue of Western Folklore, Dundes Matters, commemorates the tenth anni-versary of the passing of Alan Dundes (1934-2005). With initial impetus from two panels on “Alan Dundes: The Teacher and His Students,” presented at the 2013 Western States Folklore Society Meetings, the co-editors pitched the idea to the then new editor Tok Thompson of publishing an issue of Western Folklore dedicated to the memory of Alan Dundes and comprised of papers by his students. “Sure,” he said with immediacy, “and we can call it Dundes Matters.” A perfect title, struck on the spur of the moment, Dundes Matters harkens back to Alan Dundes’s Folklore Matters (University of Tennessee Press, 1989). Less literally and more symbolically, it encompasses the intent of this volume: to show how Dundes matters, how he continues to shape the work of his students, and how his dicta to his students—to analyze folklore, to know the history of folkloristics, yet not to be afraid to think against the grain—have set us on our diverse paths.


La Terra in Sicilia: A Dundesian Reading of the Festival of St. Agatha
Stephanie Malia Hom

ABSTRACT: This article considers the ways in which the annual Festival of Saint Agatha releases interlocking tensions related to political, economic, and sexual anxieties in Catania and eastern Sicily. Specifically, it shows how the festival engages phallic symbols to figuratively protest the economic and political impotence caused by a once dominant system of feudal landownership (’latifundium’) and the modern Italian nation-state. At the same time, the festival symbolically abnegates the oppressive bonds between Italian mothers and sons through the displacement and partial fulfillment of the Oedipus complex. KEYWORDS: festivals; Italy; Oedipus complex; Saint Agatha; Sicily

Lafcadio Hearn, Hurricane Katrina, and Mardi Gras: A Nineteenth-Century Folklorist's New Life in New Orleans
Jennifer Gipson

ABSTRACT: Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) was a journalist, writer, and folklorist who lived in Martinique and New Orleans but is best known today as a collector of Japanese folklore. This article considers not Hearn’s life, but his afterlife in cultural memory, especially his place in New Orleans’s identity following hurricane Katrina. KEYWORDS: Lafcadio Hearn, hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, Mardi Gras, disaster lore

Four is Not Fourteen: Tongue Twister Patterns and the Unmastery of Language
Victoria Somoff

ABSTRACT: By using tongue twisters from a variety of folk traditions, the article demonstrates how the inevitable failure to perform a tongue twister flawlessly consists of the performer’s inability to differentiate between phonemic, semantic, morphological and syntactic homonyms, thus mirroring the experience of a child learning his/her native language. The article suggests that tongue twisters serve as an artistic means for the linguistically competent performer to revisit that earlier and forgotten stage in language acquisition. KEYWORDS: tongue twisters, speech errors, language acquisition, child language, homonymy

"What Happens Here, Stays Here": Selling the Untellable in a Tourism Advertising Campaign
Shelia Bock

ABSTRACT: This article shows how the commercials in a popular tourist advertising campaign invoke familiar folk narrative traditions to construct Las Vegas as an extraordinary destination that creates stories worthy of narration. At the same time, these advertisements ultimately construct Las Vegas stories as inherently untellable, inviting potential tourists to take part in a shared corpus of experiences that simultaneously call for and resist narration. KEYWORDS: Las Vegas, mass media, advertising, tourism, untellability

Paying to Play: Digital Media, Commercialization, and the Scholarship of Alan Dundes
Anthony Bak Buccitelli

ABSTRACT: Although he took scholars to task for what he saw as their failure to distinguish between folklore, fakelore, and folklorismus, Alan Dundes was instrumental in expanding the boundaries of folkloristics to encompass the study of mediated folkloric forms and of “invented traditions,” including those generated by commercial forces. This essay will argue that these moves in Dundes’ scholarship were broadly central to the emergence of the study of folklore and digital technology. KEYWORDS: digital folklore, folklorismus, fakelore, Alan Dundes, commercialization

Resisting Folklore: Folk Belief and Motherhood in Russian-language Forums for Women
Renee Perelmutter

ABSTRACT: In an online community for Russian-speaking women, Eva.ru, folk belief is a subject of intense discussion among expectant and young mothers. In this article, I analyze several multi-participant discussions of pregnancy folklore to examine the intersection of folklore and identity struggle in the lives of post-Soviet women who frequent this forum. I discuss how such folklore is transmitted online, and examine how resistance to certain kinds of folk belief reflects generational conflicts and processes of identity construction within an online community of practice. KEYWORDS: identity, communities of practice, folk belief, motherhood, online performance

In Search of Southeast Asian Folklorists
Margaret Capili Magat

ABSTRACT: This work discusses the influence of Alan Dundes on his students who have become leading Southeast Asian folklorists. Discussed are the following: James Danandjaja, who established Indonesian folklore in 1972 at the University of Indonesia; Mellie Lopez, who contributed greatly to Philippine folklore studies; and Maria Carmen Domingo-Kirk, who researches Filipino indigenous groups and Laotian culture. Mentioned also is Herminia Meñez, to whom Alan Dundes extended generous support. KEYWORDS : Alan Dundes, Philippines, Indonesia, folklore, folkloristics

The Irish Kerryman Joke: Culchies, Cute Hoors, and the Emergence of a Late-Modern Fool Region Joke
Leah Lowthorp

ABSTRACT: This article explores the emergence and swift decline of the Kerryman joke, a late modern fool region joke told by the Irish about their fellow countrymen from the south-westernmost county of Kerry. It both contextualizes the joke cycle within a rapidly modernizing, late-twentieth century Ireland, and examines tensions between the emic interpretations of joke tellers and the etic interpretations of scholars of stupidity jokes more generally. KEYWORDS: Ireland, Jokes, Ethnic humor, Stupidity jokes, Kerryman

The Storied Time of Folklore
JoAnn Conrad

ABSTRACT: Time is intrinsic to Folklore: fundamentally embedded in the concepts of Tradition, Salvage, Remnants, as well as incorporated into the forms of folklore as they are defined and selected/collected/remembered. Folklore’s temporality, however, is under-theorized in the field: Time is taken as a given. This article revisits Folklore’s temporality as well as its conventional attitude towards the relationship between time and narrative, paying particular attention to Alan Dundes’ work. It argues that although Dundes did not problematize the relationship of time and narrative, his work, nonetheless provides opportunities for its retheorizing. KEYWORDS: Time, Narrative, Phenomenology, Memory


Sean Burns, Archie Green: The Making of a Working- Class Hero
Reviewed by Burt Feintuch

Elizabeth Wayland Barbe, The Dancing Goddesses: Folklore, Archaeology, and the Origins of European Dance
Reviewed by Ann Dils

Velma E. Love, Divining the Self: A Study in Yoruba Myth and Human Consciousness
Reviewed by John PR Schaefer

Simon J. Bronner, Explaining Traditions: Folk Behavior in Modern Culture
Reviewed by Rosemary Sallee

Merrill Kaplan and Timothy R. Tangherlini, News from Other Worlds: Studies in Nordic Folklore, Mythology and Culture
Reviewed by Lars Jenner

Montana Miller, Playing Dead: Mock Trauma and Folk Drama in Staged High School Drunk Driving Tragedies
Reviewed by John Bodner

Paja Faudree, Singing for the Dead: The Politics of Indigenous Revival in Mexico
Reviewed by Chris Goertzen

Marion Jacobson, Squeeze This! A Cultural History of the Accordion in America.
Reviewed by Doris Maul Fair

Daniel W. Patterson, The True Image: Gravestone Art and the Culture of Scotch Irish Settlers in the Pennsylvania and Carolina Backcountry
Reviewed by Elinor Levy

Trevor Blank and Robert Glenn Howard, Tradition in the 21st Century: Locating the Role of the Past in the Present
Reviewed by Betty J. Belanus